24th November 1892

Men receive five-year sentence for stealing apples and jam

Three men – Michael Dumphy, and John and Philip Blampied – were caught red handed when stealing a long list of useful items from St Helier’s Jean Lasbleiz. The Jersey Weekly Press and Independent detailed the mens’ haul when they stood trial on 7 January the following year. It included “a hat, three overcoats, two pairs of trousers, a waistcoat, four bed sheets, a dress and a woollen vest, four towels, several handkerchiefs, a child’s shirt, two shirts, two table cloths, a cap, a bed quilt or cover, two forks, a quantity of preserves, a quantity of apples, and a lamp”.

It almost sounded like the men were setting up home. Whatever they were doing, though, they were sufficiently sloppy about it for the prosecution to manage to find fourteen witnesses to testify against them. Some had seen the men passing with bundles of clothes, while others had unwittingly bought some of the stolen goods.

A spirited defence

The defence argued that nobody could really say that the men had broken into Lasbliez’s house since nobody had seen them there. The stolen jam was factory-made on the mainland, so was impossible to identify, and the fact that one of the men had lost a button from his coat, which matched the one found in the Lasbliez house, was far from damning evidence.

Unfortunately for them, their defence didn’t convince anyone. The jury retired for less than ten minutes and passed a unanimous verdict of guilty. John and Philip Blampied were sentenced to five years’ penal servitude. Michael Dumphy, who was already out of prison on licence, received the same, but would first be sent back to prison to serve the remainder of the unspent sentence from which he had earlier been released, and only then begin the five years’ penal servitude.


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