The ‘good girl’ who fell into bad company

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1914 Police Court

At the Scarborough Police Court today, Ethel Blackman (18), whose address was given as 8, Falconer’s Square, was summoned for having stolen two shillings and sixpence, the money of James Taylor, on October 18th.

She admitted the offence, and Taylor, an elderly man, who lives at the Merchant Seamen’s Hospital, said the girl was a relation of his wife. He met the girl in Castle Road last Saturday week, and his wife had not seen her since she was a child. The defendant went to him, shook hands and said: How are you? Witness did not know her at the time. Then he said: You are Jim’s daughter? That was a nephew of his wife. He told her to go and see his wife, and she said she would in the afternoon. She had tea, and then said she would have to go. Witness told her she could visit them any time. She did so on Sunday and had dinner.

After dinner she was sitting near a chest of drawers, and his wife went to these and took a shilling from her purse. Later, witness, who was lying down, saw the girl go to the drawers and take something out, but he never suspected her of theft. The girl had tea, and about six o’clock said she must go, she was going to chapel. Witness told her, “That’s a good girl, don’t miss that.” On the following morning his wife missed the half-crown. He was very sorry “for the bairn’s sake,” and hoped the magistrates would be as lenient as they could.

The Chief Constable said the girl required a firm hand. It was a case which Miss West, the Probation Officer, should, he thought, deal with.

Miss West said the girl had not been home for about six weeks. At one time she was 
doing very well, but had now got amongst bad companions.

The Clerk: Has she been in a situation?

Miss West: Not lately.

Alderman Ascough: Was it sudden temptation or was it real need?

Miss West: I think she really wanted food, she was not working. She has a good home, but her father won’t have 
anything to do with her.

The magistrates bound her over for 12 months, under the care of Miss West, in a personal surety of £5, and the Mayor, addressing the girl, said the bench were sorry she was in that position, but they hoped she would turn over a new leaf.

In order that she might do so they had been as lenient as they could. They sincerely trusted she would see her way to forsake bad companions and try to lead a good and 
respectable life. Otherwise there was a prospect of her beginning a criminal life, to her own disgrace and unhappiness. “I hope,” continued the Mayor, “you will take these things into consideration and endeavour to be a good girl, straight and honest in the 
future.”