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Increase of Crime in Haywards Heath - Mutton-Suet found under baby's pillow case in Triangle Road

Updated: Sep 27, 2020

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 30 January 1883


Thomas Selsby, labourer, Triangle-road, Haywards Heath, was charged with stealing sheep, of the value of £2 15s., the property of Mr. C. Heaver, from Colwell-farm, Wivelsfield, on 20th inst.—P.C. H. Stevens (Haywards Heath), spoke to finding a portion of the mutton in prisoner’s house on the following Tuesday, and with this statement, the prisoner was remanded for production of further evidence until Friday

Triangle Road Haywards Heath


Before Mr. T. T. C. Lister


Thomas Selsby, labourer, Triangle-road, Haywards Heath, was charged, on remand, with stealing a sheep of the value of £2 15s., the property of Charles Heaver, of Colwell farm, on the night of Saturday, the 20th inst.—

Mr. Evett (Lamb and Evett) now on behalf of the prisoner.—

Mr. Charles Heaver said he occupied Colwell farm, Wivelsfield, and on Saturday last he counted some sheep on his farm. They were Kentish two-teeth sheep, and he was grazing them for Mr. Philpott, Wivelsfield. He found there were 50. On the Sunday morning he counted them again, and only found 49—one being missing. The value of the sheep lost was 55s. The head of the sheep now produced was the head of the sheep he had lost—that of a Kentish sheep. It was too long and too wide for a Southdown sheep. Could trace some struggle on the Sunday morning near the gateway, and he could see where one had rolled about. The sheep were in his sight all day on the Saturday, and he was about all the day. The sheep had been caught—that he could tell from the prints of a man’s boot. There were no nails in them, this was just above the gateway where the footprints were seen. There was no blood, but some wool was about. They had two fields for the sheep to roam about in. There were several prints of a man’s boot on the grass.—

P. C. H. Stevens (Haywards Heath) said on Monday last, 22nd January, he received information from P. C. Akehurst that a sheep had been stolen from a farm in the parish of Wivelsfield, and on Tuesday, the 23rd, he, in company with Sergeant Smith, from previous information received, went to prisoner’s house, 7, Hollybank-cottages, Triangle-road, Haywards Heath. They went to the back of the house, and searched the water tank over the prisoner’s back door. Afterwards searched the water tank of the adjoining house, which was four or five yards away. The disadjoining house was unoccupied. From that water tank Sergeant Smith handed down a leg of mutton, a shoulder, two pieces of the back of the sheep, a sheep’s head, the tongue, heart, and several little pieces (all produced). Then went in search of the prisoner, whom he met on the Franklynn-road, about one o’clock. He then charged him with stealing a sheep from the Colwell-farm, on Saturday night, the 20th inst. In reply to the charge, prisoner said, You charge me with something I know nothing about; you have got to prove it. They can’t swear to the meat can they?” They then went to prisoner’s house, and searched it. When they went back to the house they took the meat, stool, and basket lid produced (which they found in the tank with the meat). Prisoner’s wife admitted that the stool and basket-lid were the property of the prisoner. They then found the two butcher’s knives (produced) covered with grease, two plates with a little blood and mutton fat on them. The basin (produced) had some mutton fat in it (also produced). The wife admitted that she had cooked some mutton for the Sunday dinner. The crock produced had some water in it which was bloody, and there was blood on the inside of the bag (produced). In the fire-place, in the back kitchen, also found some little pieces of fat and wool (now produced), also found a pair of dirty boots (produced) in a cupboard, which the prisoner said were his. Then took the prisoner to the Police Station at Cuckfield.—

By Mr. Evett; The prisoner’s house is about a mile from Colwell-farm. There was an iron fence at the bottom of the garden behind the house, about one hundred and fifty yards from the house, three or four feet high. There was no place dividing the prisoner’s garden from the adjoining garden. Each of these houses has a separate water tank. When he met prisoner he said I charge you with stealing sheep from Colwell-farm, during the night of Saturday, the 20th inst.;” prisoner replied, You know nothing about it—you have got to prove it.” Did not caution him, but Sergeant Smith did. Said to prisoner’s wife in the presence of the prisoner “Is this your stool and basket?” She said “Yes.” Saw a little boy of prisoner’s on the Tuesday, at the back of his house. Did not speak to any children that were about, nor did I offer any of the children any coppers on that day.—

By the Bench: There are 14 cottages altogether, and every two cottages are divided off; there is no fence between the prisoner’s house and the adjoining one. Every two had an iron fence between them—not so high as the iron fence at the bottom of the garden. There is no way into the garden except by going through the cottages, or getting over the fence at the bottom.—

P. S. Geo. Smith (St. John’s Common) said on the morning of the 23rd he received a train letter to the loss of the sheep, and he proceeded to Haywards Heath, where he met P. C. Stevens, and accompanied him to prisoner’s house. He found lying in the basket and on the stool in the tank the whole of the mutton produced. There was no water in the tank, but all was black mud the bottom. The cloth produced was laid on the basket lid and stool, and the meat on the top of it. There was every appearance of the meat having been fresh killed. He afterwards found, in a cradle in which there was a baby sleeping, a pillow case with mutton suet (produced) under the baby. The suet was in the pillow case and under the child. There was one piece of clothing between the baby, the pillow case, and suet. The large piece of suet might weigh 21bs.; there were several smaller pieces. On witness asking Mrs. Selsby—prisoner’s wife —to let him look in the cradle, she said. Surely you don’t want to look in there, baby is asleep.” The prisoner was present at the time, and saw him take the suet from the cradle. He said, I shall be able to account for that by-and-bye.” Had previously cautioned him. The tank in which the mutton was found was three or four yards from the ground, close to a lean-to shed. Had to get a chair to get the mutton.—

By Mr. Evett: Selsby’s was the first tank that was searched. My caution followed immediately on Stevens’ charge. Owen Picknell was then called as a witness, but on being called three times he failed to put in an appearance, although he was subpoened.—

Prisoner was then committed for trial at the next Quarter Sessions, the defence being reserved.—Bail was proposed, the prisoner in £40, and two sureties of £20 each.—

The sureties who offered were Mr. G. King and Mr. R. King (the son), but the Bench decided not to accept R. King. Mr. Noah King, brickmaker, Triangle-place, then offered, but he was also objected to, and eventually Mr. G. King, New Inn, was accepted in one surety of £40.

MONDAY.— Before Major Sergison.


— Henry Dale (35), painter, was charged with tearing up his clothes in the Cuckfield Union Workhouse on the 27th inst., and the offence being proved by Mr. Joseph King, the labour master, he was committed for 14 days’ hard labour.— Joseph King (20), was also charged with a similar offence on the same morning, and also with breaking and damaging the door of the ward to the amount of 1s., at the same time and place.—Sentenced to 1 month.


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