1915 court: Money taken from child on errand for mother

144919'1915 paper copy 'Picture by Neil Silk'05/12/14
144919'1915 paper copy 'Picture by Neil Silk'05/12/14

At the Scarborough Children’s Court before the mayor (Mr CC Graham) in the chair, and other magistrates, Mabel Davison (10), 12, Sussex Street, was charged with having stolen from the person of Violet Brown the sum of 2s and a handkerchief on October 25th.

The child, when charged, said she had found the money and handkerchief.

It appeared, according to the statement of the chief constable, that Violet Brown, who was not quite nine years old, presided at 13, Atlas Place, left the Central Council School at three on Monday afternoon. Proceeding home she was sent by her mother to St John’s Road to pay an account. She had two separate shillings tied in the corner of her handkerchief. The bill she had to pay was in her glove. When at the corner of Swan Hill Road she met the child Davison, and told her where she was going. Davison said she would go with her, and took hold of Brown’s left hand, which contained the handkerchief. They had gone a little way when Davison slipped the handkerchief out of Brown’s hand and ran away down Sussex Street. Brown at first thought she was playing and would go back, but as she did not she (Brown) began to cry, and there was a sort of hue and cry after the child by other boys and girls. They saw Davison go into her mother’s house, and Brown told Mrs Davison that Mabel had got the 2s. Mrs Davison said: “It is wrong; she hasn’t any money belonging to you.” The child Brown then went home and told her mother. Mrs Brown went to see Mrs Davison, and she again denied her child had got it. Robert Hewitt (8), 4, Sussex Street, was in the street where it occurred, and at about four o’clock Mabel Davison went to him in the street, showed him a handkerchief, opened it, and exhibited two separate shillings. After showing him the money she tied it up, and went into the house. The boy noticed that the handkerchief had flowers in the corner, and there were flowers in the corner of the missing handkerchief. To a girl of 15, named Gertrude Sefton, living at 23, Sussex Street, Davison had said: “If I tell you a secret you won’t tell anyone?” She added that she had found 2s in a handkerchief, and had given it to her mother, who had given her a penny for finding it. Violet Brown who was seen crying, said she had lost 2s, and Sefton pointed this out to Davison, and said she might giver her it back. Davison immediately ran past. Enquiries were again made at the child’s house, but without result, and the money and the handkerchief had not been found. The mother denied the statement of the child that the latter had given her the money. Detective Yeoman made enquiries, but the mother strenuously denied receiving 2s and the handkerchief. The child had admitted to the detective having the money and handkerchief and giving them to her mother.

He submitted there was a case on the child Davison’s part of stealing the money and handkerchief.

Evidence was given bearing out this statement, the child Brown stating that she herself tied the shillings in the handkerchief for safety. She told Davison where she was going with the 2s.

The child Hewitt said Davison took 2s out of a handkerchief and showed the money to him. He did not see the handkerchief, but Brown had told him her handkerchief had a rose in the corner.

Gertrude Sefton said she saw Davison later and asked her if she had given Brown the 2s back, and the reply was, yes. Witness then said: “Oh, that is all right.”

Detective Yeoman said when the mother was seen she said: “There she is (the child), she has no 2s.” She said there were other children out and about at the time speaking about the 2s and her child denied taking it.

After being taken to the police station the child, after first denying the matter, made a statement in which she said she found the money and handkerchief and had taken them home, the mother stating she was not to tell anyone.

The child, Davison, in reply to the magistrates, said that the child Brown had told her she had lost 2s. She (Davison) afterwards found the money in the handkerchief in Swan Hill Road. She put them in her pocket and took them home to her mother.

The father said the child had stated she found the money, but whether she gave it to her mother or had lost it he did not know. He was not at home. The child said she had given it to her mother.

The mayor said the magistrates found the child guilty. He pointed out that whether she took it off the road, knowing who it belonged to, or took it out of the other child’s hand, it was stealing all the same.

She and her father would be bound over in the sum of £5, the child to be under the supervision of the probation officer, Miss Crosthwaite.

Addressing the parents the mayor said the magistrates could not but feel that their influence on the child had not been in the right direction, or it would be impossible for a small child to do such a thing as she had been brought there for that morning.