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NOTTS. LANDMARK DESTROYED

BY SUNDAY PEDESTRIAN'S WANTON ACT.

PLUMTREE MILL GUTTED.

How a Nottinghamshire landmark was totally destroyed by fire by the wanton act of a Sunday morning pedestrian was related to Mr. F. Whyatt and other magistrates at Nottingham Shire Hall to-day, when Charles Edward Savidge, 24, card puncher, of Victoria-cottages, Station-road, Ruddington, was charged with maliciously setting fire to an old windmill at Plumtree on April 26th.

Charles Sweet, coachman to Mrs. Burnside, of Tollerton Hall, said the mill, his mistress's property, had not, been used for many years, but was quite an ornament to the village.

Harold Hirst, labourer, of Plumtree, said that on Sunday afternoon he saw two people in the mill. One was at the top, throwing boards off the roof. One of the two men who came out and went in the direction of Ruddington was the prisoner. Soon afterwards witness saw the mill was on fire.

Detective-sergeant Hames said he took Savidge to the police-station, where he was picked out by Hirst from amongst five other men. Prisoner said he should like to speak to witness privately a minute, and he would tell him all about it. He said, “I went into the mill. My dog followed me. I lit some paper that was there, broke off some loose boards, and threw them on the burning paper, and it flared up in a second. I went out of the mill and went on the road to my pals, and we all went home.”

Mr. R. A. Young, for Savidge, declared that through the stupidity and carelessness of his client, this well-known old mill had been destroyed. Savidge had got in with a set companions apparently of the Sunday morning lounger variety, and they went a walk and had some drink. In a spirit of idle mischief they entered the mill. When they came out Savidge remembered that a man named Brown was still in. He went back for Brown, and while there lit a cigarette and threw the match down. The old derelict contained litter of the bird's nest variety, which flared up. Savidge made efforts to stamp the fire out, but finding he could not, went home. Mr. Young suggested that this did not amount to wilful damage within the meaning of the section the Malicious Damage of Property Act, but was an accident through drink, devilment, and bad companions.

In the witness-box, Savidge denied making the statement attributed to him by the police.

He was given an excellent character.

The Chairman (Mr. F. Whyatt) said the very facts of part of the roof being taken away and used to fire the mill, and that Savidge went away in the way he did, all went to prove that the act was a wilful one.  He would have to pay three guineas, or 21 days in default. "If you had been a man of means," added the chairman, "'possibly we should have put a considerable amount on for the damage."


from Nottingham Evening Post; 29 April 1914

 

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