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Saturday 13 July 1895 – Zephaniah Belcher brings complaint against Joseph Eades

Category Wickhamford
Transcription of article


Joseph Eades, a militiaman belonging to the 4th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment, now practising at Wickhamford, was summoned by Zephaniah Belcher, labourer, Childswickham, for stealing 4d on the previous Thursday. Herbert Belcher (9), son of the complainant, said that on Thursday night his mother sent him to The Sandys Arms with a can for a quart of barm. Defendant, in his soldier’s clothes, came to the door, and witness gave defendant the can and 8d in coppers. Defendant took the can to a man at the window and they fetched a quart of beer which they gave to witness. Finding it was beer instead of barm, witness went back and knocked at the door again. He there saw Mrs Pethard and told her about it. William Pethard, son of the landlord of The Sandys Arms, said defendant came to him and ordered a quart of fourpenny ale in a can and gave witness a fourpenny piece. A few minutes afterwards the boy Belcher came to the house crying, and said that he wanted barm, not beer. Witness told him the barm would be 8d, and that the beer was only 4d. The boy told witness that he had given defendant 8d in a can tied up in a handkerchief. Defendant here accused the boy of spending the money in sweetmeats, and denied having the money. Later on defendant told witness that the boy asked him for barm, and not beer. Witness supplied the boy with a quart of barm and took the beer back. The boy then went away. After he had gone witness asked defendant where the fourpence was. He denied having had it, and said that there was only fourpence in the handkerchief. After trying to borrow money from witness in the afternoon, defendant spent twopence after the boy had gone. Afterwards he came into the house and tried to borrow twopence from witness’s father to make up the fourpence due for the barm. He was refused the money and left the house.

In defence defendant pleaded that he “did it” while in a drunken condition. Mr Pethard, the last witness, said he should not have served defendant had he been drunk. PC Jenkins said, when he served the summons defendant said, “I shall plead guilty of taking the money. I had a lot of drink. It was only a drunken freak and I am very sorry. I hope you’ll make it as light as you can for me.” Defendant was sober then. A sergeant in defendant’s battalion gave defendant an excellent character. He had been in active service and had obtained two Burmese clasps previous to having joined the Militia. In the event of defendant being fined their adjutant would pay the money. Charles Southall, another militiaman, stated that defendant had had enough to drink when he went in The Sandys Arms, and that when he took the 4d he was in a drunken condition. Defendant was fined £1, including costs, the Chairman saying that it was the first case since they had been in camp, and he hoped the last. He asked PC Yarnold to make enquiries about the case. PC Yarnold said that no doubt the last witness would have had a different tale to tell had Eades been charged with being drunk on licensed premises.