Jane Agnes Duffy, arrested for theft

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Where: Unknown

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When: 09 December 1914

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Name: Jane A. V. Duffy
Arrested for: not given
Arrested at: North Shields Police Station
Arrested on: 9 December 1914
Tyne and Wear Archives ref: DX1388-1-250-Jane A V Duffy

The Shields Daily News for 9 December 1914 reports:


Today at North Shields, Jane Agnes Duffy (19), 61 Westcott Road, South Shields, was charged with stealing a gold brooch, a gold ring, and a silk blouse value £1 12s 6d, the property of Barbara Cunningham, Trevor Terrace, on the 27th inst.

The prosecutrix said that at 18.15 pm on the 26th ult. she was in Bedford Street, when the accused was brought to her and she asked if witness could give her board and lodgings. She stated that she had just got work at a drapers and would pay her 15s a week for board and lodgings. Witness took her home. Next morning the defendant got up at 9 o’clock, and while witness was cleaning the step the defendant ran out by the back, and witness missed the articles mentioned.

Detective Sweeney of Wallsend said he arrested the accused on another charge on the 28th ult. and found the items mentioned in her possession. Detective-Sergt. Hall deposed to recovering the property from the last witness and receiving the accused into custody after she had been dealt with by the magistrates at Wallsend.

The mother of the girl told the magistrates that her daughter had no reason to steal, having a good home and having been well brought up, but she was rather weak in mind and had given her some trouble. The clerk enquired why the magistrates at Wallsend had bound her over for 12 months under probation. Detective Sweeney said that the mother and the solicitor representing her promised to put her into a home. Mrs Duffy said that Father Turner had promised to look after her and put her into a home for feeble-minded at Carlisle and an arrangement was made that she would go into the Harton Workhouse in the meanwhile. The girl, however, objected to going to the workhouse and wanted to go home. The case was remanded for a day.”

The Shields Daily News for 17 December 1914 reports:


The remanded charge against Jane Agnes Duffy (19), Westcott Terrace, South Shields of stealing a gold brooch, a keeper ring and a blouse, valued in all at £1 12s 6d, the property of Barbara Cunningham, Trevor Terrace, North Shields, came up for hearing this morning.

The case has several times been adjourned in order that a place should be found for the girl in a home. The Bench on one occasion expressed their opinion that they did not think she had been properly looked after at home. This morning, the Bench, after due consideration of the case and circumstances, decided to bind the girl over for twelve months in the mother’s surety of 40s, to be of good behaviour.”

These images are taken from an album of photographs of prisoners brought before the North Shields Police Court between 1902 and 1916 (TWAM ref. DX1388/1). This set is our selection of the best mugshots taken during the First World War. They have been chosen because of the sharpness and general quality of the images. The album doesn’t record the details of each prisoner’s crimes, just their names and dates of arrest.

In order to discover the stories behind the mugshots, staff from Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums visited North Shields Local Studies Library where they carefully searched through microfilm copies of the ‘Shields Daily News’ looking for newspaper reports of the court cases. The newspaper reports have been transcribed and added below each mugshot.

Combining these two separate records gives us a fascinating insight into life on the Home Front during the First World War. These images document the lives of people of different ages and backgrounds, both civilians and soldiers. Our purpose here is not to judge them but simply to reflect the realities of their time.

(Copyright) We're happy for you to share this digital image within the spirit of The Commons. Please cite 'Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums' when reusing. Certain restrictions on high quality reproductions and commercial use of the original physical version apply though; if you're unsure please email [email protected].


Owner: Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums
Source: Flickr Commons
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    optimal chicken

    • 27/Oct/2015 12:48:52

    Very interesting. 'Feeble minded' though - certainly something not said these days! I've noticed how almost every case has someone wanting lodgings and then taking things without consent. I wonder if this was how the majority of criminals committed crimes back then?