Juvenile Thefts at Conisborough.

July 1901

Mexborough and Swinton times July 19.

Juvenile Thefts at Conisborough.

 John Smith, 11, and Lawrence Howden, 7, schoolboys, New Conisborough, were accused of having stolen a sovereign, the property of William Massey, on July 4; there was also another charge preferred against the boys, namely that of stealing a like amount and a purse, the property of Barthy Dunn, between July 8 and 12th.

Both the boys were accompanied by their parents. Smith appeared to realise his position very acutely, while, however, Howden, a boy of diminutive proportions, appeared quite unconcerned, and while the case was proceeding gazed around the court.

The Bench decided to hear the cases separately, and accordingly that in which Massey was the prosecutor was taken first.

Annie Massey was the first witness called. She stated that she was the wife of William Massey, with whom she resided at 23, Sprotborough Street. A fortnight previous to that day he placed a sovereign, belonging to her husband in a purse, which she put in a box in the bedroom at her house.

On Thursday morning, the fourth inst., she had occasion to go upstairs to get some money for their child, and on opening the purse she discovered that the sovereign was missing. There was also 1/7 in coppers in the same purse, but that money had not been interfered with.

The prisoner, John Smith, was her brother, and she had seen him standing at the entrance of the passage, which disjoins her house from the next one in the row, the morning of which the money was discovered to have been removed. She knew that he had been absent from school on the date previously mentioned. She had never given anyone permission to remove the money.

Sarah Waring, widow, living at 29 Sprotborough Street, New Conisborough, said that on Thursday morning, the 4th inst., between 10 and 11 o’clock, she was standing at her door at the back of the house when she saw the prisoner, John Smith, come out of Massey’s house by the back door. He was carrying a small brush in his hand, and went into his mother’s house, who resided in the same street. Mrs Massey was out at that time.

PC Richardson was then called, and deposed that on Friday morning, the 12th
inst., he apprehended the prisoners, and charged them together with stealing 20 shillings from a bedroom at 23 Sprotborough Street, New Conisborough on the previous morning, about 10 o’clock, the property of William Massey.

In reply Smith said. “I saw my sister give Howden some money, and requested him to change it for her at Clarkson shop.” He further said “I sent Howden upstairs to get it it, and I gave him one shilling and spent 6d on sweets, and then buried the rest near the bridge over the River near the railway sidings.”

Howden said. “I didn’t steal it.”

Witness then went with Smith to search for the money, which he stated, was buried near the bridge, but they could not find it.

This concluded the first case, and the other was then dealt with.

Barthy Dunn, the prosecutor, stated that he was a miner, and lodged with another miner, named Michael Carroll, at 8 Blythe Street, New Conisborough.

On the afternoon of the 6th inst, he deposited 20 shillings in a black leather purse, which he then put into one of the pockets of his trousers. He left the trousers in his bedroom. The last occasion on which he saw the trousers was between four and five o’clock on Monday afternoon, and the money was then all right.

When he returned home from work last Friday, from something that was set to him, he examine thetrousers in question, and discovered that the purse and sovereign were missing.

He was afterwards shown a purse by PC Richardson, and identified it as his property, and the one which had been removed from his trouser pockets. He distinguished it from several more, which were shown to him, and had never given anyone permission to take it away.

Percy Smith, aged nine years, residing with his father at 23 Balby Street, New Conisborough, next gave evidence. He said that on the previous Wednesday, about six o’clock in……

to be continued