A Persistent Victorian Stalker
Edward Jones’s court appearance was packed with journalists and curiosity seekers. The kid was a lovable tramp, and the fact that he had lived undetected in Buckingham Palace for so long testified to his intelligence. He was tried for theft and trespass, but after a trial filled with laughter and incredulity, the jury found him not guilty. The police congratulated him and wished him well – and that he would put his undoubted talents to better use. Boy Jones thanked them, and left. Two years later, on December 3rd, 1840, shortly after Queen Victoria had given birth to her first child, Edward Jones was found beneath a sofa in a room next to Her Majesty’s boudoir. Whatever the public’s perception of Boy Jones as a lovable tramp, Queen Victoria was not amused.
As Her Majesty put it: “Supposing he had come into the Bedroom, how frightened I should have been!” He was rearrested, retried, and got three months’ probation. Soon thereafter, he was arrested again, trying to break into the palace. This time, he got three months hard labor. The authorities were stumped. Jones’ crimes were not felonies, so a lengthy stint behind bars was not an option. After he was arrested for a fourth, and then a fifth time, when caught loitering near Buckingham Palace, they finally shipped him to Brazil. There, he was kept in an offshore prison ship for six years. He returned to Britain, and was deported to Australia, but snuck back to London. Jones finally returned to Australia, where he became Perth’s town crier. He died in 1893, after falling off a bridge while drunk.