Threats Against The Prince

Posted: September 14, 2009 in Chief Inspector John George Littlechild
The Threats against the Prince of Wales.
Before Mr. Vaughan, at Bow street police court, John Magee, of 9, Austral street, St. George’s road, Southwark, described as a photographer, and Sarah Mary Frances Magee, of the same address, and wife of the male prisoner, were brought up in custody of Chief Inspector Littlechild charged with attempting to extort money from the Prince of Wales by menaces.
produced two letters received by the Prince of Wales, but did not read them. He said: – In consequence of these letters having been received, certain steps were taken by the police. The date of the first letter is Dec. 5, and the second Dec. 13, 1885. An appointment made in one of those letters was kept by a woman. The statement in one letter was that she would be accosted by another woman, who would give a password. The password was "God save the Prince." The time was six o’clock last evening, and the place Brook Street, Kennington. The person keeping the appointment was to bring 750 pounds. A woman connected with the police kept the appointment. No woman came to her at six o’clock, but subsequently I saw both the prisoners at the appointed place, but at the opposite side of the roadway.
They came on the spot two or three times in succession within a quarter of an hour. The man next appeared alone with a different hat. Owing to these suspicious movements he was arrested. He gave the name of John Magee, of 9, Austral street, West square, Southwark. I told him he would be detained on account of his suspicious movements. He told me he had only taken his wife out, as she was ill. He was taken to Kennington road station. After he was arrested I went to the address he gave. I saw the female prisoner there. She said she was Mrs. Magee. I asked to speak privately with her. I went to her room, a back one on the third floor. I told her I was an officer of police, and asked her what she had been doing that night in Kennington road. She said her husband had taken her out to walk, as she had not been very well, and that she had no other object in being there. I said, "I think you were there last Thursday night about the same time, and received a parcel from a female." She said, "No, I was not. I believe on that evening I was at home ill in bed." She said, "Why do you want to know all this? Wait till my husband comes home." I said, "At present your husband is detained, and I will see what you have in the room here. It will save you trouble if you show me your husband’s handwriting." She said, "There is none in the room." I searched the room, and among other documents I found this pocket-book (produced), two Standard newspapers, and a letter. I have
in the pocket-book with the letters. There was an entry headed "Final Instructions," dated October, 1885, in the pocket-book. The handwriting corresponds with that of the writer of the letters to the Prince of Wales. Having found these things I said to the female prisoner, "You know all about what I am here for," and pointed to an advertisement which appeared in The Standard of Dec. 10. She put her hands to her head, and said, "Oh, what shall I do?" I said, "I think you had better tell me what you know." She said, "Oh, let my husband tell you." I said I thought it would be better for her to tell me. She said, "I can’t. If I do he will kill me." In a moment she said, "If I tell you all, will you lock me up?" I said, "I can’t say that. I’ll leave it to your own judgment what you should do." She then made a statement, and I took down what she said. It was to the effect that on the evening of the 10th inst. she went to Kennington road. Her husband had told her to fetch a bag from the "agent," who would be at the corner of Brook street, and received a parcel from her. This parcel she gave to her husband, who threw it into the river. She knew the bag contained farthings. Yesterday morning her husband told her to fetch the Standard, and she did so. He told her also to be ready by six o’clock that evening. They went out and walked about the Kennington road. He then told her to go home, as he wanted to watch somebody. He did not say who. She was to meet the "agent" that evening. The bag she got on Thursday week was opened in their room, and she saw some farthings in it. She did not see them again. Evidence was then given as to the arrest of the male prisoner, who said he was a photographer, and had recently come from Scotland.
addressing the prisoners, said: I have read the letters in this case. It is not necessary for me to read them just now. There is a double case against you. I shall remand you till Wednesday next on the double charge of attempting to extort money from the Prince of Wales by menaces, and also of attempting to obtain money by fraud. You are remanded until Wednesday next. The Central News learns that
menacing the Prince of Wales stated that the writer was a member of a secret society, that he had been told off to assassinate the Prince of Wales, and that he wanted 750 pounds, so that he could leave this country for America, and be quit of treasonable conspiracies for ever. When the police made the first appointment with the prisoners, they handed them a packet containing farthings.
Source: Star, Issue 5548, 20 February 1886, Page 3


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