Mr ‘Pooter’ is burgled and a policeman is stabbed


Police constable Tappindin (123Y) was on duty in a field in North London in the early morning of the 12 April 1870. Looking up at  Whitley Villas he saw a man leaving one of the houses in a suspicious manner and he set off to intercept him. The individual noticed the policeman and fled into a nearby empty house with constable Tappindin in hot pursuit. The two grappled and, having been obliged to hit several times with a staff, the copper finally secured the burglar.

On the way back to the station at Caledonian Road the man managed to stab the constable in the arm and effect an escape. However, the burglar (Thomas Haw) was later re-arrested and charged with a series of crimes at Kingsland Road Police Station.

When he appeared in court Haw was charged with burglary and wounding. The house he had raided in Whitely Villas belonged to Thomas Waddle, a collector from the Inland Revenue. Waddle told the court that before 11 he had made a check on all the windows and doors in his home to make sure they were secured. He was awakened at 4 by the police and  discovered that the scullery window was now open and a number of his possessions were missing. As  member of the emerging middle class Mr Waddle seems almost to be a model for Charles Pooter but sadly the robbery predates him so the journalist is not able to offer us any amusing asides.

PC Tappindin was the real victim here. He didn’t return to work for a month and for the Victorian reading public, obsessed as they were with the dangers posed by the ‘criminal class’ this would have been a disturbing read. As for Thomas Haw he was remanded in custody  so that several others burglaries could be investigated to see if was responsible for any of them too. He doesn’t appear (under that name at least) in the Old Bailey but I imagine he spent a considerable time in one of Her Majesty’s prisons.

[From Reynolds’s Newspaper, Sunday, June 26, 1870]

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