WALTER STEPHENS, Deception > fraud, 4th February 1913.

Reference Number: t19130204-44
Offence: Deception > fraud
Verdict: Guilty > no_subcategory
Punishment: Imprisonment > hard labour

STEPHENS, Walter (33, traveller) , obtaining by false pretences from Fred Farlow 2s. 6d., and from William Eyre Hart 3s., in each case with intent to defraud; having been entrusted with and having received certain property, to wit, the several sums of 6s., 16s., and 3s. for certain purposes, unlawfully did fraudulently convert the same to his own use and benefit.

Prisoner was tried on the first indictment.

WILLIAM HART , bootmaker, 11, Monte Cristo Parade, Newington Green. Prisoner called on me last September and asked if I would like to have an advertisement on the curtain of the Alexandra Theatre, Stoke Newington. I said I did not mind. He showed me the space on the plan of the curtain. The price was to be 6s. per quarter. I paid him 3s. as a deposit. He gave the receipt (produced). He wrote it in my presence. I never saw him again until he was in custody.

Cross-examined by prisoner. There was no man called on me except you.

FRED FARLOW , cycle agent, New North Road. About August 12 last prisoner came to my shop. He asked me if I would care to have an advertisement on the curtain of the Islington Empire. I asked him what the cost would be. He said 2s. 6d. for 13 weeks. I said I would pay when I saw the advertisement on the screen. He said he must have cash with order, being such a low transaction. I paid him 2s. 6d. He wrote this receipt in my presence. The advertisement did not appear. I next saw prisoner in the dock at North London Police Court.

Cross-examined. You told me you were travelling for the Foru Company, High Street, Oxford Street, who were showing advertisements on the screens of picture palaces, theatres, and music-halls. I told you another man had already been in with the same kind of thing. You did not say you would call later to take cash for the order. You took the cash then. I was shown a photograph of you. I was asked, "Is this the man?" I said, "Yes."

EDWARD GREENFIELD , electrical engineer, Alexandra Theatre, Stoke Newington. I have occupied my present position about 12 years. I do not know prisoner. Our curtain is let to the London and Provincial Advertising Agency. Nobody has any right to deal with those advertisements but them.

LESTER PAYNE COLVILLE , managing director, Islington Empire. We have our own advertising staff. I do not know prisoner.

ERNEST CHALDEN . I carry on business as Foru and Co., 43, High Street, Oxford Street. We are advertising agents. I first met prisoner on August 2 last, when I employed him to go to Fakenham, Norfolk, as advertising canvasser. I gave him contracts, a receipt-book, and a plan. Prisoner had no authority to canvass Hart or Farlow.

He had no authority to canvass for advertisements on theatre curtains He had to see landlords of hotels and get their consent to display tradesmen's advertisements in their saloon bars, for which we pay so much per year.

To prisoner. I first saw you on the Thursday before August Bank Holiday. You called next day. You saw one of my travellers, who asked you a few questions while I sat at the table. You were to work anywhere you liked at 25 per cent. commission on all takings, no salary or expenses. I never heard the name of Fakenham till you mentioned it. You said you preferred Norfolk. I wanted £5 cash security before you left town. You gave an I.O.U. for £5. I got no telephone message from you that day. I did not receive a batch of orders from you. I did not meet you in Southampton Row in September and tell you to make yourself scarce. I did not tell you you could work stationery or anything that would bring grist to the mill. I received no message from you about August 16 saying a lot of money had been made by advertising on picture palace curtains. I answered somebody on the telephone about the middle of September asking if a man had called representing Foru and Co., and I did not reply that I would come down and see him at once.

(Defence.)

WALTER STEPHENS (prisoner, not on oath). Foru and Co. engaged me at no salary, no expenses, and 25 per cent. commission. 15 per cent. of the money was to be left in their hands until £5 was accumulated. That was to safeguard them against anything I did wrong. I did not see the fun of leaving 15 per cent. out of 25 per cent., so I gave an I.O.U. I telephoned him that I could not walk to Norfolk, and as he would not agree to pay my fare I would work London. He said, "All right," on the telephone. I telephoned him several times afterwards and told him what a good scheme it was advertising on picture-palace curtains, and he made the condition that I returned him the first 25 per cent.; thus I was to work about six months without taking a farthing piece. His previous arrangement was I should get the 25 per cent. I kept Mr. Hart and Mr. Farlow's money, who paid the first quarter. One of my men, named Beale, I think, went to the office to try and get some more. He told me Mr. Charlton had got a warrant out for me. I telephoned asking Charlton if that was correct. I said, "It is rather funny, a man came to my place." Mr. Charlton replied, "Hold the man, I will come to the house with a taxi to St. Paul's Road, Canonbury." I think he came by 'bus. I did not want to waste any time. I thought he was not worth working for. I met him in Southampton Row a few days after. He said, "What is all this fuss about, make yourself scarce." He denied that in the box. I leave it entirely to the jury.

Sergeant WILLIAM MOLD , G Division (to prisoner). I arrested you on December 23 in Dalston. You were working with three other men. Two of you had a gramophone each. I said the warrant was

in respect of an amount of about 30s. I had not the warrant, but I had seen it. I asked you to come to the station. When the warrant was read you denied the charge. You afterwards admitted you were the man the warrant was out for. You gave me a photograph of yourself. I gave it to Sergeant Castleton to make inquiries, not for identification purposes.

Detective-sergeant CASTLETON , N (to prisoner). The first time you asked to be put up for identification was on January 7, as we were about to go into the court. You said, "I am going to have a run for it." I said, "It is not much good now the witnesses have seen you; they are in court." I do not know what you told the gaoler.

Verdict, Guilty. The second indictment was not proceeded with.

Prisoner confessed to having been convicted, at Mansion House Justice Room, on September 3, 1909, in the name of Walter Twigg, of felony; other convictions were proved.

Sentence: Eighteen months' hard labour.


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