Peace Day trial: Emily Tilcock

Emily Tilcock, aged 49, a straw worker,of 3 New Street, Luton, first appeared before magistrates on Wednesday, July 23rd, 1919, and was remanded in custody for a week charged with stealing three odd slippers, value 7s 6d, between 19th and 20th July, the property of James Neve Brown [J. N. Brown & Co, boot and shoe merchant, 9 Manchester Street].

Her case was finally dealt with by magistrates on Friday, August 1st, when Town Clerk William Smith said that, having regard to the suspense and mental strain suffered by two of the women who were charged with rioting and larceny, he had decided to take the responsibility of dropping the rioting allegations, so that the prisoners might be dealt with summarily.

The manager of the shoe shop told magistrates on August 1st that three out of the four windows of the shop were smashed, and the majority of the articles – boots, shoes and slippers etc were missing. The articles produced in court (one large and two small slippers) belonged to Messrs Brown, and were valued at 7s 6d.

Det-Sgt Arthur Bacon, who saw the prisoner at her home and told her he had a warrant to search the house, said she denied that she had anything there that did not belong to her. The large slipper he subsequently discovered in a cupboard in the kitchen, and the woman said she did not know how it came there. She also said she knew nothing about the other slippers which were found in the front room.

She subsequently said, however, that she found them in the streets “when it was pouring with rain,” and when witness remarked that they did not show any signs of having been in the wet, she stated that a man threw them at her in Manchester Street, adding: “We were not rioting; we were having some fun.”

Mr Lathom, on behalf of the prisoner, pleaded guilty. He said he would ask the magistrates to deal with Tilcock under the Probationers' Act. She had already suffered ten days' imprisonment, and that alone was very heavy punishment for a woman of hitherto unblemished character.

The magistrates fined Emily Tilcock 30 shillings, with an alternative of 14 days in prison. The Bench said the decision arrived at had taken into consideration the number of days the defendant had already spent in prison.