Jean Helen Taylor McNaught would certainly have remembered 1932 as being a bad year. The probationary Glasgow Nurse was living and working in Blantyre at the Cottage Hospital on Bardykes Road. At the end of March 1932, she appeared in court where she pled guilty to stealing 3 shillings from a boy patient’s wallet and also to the theft of the matron’s pocket watch.
The case continued for a week, for the Fiscal could not understand how a woman could steal from a young boy and wished that the nurse was medically examined, presumably for any sort of mental illness.
The nine year old boy was a patient in the Blantyre hospital and had gathered up 3 shillings in small pennies from his various visitors. With so many friends bringing him small change, he eventually had enough that his father decided to buy him a purse/wallet to keep them in, which was held in his bedside locker.
On the pretence she was going into the locker for a library book, the accused nurse deliberately took the wallet with the intention of keeping the contents for herself. Suspicion fell upon her as she had been the only person witnessed going into the locker.
The hullaballoo passed over , but surfaced again a month later when the matron noticed her pocket watch was missing. The day after, the accused nurse failed to turn up to work, which was unusual and the police were called.
Police officers went to Glasgow and turned up at the door of the accused nurse who appeared to be in fine health. She told the officers she had quit, but under pressure from questions, eventually admitted she had pawned the watch that morning. When the officers inspected her house, they found the boy’s wallet.
The Fiscal concluded, “This woman is a menace to the community as she is ‘tarry-fingered.’ It is not the first time she has been before a court. She has abused the chances given to her. Her father is a very respectable man and this is the cross he has to bear.” The medical examiner concluded there was nothing wrong with the girl, either physically or in state of mind and with a prison sentence imposed of one month and termination of her employment, the young nurse, left the dock in tears.
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