Thursday Flashback

At the North Riding Police Court today, before Mr F Baker (in the chair), and Cllr Hall, James Clarkson (29), 14, Providence Place, Filey, chimney sweep, was charged with stealing a Scarborough Hospital contribution box containing 3s 10½d from the Ox Inn, Lebberston, on August 25th.

He pleaded not guilty.

Alice Longhorn, the complainant, said she was the licensee of the Ox Inn, Lebberston. On Sunday, the 25th inst. the prisoner came to her home about five o’clock, and entered the tap-room. Witness served him with a pint of beer. There was no one else in the room, and she returned to the kitchen. The box (produced) was on the mantelpiece in the tap-room where accused was. Subsequently whilst in the other room with her husband, she heard a rattle as though the box was being moved; she heard this a second time, and she remarked to her husband she thought he was putting money in the box. When witness opened the door to investigate, however, she saw prisoner placing on the mantelpiece the box in question, which he had in his hand. She asked him what he was doing with that, and he said “Nothing”. Witness went to the mantelpiece and said to him “What have you been doing, nothing? You have opened this box”. He said “No I haven’t”. She found the lid had been prized open. He said he had not taken anything from it, and she said, “Well, I can get to know, as there was silver put in it yesterday”. Her little girl had taken the box across the road, to Mrs Pawson’s on the previous Saturday. Witness continued that he used very bad language, and he said to her that she “had taken it out herself”. She asked him to turn out his pockets, and he said he would not. She then went across to Mrs Pawson on the opposite side of the road to ascertain what had been put in. Mrs Pawson came back again with witness, and they attempted to keep the defendant in the room while witness’s husband went for a constable. While in the room the accused pulled out of his trouser pocket some coppers and a 2s piece, in the presence of witness and Mrs Pawson. He put the coins in his waistcoat pocket, saying as he did so: “Would you like that putting in the box?” He said if they did not open the door he would get out of the window.

He went to unlatch the window but could not get it open. He then went to the passage leading to the back door, and finding it open he made his escape.

Witness was quite certain the box was secure when he entered, as she had been in the room a few minutes before, cleaning glasses and other things, and she knew it was perfectly right then.

Sarah Pawson, wife of George Pawson, Lebberston, gave evidence, and said on the 24th of August she sent to the Ox Inn for the hospital contribution box. She placed a 2s piece, and her daughter a 1s piece in the box. On the day in question, about five o’clock, when she was called by Mrs Longhorn, she saw prisoner in the tap-room. Prisoner took out of his left hand side pocket a 2s piece and about a shilling’s worth of coppers, saying, as he put it into his waistcoat pocket, “Would you like to put that in the box?” Accused denied he had taken anything out, and said that “Mrs Longhorn had taken it out herself”.

She was present when the box was examined afterwards, and there was 6d and some coppers, altogether 1s 10½d. There was no two shilling piece.

Defendant asked witness what his condition was when he was in the room. Was he drunk?

PC Bromley said the man was not drunk when he was arrested, and he knew what he was doing. He had had some drink.

The Chairman, in sentencing prisoner, said the magistrates considered the case was already proved, and prisoner had heard for himself that the record was a bad one.

He had been sent to prison 11 times previously, and that day his punishment would be severe. He would be sentenced to two calendar months’ hard labour.