The Cheshire Police were on Monday engaged investigating the antecedents of a man who gives the name of William Moody, and who was arrested on Saturday, charged with burglariously entering the premises of Mr. Peter Davies, known as the “Pioneer” Stores, [Brighton Street] Seacombe. Mrs. Davies saw the man enter her bed-room, and screamed out, awakening her husband, who leaped out of bed and seized the burglar. An investigation revealed that the prisoner had poisoned the watch-dog and secured some valuable property, including £30 actually taken from Mr. Davies pockets. He was furnished with a complete set of housebreaking implements.
Now comes the remarkable part of the story. The police, continuing their investigation, discovered the prisoner was occupying a luxuriantly-fitted yacht now at anchor at Tranmere. There valued property, including dressing-cases, jewellery, and articles of vertu, which it is believed are proceeds of previous burglarious raids. One curious find was a South Eastern Railway Company’s dividend for £41, payable to Joseph Beaumont Stockwell. The prisoner, it appears, bought the yacht from a Cheshire gentleman a short time back for a considerable sum of money.
The purchase of the yacht was an adroit move by which he calculated confidently on eluding the police, for when the chase became inconveniently close it was easy to avoid it by retiring to the snug berth which he had thoughtfully provided for himself in the vessel, and then, lifting the anchor, proceeding to sea.
The fellow, who is of slender build and dressed in the garb of a sailor, has been remanded formally by the Cheshire magistrates until Friday.
Berrow’s Worcester Journal
Saturday, July 30, 1887
A Burglar With A Yacht
At the Chester Assizes, on Tuesday, William Moody (20) was indicted on three separate charges of burglary. Prisoner pleaded guilty to one – namely, to burglariously entering the dwelling house of Mr. Davies, of Seacombe, and stealing £28. He pleaded guilty to charges of burglary at Knutsford and Blackley. Prisoner had bought yacht at Birkenhead, which was floating in the Mersey, and when he was captured on a charge of entering Mr. Davies’s premises, the police found a number of valuable articles on board. One of the articles recovered was a railway’s dividend warrant, payable to Mr. Stockwell, of Blackley, and the prosecution alleged that when he entered that gentleman’s residence he also stole a lady’s gold watch and chain, two gold brooches, and several other articles of value. It was decided, however, to convict upon the count to which prisoner had pleaded guilty, and not go into the other charges. The Judge, in passing sentences, referred to the prisoner’s extraordinary career of crime, remarking that that he had been found guilty of the same sort of thing many times before. In 1884 he received a long sentence for burglary, and after serving it committed another burglary. In 1886 he had another sentence, again for burglary, and, after serving another sentence, commenced the same thing again. Society must be protected against this sort of thing, and he must have a long period in which to reflect upon what a wicked fellow and what a fool he had been. It was no longer a question for a few months; it had now come to years. The sentence must now be five years’ penal servitude.