7th April 1874
Reference Numbert18740407-305
VerdictGuilty > unknown

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305. ALFRED BLENKARN (47) , Unlawfully obtaining 150 dozen handkerchiefs of Robert Thompson and others, by false pretences. Other Counts, for conspiracy to defraud.

MESSRS. BESLEY and CHARLKS MATTHEWS conducted the Prosecution; and MR. A. B. KELLY the Defence.

EDWARD FUNNELL (City Detective). On the 25th February I took the prisoner on a warrant, granted at Guildhall—I read it to him in Little Love said "I don't know what all this means, I don't know any such person as Thompson"—I have had no dealings with him—I took him to Moor Lane Station, and found on him 2s. 8d. a metal chain, a memorandum book, and a letter case—I returned to Little Love Lane and locked up his room, but did not take anything away—I returned there nest morning and found these documents—here are ten sets arranged under letters: A, is the invoices of 1858; B, is letters of application to the prisoner as to references, some as to the respectability of Moss, Ryland's; C, contains letters from Guild & Co., of Belfast; D, letters from Scott, of Newcastle, and the prisoner's answers; E, letters from Knight, of Kidderminster, and the prisoner's answers; F, is a draft in the prisoner's writing of invoices from Moss, Ryland's, and the other dates; G, is paying in slips of money by the prisoner to his bankers, including Dent's cheque; K, is some of Lindsay's invoices, and a draft and a memorandum slip; L, is official letters from Lindsay and Co., taken off the file; M, is a draft letter of 9th June, 1873, from the prisoner to Blenkiron & Sons, and this diary—I found several old books of 1861, but no ledgers for this or last year, or any cash or day-books—I found this book, containing a written list of firms—there was a large iron safe, which I could not get open till the prisoner told me where I should find the key, and on opening it I only found two empty bottles. (Several letters were here put in from different firms to Messrs. Blenkiron & Co., inquiring as to the character of Moss, Ryland & Co; also copies of replies, staling that Moss, Ryland & Co., were regular in their payments, and usually bought monthly stock discounts. The following entries from the diary were also read: "May 9, cheque, loan from Moss 3l. 2s. 1d. "May 31, Moss, loan per cheque 2l. 5s. "July 3, Moss returned loan." "July 30, Moss, cash 10s." August 9, Moss, cheque 15l. " "September 15, Moss, Ryland returned loan of August 3, 17l.; ditto 12l. and had settlement up to this date." "September 23, Moss, Ryland & Co., loan 5l. " October 15, Moss Ryland & Co., returned loan 10l. " November 25, Moss, Ryland's loan, Dent's cheque 42l. " "December 6, Moss, Ryland & Co. returned loan 2l., 5l., and 3l., 10l." "December 13, Moss, Ryland & Co., cash per Dent's cheque, 28l.

Cross-examined. I went there about 3.30 p.m.—this plate "Blenkiron and Co." was on the door post, and on the office door on the third floor—the name was painted spelling it in a similar manner, "ARN"—the prisoner said that he knew nothing of the person in the case of Thompson—I know now that the proceedings were in the case of Lindsey & Co., of Belfast—I did not know it then—I had no difficulty in finding him—I sent a person who knew him well up to his office, who brought him down to me—there was no difficulty about his handing up the keys—I have gone through the letters and found the name of Moss, Ryland, of 42, Aldermanbury—that is not the same firm as the Moss, Ryland referred to in the letters—I know Moss, but I don't know Ryland—it is a fact that they were at 18, Lawrence Lane—they ran away from there after Christmas

—he had got an office over a public at the corner of Aldermanbnry—the direction on the letters was "Moss, Rylands, Aldermanbury"—I do not think there was any other Moss, Ryland there—I think the other Moss, Ryland was in Wood Street—the Moss, Ryland the prisoner referred to was in Aldermanbnry, but now in Lawrence Lane—they are the firm referred to in the correspondence—if I said before that it was not that is my mistake—they are at Lawrence Lane now, and the name is up—there was such a firm in Aldermanbury at the time the letters were written—this is the place to which I went (looking at a photograph)—I saw a plate like this on the door-post in this position—among the letters I found one from Robert Lindsay & Co., Belfast, addressed Messrs. Blackwood & Co., London—I also found a large bundle of these cards, and this acceptance for 78l. 10s. was found on the prisoner, and likewise a blank cheque—I found a cash-box in the desk.

Re-examined. The cash-box was found last Tuesday morning—it was not there when I searched before, and I believe someone has put it there since—I have kept possession of, the place ever since, but they must have let themselves in with another key, because I searched the desk as well as the other offices, and we could not have overlooked it, because it was the very thing we should have looked for—Messrs. Ashurst & Morris's clerk was there at the time we searched—the copying-press was not there when we searched—I know Samuel Moss—he had an office over a public-house at 47, Aldermanbury—I know a firm of Ryland & Co. of long standing in the City, but I do not know anyone named Ryland connected with the Samuel Moss I speak of.

