Servant charged with theft

Hertfordshire Mercury, 4th September 1915


At Watford Sessions on Tuesday, Mary Sybil Ratcliff, Clement’s Cottages, Brickendon, a domestic servant, was summoned for larceny of money and gloves.

Detective-Sergt. Berry said that on Thursday, August 26, he received a report from Mrs Smith, Walden House, Clarendon Road, respecting some money that had been stolen.  About 2.30 p.m. on the same day he went to Walden House, where he saw the defendant, in company with two other maids, in the presence of Dr and Mrs Smith.  The defendant and the other maids were told who he was, and what was his business.  The witness informed the defendant and the other maids that certain things had been missed, and, in fairness to them all, he asked to search their boxes.  In going through the defendant’s box he found a pair of gloves (produced).  Mrs Smith at once identified them.  The defendant said: ‘The gloves were given to me by my late mistress.  I should like you to write to her and ask.’  The defendant kept to this story when further questioned.  He told the defendant that money had been missed from the house.  The defendant said that she had never touched anything.  When further questioned, the defendant said she took £1 from Mrs Smith’s purse, 2s. from Miss Irene Smith’s purse, and three £1 notes from Miss Joy’s purse.  The defendant at last said that the gloves did belong to Miss Smith, and she bought some shoes with part of the money.

Mrs Smith, Walden House, Clarendon Road, said that she engaged the defendant about July 19.  She had missed things from the house.  On Thursday she called the police in, and was present when Detective Berry searched the defendant’s box.  She missed the money some time after August 2.

In the second charge against the defendant, Detective-Sergt. Berry said that he told the defendant that 10s. was missing from another purse, which belonged to one of the maids.  The defendant denied any knowledge of this, but afterwards said that she only took a shilling.  When charged at the police station, the defendant said that she was sorry.

Evidence was given by Mrs Smith’s maid that she missed the money out of her purse.  The defendant passed through the witness’ bedroom to get to her own room.

Inspector O’Connor said that there was nothing known against the defendant.  She had borne a good character previous to the charge.  The defendant’s parents were very respectable people, her father being in a good position.

The Chairman said that it was very sad to see a girl of her age begin so badly.  The defendant would be put on probation for two years, and would have to be very careful how she behaved in the future.

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