Does charity begin at home ?

By Daryk A

Hertfordshire Mercury, 31st October 1914

Ellen Rushforth, of no fixed abode, was charged with stealing a National Relief Fund box containing 6 pence and 1 farthing, the property of the Welwyn Committee of the National Retirement Fund, on 16th October.  The woman pleaded guilty.

Thomas Parsons, manager of the Rose and Crown Public House, Welwyn, said that on Friday, 16th October, he had a National Relief Fund box standing on the counter in the bar.  The prisoner had come into the house at about 7pm, and had two glasses of beer and a packet of cigarettes.  After she had gone, the witness missed the box and at once informed the police.  10 minutes later, he was called to the police station and there identified the box as the one he had had at the Rose and Crown.  The woman had not opened the box.

Police Constable Baker, of Welwyn, said that he had made enquiries on the night of the 16th and had found the woman in the Chequers Public House.  He had questioned her about the box and she at first denied any knowledge of it, but later she had produced the box from under her cloak.  When charged at the police station with stealing the box, she only said “Alright”.

The prisoner now said that she had come from Southampton and was going to Sheffield, and further remarked “I am bitterly ashamed of myself”.

The Chairman, in sentencing her to 1 month’s hard labour, said the bench were of the opinion that anyone who took charitable funds, and especially at this time, ought to be most severely punished.

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