ROBERT ROONEY . I am a member of the firm of R, and E. Rooney, brush manufacturers, at 27 and 28, Bishopsgate Street—I knew the prisoner in November, 1872, and received all these letters from him in the course of business—I knew him as Corbett & Co., but he afterwards wrote and told me he was the buyer, and not the principal—I never saw anyone there but him and a small boy—it was in Bennett's Place, Gracechurch. Street—there has been a firm Thomas Corbett & Co., of Gracechurch Street, established some time—I delivered the goods to order—they were painter's brushes—I got 10l. out of him, and afterwards put an attachment on his goods and got 14l. more—my bill was 48l.—these letters refer to the three actions—the first order was executed and he gave me another order—I saw him upon it, and made a communication to another person—I saw the prisoner—we had several altercations, and I told him I would stick to him—when the matter began to get wind he said he was not Corbett & Co.—I never saw Corbett.

Cross-examined. I never saw his signature till lately—I have no papers signed Corbett & Co—he brought the order—he did not represent himself as a buyer, and I presumed, as he brought the order, that he was a principal—it was not till he got the goods, and I pressed him for payment, that he said he was only the buyer—he did not say he was Corbett & Co.—after he had swindled me I put Davis and Maunder up to it, and brought Davis up to town—I don't know that at the time of the proceedings the prisoner was employed at so much a week—it never came to proceedings in court, us I abandoned the matter—when I had the second order I called at the prisoner's office, 11, Bennett Place, and saw him—I never asked if he was related to Corbett & Co.

Re-examined. It was subsequently to executing the first order that I wont and made the enquiry I am quite clear about that—I did not call at

the office before the first order was executed—it was executed ten days after I got it.

MR. BESLEY. Q. Did you by word of mouth bring to his knowledge that the name of Thomas Corbett and Co. was a fraud, and that you had been deceived? A. Yes, we had many altercations on the matter.

ERNEST ROBINSON . I produced the bankruptcy proceedings of Alfred Bower, Blenkiron—the petition was filed on 2nd of June, 1871, by Frederick John Dear—the amount of liabilities was 627l. 6s. 1d., and the total assets 25l.—the Bankruptcy has not been closed, it is still open—there has been Do dividend—he signs twenty sheets of writing on the proceeding as Blenkiron—the last statement of affairs is signed Alfred Blenkiron.

FRANCIS ALBERT HANCOCK . I am a printer and stationer at 37 and 38, Wood Street, and 5, Little Love Lane—this photograph (produced) represents the Little Love Lane side of the house—I let the third floor room to the prisoner, and the entrance is the second door in Little Love Lane—the workshops extend over all the three houses, and there is do communication from the third floor of Little Love Lane, to any other part of the building—I did not know the prisoner previous to letting the room to him—he referred me to Moss, Ryland of Aldermanbury—I sent my clerk there, and the negotiation ended in his signing this agreement and inventory in my presence—(Agreement read: "95, Richmond Road, Dalston, 23rd April, 1873, to Mr. F. A. Hancock, 37, Wood Street. Dear Sir, I agree to take the furniture, office, &c., on the first floor of the house in Little Love Lane, at the rental of 30l. per annum, payable quarterly, the first payment to be due on 24th June next, your obedient servant, A. Blenkiron.")—some days before the prisoner was taken into custody, my clerk at the money desk cashed this cheque for him—it-was returned through my bankers—these twelve letters appear to be in the prisoner's handwriting—whilst he was my tenant I occasionally saw packages of goods arrive—when they were too large to get up the stairs, without damaging the staircase, I allowed him to unpack them down stairs—he used to fetch a man with a truck and take them away to his packers as he told me—they went away very soon after they were received—I have seen his son there—I don't know a person called Samuel Moss.

Cross-examined. The prisoner has paid three quarters rent, and one little item for stationery—he owes one quarter up to the 25th March, that makes the twelve months he was there, he took it from March to March—the cheque he gave had nothing to do with the rent—he was in prison when the quarter's rent became due—the room where he had his office was within the block of buildings, and the entrance was at 5, Little Love Lane—there was no entrance from 37, Wood Street—I printed this little heading myself for him, "37, Wood Street, Cheapside, London, 187. Entrance second door Little Love Lane"—that referred to the office which he had, and I should be happy to do the same for anyone else—I did it for his convenience thinking that his customers would better find 37, Wood Street, than they would a turning down there—it did not strike me as dishonest—I thought his request was not at all unreasonable, and that it would be a better address for his customers to find him—I did not consider it was a false pretence.

