7th January 1913
Reference Numbert19130107-19
VerdictGuilty > unknown
SentenceImprisonment; Miscellaneous > sureties

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BILLINGHURST, May (35), and MICHELL, Grace (20) , both unlawfully placing in a certain Post Office letter box situate at Aberdeen Terrace, Blackheath, a certain deleterious fluid, and thereby injuring the said letter-box and contents.

Mr. Forster Boulton prosecuted.

ERNEST EDWARD BAMFORD , Lewisham, clerk. On December 17, 1912, at 8.25 p.m., with Blake I was on Blackheath; I saw the two prisoners with a third lady. Billinghurst was on a tricycle. Michell placed something in the aperture of a pillar-box in Aberdeen Terrace. I then saw some black fluid coming from the bottom of the box. Michell then returned to Billinghurst, and they, with the third lady, went on to Blackheath. I and Blake followed them till we came to a police station, when I spoke to an officer, who arrested the two prisoners. Michell said, "I did not do it."


Police-constable ALBERT HARLAND, 79 RR. On December 17, at 8.50 p.m., Bamford spoke to me. I said to the two prisoners, "I am going to take you both into custody for putting some black stuff into a pillar-box at Aberdeen Terrace." Mitchell said, "I did not do it; the other one did." Billinghurst, who was on a tricycle, said, "All right." I took them to Aberdeen Terrace, where I saw black fluid oozing from the bottom of the pillar-box. Peacock opened the box and took out a rubber tube (produced) and a number of postcards and letters covered with black fluid. I assisted Billinghurst from her tricycle; I found in it a leather bag containing six rubber tubes. She said, "Be careful with it, I do not think it will burn you. I did not make it myself." Prisoners were then charged with wilfully damaging some postcards, the property of the Postmaster-General. Neither made any reply.

ALFRED PEACOCK , head postman, Blackheath Post Office. On December 17, at 9 p.m., I went to the pillar-box in Aberdeen Terrace and opened it in the presence of the prisoners and the constable. Black fluid was running from the door; several postcards were obliterated, and the box was smothered with black fluid. I took out also the tube (produced) containing fluid, similar to those found in the bag. The box was cleared at 8.20 p.m.

Police-constable JOHN COOTS, 193 R, corroborated.

Verdict (both), Guilty.

(Wednesday, January 9.) Sentences: Billinghurst, Eight months' imprisonment, first-division; Mitchell, who was stated to be in bad health and to have been acting under the influence of Billinghurst, was released on her own recognizances in £50, with one surety in £50, to come up for judgment if called upon, and to keep the peace for twelve months.

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