JOHN HUTCHINGS.
28th June 1880
Reference Numbert18800628-428
VerdictNot Guilty > unknown

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428. JOHN HUTCHINGS, Embezzling 14l. 2s. 3d., 18l. 4s. 8d, and 4l., the moneys of Frederick Machin, his master.

MESSRS. BESLEY and GIIL Prosecuted; MR. DIGBY SEYMOUR. Q.C., and MR. WARNER SLEIGH Defended.

THOMAS FUELLIN . I am a baker, of 65, Atlantic Road, Brixton—on the 18th March last I paid to the prisoner 18l. 4s. 8d. on account of Messrs. Batger and Co.—this is his receipt (produced).

Cross-examined. I had known the defendant as a traveller previously—I do not think I knew him before I gave him orders for Messrs. Batger and Co.

Re-examined. When I give orders I am influenced by the quality of the goods and the price.

CATHERINE ILLSLEY . I am the wife of John Illsley, confectioner, of 27, James Street, Camberwell—on the 18th March the prisoner called on me and I paid him 4l. for Messrs. Batger and Co.—he gave me this receipt (produced), "Pro Batger and Co.," signed by the prisoner.

Cross-examined. My husband had given him orders for goods previously for Batger and Co.

EDWARD MAY . I am a baker, of 226, Clapham Road—I have for some time dealt with Batger and Co.—on the 14th February I paid the prisoner 14l. 2s. 3d.; this is his receipt (produced).

Cross-examined. I had given the prisoner orders for a long time before for Batger and Co.

FREDERICK MACHIN . I carry on business as a wholesale confectioner, at 98, Houndsditch, with a partner, under the style of "Batger and Co."—the prisoner entered my employ as a traveller, at the end of July, 1877—he had been travelling for a small confectioner—his terms with me were a salary of 1l. per week, and a commission of 2 1/2 per cent., but not on raw material such as sugar, and what he called chemicals—tartaric acid, essence of lemon, cream of tartar, and dried fruits; on such I was to give him only a small commission or nothing, according to what they sold at—as a rule these goods have a very small margin of profit—there was to be a settlement of the commission account annually, some time after Christmas—the last settlement was on the 22nd March, 1879—I told him when I engaged him that, being in a different position with me to what he was formerly, he would have no commission except on sums which really had been paid over during the time he might be in my service—I said, "If you leave me you have no claim on any outstanding accounts, because we shall have quite as much expense in collecting it as you collecting yours, and you will have your salary until you leave me"—he quite agreed to it—he continued in my employ until the 19th March—before the 18th I received certain information respecting certain accounts, in consequence of which, on the flight of the 18th March, I went to the prisoner's lodgings in Beresford Street, Camberwell, about 9 o'clock, and saw him after waiting half an hour—I said, "What money have you collected for us to-day?"—he said, "I will let you know, sir"—he went upstairs and was away nearly half an hour—he brought me down a bag of money, 53l. 5s.10d. I think, and said, "That is all the money I have of yours"—I said, "From whom have you received

