Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Miss Smith of Luton Tries to Escape Her Past

Luton Workhouse

Thursday 25th February 1915: Thomas Holt, a soldier from Luton, appeared at the Borough police court yesterday charged with using obscene language. A complaint was made by Mrs May Punter of 16 Burr Street, Luton, that while she was at home doing some needlework at about 10 p.m, Holt had knocked at the door and asked for Miss Ethel Smith. Miss Smith had been reading but when she heard the knock went into the kitchen. Mrs Punter told Holt that Miss Smith was in bed; Holt responded with a “most offensive expression”. She then told him that Miss Smith had gone to High Town on an errand and Holt again used a “disgusting expression”. She asked a passer-by to call the police and concluded “the girl doesn’t want him”.

Holt denied the charge and claimed that while he had only asked a civil question, Mrs Punter had “started calling him everything” and was the one who had used bad language. Mrs Punter indignantly denied this. Ethel Smith told the Bench that Mrs Punter’s evidence was correct and that she did not want Holt’s attentions. She blamed “Tom” for her previous troubles and told the Bench she had to go into the workhouse infirmary “to get over her trouble”. She wanted nothing more to do with him.The Clerk of the Court stated that Holt and Smith had lived together for some time. They had quarrelled many times and Holt had been stabbed. Smith had given birth to a stillborn baby in the workhouse, but had since left the institution and wanted to live quietly away from Holt. Holt was warned against molesting Miss Smith and was bound over to keep the peace for six months.

Source: Luton News 25th February 1915

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