5th June 1875
Reference Numbert18750605-406
VerdictGuilty > lesser offence
SentenceNo Punishment > sentence respited

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406. MATILDA STREET (29) , Feloniously forging and uttering a receipt for the payment of 7l., with intent to defraud.

MR. METCALFE, Q.C., and MR. SUADE conducted the Prosecution.

ALEXANDER MORTON . I am postmaster at Strathaven, Scotland—I know Mr. Robert Fergus very well—on 29th May he came to the office for a money order for 7l., payable to C. H. Spurgeon—this is the order (produced)—he wrote a letter in my office which he gave me and I put the order in it and addressed the letter at his request to Mr. C. H. Spurgeon, Metropolitan Tabernacle, London—I put the letter in the mail bag which left the office at 5.50 that night and "would arrive in London about 10 o'clock next morning—I sent this letter of advice by the same mail, authorising the payment of the order and saying that the money was paid in by Mr. Fergus.

CHARLES WHITE . I am a clerk in the Money Order Office, 6, Aldersgate Street—I received this letter of advice on 28th May—the name of the person who sent it was Robert Fergus and the payee was C. H. Spurgeon—on Saturday, 29th May, the prisoner came to the office and gave me this order—I went to get the advice, and noticing the way in which it was signed I asked her who signed it—she said "Mr. Spurgeon"—I then took it to Mr. Wight, my principal.

JAMES WIGHT . I am principal at the Money Order Office—on Saturday, 29th May, in consequence of a communication from Mr. White, the prisoner was brought into my room—I asked her from whence she got the order—she said from Mr. Spurgeon, who was a customer of theirs who had given it to her to get changed—I asked her if she could give me his address—she said "No," that they did not usually know the names of their customers—I asked her own name and address—she said "Street," but corrected herself and said "Barnes"—I said "Mrs. or Miss Barnes"—she said "Miss Barnes"—I asked her what business she was in—she said "Private boot and shoe makers"—I asked her if the name would be in the Directory—she said "No," because they were private bootmakers—I told her that 1 must keep

the order and that Mr. Spurgeon must come himself for the money—she then left the office—I kept the order—I wrote to Mr. Spurgeon the same afternoon—I also wrote the name and address she had given me on the back of the order "Miss Barnes, 6, West Square, Southwark"—Mr. Blackshaw, Mr. Spurgeon's secretary, called on the morning of 31st May and I went with him to 6, West Square, and saw Mrs. Barnes—in consequence of what she said I went to a shoemaker's shop in Garden Row, which is two or three minutes' walk from West Square, and saw the prisoner seated in the shop—I asked her if she recollected coming to the office with a money order—she said "Yes"—I said "Why did you give the name of Barnes?"—she gave a confused answer which I did not quite catch—I then asked her from whom she had got the order—she still said she had got it from Mr. Spurgeon who was a customer; that he-gave it her about 2 o'clock-to-get cashed as she was going to the City, but afterwards came for it as he was going to the City and would get it cashed himself, and that afterwards he brought it back to her and said that he could not get the money as there was no advice, and he asked her to get it the next day—I asked her for Mr. Spurgeon's address—she said-she-did not know it, that she might not see him again for a week or perhaps a month—I asked if it was usual for: their customers to leave 7l. on their hands for a week or a month—I think she said "No"—I asked her if she could describe the gentleman who gave her the order—she gave a sort of description, answered my questions as I put them to her, whether he was tall or short, and so on—I asked her if Mr. Spurgeon called for the money' whether she would give him in custody and she said that she would, she was then given in custody—the order is for Charles Hadden Spurgeon—I have not been, able to find any other gentleman "of that name except the gentleman who is so well, known.

Prisoner. When you said how often was it usual for us to see a customer?, and I said, "Perhaps. once a week perhaps not for a month," I was not referring to the man who gave me the order;. I was speaking of the customers in general. Witness. I asked, the question as to when he was likely to come for, the money; you said "Not for a week, perhaps not, for a month.

CHARLES BLACKSHAW . I am secretary to Mr. Charles Hadden Spurgeon, of the Metropolitan. Tabernacle—he has a correspondent named Robert Fergus, living at Strathaven—all money orders payable to Mr. Spurgeon come through my hands—this order never, came into my possession—the signature is not, Mr. Spurgeon's writing—I went with Mr. Wight to the prisoner's house; I asked her if. the order was given to her signed, or if it was signed in her presence—she said it was given to her signed-—what Mr. Wight has stated as to what took place, is correct.

CHARLES HADDEN SPURGEON . I am minister of the Metropolitan Tabernacle—I never signed or authorised the signature of that order; I may add that I never sign post-office orders—we send them, to the London and County Bank, and they take them from the Bank—we never sign them in any shape or way—I did not know the prisoner before this transaction that I know of.

MARIA BARNES . I live at 6, West Square—I know the prisoner as a tenant; her name is Mrs. Street—she lives at 15, Garden Row, and her husband is a shoemaker—I know nothing about this post-office order.

JOSEPH MOORE (Policeman LR 25). On 31st May I was called and took the prisoner into custody at Garden Row—her husband overtook us on the

way to the station, and she wanted to speak to him, but I would not allow her.

Prisoner's Defence. The order was given to me, as I have stated, by a customer, whom I have known by the name of Spurgeon, and I presented it That is all I know of it, without knowing it to be a forgery, or knowing anything to be wrong with it, until the order was stopped. That was the first impression I had that anything was wrong with it. Unfortunately I don't know the address of the customer. We have many customers we don't know the addresses of.

The Prisoner received a good character.

GUILTY of uttering — Judgment Respited.

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