Thursday, 15 March 2012

Joyriders of 1880

The Midsummer Session of 1880 was full of a variety of cases. However, 2 cases show some crimes are timeless. On 17 July 1880, Charles Goode went to the Wheatsheaf public house at Houghton Regis with friends Edward Stevens and Austin Bourne. After spending some time drinking together, he noticed Stevens and Bourne had gone missing. He went outside to find his pony and cart had gone. He watched Stevens and Bourne, both rather drunk, driving the cart up Chalk Hill. He spent the night looking for it, until at 3am he saw Stevens looking out of his bedroom window, and was told where to find the pony and cart.

Just 2 months later, the Charles Goode was again involved in the theft of a pony and cart. This time he was the offender, not the victim. After a few drinks with his friend Alfred Ayres he borrowed a pony and cart from Mr Cannon in Luton, as he fancied a bit of a drive. The cart was due back by 3pm but the journey took them to The Half Way House in Luton, and on to Houghton Regis, Markyate Street, Redbourn and St Albans. They ate at St Albans and then went to London Colney and stayed the night. Goode ends up selling the pony and cart in King Cross pub, so he could go on to Barnet fair. He is accompanied by his brother Henry, who the police describe as “an associate of thieves and prostitutes in Kings Cross”.

Charles Goode was found guilty of stealing the pony and cart and sentenced to 5 years penal servitude with further 3 years police supervision. The 1881 census shows him serving his time in Pentonville. It was perhaps a suitable sentence when you consider, not only did he have past form, but he had also appeared in 3 of the 4 Quarter Sessions in 1880. In the Epiphany Session he had been accused of stealing flour and at the Easter session he was found not guilty of stealing a coat from his own brother, Frederick.

You’ve got to wonder if that the last we’ll see of Charles Goode, or whether we’ll see him cropping up again in 5 years time. I’ll keep you informed.

QSR1880/1/5/15 : QSR1880/2/5/1 : QSR1880/4/5/3 : QSR1880/4/5/6-7

Extract from the Bedfordshire and Luton Archive and Records Service catalogue

No comments:

Post a Comment