it"—he said, "I am confused as to some names, I will let you know tomorrow morning"—I took the money and appointed to meet him the following morning at my office—his duty when he received money was to pay it over the same day, or within two or three days—the following morning I saw him in the presence of my two sons—he took out a little black book, which I then saw for the first time, and read me a list of names and dates (produced)—I wrote them on a small piece of paper and at once copied it into this book (produced)—I left the paper at Mr. Besley's office last night—the sums made up 53l. 2s. 10d, and as he had given me 53l, 5s. 2d. I entered 2s. 4d. to his own name—I said, "Are these all Hutchings's?"—he said, "Yes, they are"—I said, "Are you quite sure?"—he said, "Yes"—I then said, "They are not all, and this is not true; the date is incorrect of this," referring to the name of Halifax, 8l. 12s. 6d—I said, "You received 5l. 13s. 6d. from Mr. Kursch in February," giving the date which was given me, the 19th February; and 10l. from Mr. Barrett of Boundary Road, paid him on the 7th March, and 6l. 3s. 8d. from Mr. Negus, paid him on the 8th March, which he admitted, and said, "It is quite true, I am very sorry, I hope you will forgive me"—I then said, "Now are these all, are there any more?"—he said, "There are no more, that is all"—I said, "Now be careful, are you quite sure?"—he said, "Yes, I am quite sure, there is only one other account, viz., Smith's of Blackheath, which has been tampered with"—that is not the word he used, he said, "confused"—there is no money wrong there, it is only wrong as to dates—I again said, "Are you sure there are no more?"—he said, "Yes, I am quite sure, it was only about 20l. in all, I know; I was going to ask you for some money on account of what commission might be due to me, and I would have paid it"—he wanted about 20l. on account of commission—I said, "You know our strict arrangement, that you are never to keep a penny back on account of commission, but that all was to be paid in, giving the accurate date, so that our books might agree with our customers' receipts"—he said, "I am very sorry, I hope you will forgive me; my brother will pay it all, I am sure"—I shook my head and said, "No, no, nothing of that kind; if I were to do my duty I should send for a constable and give you in charge now"—I again repeated, "Are you sure that these are all?"—he said, "Yes, they are all"—I believed his statement and said, "l am not stopping you going away," and be went away—I afterwards caused inquiries to be made among my customers and found his statement was not true, inasmuch as he had not accounted for 18l. 4s. 8d. received from Mr. Fuellin, 4l. received on the 18th March from Mr. illsley, and 14l. 2s. 3d. received from Mr. May on the 24th February—on ascertaining those I gave him into custody.

Cross-examined. These were the largest amounts; altogether I have ascertained the total amount to be 100l. 19s. 5d.—I never saw the prisoner except a day or two before I had his reference—I was referred to Mr. Fry; a small house—he told me he received 5 per cent, on confectionary—he did not say he received one-third of the profit, but from 5 per cent. down to nothing, according to what the things were sold for—it was necessary to sell some things that produced no profit in order to sell other things that produced a profit—I have no written memorandum of the terms on which I engaged him—nothing was said about his having 5 per cent, on confectionary; I would only engage him as a salaried servant—I told him

why—he had a commission from another house, which I allowed him to retain—I was very careful indeed, and had a very clear understanding with him—I told him "you will have a salary paid you regularly, weekly, and a commission of 2 1/2 per cent, allowed you on all money paid over to us for confectionary; if you leave me you will have no claim for any outstanding accounts; you will have had your salary, which you did not have at Mr. Fry's"—I said "You told me you earned 30s. to 2l. a week; you must earn more than that to be good for anything; if you do your duty to me, when the accounts are made up at the end of the year, if I find your salary and commission together will amount to a smaller sum than it would have been had you had 5 per cent, on confectionary, I will make you a present of whatever the difference is"—I did not hear Mr. Wontner tell the Magistrate that the arrangement between us was to be 5 per cent there was something taken down in the depositions which was amended—I did not say "After the prisoner was discharged he had no claim on us for commission; on confectionary his commission was to be 5 per cent."—you will find a memorandum at the end of my deposition; so many people were talking at once that wrong words were taken down—no business in our way could afford it with a salary; without a salary it would be a different thing; it is a gross mistake of the clerk's—at the end of my examination I say "I did not intend to say 5 per cent."—I have no recollection of having said so, and I do not think I did; I have a very clear memory—the business we got through him was only a very small proportion of the general business—the gross amount through the prisoner was between 3,000l. and 4,000l., including merchandise and confectionary—nearly three-fourths of that was confectionary—the last commission account made out between us was up to the end of 1878, and that was in March, 1879—the commission on the confectionary from the end of 1878 to March this year would be about 60l. or 70l.—the last payment was the 10th January this year, 20l.—there was nothing paid between January and March—I did not say the gross amount of the commission account calculated without any salary would be 160l. from January 1879; I said more—it is a matter of figures—weekly servants never give receipts for salary—my cashier paid his weekly salary—I have this year's commission account, but not last; I have never had it since the settlement—the wages book shows commission and salary—I took his receipt up to January 1, 1879—I said at the time of the examination of the prisoner there might be an account which I had lost—we had a burglary, and papers were turned out, or it might have been destroyed as waste paper—when I called on him on the 18th March he had several little memorandum-books; I did not read any of them, and he would not give them to me to read—I did not get a book of his which has been referred to to-day—the invariable rule was that he was to give an accurate account the same day, or within two or three days at the latest, of moneys received, and never to keep anything back on account of commission—I do not think a week ever elapsed without his accounting for the moneys—this book I have since heard is the prisoner's property—in the course of business, when he paid in money, he did not produce a book to my knowledge; my cashiers would know—there are two or three of them in Court—I have learnt since his committal that it was the practice of one house to put the stamps of the firm on the book he produced when paying in money—I have one house at Ratcliffe—I told him if he found any other accounts to let us

