Saturday, 12 November 2011

'Besieged' by admirers

One of the things that came up again and again during the various ‘trials’ of Beatrice Pace -- the inquest, her appearance at the magistrates' court, the trial at the assizes -- was the fascination that not only she but also her children held for the public. This became something of a public order problem during the trial in Gloucester, as these excerpts from the Daily Mirror suggest.

The first:

When the police attempted to smuggle Mrs. Pace out of a back exit she was surrounded by hundreds of cheering people, and it was with difficulty that her taxi was able to move off. Later an hotel to which the Pace children had been taken was besieged, and the crowd would not disperse till the children had shown themselves. An attempt to mob the car was foiled by the mounted police. [...]

As the Pace children, Doris, Leslie and the little boy known as Kenny, were taken to an hotel for tea they were followed by a large crowd which waited outside. The place was besieged, and on several occasions people forced an entrance. At last, to satisfy their curiosity, Doris and her brothers went out to the entrance and showed themselves to the people, who cheered them loudly. Doris was carrying a doll which had been presented to her by sympathisers.[...]

Visitors have thronged Gloucester from all parts of the country in the hope of hearing Mrs. Pace tried, and the hotels are full. 
 ‘Pace Children Besieged in Gloucester Hotel’, Daily Mirror, 3 July 28, p. 3

The second:

Doris, the pretty little daughter of the accused woman, was again the centre of attraction after her mother had been taken to the prison. The hotel where she has her meals was besieged by thousands of people. There was a demonstration against the police, whose task was one of great difficulty.

The superintendent of the mounted police, in trying to clear the pavements, was almost thrown from his horse, and even the tactful efforts of the constables on foot aroused much resentment. So difficult was the situation that the superintendent appealed to the hotel proprietor to keep the girl out of sight as much as possible and to get her away quickly.

Doris herself is blissfully unconscious of the seriousness of the situation, and regards the whole thing as a great adventure. “I think it is very funny,” she said. “I am enjoying myself very much, and everyone is so kind to me.”’  
 ‘Heart Attack of Woman Juror at Pace Trial’, Daily Mirror, 5 July 1928, p. 2

And, yes, as the title of the second report suggests, and as if the near riot outside the courtroom wasn't exciting enough, one of the 'elderly' women on the jury had a heart attack.

No shortage of drama here.

And we will be hearing more about little Doris (Beatrice's youngest daughter) and her dolls.

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