19th March 1912
Reference Numbert19120319-14
VerdictGuilty > pleaded guilty

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PITFIELD, Eilen (45, nurse) pleaded guilty , of feloniously setting fire to a basket containing shavings and other things at the General Post Office under such circumstances that if she had set fire to the building it would have amounted to a felony.

Prisoner stated that she was guilty of the action, but that the guilt rested with the Cabinet.

It, was stated that prisoner had become interested in the movement for woman's suffrage in November, 1910, and had on the 25th of that month been sentenced to two months' imprisonment for damage: in the course of the demonstration leading to that offence she had received a blow resulting in cancer, which, despite two operations, had been found to be incurable. It was urged on her behalf that her state of mind owing to this illness might account for her committing such a serious offence and that it was not at all clear that she committed it with the intention of burning down the building, since she had at once given the alarm. Medical evidence was called, corroborating the state of her health.

Sentence: Six months' imprisonment, second division; Mr. Justice Horridge remarking that it was due to her health and not to the motives which prompted her to commit this offence, that the sentence was such a light one.

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