Marked shilling was used to catch a thief

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1913 court

A respectably dressed woman came before the Borough magistrates at Scarborough this morning charged with stealing from a fellow visitor the sum of one shilling, belonging to Cissie Richardson. Her name was Louisa Godson, and she was described as a married woman.

The Chief Constable outlined the facts of the case for the prosecution, and stated that prisoner was staying with other visitors. In consequence of what had occurred previously in the house information was given to the police, and Detective Inspector Nawton this morning placed certain marked coins in a purse and left it on the dressing room table in the bedroom occupied by prosecutrix, where money had been left before.

About nine o’clock this morning prisoner was found with a marked shilling in her possession, which had been taken from the purse. She first denied it, but afterwards admitted stealing the coin.

Cissie Richardson said that on the evening of Monday in consequence of what she had previously noticed, certain marked coins, consisting of two half-crowns, two florins, a shilling and two sixpences, were placed in the purse. After breakfast this morning she found the marked shilling missing.

Mr Sinfield (to witness): Have you missed money previously?

Witness: Yes.

Detective Inspector Nawton said he asked prisoner what money she had in her purse. She took out a number of coins amongst which was the marked shilling. She at first denied the theft, but in the police office she said, “Yes, I did take that shilling, but I have not taken any more before; I have not taken a penny piece.”

In her defence prisoner said she was not aware that any money had been missed before, but she did take the shilling. “I had some trouble with my little boy,” she said, “and I had to go to Manchester yesterday to bring him home.”

The Chief Constable added that there were two parties staying in the house, four ladies and children, and prisoner had three children staying there. Mrs Richardson missed a sovereign on the morning of July 27th, and in the evening she missed 6d, whilst Mrs Beatrice Waines and another visitor missed two half-crowns on Saturday and Monday.

The prisoner stated that she had herself missed nearly a whole sponge cake from her box, and when she mentioned it, one of the visitors said she had had trouble with her little girl before. She knew nothing with regard to stealing money, but only cakes.

The Chief Constable said that if the prisoner left the town that day the bench would take a lenient view of the case. The prisoner would be bound over for six months.

It was a very sad thing to see a person like her charged with such a trivial offence, and they hoped it would be a warning.