2nd May 1881
Reference Numbert18810502-509
VerdictGuilty > lesser offence
SentenceImprisonment > penal servitude

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509. WALTER SELWYN (35) , Feloniously forging and uttering an order for payment of 14l. 10s. with intent to defraud.


MIRANDA COOPER . I am the wife of Henry Cooper—I now live at Rotherfield Villas, Battersea Rise—at the beginning of August, 1879, I kept a school at 27, Middleton Road, New Wandsworth—my name was not on the door—I issued prospectuses—on Wednesday, the prisoner, I believe, called on me and asked if I would receive a child about 9 years of age—he said his name was Henry Marsh; he wrote it on a small piece of paper—he said he was a solicitor, a widower, and gave his address, Gloucester House, Geoffry Road, Clapham—he held one of my prospectuses in his hand, and said, "Tour terms, I see, are 36 guineas; I am willing to give you 40 guineas if you will receive the child and instruct her in English and music"—he gave me a reference to a Judge in chambers at Westminster—he said if I would cash a cheque for him he would pay me 107. in advance—I said it would be better for him to send it to me—he afterwards produced two cheques, one for 23l. and the other for 14l. 10s., which he gave me (This was dated 30th July, 1879, drawn by Arthur James Brennan on the London Joint Stock Bank, payable to Henry Marsh)—I believe it was already endorsed "Henry Marsh, Gloucester House, Geoffry Boad"—I wrote my name on it—I was not able to cash it, and he went out to get it cashed—he returned and said that two tradesmen had refused to cash it, one had already sent his money to the bank—I then gave the cheque to my daughter, and the prisoner went out with her to get it cashed—she came back and gave me 2l.—I did not see the prisoner again till he was in custody—I think I travelled with him once—the child was to have been sent on the Friday; it sever came—I saw the prisoner at Guildhall, I think, three weeks since—I firmly believe he is the—man; I have not the slightest doubt of it—this (produced)is the address he wrote at my house.

Cross-examined. It was some months since that I imagined I was traveiling with the prisoner from Clapham Junction to Victoria—I could not tell when it was; it was last year, I can't say whether before or after Christmas—no one was with the man when he came to my house; it was on Wednesday, August 1st, 1879, I was quite sure about the day at the police-court—it was between 2 and 3 in the afternoon; I was preparing for afternoon school; it was in a very small sitting-room at the back; the blind was not down; I believe there were curtains to the window; there are no folding doors—there is a window at each end; it was a very bright,

fine day—the cheque came back to me on the Friday evening—a description of the person was given next day by my husband to the bank—I believe I wrote down a description on two occasions; I believe I gave it to Inspector Mitchell of Scotland Yard, and he wrote it—Inspector Swanson called on me to go to Guildhall on Saturday, 12th April, last—I then saw the prisoner in the dock on another charge.

Re-examined. I went to Gloucester House on the Saturday morning, as the child was to have come on the Friday, but I could learn nothing about him, and I then gave a description of the man to the police.

ALFREDA COOPER . I am the daughter of the last witness—I was present when the prisoner handed the cheque to my mother; she gave it to me, and I went with the prisoner to Mr. Shearman and got it cashed in his presence—it was about five or ten minutes' walk—the prisoner walked with me—Mr. Shearman gave me 6£ 10s., and I left the cheque with him—I handed the prisoner 4l. 10s. and took the 2l. to my mother—I have no doubt the prisoner is the man.

Cross-examined. I never saw the man again till I was taken to Guildhall Police-court with my mother—I could easily recognise him—I did not write down any description of him.

HENRT SHEARMAN . I am a wine merchant of 3, Woburn Terrace, New Wandsworth—I remember Miss Cooper coming to me with a cheque and a man with her—I do not recognise the prisoner; I cannot say whether he is the man or not—Miss Cooper gave me this cheque for 14l. 10s., and I gave her 6l. 10s. for it—I paid the cheque in to my bankers, and it was returned 'marked "No account"——they were in the shop about seven or eight minutes.

