Thirteen prisoners appeared before Alderman T. Cain and Mr W. J. Mair at the Luton Borough Court yesterday morning [July 25th, 1919] when, for the third day in succession, charges arising from the riotous proceedings at the Town Hall on Saturday night and Sunday were preferred by the police.
The Chief Constable (Mr Griffin) said he proposed, as in the cases heard on the previous two days, to offer only sufficient evidence to justify remands.
At a later stage in the hearing, the Chief Constable stated that he had a civilian witness. The greatest possible difficulty had been experienced in securing this type of evidence, for reasons that were obvious, and he suggested that in such circumstances the names of any witnesses should not be mentioned in public.
Mr Griffins, while withdrawing his objection to bail in one or two cases, said the Bench would agree that the charges were of a most serious character, and the explanation that the “articles were given” to the people in who possession they were found by the police was the general one employed.
Among the prisoners were: a man wearing three wound stripes, a discharged soldier who said he had no pension, and an employee of the Corporation, who was stated to pay Income Tax. Another prisoner who was allowed bail and was said to have had £22 in his possession when arrests, observed smilingly, when the amount of the recognisance was being discussed, “The police have got it.”
The prisoners and charges against them were:
Ellen Louisa Goodridge, 31, cleaner, 63 Collingdon Street – stealing a gramophone value £9 8s, the property of S. Farmer, between 19th and 20th July.
Edgar Cecil Goodridge, 39, electrician, husband of the previous prisoner, with being concerned in the theft.
Bertha Field, 47, machinist, 39 Duke Street – stealing two boxes of face wax, one bottle of Mellin's Food and one book, valued at 13s, the property of Walter S. Clark.
Ada Andrews, 23, 45 Cobden Street – stealing a quantity of toilet requisites valued at £1 12s 6d, the property of William Clark.
Frederick William Couldridge, 38, watchman, Buxton Road – assembling with others to disturb the public peace and make a riot; and assaulting Chief Officer Andrew, of the Fire Brigade.
James Robinson, 3 New Street – rioting.
Arthur Barrett, 48 North Street – rioting.
Stanley Dolby, Adelaide Terrace – rioting and assault on the police.
George Buggs, 52 North Street – riotously assembling with others and beginning to demolish a shop, the property of S. Farmer, on 20th July.
Joseph Frederick Pursey, 14 Midland Road – rioting.
George Bodsworth, 12 Burr Street – rioting.
Sidney George Quince, 66 Hitchin Road – rioting.
Albert Smith, 35, labourer, Adelaide Terrace – rioting and unlawfully beginning to destroy a straw hat warehouse, the property of C. Dillingham.
The charges against Mr and Mrs Goodridge were heard together. Det-Sgt Bacon said Mr Farmer reported the loss of several gramophones, and, after making inquiries, saw Mrs Goodridge at her home. Asked where the gramophone was, she said it was in the front room and took witness there.
She was then asked: “What account do you give for having it in your possession?” Her reply was: “I found it in Manchester Street. I saw a man carrying it, and he threw it down and said he would not carry it any farther.”
Then she saw it in Farmer's doorway, and also made a statement which implicated her husband. She was taken to the police station, and later her husband was taken there also. He was told that his wife stated that they both went down the street to see the fire, and both went into Farmer's shop and there saw the gramophone on the floor; that the woman picked it up, and they both took it away.
To this he replied: “Yes, we both went to Farmer's shop, but I lost my wife. Later I saw her in the crowd. I asked what she had got and she said, 'Something for the boy'. She then showed me a gramophone and said she got it out of Farmer's shop. We took it home.”
Chief Constable Griffin stated that in this case he did not press for the prisoners to be kept in custody if they could give bail to the satisfaction of the magistrates.
Mrs Goodridge: “I have come to my senses this morning. I was in bed at one o'clock, and a neighbour woke me up. I am guilty. I told a lie, and did not know how to go to Mr Farmer's. My husband did not see me until I was carrying it home.”
The husband said he did not see the gramophone taken, and did not know his wife had it until later.
Asked whether he could give satisfactory bail, he said he had no friends in Luton, as he was practically a stranger.
The Clerk: “Are you worth £5?”
The Chief Constable: “He had £22 in his possession.”
The prisoners were remanded on bail of £20, and it was arranged that the police should keep this out of the money found on the man, and that the balance should be handed over to him for immediate needs.
Bound over to appear on Wednesday, the man said: “I never break my word.”
Bertha Field was arrested by Pc Frost, who said she denied having stolen property in her possession, but later said: “On Saturday I stood at the bottom of Wellington Street, and someone gave me two boxes of face wax, a book and a bottle of Mellin's Food. I took it home, and I gave some of it away.”
Prisoner: “I never came out until half-past ten. I went to look for my husband, and a young man said, 'Take these,' and I took them home. My husband said, 'Don't have them; give them away'.”
Bail was opposed by the Chief Constable, but later he stated that after consulting other police officers he would withdraw his opposition.
Prisoner's husband was bound over to being her up next Wednesday, and the woman left the court in a semi-collapsed state.
Ada Andrews, when questioned by Det-Sgt Bacon, produced various articles from an attache case, and said: “On Saturday I stood against a chemist's shop at the bottom of Wellington Street when a man brought all the things to me and put them in my arms.” She later repated that someone gave them to her.
Prisoner wanted bail, saying she was married and lived at Portsmouth but had come to Luton to attend to her mother while she was ill.
The Clerk: “It is a pity you came her at this time.”
