30 October 1888
A FOOLISH FREAK
Charles Edward Randall, 17, a clerk, was charged before the Lord Mayor with extinguishing a public lamp in Black raven avenue, in Upper Thames street. About six o'clock on Saturday evening a man named Hart, in the employment of the City of London Brewery Company, whose premises are close by, saw the light in question put out, and caught the defendant as he was going away. A detective came up at the same time and took him into custody. The light had been repeatedly extinguished during the last moth, and the access to five houses was placed in total darkness when it was put out. There had also been some sensational writing on a neighbouring wall, and consequent upon recent events in the East end the utmost terror had prevailed among the inhabitants. The defendant, who was a clerk at a warehouse in the neighbourhood, had been previously seen to extinguish the lamp with an umbrella, but he was not then caught. When before the court he pleaded that he did not think he was doing any harm. The Lord Mayor said if persons like the defendant indulged in that kind of practical joking they must pay for it. The defendant had no doubt done it by way of a senseless joke, to create a panic in the neighbourhood, and he must be fined 10s. If any more cases of the kind came before the Court the maximum penalty of 40s would be imposed.
Clerks must have their jokes apparently, and there is reason to suspect that the Whitechapel murders may have prompted them to the making of some grim ones lately. The Lord Mayor, however, has widely laid it down that if stupid practical jokes are inevitable so should be their punishment. It had pleased a warehouse clerk, who came before him yesterday, to extinguish a lamp and so darken the access to houses in Upper Thames street at a time when all East end people are specially sensitive as to the necessity for abundant light. The responsibility for some sensational writing on a neighbouring wall was not brought home to the same practical joker, but the public were none the less alarmed at the conjunction of these two occurrences. The clerk paid cheaply for his amusement with a ten shilling fine. Persons desirous of following his example are warned by the Lord Mayor that the price in future will be £2.
A young man named Hall, a labourer, was walking along White Hart lane, Bethnal Green, about midnight, when he was attacked by a man unknown, who, after knocking him down, stabbed him in the throat. Hall was removed to the London Hospital in an unconscious state. His assailant has not been arrested.