21st April 1861


Ann Smith, sixteen, described as a servant, was brought up on remand, charged with committing numerous felonies.

The prisoner had been for some time in the practice of meeting children of both sexes in the public streets, decoying them away from the neighbourhood in which they lived, taking them to secluded streets, and stripping them of their clothes. Some of the cases were of a very painful description.

One girl, named Frances Mary Triggs, aged six, was induced by the prisoner to take a walk with her the day before last Good Friday.

The prisoner said she would buy the child a frock, and after taking her some distance from home seated her on a door-step, and said, “You are too hot, my dear,” and took from her a cape, frock, and flannel petticoat The prisoner then said to the child, “Stays to your petticoats are best,” and entered into other particulars relating to female dress with which the child was not familiar, and left promising to return in a few minutes.

The child remained on the door step upwards of an hour, suffering from cold and exposure to the weather, and ultimately a lady observed her, heard the child’s simple story, and took her home.

Two days afterwards the child was at her parents’ door and saw the prisoner on the opposite side of the way. The child immediately called out, “Here is the girl who took my clothes.”

Mr Triggs, on hearing this, left his shop and gave the prisoner into custody.

A boy named Widdell, whose parents live at No 6, Nelson-street, Mile-end Oldtown, was accosted by the prisoner in the street, promised a new jacket, and taken a considerable distance. The prisoner entertained the child for a long time, and then took from him a necktie, boots, and frock.

There were thirty cases against the prisoner, and much indignation was expressed by the parents of the children who had been stripped of their clothing.

Mr. Woolrych committed the prisoner for trial.


Mr Hadcraft, linendraper, of 221, High-street, Poplar, was charged with being drunk and riotous in a place called Woodstock-park, near his own house, and threatening to cut a policeman’s head off.

Gray, 265 K, said he was passing the house in which the prisoner lived at two o’clock in the morning, and saw the street door wide open. He entered the house for the purpose of warning the inmates, and to ascertain if there were any thieves within it, and saw the prisoner walking about the room he was in, and in a very great state of excitement.

The prisoner was intoxicated, and upon seeing witness he demanded his business, and said, “What right have you in this house?” Gray told the prisoner he had seen the door open, and looked in to see who had entered. He then left the house and went upon his beat.

Prisoner followed with a drawn sword in his hand, which he flourished, and exclaimed, “I’ll cut your head off!”

The policeman continued: “When Mr. Hadcraft said he would cut my head off, I said to him, ‘You had better go in doors, sir; you do not know what you are about.” He replied, ‘Yes, I do. I mean to out your head off,” and brandished the sword in a very threatening manner. I then took him into custody. I did not like that sword so close to my neck as it was.”

The prisoner, in defence, said that he had been drinking a drop too much, and that if he had not been under the influence of strong liquors he would not have acted in the way he had done.

Mr Woolrych said that, taking into consideration the prisoner’s sorrow for what he had done, and that he was under the influence of liquor at the time, he should mitigate the penalty to 20 shillings. The fine was instantly paid.


On Tuesday morning a frightful accident occurred to Miss Jane Pratten, aged seventeen years, who resided in the Wyndham-road, Camberwell.

It appeared that the unfortunate young lady was in the act of reaching something on the mantel-shelf, when her crinoline came in contact with the fire, and she was speedily enveloped in flames. She ran into the garden but soon fell down exhausted.

Her cries brought assistance, when the fire was extinguished, and she was conveyed to St. Thomas’s Hospital, where every assistance that surgical skill could suggest was rendered, but she remained in a most precarious state.


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