4th March 1913
Reference Numbert19130304-69
VerdictGuilty > unknown
SentenceImprisonment; Miscellaneous > sureties; Miscellaneous

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WHARRY, Olive, otherwise known as Joyce Locke (23, student) , feloniously setting fire to a certain building belonging to His Majesty the King, and feloniously setting fire to certain things therein.

Mr. Bodkin and Mr. Travers Humphreys prosecuted; Mr. A. M. Langden, K.C., and Mr. Muir defended.

Lieutenant-Colonel Sir DAVID PRAIN , C.I.E., M.B., F.R.S., Director of the Royal Gardens at Kew. Those Gardens, with the buildings therein, are the property of His Majesty the King; they are opened at hours which are regulated by His Majesty's Government.

Cross-examined. The garden gates are locked at night. The Gardens almost about on the towing-path. There are no railings on this side of the river, but a ha-ha ditch and a wall at the end of the lawn. On the other side there are railings six feet high; the fence is unclimbable there.

ANDREW ROBERT ARNETT , of His Majesty's Office of Works, said that the refreshment pavilion in the Gardens was maintained as to the exterior by his Office. He produced agreement, May 12, 1912, between the Commissioners of Works and Mrs. Strange and another lady, trading as refreshment contractors under the name of Yeddon and Sons, granting a licence of the refreshment pavilion in Kew Gardens for three years; the ladies were to insure the pavilion in £500.

Mrs. CATHERINE MARY STRANGE , of Yeddon and Sons, said that the furniture, utensils, etc., in the pavilion were worth between £900 and £1,000. Part of the pavilion was open on February 19.

CHARLES EDWARD WHITING , chef to Messrs. Yeddon. On February 19 I shut up the pavilion just before 5.30 p.m.; everything was then safe; all the gases and fires were out.

WILLIAM BALCOMBE , night stoker at Kew Gardens. About 3.15 a.m. on February 20 I saw a flame of fire shoot up from the centre of the pavilion. I blew an alarm whistle and ran towards the building. I saw two forms running away in the direction of the Old Deer Park; I could not say their sex.

Police-constable GEORGE HILL , 248 L. In the early morning of February 20 I was on duty with Police-constable Ralph in Green Side, Richmond, about a mile from Kew Gardens. We saw the reflection of a fire, apparently in Kew Gardens. In Kew Road I saw prisoner with Miss Lenton (as I know now) running from the direction of the Gardens, across the Old Deer Park. Ralph and I went after them. They separated and went in different directions. I pursued Miss Lenton and arrested her; I picked up two bags which had been thrown away. On the way to the station I met Ralph, who had prisoner in custody. I saw prisoner place on the ground the electric lamp or torch (produced). On examining the bags I found that they contained a lump of tow, a saw, a hammer, and some paper smelling of paraffin. Later that day I examined the ground about the fence separating Old Deer Park from the Gardens; I found marks of small feet, I should say ladies' footprints.

Cross-examined. There were also marks large enough to be men's footprints. The ladies were running when I first saw them.

Police-constable NELSON RALPH , 745 V, corroborated last witness. When we got over the wall the two women threw down their bags, separated, and ran away in different directions. I ran after and caught up to prisoner. I said, "What are you doing here?" She said, "I am going over there," pointing to Stanmore Road, a turning out of the towing-path. I took her to the Station; on the way she said, "Don't hold me; I will go quiet."

Police-constable THOMAS MOORE , 287 V, proved a plan.

Inspector THOMAS JACKSON . I went to the Gardens about 4.10 a.m. on the 20th. The pavilion was burnt down. I searched the ground within a radius of 40 yards and picked up the four cards (produced). (Mr. Langden submitted that the cards were not evidence unless they could be directly connected with prisoner. His lordship said he would admit the evidence if it was pressed. Mr. Bodkin decided not to press it.) At the station prisoner gave the name of Joyce Locke; the other woman that of Lillie Lenton. Lenton was remanded and became ill and did not reappear before the Justices. Prisoner refused to give her occupation or her address. I told them they would be charged with maliciously setting fire to the tea pavilion in Kew Gardens at about three that morning. Lenton said (this not objected to by Mr. Langdon), "We understand the charge; what happens next?" Prisoner said, "Yes, all right." After a remand, when the question of bail arose, prisoner gave her occupation as that of an art student and an address not near London.

SARAH HARBRIDGE , matron at Richmond Police Station. Upon searching prisoner about 6.20 a.m. on February 20, found on her the piece of rope and pair of scissors (produced). After she washed her hands I noticed that the water was very black and greasy.

Prisoner's statement before the Magistrates: "I reserve my statement for a higher court."

Verdict, Guilty.

It was stated that prisoner had been twice convicted of breaking windows.

Mr. Justice Bankes asked if anything was known about prisoner's means.

Mr. Muir said her father was a medical man, living in the country but not practising.

Prisoner. It is no use imposing any fine upon me, because I shall not pay it.

Prisoner in the course of a long statement said she was sorry that Mrs. Strange and her partner had sustained loss, as she had no grudge against them. At the time she believed the pavilion was the property of the Crown, but she wanted to make the two ladies understand that they were at war, and in war even non-combatants had to suffer. They were careful to find out that there was no one in the place. Morally she was not guilty. She would not submit to punishment, but would "hunger strike."

Sentence: Eighteen months' imprisonment, second division; before her release to find two sureties in £100 each for her keeping the peace for two years now next ensuing, or to be further imprisoned for twelve months in the second division, or until such sureties be sooner found; and to pay the costs of her prosecution and conviction.


(Friday, March 7.)

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