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Charge of incendiarism against Emily Beer

Trewman's Exeter Flying Post - 3rd December 1892

Transcribed by Debbie Kennett

CHARGE OF INCENDIARISM AGAINST A GIRL

EMILY BEER, a girl, was charged with setting fire to a dwelling house in the possession of George Cruwys, at Witheridge, on the 15th July. - The prisoner was undefended. - The girl, not of the highest intelligence, pleaded not guilty. She sobbed during the hearing of the case [?]. - Mr. Pridham Whippell appeared to prosecute. - It appeared that at the time of the fire prisoner was a domestic servant in the employ of the prosecutor, and the result of the fire was that the buildings were entirely destroyed, £300 damage being done. Suspicion fell on the prisoner, and when P. S. Parker arrested her she said, "I took a box of matches from the chimney-piece, went to the back door, struck one, and lighted it over the door." - After hearing the evidence, a portion of which was suppressed by his lordship, the jury returned a verdict of "Not guilty."

The prisoner was then charged with setting fire to a pigs stye on a farm in the possession of Henry Bosley, at Witheridge, on the 3rd of August. - Prisoner pleaded not guilty. - It appeared that the prisoner had to pass the building during her work, and when questioned denied that she had set the place on fire. When P.C. Gist visited the farm she said "I only lighted a little bit of stuff on the wall to see if it would light." She further said she lit it with matches obtained at the house. The prisoner also made a confession to P.S. Tucker. - The prisoner made an accusation against the police that they pressed her unduly for information, but this was denied. - The Judge said in this case, as in the previous one, there was no direct evidence at all except the child's confession. That was merely in itself a childish freak. - The jury returned a verdict of "Not guilty," and the prisoner was discharged with a caution.

Last updated: 4 Apr 2008 - Brian Randell

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