Quarter session trial for hawker who stole boots

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1914 court

At the Borough Police Court today before Alderman Pirie (presiding), and Mr JET Graham, John Gallagher, 41, labourer, 2 Atlas Place, was charged with having stolen two pairs of children’s boots of the value together of 5s 10d, the property of Herbert William Samuel Coe, on May 30th.

The Chief Constable said that in this case Mr Coe carried on business as boot and shoe dealer in Market Street, and on Saturday last, had some children’s boots mentioned in the charge. At ten o’clock on Saturday evening the prisoner was seen in the public house next door with some boots in his possession, and a few moments later he was found up a passage by the side of Queen Street Chapel. He was turned out of this passage by the caretaker, who immediately afterwards found these boots (produced) lying in the passage, and he restored them to the owner. When arrested and charged prisoner said: “I did not steal them, and I know nothing about them.”

Mr Coe said he saw the boots (produced) placed outside the shop in the morning, the last time on Saturday, being about ten o’clock in the morning. Later Mr Bowes (engaged at Messrs Boyes) came and showed him three boots, of the two pairs in question, and he found that the two pairs were missing. These boots had not been sold. He valued them at 5s 10d.

Alfred Smith, landlord of the Royal Vaults, Market Street, said on Saturday evening, about 7 o’clock, prisoner came into the bar, but took no drink. About 10 o’clock prisoner came to the passage (which adjourned Mr Coe’s shop) and asked for a gill of beer, but witness told him he was not licensed to supply him on the passage, and invited him to go into the bar. Witness heard something fall, and putting his head through the window, saw two pairs of boots lying on the floor.

Prisoner stooped down to pick them up and went away. Prisoner, added the witness, did not appear to be drunk, he had not had any beer. This was the first time he had seen prisoner, and he identified him at once amongst eight men at the police office.

John William Bowes, warehouseman, employed by Messrs Boyes, and residing at 39, Cambridge Street, said that on Saturday night about 10pm, at the request of Edmund Stunell, chapel keeper of Queen Street Chapel, he went to the passage adjoining the chapel, and about half way up the passage saw prisoner in a crouching position. He asked him what he wanted and he replied nothing, and witness ordered him from the premises. The three boots were then found. Witness took them to Mr Coe, who identified them as his property.

Edmund Stunell said he was returning home about 10 o’clock, and saw the man standing in the passage. He asked him what he wanted there, and he said, “Nothing,” and told him to leave, and accused left. On striking a match witness found the boots on the grass. Witness did not gather the impression that defendant was drunk.

Detective Nalton said he arrested prisoner in the Crown Vaults on Friday, and on being charged accused replied: “I did not steal them. I know nothing about them.” He was identified at the Police Station amongst eight other men.

Prisoner, in his defence, said: “I know nothing about it, I was drunk at the time. That is all I know. I don’t remember stealing the boots.”

The Chairman said prisoner would have to take his trial at the next Quarter Sessions.

The Chief Constable did not object to bail. Prisoner was a hawker, and was not in regular work.

Accused said he had a wife and family in Scarborough, and he would not run away.

The magistrates allowed bail in the sum of £5 in prisoner’s own recognisances.