Taunton Courier 19 Aug 1908 Wiveliscombe Police Court inc Henry PUGSLEY Milverton John JOYCE Preston Farm Milverton Charles HAWKINS Huish Champflower George HAWKINS

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Taunton Courier. Bristol and Exeter Journal, and Western Advertiser. Wednesday 19 August 1908

Page 5 Column 5 and 6




TUESDAY. - Before Mr. A. CAPEL (in the chair), the Rev. P. P. BROADMEAD, and Mr. W. BROWN.


Henry PUGSLEY, labourer, of Milverton, was brought up on remand charged with stealing a gun, of the value of 45s, the property of Mr. John JOYCE, of Preston Farm, Milverton.

John JOYCE, of Preston, Milverton, farmer, deposed that on the 2nd August last he discovered a gun was missing from a barn on his farm. Thinking perhaps the gun had been borrowed by someone without leave, he waited some days before giving information to the police. On the following Wednesday he did so. The gun was kept in the barn for the purpose of scaring rooks, and two of his men had permission to use it for that purpose. He identified the gun produced as his property by the names of “T. Besley” and “T. Norfolk” on the stock, and also by the left nipple not acting. Prisoner having worked for him a day and a-half, witness paid him on the Friday night, and missed the gun on the following Sunday.

Charles HAWKINS, a labourer, living at Huish Champflower, and working at East Withy Farm, Upton, stated that about three months ago prisoner was working with him in the same pit at Brendon Hill, and he then told him he had a breech-loading gun at home, and as witness told prisoner he was going to try to get a gun before the year was out, prisoner said he would bring the gun to the Bear at Wiveliscombe and show it to him. On Sunday, the 2nd inst., prisoner came to his house with a breech-loading gun and said, “I have brought the gun I promised you.” He told witness he could have it for anything below 30s. As the gun was in a rough state witness said he should not give more than 10s for it, and prisoner replied that he could have it. He paid him 5s on account, and the remaining 5s he would pay in about a month's time after he had tried the gun. Prisoner told him to leave the 5s in Milverton, at, he believed the Lion Hotel. The gun produced was the one he bought, but it was not in that condition, being very rusty.

George HAWKINS, father of the last witness, deposed to handing the gun to the Police-Sergeant on Friday, the 7th inst.

P.S TREEBY, stationed at Milverton, stated that on the 5th inst. he received information that a double-barrelled breech-loading gun had been stolen from a barn on Mr. JOYCE's farm, Preston. He made enquiries, and on the 7th inst. he went to the house of the last witness at Huish Champflower, and he handed witness the gun produced. He then went to Withy Farm and saw Charles HAWKINS, and from what the latter told him he took the gun to Mr. JOYCE's, who identified it as his property. At ten p.m. the same day the apprehended prisoner. He charged him with stealing the gun, and prisoner made no reply. On the way to Wiveliscombe Police-station prisoner said “This job is going to bring two more of them into it.”

The Justices decided to commit prisoner for trail, and in reply to the charge prisoner stated that about two months ago a certain man in Milverton asked him to sell a gun for him. About a fortnight ago this same man asked him if he knew anyone who would buy a gun. Prisoner replied “Yes.” Last Saturday week this person brought a gun to him in Mr. ROBERTS' field at Milverton. The same day he took the gun to Huish and let HAWKINS have it. This man, he knew, had owned a gun for the last six or seven months, but he didn't care to let the man's name out as he didn't wish to be a traitor.

Prisoner applied for legal aid under the Poor Prisoners' Defence Act, but the application was refused, the Bench stating he could make his application at Quarter Sessions, to which he was committed, bail being refused.

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