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Judicial CP - May 1947

Corpun file 10634 at

Evening News, London, 8 May 1947

The 'Cat' for a London Gunman

7 Years, Too: No Mercy For Armed Crime -- Judge

My Duty -- No Leniency

Masked Raid on an Inn

SENTENCE of six strokes of "the Cat" and seven years' penal servitude was passed at the Old Bailey this afternoon on William Howard, aged 23, seaman, of St. Ann's-road, Tottenham, for an armed raid on a South London public house.

Mr. Justice Birkett, passing sentence, said: "The public must be protected from men like you. You must learn, and all of like mind must learn, that those who go about armed on these lawless and violent adventures must expect no mercy when they are brought before a Court of Justice.

"Were I to extend undue leniency in this case I should be lacking in my duty to myself and the public.

"It is difficult to imagine circumstances in which crime is committed more terrifying, more terrible and more revolting. It is only by the mercy of providence, and not through any care of yours, that you are not standing in the dock on a charge of murder."

Took £72

Howard was found guilty of robbing with violence 74-year-old Sidney Herbert Catt, licensee of the Grosvenor Arms public house, Sidney-road, Stockwell, robbing his daughter, Katharine Mary Catt, and his manageress, Beatrice Lavers, of £72 and other property, and with being armed at the time.

Mr. Christmas Humphreys, prosecuting, said Catt was awakened by someone banging on his locked door. The door was forced open and three men wearing masks and holding guns rushed in.

Asked what they wanted they replied: "Your money and your jewellery."

No sooner had Mr. Catt told them he had very little money in the house than one of the men hit him on the head with a bottle of rum.

The bottle broke, and one of Mr. Catt's ears was almost torn off.

At Gun-point

His daughter, hearing his shouts for help, rushed to his room. One of the men grabbed her by the throat and flung her on a bed.

The manageress was brought at the point of a gun to Catt's bedroom.

Shortly afterwards a whistle sounded outside and the men ran off.

The police found Howard's identity card on the floor.

Sidney Catt, wearing plaster on his face, was helped into the witness-box. He said he could not identify the men because of the masks.

Normally he had two truncheons hanging from his bed, he added. The men took these and waved them about while holding guns in their other hands.

'Not There'

Howard, in evidence, denied being at the public house that night.

He said a cigarette case found in his possession by the police, and identified as having been stolen from the public house, had been given to him shortly before his arrest.

Corpun file 9013 at


The Times, London, 24 May 1947

Birch for robbery with violence

Sentence of 21 months' imprisonment and 25 strokes of the birch was passed at Worcester Assizes yesterday on FRED HILL, 21, of Church Street, Lye, Stourbridge, for robbing Mr. Harold Evers-Swindell with violence, at Stourbridge, and for breaking into a shoe shop and stealing 520 clothing coupons. Mr. JUSTICE DENNING said, "This was a wicked attack on an old man of 80."

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