WILLIAM CALEB CORK . I am one of the firm of Blenkiron & Sons, 123, Wood Street, manufacturers of collars and gentlemen's cravats and braces—we have been carrying on business there more than thirty years—I wrote

this letter which was found on the prisoner—I received this letter of the 9th of June, from the prisoner—we had received a letter from Hilton's, addressed to Blenkiron, 37, Wood Street. (Letters read: "37, Wood Street, Cheapside, 9th June, 1873, to Messrs. W. Blenkiron & Sons, 123, Wood Street, signed A. Blenkiron & Co." We have received yours, of the 3rd instant, addressed to Messrs. Hilton & Co., of Manchester, and are at a loss to understand such uncivil treatment from our neighbours—letters from 37, Wood Street, you must be aware could not be from your firm, for although the name is similar and may at all times be wrongly spelt, and everyone could distinguish that the two firms are disconnected, particularly as yours is so different to ours. (" The Utter referred to in the preceding, was a letter received by Messrs. W. Blenkiron & Sons, from Messrs. Hilton is Co., of Manchester, addressed to Messrs. Blenkiron & Co., 37, Wood Street, which was returned by Blenkiron & Sons, to Messrs. Hilton's.")

Cross-examined. A clerk from Messrs. Smith, Payne, & Co.'s came to me and presented a cash order for payment—I told him we did not owe them the money, and probably it might be the firm that I had heard of at 37, Wood Street, that was directed Messrs. Blenkiron & Co., Wood Street London, from Lindsay & Co., of Belfast—my firm is known as William Blenkiron & Sons—Blenkiron & Co. is not correct—this is our signature to one of our own letters—our firm does not deal in pocket handkerchiefs, or articles of that kind—we manufacture largely for wholesale purposes, neckties, braces, collars, and fronts—I have not done any business with Lindsay, of Belfast.

Re-examined. The prisoner himself addressed us as William Blenkiron & Co., in his letter of 9th June, and then struck it through—we had a very great many inquiries, and in many instances people thought that Blenkiron, Little Love Lane, was our firm—we were very much annoyed indeed.

ROBERT THOMPSON . I am trading in partnership with others as Robert Lindsay & Co., of Belfast—I received this letter of the 24th October, proved to be in the prisoner's handwriting, in due course of post, and in reply we sent some samples, and I addressed them to Blenkwood—at the moment I did not know personally either one firm or the other, and I sent a reply with samples of no value, and I thought they would send us a printed card if they were going to order goods, and by the same mail I had inquiry sent up to London—on 27th October we received this order—there is a dot in the signature, and I thought it was "Blenkiron"—we also received these orders of the 3rd and 10th November—you will find all our correspondence afterwards was to Blenkiron, and we opened the account as Blenkiron—we did not open the account upon the first letter, we merely sent samples of no value—after the second letter there were a number of letters, and we sent invoices and statements, and in every one of those documents we wrote Blenkiron—on the receipt of the second letter one of the partners looked at it and said it was Blenkiron & Co., of Wood Street; he had known that firm twenty years ago; they were all right—the first lot of goods, I think, was 150 dozen—these are the invoices—we intended to send the goods to our correspondents, Blenkiron & Co.—before any of the goods were sent I had the conversation with my partner, and he knew the firm—parted with the goods, believing that I was dealing with a respectable firm, of Blenkiron, of Wood Street—I should not have supplied goods to "Blenkarn" without inquiry—we applied for payment on two occasions, and we were being pressed for a fourth order—I said we would not send any more goods

I until we got paid for some of those already sent, and "we sent up the cash I order—we never got a shilling—the terms on which the goods were supplied I were payments on the 4th of the month following each invoice, less 1/2 per I cent, discount—I left Belfast on 20th February, and arrived in London on I the 24th—I went to 37, Wood Street, and found it was a stationer's shop—I then went to the genuine firm of Blenkiron, and then I went to Little Love Lane—I went there three times that day—when I received these letters I believed that the prisoner occupied those premises, 37, Wood Street, and the house two doors down Little Love Lane—I took that to be the goods entrance—138l. was the value of the goods I supplied—before I came to London we received two letters from Moss, Ryland & Co., one on February 14th and the other on the 19th. (The first of these requested samples; the, second was an order for 200 dozen handkerchiefs.) I went on 25th February to the Guildhall Police Court—I was in London on the 26th, and in my absence this letter was received from Moss, Ryland & Co.—it is dated the 26th, the day after the prisoner was in custody. (This letter countermanded the order, as time would not admit of reference, as the customer required the goods at once.) After the prisoner was released we received from Moss, Ryland's a post-office order 1l. 13s. 8d., and this is the letter that came with it.

