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William James Gilroy - Theft Trial

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Location: Sheffield, Englandmap
Surname/tag: Gilroy
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(Transcript): Sheffield Evening Telegraph 31st January 1919

Sheffield Ex Soldier's Good Record Spoilt.

Wearing a Discharged Service Badge, William James Gilroy (27). of 40, Wood Road, Hillsborough, appeared before Mr. W. S. Skelton and Mr. T. G. Evans at the Sheffield Police Court, today, to answer the serious charge of stealing one £1 Treasury note, two 10 shilling Treasury notes, and 4 shillings 7 and a half pence in money, the property of the Postmaster General. Mr. Geoffrey Chambers, who prosecuted on behalf of the postal authorities, said the prisoner was a reservist and was called for service in July 1914. In 1916 his right eye was destroyed by shrapnel, and he was finally discharged 1917. He was employed as a postman previous to the war, and after discharge he returned in the same capacity. At the time of his arrest his income including pension was £3 16 shillings per week. During the past six months, said Mr. Chambers numerous complaints had been received by the Sheffield Post Office of the non arrival of letters containing currency notes, and suspicion fell upon the defendant. Accordingly Mr. E. Stratford, the Secretary's Office, GPO London, came down to Sheffield for the purpose of investigation. On the 23rd January made up test letter containing a £1 Treasury note, two 10 shilling notes, and 4 shillings 7 and a half pence in money, and all were marked in certain way. Next morning, the 24th inst., Mr. Stratford, accompanied by a detective proceeded to Clubgarden Road, Sharrow, and posted the letter to a fictitious address at Dunford Bridge. Prisoner was seen to clear the letter-box, and on his arrival at the head office, his bag was searched but the letter was missing. On being questioned by Mr. Stratford he said, “I took the letter, and have destroyed the envelope.” The whole of the money and notes were found on him, and in addition two postal orders for 20 shillings and 10 shillings which he admitted stealing a few days previously. Mr. Edward Stratford gave corroborative evidence, and Mr.J. R.Swinscoe who appeared for the defendant, said that while they pleaded guilty, there were certain circumstances in the case which the Bench might exercise in the prisoner's favour. For some time past Gilroy had been suffering from delusions, no doubt the result of gunshot wounds in the head. He had repeatedly told his wife that traps were being laid for him by the Post Office, and this seemed drive him into terrible tempers. When in one these attacks he did extraordinary things, said Mr. Swinscoe, knocking his head against walls, and becoming very violent. There was little doubt that these attacks were due to the injuries received on active service, and be asked the Bench to take a lenient view the case. The Chairman said Gilroy would have go to prison for three months, without hard labour.

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