HC Deb 18 February 1869 vol 194 cc111-2

said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been called to a letter in The Times Newspaper, signed W. Williams, and dated 19, Broad Street, Bloomsbury, in which it is stated that a girl under fourteen years of age has been taken away from, the Girls' Refuge at Ealing by the Sheriff's Officers for a supposed debt of £53 11s. 2d., and conveyed to Whitecross Prison; and, whether there was any truth in the alleged statement? He would further ask whether the right hon. Gentlemen was prepared, in case the story were true, to take any, and if so, what, steps in relation to the matter?


replied, that his attention had only been called to the statement by reading that morning the Question placed on the Paper by the hon. Baronet. Since that time he had made all the inquiries which were possible, and had ascertained that not only was one young girl of thirteen taken by the Sheriff's officers to Whitecross Prison, but that two sisters, aged fourteen and seventeen, were imprisoned at the same time for costs incurred in an action at law. It was supposed that the committals had been made by a Judge under some mistake. He had given instructions that further inquiries should be made, and if the hon. Baronet would repeat his Question on another day he hoped to be able to give him a fuller and more complete Answer.