Offence: Miscellaneous > other
Verdict: Guilty > no_subcategory
Punishment: Imprisonment > no_subcategory
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STEVENSON, Ella, otherwise Ethel Slade (53) , unlawfully sending for transmission by post a postal packet containing a dangerous substance likely to injure other postal packets, and placing in a Post Office letter box a dangerous substance likely to injure the said letter box and contents.
Mr. Forster Boulton prosecuted.
EDWARD HUGH OVERINGTON , cleaner, Post Office, Richmond. I know prisoner; for some months past I have seen her standing outside the post office at Richmond selling suffrage papers. On February 22 at about 10.40 a.m. I was standing in the passage of the post office when I saw prisoner drop into the postbox attached to the front of the post office a package contained in a plain white envelope, about six inches long. I at once spoke to Police-constable Thompson, who then watched the letter box while I went into the post office and made a communication to a Mr. Winter, who came out and cleared the box. In the box were a few letters, on top of which was a packet (produced) which I identified as being the one posted by prisoner. A dark fluid was oozing from it.
Cross-examined by prisoner. I had heard a report that the Suffragettes were expected to be on the warpath; when I saw you, a wellknown Suffragette, I was naturally suspicious. I was seven yards from you when you posted this packet. You had a waterproof hanging over your left arm. If you had posted two letters their combined length would have been about the same as the packet you did post. I do not think anybody could have put the packet in the box while I was speaking to the police-constable.
Police-constable EDWARD THOMPSON , 413 V. On February 22 at about 10.40 a.m. at Richmond, Overington spoke to me and I stood outside the letter box while Overington went inside. No letter was posted until the box was opened by Winter.
To prisoner. I was not looking at the box when Overington spoke to me.
WILLIAM CHARLES GILBEY , assistant superintendent, Richmond Post Office. On February 22 at 10.45 Winter handed me packet, remains of which are produced. It contained two thin glass test-tubes about four inches long, from which was oozing a liquid which gave off suffocating fumes of phosphorus. I handed to it Gooding.
Detective-sergeant THOMAS COCK , V Division. For the last four or five months prisoner has been selling Suffragette papers in the streets off and on. On February 22 at about 2.40 p.m. I saw her outside the Richmond Post Office. I said to her, "Miss Stevenson, I believe?" She said "Yes." I said, "I am a police officer, and I must ask you to accompany me to the police station." She said, "Oh! What is the charge?" I said, "I am making no charge, I am only asking you to accompany me to the police station." She prepared to do so. Inspector Pride then came up.
Detective-inspector GEORGE PRIDE . On February 22 I saw prisoner with Detective Cock. I said to prisoner, "I am a detective-inspector." Prisoner said, "What is the charge?" I said, "I shall arrest you for placing inflammable matter in a letter box." She said, "I did post two letters there this morning." I conveyed her to the police station. She gave her name as "Ethel Slade," but refused to give her address.
Prisoner's statement before the Magistrate. "I admit that I did post two letters; I can give the names and addresses of those two letters if you wish. The only witness who says he saw me place something in the letter box was at such a distance he could not really clearly see what I was putting in; he admits my back was turned towards him."
ELLA STEVENSON (prisoner, not on oath). I do not deny that I am a Suffragette. I did not cast any aspersion upon the evidence given by Overington. On the occasion when Overington says I posted this packet I posted two letter-cards, one of which I produce. It has been given back to me by the person I sent it to. Those two letters may easily have been mistaken for the packet. I possibly used two hands in putting it in as I had a waterproof over my arm. I had my back to Overington.
LOUIS GOODING , recalled. (To the Judge.) Letter-card (produced by the prisoner) bears post-mark "11 a.m." It is addressed to "Miss E. Chashin, 23, Churchfield Road, Ealing West. According to the post-mark it must have been posted at Richmond between 9.46 and 11 a.m.
Prisoner was convicted in November, 1912, London Sessions, receiving four months' imprisonment, for wilful damage to plate-glass windows. She then adopted the "hunger strike," and was liberated after a fortnight's imprisonment.
Sentence: Nine months' imprisonment, second division.
BEFORE JUDGE LUMLEY SMITH.
(Thursday, March 6.)