EMMELINE PANKHURST, Damage to Property > other, 1st April 1913.

Reference Number: t19130401-67
Offence: Damage to Property > other
Verdict: Guilty > with recommendation
Punishment: Imprisonment > penal servitude

PANKHURST, Emmeline (53) , feloniously procuring and inciting a person or persons unknown to commit felony; unlawfully soliciting and inciting persons unknown to commit felony and certain misdemeanours.

Mr. Bodkin and Mr. Travers Humphreys prosecuted.

Prisoner was tried upon the first indictment.

Inspector GEORGE RILEY, New Scotland Yard, proved a plan of the neighbourhood of Sir George Riddle's house at Walton.

HENRY ELLIOTT , carter, Manor Lodge, Walton. About 4.30 a.m. on February 19 I heard the noise of a motor-car. Going to my window I saw a motor pass, going in the direction of London. About six o'clock I heard a loud noise like the report of a big gun.

JAMES GRAY , builder's foreman. I was in charge of the building of Sir George Riddle's house. By February 18 the building was structurally complete, but painting and decorating work was going on. Twelve men were employed; they worked from 6 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. During the night the house was left unattended. Near the kitchen there was a small window, which a person might get through, about 2 ft. 6 in. from the ground. When I left on the 18th the house was in perfect condition. At 6.30 next morning. I found damage had been done to the extent of £400 to £450. In the servant's bedroom on the first floor I found some cord, a tin that had probably contained powder, some 2 in. wire nails; in the corridor I found a tin of powder, a tin containing shavings soaked in paraffin, with a candle sticking in the centre. (The case was that two tins of powder had been prepared, one placed in the servant's bedroom, the other in the corridor 35 ft. away; also, in similar positions, two tins of shavings, each with a candle in the centre; the ignition of the shavings by the burning down of the candle would cause an explosion of the powder; an explosion actually occurred in the bedroom, but the force of it extinguished the candle in the corridor before it burned sufficiently low to ignite the shavings there.)

Police-constable JOHN LOUGH, Surrey Constabulary, spoke to a number of articles he found on the premises and handed to Inspector Tugdale.

Inspector HERBERT TUGDALE, Surrey Constabulary, said that he went to the premises on February 19 at 8.45 a.m. Assisted by Lough he made a search; among the articles found were a hatpin, the remains of a candlestick, a golosh, a tin of shavings, amongst which was a hairpin.

JAMES ERNEST GILES , private secretary to Sir George Riddle, proved that Sir George was the owner of the house in question.

Chief-inspector JAMES MCBRIEN, New Scotland Yard. On March 12 I went to 28, Campden Hill Gardens and found this letter (Exhibit 23), dated January 10, signed by prisoner. (It described her as Honorary Treasurer of the Women's Social and Political Union; it was addressed to members of the Union, and impressed the fact that the attitude of the Government towards the Suffrage Bill then before Parliament made "militancy" more a moral duty and a political necessity than it had ever been before.)

Sub-divisional Inspector CHARLES CROCKER, who was acquainted with prisoner's handwriting, said that Exhibit 23 was signed by her.

Major A. M. COOPER-KEY, Chief Inspector of Explosives, said that the tin found in the corridor contained gunpowder together with nails and percussion caps.

CHARLES RENSHAW (detective), VICTOR AUGUR (detective), ALFRED BEASLEY (detective), and EDWARD JAMES (journalist) proved transcripts of shorthand notes of a number of speeches made by prisoner at meetings in connection with the Woman Suffrage movement, (These were alleged by the prosecution to be speeches "soliciting and inciting" to the commission of felony, etc.)

Chief Inspector JAMES MCBRIEN, recalled, said that he arrested prisoner on February 24; on the warrant being read to her she made no reply, nor upon being charged.

(Thursday, April 3.)

Prisoner called no evidence. In a long speech to the jury she explained that she had pleaded Not Guilty because the indictment accused her of "wickedly and maliciously inciting," and she protested that she was not wicked or malicious. But she accepted responsibility for all the speeches she had made. She was only animated by a sincere desire to get political power into the hands of women. Whether the sentence was long or short she should not submit to it. The moment she left the Court—if she were sent to prison, whether to penal servitude or to a mild form of imprisonment—she would quite deliberately refuse to eat food. She would join the women in Holloway who were already on "hunger strike." She would come out of prison—dead or alive—at the earliest possible moment, and once out, so soon as she was physically fit, she would enter into the fight again.

Verdict, Guilty, with a strong recommendation to mercy. The second indictment was not proceeded with.

It was stated that in February, 1908, prisoner was bound over for disorderly conduct and obstructing the police; in October, 1908, bound over for a similar offence; in July, 1909, fined for obstructing the police and assault; in March, 1912, sentenced to two months' imprisonment for wilful damage; in May, 1912, sentenced at this Court to nine months' imprisonment, second division, for conspiracy.

Sentence: Three years' penal servitude.


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