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  • 100-YEARS-AGO. PRISON SENTENCE FOR STEALING MONEY FROM HER MOTHER


    History With Flynn


    The newspaper, Salford City Reporter for November 1920 carried the following story and rather sensationally called it, "the remarkable story of the life lead by a young girl"

    Ellen Ben Saleh appeared at Salford Magistrates Court charged with the theft of £66 from her mother, a widow who resided at Hancock Street. Pendleton.

    Detective Inspector Mitchell told the court that for some time the mother had been saving up and a portion of the money was a gratuity from the army authorities which she received in consequence of the death of her son, the money along with a small amount of gold was kept in a box in the kitchen of the house.

    When it was discovered missing the police were informed, Detective Sergeant McNee made enquiries and questioned the girl who denied all knowledge of the theft, however the next day she absconded and nothing was heard from her, until her husband returned from the sea and he took her to the police station.

    Initially she told the police she had nothing to with the theft, then admitted it and said,

    "I might as well tell you all about it, I stole the money whilst mother was out and I gave it all to a man who I know"

    She then broke into tears and sobbing asked for another chance.

    Detective Inspector Mitchell then took to the stand and gave a detailed account of the last few months of the girl's life and pretty damning it was too.

    He said the girl's mother had tried to shield her but she seemed beyond control and had been going out with a man who lived in a lodging house, who threatened her if she didn't give him money and he thought that the stolen money was divided between the two of them.

    Seven months ago she had met Ben Saleh in a public house and after only a few days she asked him to marry her, shortly after the marriage Saleh returned to a ship at Salford Docks and went on a six month voyage and only returned on the day when he surrendered his wife to the police.

    She had worked in cafe's in Manchester and as a barmaid in pubs on Cross Lane but had been associating with "loose women" and had got into debt and had stole the money to pay them off, he then added that Ben Saleh was going to leave Salford for ever as soon as this court case was over.

    He finally added,

    "She is a thoroughly bad girl, she is crying now, but no doubt the first thing she will do after leaving this courtroom will be to ask me for a cigarette"

    Ouch!

    The Stipendiary Magistrate, Mr P. W. Atkin, promptly sentenced her to four months imprisonment with hard labour.

    The newspaper reported that the poor girl, fainted and had to be carried from the dock and owing to her cries the following court case was halted until she was placed in the prison cells below the court.

    To sum up the girl not only lost her liberty but her husband who no doubt had seen a glimpse of the life he faced if he stayed with her and sailed out of Salford.

    Hopefully she saw the errors of her ways and kept out of the pubs on Cross Lane and led a hard working, sober life, but I somehow doubt it.





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