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1927, Thomas Leslie Skewes - Unfit For Publication
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    [Unfortunately newspaper reports could not be located for Thomas Leslie Skewes’ indecent exposure trial during January 1927. However, a gaol photograph for that conviction is available.]


The Canberra Times, Tue 5 Jul 1927 1

In Queanbeyan Stores

    Pillow slips, knitted frocks, flannel frocks, knitted jumpers, woollen jumpers, a man’s overcoat, a pair of braces, and a string of sausages—all these attracted his attention of Thomas Leslie Skewes 2 during his brief visit to Queanbeyan on June 25, with the result that he was convicted at the Police Court on Friday on two charges of thieving goods from Queanbeyan stores.

    On January 21, at Paddington Police Court, Skewes was sentenced to six months in Goulburn Gaol, but was later allowed to leave the gaol on license provided he remained within the limits of the County of Cumberland. At the same time as he faced the two stealing charges a charge of breaking this provision was also preferred against him. On this charge he was convicted and sent back to Goulburn to serve the unexpired portion of his sentence.

    The goods alleged to have been stolon by accused totalled in value nearly £13. In evidence, the police said he took a tweed overcoat, valued at £2/12/-, from Hayes and Russell’s store. He then talked across the street to Money Savers Ltd., and burdened himself with lady’s knitted frock, a child’s knitted frock, three maids’ flannel frocks, a lady’s knitted jumper, one woollen jumper, three pillow slips and a pair of braces, to a total value of £9.

    Unfortunately for Skewes, his tour of the shop was watched by William E Woodcock, manager of Money savers Lid., and when he left the establishment Mr Woodcock set out in pursuit. Following him along Monaro-street, Mr Woodcock overtook and seized him in Lowe-street behind the Queanbeyan Garage, whereupon Skewes dived under a stationary motor car. The police were communicated with, and Mr Woodcock stood by until Constable McNeely arrived.

    In evidence, the constable said defendant appeared to be drunk when he arrested him, but he was of opinion that defendant purposely exaggerated his condition.

    Skewes told the court he was a hotel manager, residing at Union-street, Paddington. He left Sydney on June 24 to visit Canberra. Returning from Canberra to Queanbeyan the following afternoon, he imbibed freely. On one occasion, when, in company with several other convivial spirits, he was drinking out of a bottle in the street, he was moved on by the police. The bottle was finished in the seclusion of an adjacent butcher’s shop, and, upon emerging into the street again, he was surprised he said, to find a string of sausages in his pocket. He threw these away, but of the subsequent events he most clearly remembered was a crawling excursion behind some motor cars. He had a faint recollection of a visit, to Moneysavers Ltd., but otherwise his mind was blank. Earlier in the day his braces had broken, and it was probably with the intention of purchasing a new pair that he visited Moneysavers.

    The Police Magistrate (Mr WJ Forrest) would accept no excuses, however and imposed a fine of £5; in default, two months’ hard labor, in respect of the larger theft; and a further fine of £3; in default, one month’s hard labor, for the theft from Hayes and Russell, Ltd.


1     The Canberra Times, (ACT), Tue 5 Jul 1927, p. 1. Emphasis added.

2     There is a gaol photograph for Thomas Leslie Skewes’ indecent exposure January 1927 trial available at: SRNSW: NRS2467, [3/6118], State Penitentiary photographic description book, 19 Nov 1926-5 May 1927, No. 22024, p. 96.