Friday, 2 June 2017

Attempted Burglary at Clapham Park Lodge

Z50/29/9, View of West Lodge, c.1930 (Bedfordshire Archives & Records Service)
Saturday 2nd June 1917:  The Bedford Division Bench is told how a plucky Beatrice Hart chased off a midnight intruder at Clapham Park Lodge. Private Thomas Pyle Porthouse was charged with breaking and entering West Lodge on 27th May. Mrs Hart, whose husband is at war, testified that Porthouse called at her Lodge gate asking for a drink of water. She gave him some water and the soldier then went away, disappearing into the bushes. Before going to bed, she made sure the doors and windows were securely fastened. At 11.30, she heard someone moving around at the back and a window being rattled and forced open. Mrs Hart dressed herself and the children and heard the door from the scullery to the hallway being opened. She shouted: “Clear out, or I will shoot your brains out”. She had an air gun and fired it at the door. She then sent her boy and girl to the coachman’s house and Mr Plumber came within ten minutes. Together, they examined the house and found nobody there. However, the scullery window had been opened and Mrs Hart’s bicycle light had been taken and used as a lamp on the scullery shelf. The dog kennel had been placed underneath the window. Footprints led to the window from the rose borders, from which the police were able to take a plaster cast and identify Porthouse. That evening, Porthouse had been round for supper at East Lodge with Rose Broughton and had obviously used the opportunity to make an attempt on West Lodge.

Porthouse had nothing to say at the Bedford Bench and was committed to the approaching Assizes. Porthouse was also committed to trial for stealing a razor belonging to a fellow soldier, Henry Forrester, whom he was billeted with in Milton Ernest.

Source: Bedford Record 5/6/1917

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