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A PITIFUL CASE., Issue 7974, 1 August 1889
A PITIFUL CASE.
CRIME OR STARVATION?
At the City Police Court this morning, before E. H. Carew, Esq., R.M., Lucy Ellen Hodgetts and Fanny Hodgetts, two re-spectable-looking girls, aged about seventeen and eighteen years respectively, were charged with stealing, on the 26th ult,, a cast iron door-scraper, valued at 15s, the property of John Anderson. There was a further charge against them of stealing, on the same date, a door mat, valued at 6a, the property of Charles M'Queen. The accused, who, when they stopped into the dock, burst into tears, pleaded guilty to both charges, and sobbed bitterly throughout the hearing of the case. His Worship : What are the facts of the case, Mr Henderson ? Chief - detectivo Henderson said that accused had stolen the bcraper from one house and the door mat from another house situate some 200 yards away from the first. It was rather a strange circumstance that the occupierß of the houses were relations, being mother and daughter. Mrs AnderfQn was in the habit of taking the scraper inside the house at night, and Mrs M'Qucen usually did the same with the mat; but the former had been late in coming home, and the article had been stolen in her absence. It was eventually discovered that the door mat had been sold to a secor.d-hand dealer, while the scraper was found by the police in the house in whioh accused resided. When first charged with the offence accused had denied stealing the articles, and had further stated that they bought the scraper some years ago at South Duhedin ; subsequently, however, they admitted ' stealing tjie mat and scraper. Mrs M'Queen was generally very careful about the'scraper, because it had been stolen some years back, and it
must have been taken while she, too, was away. When asked why they had stolen the articles, accused had replied that it was a choice between stealing or starvation. His Worship : Do you think there is any truth in that statement ?
Chief-detective Henderson ? Yes, your Worship ; I am led to understand that such is the fact. The father is dead, while the mother is an invalid, and is a helpless sort of woman at present. His Worship: Do the girls live with their parent ? Chief-detective Henderson: Yes, your Worship, they do; they reside with their mother in Hanover street. There is nothing known about the girls—the police know nothing against them. This is the first time they have appeared in Court in answer to any charge. His Worship (to accused): This appears to be your first offence, and, as I do not wish to send you to gaol, you will get another chance, and it is to be hoped that this will be a warning to you in the future. You will be bound over in your own recognisance for good behaviour. If you behave yourself you will not be brought up for sentence, but if you misbehave yourselves in any way, or if the police suspect you of theft or of doing anything wrong, you will be brought up and sentenced on the present charge. As soon as you sign your names you can go.
In answer to Chief-detective Henderson, His Worship fixed the recognisances at LlO each.
A PITIFUL CASE., Issue 7974, 1 August 1889
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