CHARGE OF LARCENY
At the Workington Police Court on Wednesday, Margaret Ann NIXON, (31), domestic servant, Workington, was charged on remand with stealing one blanket, one pair of ladies knickers, seven books, two table knives, one fork, one tablespoon, together of the value of £1, the property of the Rev. William ROBERTS, vicar of Clifton, between the 1st and the 16th inst.
Mr. D. J. MASON defended.
The Rev. W. ROBERTS deposed he resided at the Vicarage. Prisoner was in his employment until the 5th inst. She had been employed by him for two months. Prisoner was leaving at the end of the month to go as a wardress in London. He gave information to the police, as articles were missing from his house. One was a blanket, and it was still missing. She left two boxes behind her. They were taken possession by P. C. ARMSTRONG. He (the witness) and his wife were present when the boxes were opened by the police. He identified the books, which were found in the boxes. The front leaf was out of some of them, and his name had been removed.
By the Clerk: He frequently put his name in his books.
The articles produced were also found and identified by his wife.
The Supt: Did she admit to Mr. ROBERTS that they were your property?
I don’t think she did. The books were kept in his study. She did not ask to read them. If she had done so he would have granted her request with pleasure.
Cross examined: Some of the books in his library had not his name entered in them. He couldn’t say when the leaf containing the name was taken out. It would be, however, within two months. Prisoner came to him with a good character, but he had missed things. He had no objection to her reading. He couldn’t say she was a voracious reader, but he knew that she read late at nights. He didn’t object to her putting the books in her boxes, so long as the books were not taken out of the house. When the prisoner left she did not take her boxes with her.
The Bench: Were they locked?
Yes, and she had the keys in her possession.
P. C. ARMSTRONG proved the apprehension of the prisoner. She made no reply to the charge. On the 16th, these articles were found in the boxes. When charged she replied, “I had no intention of taking the books. I took them to read, and was going to send them back when the boxes got here.” Prisoner surrendered the key to him.
Mr. MASON pleaded not guilty on behalf of his client, and observed that it was rather remarkable that she came to Mr. ROBERTS temporarily, whilst she was waiting to take up an important position which she had obtained, about which mention had been made. He also touched upon an unfortunate experience prisoner had had two or three years ago. This was the murderous assault on her at Patterdale, and it might be that it had had some effect in her mind. Next he called attention to the fact that the prisoner had had access to all the valuables in Mr. ROBERT’s house from time to time, and he argued that it was absurd to contend that she would put these books or things in her boxes with the intention of stealing them.
Mr. SKERRY said he would advise the Bench that the locking up of the boxes by the prisoner was quite sufficient to constitute larceny.
After further questioning by the Bench, Mr. ROBERTS said he had no objection to the prisoner putting the goods in her boxes so long as they were not taken from his house.
Mr. MASON said then he had no case to meet. This was the plain answer to his question, although it had been tried to twist it.
The Clerk: You shouldn’t say that.
The Supt. Wished to cross examine Mr. ROBERTS, but the Bench declined.
The Bench retired to consider their decision and on returning into Court Mr. ROBERTS was asked if he wished to address them.
In reply, Mr. ROBERTS said this case was brought forward without any wish on his part to prosecute, and they had no desire to press it. They were driven to it, and accordingly they had to defend themselves in the matter.
The prisoner was bound over in the sum of £5 to be of good behaviour for six months, under the First Offender’s Act.