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Judicial CP - October 1947

Bucks Free Press, High Wycombe, 17 October 1947

Birch, Gaol for Sailor

Brutal Attack On Wycombe Woman

FIFTEEN strokes of the birch, in addition to a sentence of 18 months' imprisonment, were ordered by Mr. Justice Oliver at Bucks Assizes on Wednesday for a 23-years-old sailor who pleaded guilty to committing what was described as a "serious case of armed robbery" on a 63-years-old West Wycombe woman.

The sailor, stated to be a deserter from the Royal Navy who had formerly lived in High Wycombe, was Stewart Arcus Dance, and he was charged with "being armed with a dagger, robbing Mrs. Maud Elizabeth Worley, of Toweridge Farm, West Wycombe, from her person of the sum of 1. 4s. at High Wycombe on August 27."

Mr. H. Carter, prosecuting, said the victim of that serious case of armed robbery was a lady who suffered from poor health. She suffered a considerable degree of shock and for several days after the event the state of her health gave rise to anxiety.

Mrs. Worley was walking in a lane near West Wycombe when Dance approached and, presenting a dagger to her, said "I want your money." He kept saying "Give me your money or I will stab you," Mr. Carter added.

Snatched Her Bag

Mrs. Worley cried out and Dance put his hand over her mouth. He snatched her bag and took 4s. from the purse and 1 from the wallet.

In a statement to the police, Dance said he wanted some money and when he saw Mrs. Worley he decided to see what she had. "I showed her the dagger to scare her, but I did not intend to hurt her; I was as scared as she was," the statement added. "I spent the 4s. on beer and the 1 I threw away on Downley Common."

Mr. Justice Oliver, after asking to see the dagger, told Dance "This is a case of the worst kind in which you, a powerful young man, made a treacherous attack upon a lady of 63, threatened her for a considerable time with this knife and robbed her in the circumstances of greatest brutality. People who treat women like that are themselves liable to be treated with some severity."

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Colin Farrell
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