Norwich – Drunken Dash and Daring

This news story is from 1860, when a robbery took place on White Lion Street in Norwich.

“William Marsham, on bail, was charged with stealing a coat, the property of Mr. George Womack, clothier, White Lion Street. Mr C. Cooper, who prosecuted, said the intent with which the prisoner took the coat did not seem to be a felonious one, and, therefore, with the Recorder’s permission, he should not offer any evidence. The Recorder, addressing the prisoner, said he entirely believed the statement the prisoner made to the policeman, that he had never known a happy moment since he took this coat, and he entirely believed that the prisoner had no felonious intention. That was evident from his going to the shop and putting the coat on before the eyes of all the shopmen. It was a case of drunken dash and daring, and he hoped the prisoner, having placed himself in such jeopardy by his intemperance would be wiser for the future, and abandon a vice which to young men in his position was often the first step to theft. The prisoner was then discharged”.

I can’t tell whether it was the father or son George Womack, but the former died in 1860 at the age of 72, whilst the son died in the Thorpe Rail Disaster of 1874, a tragedy where 15 people were killed. William Marsham was lodging at a property in Porter’s Square in Norwich a year later, working as a bricklayer, but I can’t work out where he went after 1861.

But, I do like the pragmatism of the Norwich courts at the time, as well as the phrase “drunken dash and daring”.