There are stories that you come across when searching the annals of 19th century crime that really strike a chord, despite the separation of over a century between then and now.
I came across the following story whilst researching a previous article on the bon vivant burglar Henry Mead.
Although many newspapers covered the story, the most detailed account was given by The Illustrated Police News in its edition of Saturday the 9th of June 1906.
COURAGEOUS CAPTURE BY A SERVANT GIRL
SHE TACKLES A BURGLAR AND RESUCES VALUABLE JEWELLERY
A remarkable story was told to the Windsor magistrates when a young man named Henry Meads was charged with breaking into Glenmore, the dwellinghouse of Mr. Augustus William Benyon, Alma Road, Windsor, and stealing jewellery to the value of £200.
Kathleen Elizabeth Bartlett, a domestic servant in the employ of Mrs. Benyon, said that, her mistress being away for the day, she obtained permission go out in the afternoon.
Returning at night she heard someone fasten her bedroom door.
HE JUMPED FROM THE WINDOW
Quietly returning to the hall she heard footsteps proceeding into her mistresses bedroom, and presently heard a thud in the front garden.
Opening the door, she found a man lying in the middle of the flower beds.
Noticing part of a necklace hanging from his pocket, she flung herself on to him.
SHE HELD ON TO HIM
The prisoner tried get away, and limped as if had hurt himself. The Witness, clung on to him, and put her hand into his coat pocket where she found a number of jewels. These she took possession of, placing them in a bowl near the door.
The accused told her that that was all he had, and he begged to be released.
SHE TOOK HIM BACK INDOORS
Finding that the prisoner had really hurt himself in jumping from the bedroom window, and was feeling faint, the witness invited him into the house to sit down.
HE WANTED TO SEE A PRIEST
The man then told her that he was a Roman Catholic, and when he learned that a priest lived opposite he asked to be allowed to see him.
On obtaining a solemn promise that he would not run away en route, the witness conducted him to the father’s house, and left him in his charge whilst she went for a constable to whom she handed the prisoner over on their return.
HE WENT THERE TO SELL ARTICLES
Meads, who. is a pedlar, said that he went to the house to sell some articles., but, finding no one at home, he got in and was just going when the young woman arrived on the scene.
He forced open a jewel case with a fork.
A REMAND AND PRAISE FOR THE GIRL
The accused was committed for trial.
The magistrates expressed their warm approval of Miss Bartlett’s courageous conduct.
HIS SUBSEQUENT SENTENCE
The Langport And Somerton Herald, reported on Meads’ next court appearance in its edition of Saturday 21st July 1906:-
A young man. named Henry Meads was charged, at the Windsor Quarter Sessions. with breaking into a dwelling house and stealing jewellery valued at £180.
A servant saw the man jump from the bedroom window, and, noticing hi s pockets, she seized him.
The girl led him indoors, took the jewellery from him. and then made the prisoner accompany her to a neighbour’s house.
Meads was sentenced to five months hard labour.