Cross-examined. I now take the signature of the letter of the 26th October to be Blenkiron & Co.—I could not make out then whether it was "iron" or "eron"—I sent the goods to 37, Wood Street—I directed them "Blenkwood"—at the moment I sent the samples and wrote that letter I did not personally know the firm I was sending to, when I came to London I called upon Messrs. Ashhurst, Morris & Co., and they took out an attachment—I called with them at the Mayor's Court—that was with reference to the account at the City and County Bank—I made an affidavit in that case—I understood it was for an attachment against the banking account of this man—that was my object in going there—I had a bill from him showing that he had an account at the City and County Bank—this letter is in the handwriting of one of our clerks—it is dated 9th March, 1874, addressed to Moss, Ryland & Co.: "Dear Sirs,—We are in receipt of your favour of the 7th instant, enclosing 1l. 14s. 8d., placed to the credit of the account, with thanks. We are, dear Sirs, yours faithfully."

Re-examined. At that time I was in London, and they did not know in Belfast what had been discovered here—I arrived in London on Tuesday morning, the 24th—I went to Messrs. Ashhurst & Morris shortly after 10 o'clock, and what was done at the Mayor's Court was done by their advice—I never intended to forego the Criminal hold I had if fraud had been committed—I did not know that he had not 500l. at his bankers, it would not have affected the Criminal proceedings—I showed my solicitors the letters, signed Blenkiron & Co.

JOHN STEPHEN JARVIS . I am a buyer in the service of Dent, Allcroft & Co., who carry on business at 97, Wood Street—I know a younger Blenkarn than the prisoner, from having lived in our house as a junior employ—I believe he is the prisoner's son—young Blenkarn represented himself to me as the agent of Moss, Ryland & Co., a firm I had not hitherto known—he did not give me the address of Moss, Ryland's, he gave me his own address, Little Love Lane—on or about the 21st November, 1873, I purchased 150 dozen pocket handkerchiefs, at 5s. 9d., and this was the invoice

which was sent, it was dated the 21st November—they were paid for on the 25th November, with this cheque, for 42l., which was the nett amount of the parcel—on 10th December I had another transaction with young Blenkarn, and then I purchased 100 dozen pocket handkerchiefs, at 5s. 9d. per dozen, this was the invoice, and they were paid for with this cheque, for 28l., on the 13th December; both the cheques are to the order of Moss, Rylands & Co., and endorsed by them—the endorsement on this memorandum is in my handwriting, it was left by a messenger when the second transaction took place. (Read: "100 dozen of handkerchiefs, hemmed and folding boxes, as per order, at 5s. 9d., less 2 1/2 prompt, clear as before, should they be sent in before to-day, do not deliver.") They were promised at an earlier date, but coming late, before delivering the goods they asked the question—I wrote across the memorandum "Up to the mark, send them in at once," and delivered it to the messenger, and the goods came in due course, these papers are copies of the invoices which have been shown to me.

F. A. HANCOCK (Recalled). The draft of the invoices which were copied and delivered to Dent's are in the prisoner's handwriting—I can't say whether the pencil memorandum is his own or not—I have seen him write—I saw him write the agreement, it is very similar.

CHARLES FREDERICK CUMBER . I am a clerk, at Smith, Payne & Co., Bankers, of Lombard Street—Messrs. Lindsay, of Belfast, bank with them—on 18th February last this cash order came to us for collection, and I took it to Messrs. Blenkiron & Co., of 123, Wood Street, and presented it for payment, which was refused—I was referred to 37, Wood Street, to Mr. Blenkarn—I did not find it for two or three days—I went there and took the order with me—I found the prisoner there the second time I went, and I presented the order to him—he said he would send the draft on to Messrs. Lindsay.

Cross-examined. I did not find any Blenkarn at 37, Wood Street, it was a stationer's shop—the second time I went into the office, by the door round the corner.

Witness for the Defence.

WILLIAM LEWIS ANSETT . I am a clerk in the City and County Bank—I do not know the prisoner—I know who he is—a person of the name of Blenkiron banks with us—I produce his pass-book—he opened the account on 9th August, 1873, in the name of Alfred Blenkarn, 37, Wood Street, Cheapside—I have his original signature here—his cheques were to be signed Blenkarn & Co.—this is one of his cheques, his account was not closed, it was attached in February; during the time he had the account money was passed through at the rate of 1,000l. a year, he left a small balance; he opened with 47l., and in a day or two after ten guineas was paid in, then 27l., 27l., 10l., 70l., 12l., and 63l.—we honoured these cheques (produced).

Cross-examined. Our bank is a Limited Company, we have only one place of business, it has existed about three years—I am principal ledger clerk—the signature "Alfred Blenkarn" to these bankruptcy proceedings is totally different to the signature to the cheques; that looks like Blenkarn, this you could twist into Blenkiron if you chose, we always took it as "am"—in the first two months he paid in 266l. 13s., and the next quarter 229l. 10s.; with the exception of three cheques to John Knight & Co., the others are for very small amounts.

GUILTY . Eighteen Month's Imprisonment.

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