Alleged Indecent Behaviour of Elderly Skegness Sign writer
SENTENCED FOR THREE MONTHS
Magistrates and Interests of Young Children
The alleged indecent behaviour of a man of over 60 years of age with a 13-year-old Skegness schoolgirl occupied the attention of the Skegness magistrates for over an hour yesterday (Tuesday).
They considered the case proved and sentenced the accused, John Francis Reynolds, sign writer, of Prince George Street Skegness, to three months imprisonment on two charges.
The Court was cleared for the hearing of the case.
The 13-year-old child said she had known accused for three years and used to receive pennies for running errands for papers and tobacco, and taking signs from his workshop in Prince George Street. She met him once by arrangement at the Ship Hotel corner and had been twice a week to his workshop by herself since Xmas.
On one occasion he interfered with her underclothing and indecently assaulted her, and the same thing happened every time. She told some girls what had happened and also her mother. She said nothing before because she was frightened of accused who said it would get them both into trouble. Something she had written on a piece of paper was found by a boy and came into the hands of her teacher.
The child’s mother spoke to accused’s visiting their house in connection with what had been said and saying that they were all likely to get into trouble.
“IT’S A PACK OF LIES !”
Detective-Sergeant Hodson said he received a complaint on February 21st about accused’s conduct.
At a later date he visited Reynolds’ workshop where he told him he had a warrant for his arrest. Reynolds replied “Good God, what for?” When he read the warrant over Reynolds replied “Of course, it’s a pack of lies. She’s been put up to this. It’s a devil. I saw her mother and father and told them she was not to come unless her brother came with her.”
Witness then noticed the bill heads produced, and when be asked Reynolds where they came from he said the girl had cut them off because she wanted some paper to “sum” on.
On the way to the police station accused asked for the girl to be medically examined, and added “I thought something was up. I saw the boy and girl together and they looked a bit downy. I had to tell her about swearing.”
Insp. Harvey: Did he at any time deny the offences with which you charged him?—No, sir.
Accused did not cross-examine the detective.
Accused elected not to give evidence on oath. He said the girl’s evidence was not true. He had tried to keep her away. He had never done anything wrong and never suspected anything of that sort, having daughters of his own. One night he met the girl and her elder sister out at one o’clock in the morning. They said they had been out on the front looking for chaps and would have to get in home through the window.
The elder girl had been a bad influence on her sister. He denied assaulting the young girl in any way.
Insp. Harvey said accused was a married man living in a caravan apart from his wife. There was nothing previously known against his character.
The Chairman (Mr. G. H. J. Dutton) said the case had given the Bench considerable anxiety. In the interests of young children they could do no less than send accused to prison for three months.