16th September 1949

Missing girl, Jetta, was found on Guernsey

Seven-year-old Jetta Steed disappeared on Monday 12 September 1949. She had left her London home as usual, heading for school, and wan’t seen again until police discovered her in a St Peter Port hotel on Thursday. She was returned to her father and step mother in London on Friday the 16th.

Jetta had been with her grandmother, Beatrice Harland-Moult, and her aunt, Sybil Badderley when Guernsey Police Chief Inspector F Banneville found her. The story of what they’d done came out over the next few days.

The story revealed in court

They appeared on remand at Wealdstone court at the end of the following week, charged with taking away Jetta without permission. The court was told that when Jetta’s mother had died shortly after giving birth, Jetta and her father, Leonard Steed, had gone to live with Harland-Moult, Jetta’s grandmother. When Jetta was four or five, Harland-Moult and Badderley, Jetta’s aunt, had taken her on a trip to South Africa. However, when they returned at Christmas they didn’t inform her father that they were back.

Early the following year, the grandmother asked for custody of the girl, which her father refused. He took Jetta back in late winter and remarried the following month.

That autumn, on 12 September, Jetta was walking to school with a friend and the friend’s mother. Her aunt, Badderley, approached the group and said she would take Jetta the rest of the way. What she actually did was take her to Northolt Airport and, with Harland-Moult, fly from there to Guernsey.

The women pleaded not guilty and were bailed for £50 each to await trial.

Suicide threat

When the case came to court in mid-October, it was quickly discharged. However, the women were told that they could not take the law into their own hands. Although they were released at once, they were reminded that Jetta was not their child and there would need to be a separate legal determination over who should be granted legal custody.

Both women were said to be greatly distressed, and the grandmother had collapsed in the street the day before the trial was due to begin. She had threatened suicide.


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Other events that occured in September

Channel Television took to the air 1st
A Guernseyman cycled to Herm 2nd
Brecqhou was put up for sale 3rd
Renoir arrived on Guernsey to paint 4th
Ship sinks in St Sampson harbour 5th
The melon king died… long live the melon king 6th
Coronavirus returns to Guernsey 7th
HD Ferries makes its last crossing
6th Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment fought at the Somme 8th
Guernsey number plate sold for £240,000 9th
Guernsey hosted the second Island Games 10th
Major Guernsey employer Tektronix went public 11th
Guernsey was struck by a hurricane 12th
Schoolboys and teacher went missing off Sark 13th
Guernsey holidaymakers head home itching 14th
The title Baron de Saumarez was created 15th
Missing girl, Jetta, was found on Guernsey 16th
Archaeologists found a porpoise grave 17th
An Islander aircraft crashed in Guernsey 18th
Guernsey commando Hubert Nicolle died 19th
Guernsey and Jersey considered merging 20th
Occupation resister Winifred Green was deported 21st
The Devil’s Rock had its opening night 22nd
The Duke of Connaught visited Guernsey 23rd
Former bailiff Daniel de Lisle Brock died 24th
Occupation president Ambrose Sherwill died 25th
Trudy, Guernsey’s biggest ever import, was installed 26th
“Let em starve,” said Churchill 27th
A Guernsey planning dispute headed to Europe 28th
Herm tenant Major Peter Wood died 29th
Spotlight was broadcast for the first time 30th