Husband told to pay in maintenance case

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1913 Police Court

Before Alderman Pirie and Mr RH Butterworth at the Scarborough Police Court today, Thomas Dowkes Dunning (45), labourer, 8, Vine Street, Stockton-on-Tees, was charged on warrant with having disobeyed a maintenance order of £5 6s 6d.

Prisoner admitted the amount.

Hannah Dunning, the wife at whose instance the charge was made, was represented by Mr J Whitfield.

Mr Whitfield said that owing to certain circumstances his client urgently required the money. In 1908, she reduced the amount from 12s to 9s. In the spring her son came over to stay with her, and left taking with him, it was alleged, some jewellery, and £11 10s in money. He then went back to live with his father. The maintenance, it was explained, had been paid pretty regularly up to now. At times the wife had been forced to take out a warrant, but the money had always been forthcoming after the warrant had been issued.

Mr Whitfield explained that the money which the son had taken was to have been paid as rates, and owing to his theft she had not paid them now. That was why she was in urgent need of the £5. The husband, he explained, was a labourer earning £1 a week at Stockton and could not pay more than 5s.

Mrs Dunning said that her son was lodging with his father, who was living with another woman, and was paying something of his wages.

When he (the son) had stolen her jewellery and money, she had been to the police, and they had wanted to take out a warrant against him, but she had not liked to do so against her own son.

The son, she explained, had been in prison when in the army, from which he had run away. She explained that the prisoner had some furniture with his mother at Pickering, but the husband disputed this. The only furniture he had, he said, was about £1 or 30s worth at his home in Stockton, which was a 4s 6d weekly house. The wife disputed this. When he had left Pickering with the girl, he had left some furniture wit his mother.

Alderman Pirie, on the magistrates’ return, said they had considered the case carefully, and had determined to give the prisoner the opportunity of trying to get the money. He would have to pay £2 by Monday, and 10s a week in future till the arrears were paid off, when he would revert to the original 9s.

Prisoner said it was impossible on his £1 a week, but the wife maintained that he had £2 a week. He was working at the mallable works, and when working a full week could only get 22s.

The Magistrates’ Clerk expressed surprise that he was not earning more.

The Clerk suggested that he would have £1 due to him that day (Saturday) in wages, and that would be part of the sum. Dunning said he had bought one or two things to live on during the week, and they would be to pay for.

The Clerk: But this is more serious than those.

The husband in reply to a question, said he could not expect to get anything from the son, who had only his wage.

The Chairman: But you cannot let your wife and her child go on like this.

Prisoner said he did not see how he could even pay the 10s afterwards out of his wage.

The wife said that he managed to be drinking and carrying on at Stockton.

The case was adjourned to give the husband the opportunity of paying and he was also ordered to pay the maintenance into court in future.