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The Peculiar Case of Frederick Orlowski: A Theft at Hull Police Court in 1900 – Limerick Archives

The Peculiar Case of Frederick Orlowski: A Theft at Hull Police Court in 1900

In the annals of history, courtrooms have borne witness to a myriad of peculiar and captivating cases, each with its unique set of circumstances. The year 1900 was no exception, as Hull Police Court became the stage for an unusual episode involving theft, alcohol, and the promise of matrimony. In this article, we delve into the details of the case that unfolded at Hull Police Court in November 1900, where an alien named Frederick Orlowski stood accused of stealing a purse containing a substantial sum of money from a Limerick man named William Turner Savin. This historical account sheds light on the events of that fateful day, highlighting the legal proceedings and the consequences that followed.

The Setting

Hull, a bustling port city situated on the east coast of England, was no stranger to a variety of legal matters that found their way to the local courts. On a crisp November morning in 1900, the Hull Police Court was about to bear witness to a case that would capture the attention of both its occupants and the readers of the Lincolnshire Chronicle.

The Accused: Frederick Orlowski

The central figure in this curious incident was an individual named Frederick Orlowski. Described as an alien, Orlowski’s background and origins remain veiled in mystery, a characteristic not uncommon for immigrants during this period. Orlowski was not only a stranger to the city of Hull but also to the laws and customs of England, making his presence in the courtroom all the more intriguing.

The Complainant: William Turner Savin

The victim in this case was a Limerick man by the name of William Turner Savin, who had the unfortunate misfortune of having his purse and a significant amount of money stolen. Savin was a joiner, a skilled craftsman specializing in woodworking, and it was his hard-earned money that had vanished under suspicious circumstances.

The Night of Revelry

The chain of events leading to this courtroom drama had its origins in a night of revelry. Savin and Orlowski, along with their landlord, had spent the evening partaking in alcoholic libations. The heady combination of camaraderie and spirits often led to unexpected turns of fate, and this night was no exception.

As the evening progressed, the three men, bound by the shared indulgence of drink, grew increasingly jovial. Whether it was the warmth of the alcohol or the prospect of shared laughter, they revelled in each other’s company. Yet, this convivial atmosphere would soon give way to the stark reality of a theft that would alter the course of events dramatically.

The Disappearance of the Purse and Money

Morning light brought with it the unwelcome discovery that would set the wheels of justice into motion. Savin, likely nursing a hangover, realized that his purse, containing a substantial sum of £10 10s. in gold and 7s. 6d. in silver, had vanished. The contents of that purse represented more than just currency; they symbolized his hard work and dreams, especially on the brink of what should have been one of the most significant days of his life.

The disappearance of the money immediately cast a shadow of suspicion over the events of the previous night. Savin, perhaps nursing a hangover, was now faced with the grim reality of his predicament. He was supposed to depart for Limerick that very Saturday, where he was set to embark on a new chapter in his life – marriage. The money stolen was intended to finance this life-altering journey.

The Response: Arrest and Legal Proceedings

With the gravity of the situation weighing heavily upon him, Savin took decisive action. He reported the theft to the authorities, prompting swift action from the Hull Police. Frederick Orlowski, one of the individuals present during the night of revelry and seemingly the prime suspect, was promptly arrested.

As is customary in such cases, a search of Orlowski’s person was conducted. The search yielded a discovery that would further solidify the suspicions against him – the missing money was found in his possession. The damning evidence left little room for doubt, and Orlowski’s fate was sealed.

The Courtroom Drama

With Orlowski in custody and the stolen money recovered, the case came before the Hull Police Court, setting the stage for a courtroom drama that would captivate the public’s imagination.

The Plight of William Turner Savin

Before delving into the legal proceedings, it is crucial to recognize the plight of William Turner Savin. The timing of the theft could not have been more unfortunate for him. As mentioned earlier, he was on the brink of departing for Limerick to marry his beloved. The stolen money was not merely a sum of currency; it represented his hopes, dreams, and, most importantly, his ability to fulfil his commitment to his impending marriage.

Mr Twiss: The Stipendiary Magistrate

The legal proceedings were overseen by Mr Twiss, the Stipendiary Magistrate. In his capacity, Mr Twiss played a pivotal role in the dispensation of justice and determining the fate of Frederick Orlowski.

Savin’s Dilemma

Aware of the predicament that Savin found himself in, Mr Twiss expressed sympathy for the man. The stolen money was not only a financial loss but also threatened to shatter the plans and aspirations of a man who was on the cusp of matrimony. Mr Twiss, recognizing the urgency of the situation, agreed to expedite the legal proceedings to see if a resolution could be reached that same day.

However, while Mr Twiss displayed understanding and compassion for Savin’s plight, the financial aspect of the case remained a matter of concern. With only a few coppers left in his possession, Savin’s situation was nothing short of dire.

Orlowski’s Guilty Plea

Later in the day, the accused, Frederick Orlowski, was brought before the court. In a surprising turn of events, Orlowski pleaded guilty to the charge of theft. His admission of guilt removed any ambiguity surrounding the case and left little room for protracted legal proceedings.

The Sentencing

With the accused having admitted to the theft, the legal proceedings swiftly moved to the sentencing phase. The gravity of the offence and the circumstances surrounding it undoubtedly weighed heavily on the decision that Mr Twiss was about to make.

Frederick Orlowski, having confessed to stealing the purse containing £10 10s. in gold and 7s. 6d. in silver from William Turner Savin, was sentenced to six weeks in prison. The sentence was a clear indication of the seriousness with which the court regarded the theft. While Orlowski’s guilty plea may have influenced the length of his sentence, it did not absolve him of the consequences of his actions.

Uncertainties Surrounding Savin’s Marriage

While justice had been served in the courtroom, the outcome still left uncertainties surrounding William Turner Savin’s planned marriage. The stolen money, though recovered, had been a source of stress and turmoil for Savin. The loss and subsequent legal proceedings had cast a shadow over what should have been a joyous occasion.

As he faced the prospect of imprisonment, Frederick Orlowski’s actions not only disrupted Savin’s life but also threatened

to leave an indelible mark on the events that should have unfolded in the wake of his marriage. The stolen money, recovered but tainted, was a constant reminder of the betrayal and turmoil that had transpired.

Complex Behaviour

The case of Frederick Orlowski, the alien accused of stealing a purse containing a significant sum of money from William Turner Savin, provides a fascinating glimpse into the legal proceedings and the intricacies of justice in the year 1900. The events that unfolded at Hull Police Court on that fateful November day serve as a reminder of the impact of theft, even in the context of a seemingly ordinary night of revelry.

While justice was served with Orlowski’s conviction and sentencing, the repercussions of the theft lingered for Savin, who had found himself on the precipice of matrimony with his dreams temporarily shattered. The stolen money, recovered but tarnished, was a tangible symbol of the turmoil that had unfolded.

In retrospect, the case of Frederick Orlowski serves as a testament to the complexities of human behaviour, the consequences of one’s actions, and the role of the legal system in meting out justice. It is a historical vignette that invites contemplation on the enduring themes of morality, responsibility, and the pursuit of justice that have transcended the confines of time and place.

Lincolnshire Chronicle – Friday 23 November 1900