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AN EXTRAORDINARY CAREER., 25 October 1879
AN EXTRAORDINARY CAREER.
Concerning a man named Jol m Harris, who has been committed for tria lat Ashford for stealing three sheep and two lambs, the “ Maidstone Jour lal” says facts have come to light which seem to show that he has for two or tb .ree years been pursuing a criminal career with surprising impunity, and a boldnes 9to some extent rivalling that of the notorious Peace. Harris is about 27 yeai sof age, and is a native of Midley, in Romney Marsh, where his parents occupied respectable positions. Some yei irs ago he entered the army, and deserted from the Royal Horse Artillery in 18 73. He was “ gazetted,” but he came ba -ck to the part of Kent of which he was a native notwithstanding, and escaped < ietection. On the police searching his hot ise, they found a photograph of the prisoi ier in the uniform of ids regiment, and am; pie other evidence to show that he was a deserter. The house in the Whitfield Roai i. South Ashford, contained a misc allaneous collection of property, for the p ossession of which Harris gives accounts ( )f a certain character, stating that he ha s “found them, &c. He has given tl le police authority to restore any articlei !to such persons as can identify them. T hey comprise a large number of too' b, rugs, measures, whips, bridles, blank ets, &c. A large chimney glass in the fre >nt room is not stated to have been - ‘ ’found,” although there is a mystery ci annected with it, as is the case with the no w sewing machine disposed of by the pi dsoner a
short time since. On the i light of August 24, 1877, a valuable (. iow was stolen from the premises of Mr 1 Chaplin, farmer, Mersham. The i ow was traced as having been driven ac; ,’oss the country in the night, and sold at Canterbury market the next day by : i person auswering the prisoner’s clescript ion, and there seems to be no doubt he is ;he same man. The cow was killed by a butcher at Canterbury, and the skin sen tto the Dover tanyard, where it was fi jund by the police. On the night of Oct< >bor 27, 1877, a pony was stolen fri >m the premises of Mr John Butler, farmer, Shadoxhurst. This pony made its appearance at the entrance of Cai iterbury market on the following mornii ig, and mounted on it was the same man as had brought Mr Chaplin's cow there on the previous August. The toll collector recognized him, and asked, “H ave you seen the police about that ( ;ow you brought here I They say there w as something wrong about it.” Ti le man answered, ‘ l l liavu’t heard tl iat they thought there were anything a bout it; perhaps I had better go and a ea them before I bring this pony in. ” ' The toll collector replied that he thought the man had better see the police, am i he accordingly rode off on the pony, but instead of going to the police stat ion, before he got far he sold the ponj ’ in the street to a dealer named Willia; n Sayer for £5, gave Sayer a receipt for the money in the name of George Woollet, and no more was seen of him. <Jn July 10, 1878, a man answering the s. une discription was known to have stolei i a horse belonging to Mr Wood, of . Ashford. Strange to say, although the re were handbills in circulation offering rewards for the apprehension of the pei .’petrator of those robberies, the prisor ier continued to live in the locality win >re they were committed without being ta ken into custody. He occasionally sold .sheep, and sometimes a cow or a pig, an d passed for a small cattle dealer, although it is not known that he made any purchases ? Only a few weeks since it is said that he sold a cow and calf in Rye marki it Before the magistrate on Friday he re- ! peatedly grinned when wlines sen said ' they had not seen him subset]c.onitly to ! their noticing him in possession .of Mr 1 Wood’s horse, and he reminded one or ♦wo of them of occasions when they had J met since. •
AN EXTRAORDINARY CAREER., 25 October 1879
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