Losing your shirt - petty sessions

Hertfordshire Mercury, 11th August 1906

Transcript

Charles Bevan, of Dartford, Kent, was charged with stealing a shirt, value 3s., the property of Harry Law, at Stanstead Abbotts.

Mrs James Springham, of Chapel Lane, Stanstead, stated that on Wednesday she washed a white shirt belonging to her brother, Harry Law, and hung it out on the clothesline in her back garden, and left it out all night. The next morning it was gone. Prisoner said it was his brother that took the shirt.

Ewart Walter Blackaby, son of Mr Alfred Blackaby, baker, said he was in Chapel Lane on Thursday morning about 8 o’clock and heard prisoner ask a lady for some water, which she gave him. He then went away, but returned, took the shirt from the clothesline and walked out the gate with it under his arm towards the Clockhouse. Witness went and told the lady next door. PC Wilsmore said that about 8.50 a.m. he overtook the prisoner just before he got to Hunsdon. He was wearing the shirt with two others underneath it. Witness asked him where he got it from, and the prisoner said his father gave it to him two years ago. He took the man back to Stanstead where Mrs Springham identified the shirt.

Prisoner at first said “I did not steal the shirt myself, my brother took it” but afterwards when he elected to have the case settled at once, he said “I am guilty of taking the shirt, but it is my own property and always was. Of course, there is more than one shirt alike, sir”.  Mr Walters: Where is your brother?  My brother is in Wales working down a mine. “Supt Duke said prisoner had been in custody since Friday. It might be thought that the prisoner was not quite compos mentis but from observations he had made when prisoner was not aware of it he rather thought he was. He had conducted himself very badly while at the police station.

Prisoner was sent to St Albans for 14 days’ hard labour, where the Chairman said the Medical Officer would have the opportunity to watch him and enquire into his case.

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