Sheffield Independent – Tuesday 25 October 1898
Singular Charge Against a Wife.
At the Barnsley West Riding Police Court, yesterday, a young married woman, named Mary Cooper, and William Hancock, collier, described as of Conisborough were charged with having stolen a quantity household furniture, etc., value £14. 10s. 6d., the property William Paver Cooper, miner, Stairfoot on the 6th of March last.
The female prisoner is the wife of the prosecutor, but they have been living apart.
Prosecutor said on the 4th March he was taken to Wakefield gaol, and served 28 days for debts amounting to about 29s under judgment summonses. When he returned from gaol he found the house empty, and his wife was missing. He then learnt that the defendants had gone away, and removed the goods on a dray. Hancock had previously lodged at his house, but left just before Easter.
The wife asked her husband why she left him and he replied it was because she liked Hancock more than him.
The female defendant; Nothing of the sort, you are the cruellest man who ever had a wife.
He denied haring told her to go into the Union, or that he would glad to be rid of her. She told him she would go to her mother’s whilst he was in gaol. He wrote to them at Conisbro’. The goods were on the hire system, but had been paid for by him.
The wife produced a rent book claiming that after he had gone to gaol she got the name on the book altered.
Prosecutor said it was done to turn him out, and so that they could then live together.
The woman contended that she had paid for the furniture.
Martha Pickersgill, married woman, mother of the female defendant and aunt of the male defendant, stated that after the prosecutor was taken to gaol the female defendant, told her about it. and they arranged that she should come to her house with the furniture if she could not arrange with the landlord. However, when she went to the house the female defendant had gone, and the furniture also. The male defendant told her he was going take her away.
After consultation, the Bench committed the defendants for trial at the Assizes, the woman being bound over in her own recognisances and the male defendant in a surety of £10.
Both defendants pleaded not guilty