Walter Wells, aged 52, a labourer, of 15 Mill Street, Luton, first appeared before magistrates on Tuesday, July 29th, 1919, charged with riot, damaged to a boot shop and stealing two pairs of boots from the Manchester Street shop of James Neve Brown. He was remanded in custody.
In court on August 1, the riot and damage charges had been dropped. Det-Sgt Arthur Bacon said that, in consequence of certain information, he obtained a warrant to search prisoner's home. Later he saw prisoner at a local dye works and asked him where the boots that he took from Brown's shop in the night of the fire were.
After denying the allegation, accused admitted that he took two boots and found one was brown and the other black. He took them back and took another pair, size seven. He put them under the copper at home and burned them next morning.
Mr H. W. Lathom, for the defence, said his client had never had anything against him. His wife was very ill through worry.
Anybody might have been led away in the excitement. If Wells had given the boots back he might have been let off. He was very sorry for his folly.
Wells was fined £5 and ordered to pay £1 8s 6d for the boots and 15 shillings court costs.