Before E.S.Hanbury, Esq (in the chair); R.Walters Esq: and R.P.Croft,Esq.
Robert Thomas Hilditch, a young man with several aliases, and having no fixed abode, was charged with stealing a silver watch and chain, valued at £1.10s, a silver chain valued at £1, and various other small articles, the property of Ernest Edward Street, of Blue Coat Yard, Ware on June 15th.
Prosecutor stated that on Friday evening, June 15th, he went to the Salvation Army Barracks in Ware and noticed the prisoner, who was a stranger, present. Prisoner said ”Good Evening” and he (prosecutor) shook hands with him. Prisoner spoke to all present, and told them he wished to be a bandsman with Ware Salvation Army Corps, and wanted transfer from Dover.
Prisoner said he was engaged at the General Post Office at Ware to do the Westmill round, and he asked them to get him some good lodgings with a Salvationist. As prisoner could not get any lodgings that night, he (prosecutor) took him to his home, gave him supper, and allowed him to sleep with him. Witness got up at a quarter past five next morning and went out to work. When he returned he missed a belt, a watch chain and other things. He valued the belt at 1 shilling, the watch chain at 6d., the small penknife at 1 shilling, and there were also some watch keys. Some of these things were on the mantelpiece in the bedroom where the prisoner slept, and the others were in the clothes-box. There was also a Salvation Army self-denial collecting box in the clothes-box, in which there was 9s.1d.
Prisoner: Was the money-box yours ?
Prisoner: How can it be yours when it has got the Salvation Army name on it ?
Witness: The Army gave it to me.
Prisoner: I say that the box belonged to the Salvation Army, and as soon as you had put money in it you had nothing to do with it.
Prosecutor: It was my money which I had saved up.
Prisoner: Do you say there was 9s.1d. in it ?
Prisoner: I say there was only 4 shillings; and if there was 9 shillings you had 5 shillings and I had 4 shillings, so that you have robbed the Army of 5 shillings.
Prosecutor: Nothing of the kind. It was my money and my box.
Mrs Street stated that the prisoner told her when he came home with her husband on the evening of June 15th that he was going to start work at the Post Office. He told her to call him Bert Albert. He got up at quarter to nine the next morning, and after breakfast went out, and said he would come back and let her know how he got on for lodgings. After he had gone her child made a communication to her, in consequence of which she went to the bedroom where the prisoner had slept and found that her husband’s silver watch and chain was missing from the drawers, and a knife, a silver chain, and the money box were all gone from the clothes-box.
P.C. Perry, of the Essex Constabulary, stationed at Brentwood, stated that at 4 a.m. on Thursday, June 28th, he saw the prisoner standing near the Vicarage, Brentwood, and walked towards him. As soon as prisoner saw him he bolted. Witness overtook him, and told him he was wanted for stealing from his lodgings at Ware. Prisoner replied: “I expect it is right if you say so”. He escorted the prisoner to the Police Station and on searching him found he was wearing the canvas belt, and in pockets were the chain, keys, and knife (produced). He knew the prisoner having arrested him before under the name Mark Dorrington.
P.C. Megaughey, who fetched the prisoner from Brentwood, said that whilst conveying the prisoner to Ware he made the following statement:
“I pawned the watch and chain at Duke Street, Luton. I sold the ticket to a man in a public house in Luton. I got 1 shilling for the watch, and 3 shillings on the chain. I threw the money-box away on the Hertford Road. There was only about 4 shillings in it”
Prisoner had nothing to say, and was committed for trial at the Quarter Sessions in October.