13th January 1902
French sailors are arrested on an extradition request
Three French sailors clearly believed they were beyond the reach of French law when they fled to Jersey in 1902, after been charged with assaulting an old woman in Normandy. They had also stolen several bottles of wine and some spirits from her home.
Alas, they were in for a nasty surprise. The French courts authorised an extradition request and the States of Jersey complied, arresting the men on the island on 13 January and sending them not to France, but Bow Street police court.
Assuming the worst
The men, apparently, didn’t know the widow’s fate, and assumed that they had done far more than just injure her, with one of them asking if they were going to be executed for what they had done. Unfortunately for them, this was more or less a confession, which is perhaps not surprising as the men had already accused each other of the crime, proving that they all had knowledge of what had happened and were almost certainly all present when it took place.
It was only by chance that the men had been arrested at all, for the French authorities weren’t sure that they were even present in Jersey.
An unexpected tip-off
A local of the town in which they had assaulted the woman had written to a relative living in Jersey to tell her what had happened. As she was unable to read, the Jersey relative had taken the letter to her local Centenier, who read its contents and, understanding their significance, contacted the French authorities.
Once the men had been arrested and sent to London, they were charged with larceny and held in custody to await their extradition.
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