know directly—he never tried to see me afterwards—I did not hear that he had called two or three times to see me—when we parted I shook my head and said I would not forgive him then—he said "I hope you will forgive me"—I had no idea of his being in other employment until he called on a customer and made an atrocious assertion that he had been turned away for 3l., which he was not allowed to repay, as he would have done if he had seen the principal, and he borrowed money of the customer—my son told me that—I said "This must be put an end to, your obtaining money from a customer on such a false pretence"—he was not travelling for two other firms to my knowledge—when the man was crying he said "I have just earned the first 3s."—that was after he was in custody—I engaged him for the purpose of getting what customers he could with Mr. Fry's sanction.

Re-examined. Mr. Fry was a wholesale confectioner—he failed in business some short time after—it was with his knowledge that I engaged the prisoner—there was nothing unusual in the mode in which he obtained orders for me—he accepted the settlement of the commission account and gave me a receipt—I got my figures from my ledger—I think the paper was given to him to return after he had satisfied himself—he gave me a receipt for the balance at that time—the amount of commission at 2 1/2 per cent, and salary brought up his remuneration to rather more than I told him he must make when I engaged him to be worth anything—he made no complaint at that time—he had received 60l. on account of commission from January, 1879, though the money had never been made up—he received 10l. on the 22nd March, 10l. on May 10th, 20l, on the 9th August, and 20l. on the 10th January at his request—there was to be no commission in respect of bad debts or unexecuted orders, only on sums actually paid over—I have ascertained what his commission on all sums received from 1st January to December, 1879, should be on three-fourths confectionary and one-fourth merchandise, and it amounts to 65l. 11s. 2d., less 60l. which had been paid to him—if this question were being tried in a civil court there would be a commission account from 1st January, 1880, to 19th March, 1880, which would represent 19l. 13s.—that would be on the same basis—he never demanded payment of me after January, 1880, nor did he disclose to me that he had moneys in his pocket—that little black book is his; I never saw it till the 19th March to my knowledge—he then read to me from it the eight items amounting to 53l. 2s. 10d.—the copy I made I left at your office last night—I find in the book "Bradley 2l. 9s. 3d.," and after "Whalebone 1l.," with partial erasure, there is "May 14l. 2s. 3d." without an erasure—then comes "Loderhonse 3l. 6s." with an erasure—this letter (produced) is in the prisoner's handwriting—I think I was under cross-examination at Guildhall Police-court by Mr. Chapman an hour and a half—it is very much reduced in the depositions—I did not know he was travelling for another firm, and therefore could not have said so—during the time that elapsed between the 19th March and my giving him into custody I found out several other cases.

By MR. SLEIGH. I see three separate sums in this book coming to 53l. something—the last page is torn out I see—I say that is very wicked indeed—this is not a page that I have ever seen before—it is 17th March, and so are the two previous ones—there is 4l. deduction from the bottom—I do not understand what it means—there are, stamps of my firm in

some places and not in others—there is an entry here dated 20th December, 38l. 9s. 9d.—then another amount 62l. 16s. 3d. no date, 39l. 9s. 3rd January, and another without a date, and so on—this is the prisoner's book—I find there are other entries referring to payments by post—I have a booh in Court in which every amount is received.

