|MAZE HILL Pre May 2018
|Prop. Ref. No.
Crabtree House was a holiday home for mothers and babies run by the Women's Holiday Fund situated in Archery Road . It was also known as the Holiday Home for London Women with the matron in 1956 being Mrs H. McCulloch. Demolished in 1972, a block of flats now occupies the site.
Bloodstains were discovered on the doorstep of the home on the 19th December 1931, together with a broken window latch. The home at the time had been closed for the winter and the caretakers had gone out briefly between 2.45 and 4.30pm, returning to find the blood and a broken window by the front door. Police were called and upon exploring the property found ransacked rooms. Following inquiries in the neighbourhood, the police went to a lodging house in Wellington Court in the Old Town later the same afternoon. There they found Thomas and Daisy Peppiatt aged 52 and 40 respectively. Tellingly, Thomas had a bandaged hand. When notified that he was under arrest, he became violent and was taken to the Bourne Street police station, the police going back to arrest Daisy. Once the couple had been detained, a search of the lodgings found the stolen property, less a clock, some face-cream and a few other items. A search of Daisy by a WPC later revealed a missing nail file, face cream and some beads. When charged the male denied knowledge of where Crabtree House was located and the female requested the list of stolen property be re-read to her. The couple were remanded into custody until the 3rd of January by the magistrates on the 20th of December - one of the couple claiming not to remember whether they had been drunk at the time of the burglary. At the Quarter-Sessions, Daisy claimed to be drunk; both parties pleading guilty to the charge, however a chauffeur who had seen them near the scene of the crime gave evidence that neither party appeared to be under the influence. None of the Peppiatts said much about their past, or involvement with the crime, however Detective Church who had investigated the crime stated that Thomas had served in the First World War and had previous convictions for drunkeness, begging and larceny. Daisy had a similarly long record including theft, indecent behaviour and had been convicted under a number of aliases. Thomas said that Daisy did as she was told and the cause of the mis-behaviour was drink. This was not accepted by the Recorder who sentenced both to eight years and six months of imprisonment with hard labour.
References & Notes
- Kelly's 1956 Directory
- British Newspaper Archive Hastings & St. Leonards Observer 26 December 1931 Pg. 0008
- British Newspaper Archive Hastings & St. Leonards Observer 30 January 1932 Pg. 0006