Alleged concealment of birth - servant and gardener committed for trial

Hertfordshire Mercury, 31st March 1906


At the Royston Police Court on Wednesday a peculiar case came before the Rev. J.G.Hale and other Magistrates.

Mercy Elizabeth Haffer (17) and William Worboys (17), were charged with concealing the birth of a female child on or about the 19th January, at Windy Harbour, in the parish of Kelshall.

On February 23rd the police found the body of a newly-born child buried under a tree in the garden at the residence of Mr Marshall Kelly.  At the inquest on the 25th February the jury returned an open verdict, although the evidence of two medical men went to show that the child had lived.  The lad Worboys admitted to the police that the girl gave him a parcel one morning, telling him it was a baby, and asking him to burn it, and what would not burn to bury.  This the lad did.

The girl was employed in the house as a domestic servant, and the lad as a gardener; both slept on the premises, and familiarities appear to have occurred whilst their mistress was away in London.

No suspicion was entertained of the girl’s condition, and it as only after the laundress had made a communication to Miss Kelly that anything was suspected.  The girl eventually made a confession, and the police were communicated with.

Both defendants were committed for trial at the next Herts Assizes, bail being allowed.

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