This month’s Crime Chronicles, our series on historical crimes committed in the local area, tells the tale of Charles Saunders, a man who found himself in a Hertfordshire court in February 1918 on the charge of stealing a horse from a Rickmansworth man.
Saunders, 32, stole the mare from Mr John Howe on January 21. Police traced the horse to a stables in Golders Green, London, and found that its tail had been lopped off.
Saunders would eventually admit the theft under questioning.
He later revealed that he was an army deserter, formerly enlisted with the Royal Fusiliers. According to the unit’s assistant provost marshal, Captain Bridges, Saunders had a ‘fair’ army record before deserting six months into the role.
Saunders tried to convince the court that he had committed the crime in order to get arrested and get sent back to the army. However, the military authorities stated they did not want him back.
The judge sentenced Saunders to seven months imprisonment in the second division. A prisoner in the second division would be allowed more letters and would be kept away from other prisoners, with a different set of clothes.
Photo Credit: Tsaag Valren