Workhouse orphan on charge of larceny

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1913 Police Court

A case concerning a Workhouse orphan was heard at the Borough Police Court, when Horace Appleton (17), gardener, of no fixed abode, was charged with having stolen from 28, Victoria Street, 15s 9d in money, belonging to Roberta May Robson.

A previous charge, which was taken against him on Monday, was that of having broken into 28, Victoria Street, the dwelling house of Rachael Dickinson, and having stolen the money, but this was reduced to the charge of larceny, on the application of the Chief Constable.

Prisoner elected to be dealt with by the magistrates, and pleaded guilty.

The Chief Constable said that prisoner had been lodging at Victoria Street, but was now sleeping out. The prosecutrix, Miss Robson, lived with her aunt at the same house, and on the 20th June she went home, and hung her coat behind the kitchen door. In the pocket she left her purse with 15s 9d in it. At about 9.30pm she took the coat and found the purse there, but with no money in it.

The prisoner was found asleep in a shed at Messrs Walshaw’s, where he is employed.

He had 5s 1d in a purse in his possession.

Miss Roberta May Robson, 28, Victoria Street, corroborated the statement of the Chief Constable.

Detective Sergt. Yeoman spoke as to receiving a report of the case, and finding prisoner asleep in Messrs Walshaw’s garden.

He (the Detective Sergt.) told him he was making enquiries as to someone who had broken into 28 Victoria Street, and had stolen from there 15s 9d. Prisoner replied: “I don’t know exactly how much there was, but this is all I have left.” Witness brought him to the Police Station and on passing the County Hotel he said: “I got half-a-sovereign changed there. I got two bottles of bass. They charged me 6d. I went to the Castle Dykes and threw them away.”

Prisoner had admitted the charge and also the amended charge.

Mr Dyde, the Workhouse master, said that prisoner was an orphan, and had been under the care of the Guardians since he was eight years of age. He had been boarded out on three occasions and returned to the Workhouse. He had been placed in the children’s home, Melrose Street, and had afterwards been found employment with Messrs Walshaws at 4s a week. He had been doing exceedingly well there. In December last he was placed in the care of a Mrs Dickinson, and had been under the control of a guardian’s officer. On the 15th of the present month Mrs Dickinson reported to him (Mr Dyde) that the prisoner had left her house to go to work on the Saturday, and had failed to return. Continuing, Mr Dyde said Appleton would be under the care of the Guardians for another twelve months, and he would ask their worships to deal leniently with him. He was a lad of weak intellect.

The Rev Ferguson, chaplain at the Workhouse, said he would be pleased to do his best for the boy. He was simple, and easily led, and he thought that if he was given a chance to retrieve that step he might, under good influence, do 
better. His history was a very sad one indeed.

Prisoner said: I am very sorry for what I have done, and I won’t come here any more.

Alderman Fowler said that the bench were prepared to take a lenient view of the case, and prisoner would be placed under the care of the Rev Ferguson. He must try to do better and he (Alderman Fowler) hoped that that case would be a lesson to him.