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Now the name Pearsall, is a well known and respected one throughout both Stourbridge and Lye. There are of course exceptions to the rule, and Bernard Pearsall, a 25 year old out of work Hotel Chef, is most certainly one of them. What he managed to do in roughly ten minutes, astounded a lot of folk
Bernard Pearsall, left his home in Hall Street, Oldswinford on the evening of the 16th February,1950, armed with a revolver, and a great deal of malice in his heart. He had formulated a plan to enrich himself at the expense of a wealthy local businessman, one Hedley Cyril Wooldridge, a prominant and well respected Draper in Stourbridge. Knowing something of the Drapers habits, he made his way to the large house the family lived in, on Redlake Road, Pedmore, and waited in the shadows for their return from a night out. Cyril, his wife Jessie, and his mother, Kate, arrived back home about 11 pm, and they had only just entered the house, the two ladies going immediatly upstairs, when Pearsall, with the door still ajar, forced his way in, brandishing the revolver. Mr Wooldridge, on being asked for money, dug out about a £1 in change, and handed it to the robber, who took his eye somewhat off the game, and sizing the chance, Wooldridge jumped on him. A fierce struggle began, The Cook, Miss Martha Elwell, hearing the commotion, joined in the fight, only to get knocked down by Pearsall. The two men now continued the struggle back into the hallway, where once again, the redoutable Miss Elwell, a sprightly lady of 62, took an unbrella and proceeded to knock 9 bells out of Pearsall. She was again knocked down, and this time she managed to make a phone call, she dialed 999. Returning to the action again, she was knocked down for a third time, as was Hedley Wooldrige, who had a heavy Silver Salva smashed into his head. rendering him insensible, badly cutting him. ( In fact, the blow had fractured his skull ) Pearsall now ordered both the Mrs Wooldridges to hand over their jewels, and he demanded at least a £100, which he believed was concealed in the house. Miss Elwell had taken the opportunity to make another phone call, this time to summon help from the local medical man, Doctor Dudley, who lived nearby. Seeing what she was doing, Pearsall demanded the phone and shouted down it that every thing was now fine, and then assaulted Miss Elwell again, punching her in the face. The Doctor arrived before the Police, didn't really know what was going on, and bent down to attend to Hedley Wooldridge. For his pains, he savagely beaten about the head with a heavy ornament, leaving him covered in blood. ( He also now had a fractured skull ) Left on the floor by Pearsall, he managed to hide himself in a cupboard. Pearsalls haul amounted to 2 rings from Kate Wooldridge, ( value £22 ) 2 rings from Evelyn, a Pearl Necklace, and a Brooch. ( value £120 ) When the Police finally arrived, they found a scene resembling the explosion of a small bomb, and a blood soaked Doctor locked in a cupboard. It could have much worse, for it was obvious that the weapon Pearsall had with him wasn't loaded, in fact it was broken, but the brave Mr Wooldridge, and Martha Elwell, didn't know that.
The Court, at Worcester, was packed when they bought up Bernard Pearsall. If he was expecting a lenient sentence he was to be sorely disappointed. He was of course found guilty of assault, robbery with violence, possesion of a revolver, and the theft of the Jewellry. Fixing him with a look of utter contempt, the Judge delivered the sentence; you will go to prison for 14 years. Sometime later, for her valiant efforts, Miss Martha Elwell was awarded The British Empire Medal for her bravery, and a generous pension from Mr Wooldridge. I don't think anyone cared what happened to Pearsall.
A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day. ( See my Blog entry )
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