Reformatory boy's escapade

Hertfordshire Mercury, 14th August 1915

Transcript

At a special court at Hatfield last week, William Morgan (18), of the Herts. Reformatory, Bengeo, was charged with feloniously stealing certain articles, the property of James Webster, at Hatfield, on July 27, and further with burglariously breaking into and entering the dwelling-house of Peter Alfred Gentle, at Mill Green, and stealing various articles between 10 p.m. on July 29 and 6 a.m. on July 30.

James Webster, North Lodge, Hatfield, farm labourer, deposed to losing, whilst at work in Ascott’s Field on July 27, his coat and basket containing a new tin bottle, pocket handkerchief, egg cup, white cloth, piece of bacon, the top of a half-quartern loaf, some butter and cheese.  He laid his coat beside the hedge in the field at 7 o’clock in the morning, and at ten minutes to eight he missed the basket and coat.  He valued the articles at 9s. 11d..

PS Olding stated that on July 30 he saw the prisoner in a field near Woodhall Farm lying under a tree.  He was wearing the coat produced.  The witness charged him with stealing the coat, and he made no reply.

The prisoner was next charged with feloniously breaking and entering the house of Peter Alfred Gentle, Waterside Cottage, Mill Green, and stealing a table knife, two keys, and a split ring.

Louisa Gentle, housekeeper to her father, said that on July 29, before going to bed at 10 o’clock, she fastened the doors and windows and left everything safe.  On going downstairs at 6 o’clock next morning, she found the scullery window and back door open.  A quantity of eatables had disappeared from the scullery.  On the copper she found a small knife which did not belong to her.  In the kitchen some drawers had been opened, but nothing had been taken.  From over the mantelpiece in the sitting room two keys and a split ring had been taken.  Another key that had been left on a peg in the scullery was also missing.  A table knife was also taken from the scullery.  The table knife and keys produced were her property.  The articles that had been taken she valued at about 2s..

PS Olding stated that on Friday, July 30, at 8.30 a.m., he received a report of this burglary, and went to Waterside Cottage, and made an inspection of the place.  At 10.30 he found the prisoner in a field near Woodhall Farm, as already stated.  At the police station he searched the prisoner and found, amongst other property, the two keys on a split ring and the table knife produced, which were afterwards identified by Miss Gentle.

Supt. Sullivan stated that the prisoner had absconded from the Herts. Reformatory at Bengeo.  At the time of his arrest the police were on the look-out for him.  He had previously escaped from a reformatory and had been ordered to be detained till the age of 19.

In answer to the magistrates, the prisoner said he was a Welshman and came from Canning Town.

The prisoner was committed for trial at the Herts. Quarter Sessions in October.

 

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