Serious Charge against a Travelling Photographer – Rape on a Conisborough Girl.

August 1891

Mexborough & Swinton Times – Friday 07 August 1891

Serious Charge against a Travelling Photographer.

Rape on a Conisborough Girl.

Frederick Dove, photographer, Conisborough, was brought up in custody charged with comitting a rape on the person of Clara Elizabeth Thompson, at Conisborough, on the 71st July.

Clara Elizaboth Thompson said that she was the daughter of James Thompson, of Holywell street, Conisborough, and was 14 years of age. On Saturday, the 18th ult., she went to have her likeness taken in a tent opposite the Station lnn. The prisoner, after having photographed her, took her info a dark small place, but did not then insult her. Two friends of hers, Margaret and Mary Am, Malberry, were in the other apartment. Prisoner told her to come again for the photos on the Tuesday night at 7.30. and she went unaccompanied. When she got there she saw prisoner, but he said that the photos were not finalised. The tent is divided into three compartments—the dark loom, the photograph room and a compartment containing a bed. It was in this latter room that the prisoner got hold of her and threw her down on the bed. He then committed the offence with which he was charged. Witness screamed because prisoner hurt her. She was not a consenting party. Before he commenced owner told her not to go to anyone and she replied that she would tell her mother and father. Prisoner rejoined that if she did he would get into bother. When she got outside the tent and had gone a short distance see met Margaret and Mary Ann Malberry and told them something. When she got home, however, she did not tell her mother and father. Witness was examined by her mother end Dr. McCall on Thursday.

By the prisoner: He was in the tent when she got there.

Prisoner : I never recollect her coming in. I was very fresh.

Margaret Malberry, 12 years of age, daughter of John Mulberry, living near to the Station Inn, Conisborough, said that on Saturday she and her sister went with the last witness to have her photograph taken by the prisoner. The complainant got her likeness taken, and afterwards prisoner took them separately to show them photographs in a room which was nearly dark. He offered them no insult. On the Tuesday evening witness and her sister were playing outside their house when she saw the complainant coming towards her from the direction of prisoner’s tent. She told her something which had transpired. Witness afterwards her mother. Her mother told her sister, and she eventually told Mrs. Thompson, the complainant’s mother.

Mary Ann Thompson said she was the wife of James Thompson, and mother of complainant. From something that she heard on the Thursday night she examined her daughter. She had previously bathed her, but had not noticed anything. Afterwards she saw her daughter examined by Dr. McCall.

Dr. McCall, M.H., C.M., Glasgow University, said that he was practising at Conisborough, and that on Thursday, the 23rd July, he examined the complainant in the presence of her mother. The result of his examination was that be found that she had been violated recently. There were no bruises whatever.

Police-sergeant Ambler, stationed at Conisborough, said that apprehended the prisoner in his tent on the 24th July, on a warrant. In answer to the charge, prisoner replied “I know nothing about it.”

Prisoner was then committed to the Assizes.