By MR. BESLEY. I have a book in which the sums he accounted for are entered, showing the dates when the castings took place—the day I entered these sums in this cash-book the prisoner accounted for them—these dates do not correspond with these in the little black book—I do not think he could stamp it any time he was in the office—some are initialled and some are omitted altogether.

By the COURT. I believe the good debts uncollected at the time of the prisoner's discharge amounted to about 800l.

WILLIAM HOLTHAUSEN . I am a cashier employed by Mr. Machin—the prisoner would come and account to me very often on a Saturday—these are my initials in the black book—there is one accounting to me on the 28th February of 78l. 4s. 5d.—he would call out the names to me and the dates—he never called out "May, 14l. 2s. 3d."—there is another account of 89l. 0s. 2d.—I don't think I saw the prisoner again till the 19th March; I took no money from him then—he came every Saturday as a rule and paid the money over to me, and called the amounts and dates out to me—he has never accounted for the 18l. 4s.8d. from Fuellin or the 4l. from Illsley received on the 18th March.

Cross-examined. He accounted on the 5th or 6th March and the 13th—when he called out the dates to me I wrote them down—I do not know Mr. May—his name was not in the books before this to my knowledge—there is an entry I see to May on 16th December, 1879, 92l. 1s. 6d.—I do not know of the prisoner calling on Mr. Machin for commission at Houndsditch; he may have called at the factory—the book would go down to the factory on a Monday.

JOHN HENRY STANLEY . I am in the employ of Mr. Machin—on the 21st April I received this letter from the prisoner. (Read: "96, Beresford Street, Camberwell, April 20th, 1880. Mr. Stanley. Dear Sir,—Pardon the liberty I am taking in writing you personally respecting my brother's account, 1l. 18s., which I believe he paid to me about the middle of March. The next date I cannot say; I gave him no receipt nor made any note of it, as I should have done. This is a very sad affair to me, Mr. Stanley. The torture of my mind is such as any earthly being could never describe. My first error, I trust the firm will forgive me this, and give me one more chance in life. I have worked hard since being in their employ, a great deal of uphill work and very expensive, but this does not entirely remove the guilt off my mind. I know I have done wrong, and it will be a warning to me for life. I cannot say more," &c., signed "J. Hutchings.") I paid the prisoner his weekly salary of 1l.—that salary was entered in the cash-book with the salaries of the other clerks.

ROBERT LEEMAN . (City Detective). On the 6th May I arrested the prisoner at 96, Beresford Street, Walworth—I said, "Are you Mr. Hutchings?"—he said, "Yes"—I said, "I should like to speak to you privately for a minute or two? I believe you have been a traveller to Messrs. Batger and Co., of Houndsditch"—he said, "Yes,"—I said, "I am a police officer; I am going to take you into custody for embezzling

various sums of money, amounting to 100l., the moneys of your master"—he said, "I am very sorry; I had hoped Mr. Machin had forgiven me"—I took him to the police-station at Bishopsgate and searched him—I found on him different papers and 3d.—I took him to Guildhall on the 7th May, and after he was remanded by Sir Thomas White, I went to 96, Beresford Street, and with some keys which were found on the prisoner the previous night I opened a cupboard in his bedroom, where I found this black book and those two small red books, and papers and memorandums, which I took to the police-station—on the following Friday, when the prisoner was brought up on remand, I told him that I had searched his apartments and found there a number of books and memorandums bearing the stamp, or initials, or name of Batger and Co., which I had brought away, and said, "They may be used in evidence against you; if you wish to refer to them you are at liberty to do so."

NOT GUILTY .

There was another indictment against the prisoner, on which the prosecutor offered no evidence; and a verdict of NOT GUILTY was taken.


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