Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Working for the Shakedown - Prostitution in Christchurch - 1888

Star , Issue 6178, 5 March 1888, Page 2


"This Day. At the R.M. Court to-day, before Messrs R. Westenra and J. V. Ross; J.P.'s:

George Hall, Phoebe Chadwick alias Codlin, and Jane Brown, were charged with stealing the sum of £3 5s from the person of Denis Reardon, in Hawdon
[sic - "Whore Den"] street, Sydenham on March 2. The accused elected to be tried by this Court, and pleaded " Not Guilty."

Denis Reardon said he came into town with over £4 in his pocket. He met Brown near the Palace Hotel. Went with her to her house. He had by this time reduced his funds by drinks to
£3 5s.

At twelve o'clock he woke up, and found that all his money was gone. Heard Codlin say that that wretch (Brown) had ""gone through" that man. She also said that Brown had the money in her stocking. This she denied.

Was willing to have taken half the money, and went down to another house with her to see if the half of it could be procured; but she would not give him "not a cent," and he gave the matter over to the detective. There was not another soul in the house, but these three and himself at the time.

Codlin, Brown and Hall cross-examined the witness with the usual volubility of the "you're another "-ing style those people usually adopt. Brown asserted that all tbe money had been given to her by Reardon.

Detective R. Neil said he had gone to the house those people occupied and arrested the prisoners. He found 13s 9d on Brown, and £1 6s on Codlin.

Asked Brown to take off her boots and stockings to see if she had any money there, but she hadn't. Brown said that Hall and the woman Codlin had stolen the money. Hall had lived on the woman Codlin for two years.

Constable Duggan said he had known Codlin to be a prostitute for a long time, and Hall had been living on her. He did no work, and had often been in gaol. Hall said he was a dealer and attended sales, buying "little things" and selling them again to make a shilling or two. He was willing to work, but could find none.

Codlin said Reardon had given her 4s 6d to buy drink, which she had done, and Constable Duggan saw her carrying it. Brown said she had nothing to say beyond what she had already said.

Detective R. Neil reckoned the whole lot up in one act. Hall was a worthless pennyworth who lived on Codlin's prostitution. Codlin was one of the lowest characters - so was Brown, and a thief to boot. The Bench said they were all a downright bad lot, and would get two months' hard labour each — "the whole blessed lot of them." "

Phoebe Chadwick, aka Codlin, was a long time prostitute and brothel keeper in Christchurch. Her name features in the Magisterial columns of the Christchurch newspapers between 1868 to 1888, at least, for convictions for drunkeness, public disorderliness, larceny, and keeping a brothel.

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