Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Prisoner of War's Wife Gaoled

Wednesday 9th February 1916: Two Luton women were gaoled today for keeping a disorderly house at 7 Manor Path, Luton. Mrs. Ada Toyer, the occupier of the house, is a widow with two children. The other woman, Mrs. Emily Ward, is the wife of a soldier now a prisoner of war in Germany and also has two children. She formerly lived at 25 Manor Path but had moved in with Mrs. Toyer at number seven. Police had received complaints about the property and kept it under observation between January 27th and February 5th. On each night solders were seen entering th house, where they remained for a considerable time. Male and female voices were heard in an upstairs room at the back of the house. While no firm evidence could be given that could prove exactly what went on in the house, it seemed there could be little doubt.

The police gave evidence that on one occasion one of the women had said to two soldier callers, “You can’t come here tonight”, to which one of the soldiers replied, “All right, I’ll go and fetch the military police”. When the police went into the house they found three soldiers, a civilian, Mrs. Toyer’s twelve year old son, and the defendants. Mrs. Ward was lying drunk on the floor and one of the soldiers was sitting in a chair, also drunk. On previous occasions Police Inspector Janes had gone to the house and warned the defendants. One night he arrested a soldier there for being absent, and on another he arrested two soldiers. He had previously been to Mrs. Ward’s former address at 5 a.m. and arrested a soldier who was there; Mrs Ward began to cry and said she had done wrong. As the wife of a prisoner of war Mrs. Ward received £1 2s 9d in allowances, which should have been plenty to live on without resorting to other means of increasing her income. Both women were sentenced to two months’ hard labour.

Source: Luton News, 10th February 1916

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