Charles Wilson – Juvenile Crime

Charles Wilson, aged 11, was placed in the dock charged with attempting to commit a burglary on the premises of Mr Collins, butcher, Market Place, on the night of Sunday last.

The prisoner, it will be recollected, was convicted and sentenced to two months’ imprisonment lately as the ringleader of a gang of juvenile thieves who had been for a long time systematically robbing various hotels in town. Wilson has not been more than a fortnight out of gaol.

Charles Hoskins, assistant to Mr Collins, deposed that he was informed on Sunday evening an attempt had bean made to rob his’ master’s premises in the market. He went there and found the shutter bar taken down and one of the shutters partially removed.

Richard Gladstone, on oath, stated that he was standing with a boy named Jones at the door of the Prince of Wales hotel on Sunday evening be tween 5 and 6 o’clock, when he heard a noise in the direction of the market as of an iron bar falling. He went across with the boy Jones to see what was the matter, and observed the prisoner trying to hide himself in the doorway of Collins’ shop, the iron shutter bar of which was lying on the ground. He called to the prisoner over the paling to come out, when her attempted to escape by running across the square. Sent the boy Jones in to fetch him out

The prisoner to the witness—Didn’t you see some men there as well?


Robert Jones, son of Mr Jones, livery stable keeper, deposed to the facts stated by the last witness, to the capture of the prisoner, and to his being carried to the station-house on Gladstone’s back.

Sergeant Morton deposed that the boy had informed him, while in the police court cell, that he was incited to the act by his mother, who was in the habit of beating him and driving him out of doors. That in the former cases of robbery for which he had been imprisoned, the money stolen was taken home to his mother.

The prisoner, in answer to the Bench, said that on Sunday his mother wanted some sugar, and sent him out, telling him to get some on the wharf or where ever else he could. That he subsequently met a boy who told him he could get both sugar and money at a shop in the market, and for giving him the information, stipulated that he was to have half the proceeds of the robbery. The prisoner went to the place named, Collins’, and endeavoured to effect an entrance by removing the iron bar, but in the attempt it fell down and hurt his foot, and thus led to his discovery.

The Police Magistrate asked the prisoner if he was not aware it was wrong to thieve!

Prisoner whimpering—I have heard people say so, Mr Bonsey, but I was never taught so by my parents.

The Police Magistrate read the hardened little rascal a lecture upon his incorrigible conduct so soon after leaving prison, where he was kept in separate confinement, and sentenced him to a further term of four months imprisonment.

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