Home Crime Theft A Handful – Baffling Case of a Servant Girl

A Handful – Baffling Case of a Servant Girl

January 1934

South Yorkshire Times, January 12th, 1934

A Handful

Baffling Case of a Servant Girl

The vagaries of a domestic servant, Eileen Utley (17), were related at Doncaster on Tuesday, when she was charged on remand and pleaded guilty to stealing clothing, valued at £2 2s the property of Mrs. Bell, Adwick-on-Dearne, on December 25th; to obtaining by false pretences groceries from Frank Clayton and to obtaining  by false pretences pastries from Frederick F. Storey, Mexborough, on December 28th.

Supt. Huddlestone said the girl had been employed by Mrs. Bell for about three months.  On December 25th Mrs. Bell discovered that certain articles were missing and questioned the girl, who denied all knowledge. Shortly after the interview the girl left the house and disappeared.  Mrs. Bell then notified the police and about a week ago the girl was arrested in Mexborough where she had been lodging.  When cautioned and charged at Mexborough Police Station, she replied “I know about the skirt but I know nothing about the blanket.”  She later admitted getting goods in the name of Mrs. Bell from Clayton’s and Storey’s.

Mrs. Bell said Utley had been with her from September 28th and was sent from the Labour Exchange.  “I took her in sympathy as she seemed a very poor girl.  Throughout the time she was with me she was very willing, though rather dirty. From the start she took things, but I did my best to make a good girl of her.”

Utley’s mother said the girl had been in domestic service at various places since leaving school.  In nearly every case she had gone back home without giving proper notice.  “Up to going away she was not too bad, just disobedient.”

The Magistrates’ Clerk (Mr. E. W. Pettifer) to Utley: Where did you go after leaving Mrs. Bell? – Out.

Had you any money? – four shillings.

And you lived on this food you got by false pretences? – Yes.

Supt. Huddlestone said the girl had worked at Manchester, Bradford, and Blackpool.  At Bradford she was found wandering around the streets by the police.  “Apparently, she had taken money from her parents and has been found wandering around Rotherham and lodging at Mexborough.  Her parents are said to be very respectable and they have tried to keep this girl straight.”

The mother denied that the girl had taken money from her parents and the girl strongly denied that “the police got me at Bradford.”

While the magistrates were discussing what to do with the girl.  Mrs. Bell made an appeal for her.  “I think this girl has some good points.”  Mrs. Bell said.  “She is very willing and if she is sent to a good home and properly looked after I think she will be a good girl in future.”

Mr. Pettifer: Thank you, but the girl is so disobedient.  She left a good place at Christmas and roamed the streets of Mexborough.  She has no word of sorrow for what she has done.

The girl: I had some cause.

Mr. Pettifer: What was it?

The girl refused to answer.

The chairman (Mr Hinchcliffe): it is not nice to see a girl in your position. Tell us what made you do these things.

The girl made no reply.

Mr. Pettifer: You do not seem to realise that you have done wrong.

The girl was remanded in custody for a further week.