Prisoner: “It is a pity.”
Prisoner was remanded in custody.
Frederick William Couldridge, when arrested said: “Not guilty”.
Inspector Fred Janes stated that he was on duty at the Town Hall after ten o'clock on Saturday night, when prisoner made repeated attempts to gain access to the main entrance of the Town Hall,. He was pushed back time after time, but came again and again until beaten off with the truncheon. Witness heard him say: “Come on, come,” and he aggravated the crowd.
Prisoner had nothing to say against being remanded, except that he was not guilty. He was kept in custody.
James Robinson, said Sgt H. Parsons, was in front of the Town Hall on Saturday afternoon. He made speeches from the steps, and tried to incite the crowd to rush the Town Hall. Later he made another speech: “I will give the Mayor five minutes before he comes out”. He counted the minutes as the clock went round, and then said: “If he doesn't come out we will fetch him out.”
Remanded in custody.
Arthur Barrett is a Corporation employee, and when arrested the previous day by Sgt Smith said: “I expected you to come, although I did no harm.”
Witness stated that on Saturday prisoner mounted the parapet outside the Town Hall, and said: “This is what you get after you come home from service out there. I have woprked for the Borough for a number of years, and they are a ------- bad lot.” Prisoner was later induced to go away from the Town Hall.
Prisoner: “I don't think I am guilty of making any harm. I got up and made a speech, I admit, but I did not try to make a disturbance.”
Town Clerk: “He admits speaking very disrespectfully of the Town Council.”
Chief Constable Griffin said prisoner was a respectable man, and while bail would be opposed in most cases, as the charges were serious, he did not oppose in this case.
The Clerk: “Are you worth £10 after paying your debts?”
Inspector Janes: “He pays Income Tax.”
Prisoner was given bail in £10.
Stanley Dolby was alleged to have been concerned in the renewed disturbances on Sunday night, and said nothing when arrested.
Sgt Matsell stated that on Sunday night he was with other officers engaged in clearing George Street. Prisoner was at the corner of Adelaide Terrace with other people, and there the police received considerable opposition.
They succeeded in clearing the crowd, and prisoner broke away and went to the Market Hill. Opposite Barclay's Bank he threw a big stone and hit another police officer.
Prisoner said he was in New Bedford Road at 9.30 and, as he could not get home through the main street, he went round Bridge Street and got to Market Hill, and then the top of Cheapside. He met about 30 or 40 police, and some of them asked where he was going. He told them, and the prisoner alleged they said: “Set about him, boys!”
Later, as he was going into Adelaide Terrace, he was again questioned. “They told me to double,” said the prisoner, “and I doubled. I did not throw the stones.”
Witness, in reply to a question, said he knew prisoner well, and had not the slightest doubt about him being the man.
Remanded in custody.
“Yes, I was there,” said George Buggs when arrested by Sgt Clarke.
Prisoner: “I was coming down Wellington Street at 9.30. I went straight down Bute Street, and went straight home and don't know anything about this business.
Chief Constable Griffin said this was one case in which a civilian witness was available.
Alderman Cain: “Prisoner will be remanded in custody.”
Joseph Frederick Pursey was wearing three wound stripes, and when arrested said: “What is it for?”
Pc Causebrook arrested the prisoner and told him he was arrested for Saturday afternoon, and he then said: “I was there.” Witness said he was at the Town Hall on Saturday afternoon and saw prisoner on the steps.
He shouted: “Four minutes to go,three minutes to go, two minutes to go, one minute to go, and then we will have the ------- out.” When the last minsute had elapsed he shouted: “Over you go, boys. In you go! Fetch them out!”
Prisoner: “When I spoke about the minutes to go it was six o'clock. Then I left the Town Hall and did not see it again until Sunday morning.”
Remanded in custody.
George Bodsworth said he was not guilty. His statement to Sgt Parsons when arrested was: “Yes, I was there, but I didn't do any harm.”
Sgt Parsons said that on Saturday evening he took part in a charge by the police near the Town Hall. On one occasion witness was separated from the other police officers. Prisoner, who was in the foremost part of the crowd, rushed at him, and witness had to beat the people off with his staff.
Prisoner was carrying a large stick, and made several attempts to strike witness.
Remanded in custody.
Sidney George Quince was arrested in Hitchin Road by Sgt Parsons.
Sgt Smith said prisoner addressed the crowd at the Town Hall on Saturday afternoon and shouted: “Come on, let's out the ------ Mayor and all the ------ policemen. Come on, boys.” He came towards the steps, but witness pushed him back three or four times.
“Prisoner: “I was like a hundred and one other people. I was only a looker-on, and never interferred with the police in any shape or form.”
Alderman Cain: “You will be able to state that next Wednesday.”
Prisoner: “I had no grievance to make a speech about. I am a discharged soldier, but not a pensioner.”
Remanded in custody.
Albert Smith was only arrested yesterday morning at the Market Hill, but told Sgt Matsell: “I have been expecting you. I heard you were after me. I was knocked down near Dillingham's, and went into Dr Sworder's surgery.” At the police station he again said: “I was taken to the doctor's”
Sgt Matsell said that last Saturday he put prisoner out of the Town Hall and down the steps time after time.
The Clerk: “Did he attempt to rush the Town Hall?”. Witness: “Yes.”
It was stated that a constable who would give evidence against prisoner in connection with the second charge of attempting to destroy Messrs Dillingham's warehouse was still on the sick list.
Remanded in custody.