This week 60 years ago: Canonbury man stole Bible so he could study it

Islington Gazette: November 29, 1957

Islington Gazette: November 29, 1957 - Credit: Archant

A magistrate got into a row in court with a Canonbury man who stole a Bible.

Clerkenwell Magistrates’ Court heard 50-year-old porter Thomas McGrail, of Pleasant Place, nicked the Bible from Dillons University Bookshop.

Magistrate Frank Powell asked: “Why did you do it?”

McGrail: “I was going to study and read the Bible.”

Mr Powell: “It says in the book, among other things, ‘thou shalt not steal’. What was in the back of your mind?”


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McGrail: “Temptation. I thought I could get away with it.”

Mr Powell: “I cannot imagine anyone who wants to study the Bible stealing it.”

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McGrail: “I think it’s the greatest book in the world. If everyone read a chapter of the gospels every day, it would help them.”

Mr Powell: “But what’s the use of all that study if you steal? Is this man right in the head? I give up. The workings of the human mind in some cases are past my understanding.”

He fined McGrail £5.

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