JANE SPENCER . I am the wife of Thomas Huntley Spencer—in October, 79, I kept a school at Hope House, Brixton Hill—on a Saturday in October I remember a person coming about my taking a little boy to my school—the prisoner is the man—he gave the name of Percy Harding, and said he was a solicitor at Clapham—I gave him one of my prospectuses—he said he wished to place his little boy with me, that he was a co-operative store man, and he preferred payments in advance, and was I of the same opinion—I agreed to take the child, and the payment was to be forthcoming when the child arrived—he was to come with the child next day, when I should receive the payment—he was with me about a quarter of an hour—on the Monday a person came with this letter signed "Percy Harding," and gave me this cheque for 18l. 10s., signed "Bantock," payable to Percy Harding, and I gave him 4l. in change on account—no little boy was brought—the cheque was sent to the bank and returned marked "No account"—I never saw the prisoner again till he was in custody recently—I have not the slightest doubt that he is the man.

Cross-examined. He said he would come next day and bring the child; the next day was Sunday; I meant the next business day—I never wrote a description of the man; I communicated with the police at once and gave a description to them—Inspector Swanson came to me in April last—he Raid in substance that he thought they had got the man in custody who had deceived me in 1879—I did not say I had forgotten all about it because I had not forgotten it; I had kept it all fully in mind; I could not forget such a thing—I went to Newgate and picked him out.

JOHN MITCHELL (Detective Sergeant). The prisoner was in custody in

the City on another charge—I saw him write at the office on a telegraph form, and also saw him write a letter—I also saw him write several slips of paper, which were destroyed by him at the time—to the best of my belief this cheque for 14l. 10s. is in the prisoner's writing; also this cheque for 18l. 10s. and this letter of 27th October, 1879; I should say that is in a disguised hand; it is signed "Percy Harding."

Cross-examined. I have never been examined before as an expert in handwriting—I have the telegraph form that the prisoner wrote; that was written on 10th July, 1880, when he was in custody first of all—he wrote it with a quill pen at the Detective Office, 26, Old Jewry; I should think he wrote within twenty words, a shillingsworth, and the address—I only speak to the general appearance of the writing, not to any particuar formations; the letter he wrote at the police-station to his wife is very similar to the one now produced.

Re-examined. I have been in the force 18 years.

The letter to Mrs. Spencer was ready signed Percy Harding, and stated that he was unable to call to make arrangements for the boy, but he had decided to send him, and requested Mrs. Spencer to take 13l. 19s. from the cheque as a quarter's payment and send receipt and balance.

JAMES WOODS . I am cashier in the Imperial Bank, Westminster branch—the prisoner had an account there in the name of Walter Tait; it was opened at the latter end of November last year—I have been in the habit of cashing his cheques and receiving letters from him—I know his handwriting—to the best of my belief these two cheques and this letter are in his writing.

Cross-examined. I cannot say that I saw him sign the signature book—I believe I have seen him write; I believe I have seen him fill up a cheque at the bank—I was not asked at the police-court as to his handwriting; I was first asked about it this morning—there is about 15l. to his account now.

HENRY COOPER . I am a clerk in the London Joint Stock Bank, Princes Street—we had no customer named Alfred James Brennan in July, 1879—these two cheques are from a book issued to Moss and Jenkins, whose account was closed in 1877—we had no customer named Bantock.

GEORGE GRANVILLE BANTOOK . I am a surgeon, of Granville Place, Portman Square—I know nothing of this 18l. 10s. cheque—I have no account at the London Joint Stock Bank—I knew the prisoner between five and six years ago by the name of Selwyn; his wife was a patient of mine.

GUILTY of uttering. He also PLEADED GUILTY to a conviction in July, 1876, and there were other indictments against him.— Five Years' Penal Servitude .

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