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CRIME CHRONICLES: A harsh sentence for a historic Rickmansworth bike theft

 Published on: 1st March 2023   |   By: Bryn Holmes   |   Category: Uncategorized

This month’s Crime Chronicles tells the tale of a Hertfordshire confectioner turned bike thief who received a sentence one might consider harsh by today’s standards.

It was in October of 1905 that John Shepard committed his first criminal act. Though having previously worked in the sweet trade, he had recently been employed as a painter in Rickmansworth.

On the morning of October 19, a bicycle was stolen from the front of a shop run by a Mr John Edward Jones in the town. Only the next day, Shepard was seen riding the same bicycle. He was noticed due to the fact the bike had clearly been made for a man with longer legs than he had.

As one might imagine, it didn’t take long for the law to catch up with Shepard. Following another incident of bicycle theft in Aylesbury, he was arrested in Oxfordshire.

At his trial on February 10, 1906, it also emerged that in addition to the offences in Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire, there was also a warrant out for Shepard’s arrest in Henley.

For the crime he was arrested for in Aylesbury, he was sentenced to three months of hard labour, but due to his previous convictions, the judge extended the prisoner’s punishment time by five months.

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