17th November 1884
Reference Numbert18841117-69
VerdictNot Guilty > unknown

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69. CHARLES HILLS TOWNS (36) , Embezzling the sum of 1l. 9s. 4d. received by him on account of Mr. Newton his master.

MR. F. FULTON Prosecuted; MR. KEITH FRITH Defended.

WALTER NEWTON . I am a draper, of 168, Trafalgar Road, East geenwich—the prisoner was my manager and first salesman on 21st October, and had been filling that position for two months—when my salesmen make a sale to a customer in business or out I provide each of them with a book which contains an invoice with my name, and that is filled in and given to the customer; they are numbered, and on the other side is a corresponding duplicate which is also filled in, and the two are torn out together and taken to the cashier at once—this is the prisoner's book (produced); it has the name of Towns on it in his handwriting—this is the duplicate I spoke of—he has never accounted to me for the sum of 1l. 9s. 4d. for cashmere sold to Mrs. Lyons on 21st October—this is one of my bills in the transaction in question—on the evening of the 21st, from information received, I sent for the police after business hours—he was not charged then; we did not know his address—the following morning he was charged with embezzling 1l. 9s. 4d.—he said he was going to keep the money until he had sold this particular customer more goods, and then he intended handing it over in one large amount—I said I should give him in charge—he then went down on one knee, and put his hands in a praying position, and asked me to forgive him, as he would be a ruined man—this paper, No. 39, was brought to me after business on

Monday evening by Heath, all torn in pieces, and I put it together as it is now—I asked the prisoner before the constable to account for the 39 cheque which was missing, and he said, as I have told you, that he was going to keep the money until he had sold these customers more goods—I did not mention about the cheque being torn up—he said nothing else than what I have repeated—the constable took him in charge.

Cross-examined. His duty was to pay it over immediately—Heath has not to my knowledge received money and not paid it over till next afternoon, it has been brought to me since this case—Heath is the junior hand—only one instance has come to my knowledge, and that at Green-wich Police-court, in which Heath left some money in one of the recesses against the shop fixtures and paid it over next morning, but we held the cheques at the same time—I had not given the prisoner notice to leave, I told him he was not suiting me, and if he did not attend to his duty better than he had been doing, I should have to make a change, no more was said—he gave me notice on the evening preceding this charge—he said he would stay on for 10l. or for any sum providing I got rid of Heath—he has made complaints about Heath to me, and I have communicated them to Heath—it was Heath told me he saw the prisoner tear up the duplicate—the prisoner had been in my employment before, and when he came back he advised me to adopt this particular system of duplicates—after he left me the first time I did not write, and when he called offer him the situation a second time, I am sure of that—I don't think he came in after he left the first time, and said "If I had charge of this business again, I could make it pay well," I should say not—there was a lapse of about eighteen months between his leaving and being employed again—I might have written asking him to call, I believe it was to dress a window—I can swear I did not ask him if he was in earnest about what he said on the previous evening about making the business pay—I made an agreement with him—he came to me and said he was leaving, and I had to wait seven weeks till he could come into the situation—he came to the shop on this morning at his usual hour, nine; immediately he came in I told him to step upstairs, I did not say good morning to him—a detective was waiting outside—I asked him to explain to this gentleman about No. 39 cheque which was missing, he did not pull the money out of his pocket, he did not say "Here is the money, I intended to get another order and make the cheque larger," he said what I have stated previously—I asked him to explain about No. 39 which was missing, and he said "If you get my book you might find it there"—I knew that to be the 39 duplicate that Heath says the prisoner tore up in his presence—he volunteered that statement—I think I sent for the book—he did not look surprised when the book came and the duplicate was not there—I then said I should charge him with embezzling the money, and then he went down on his knees—he did not say he never intended to keep the money permanently—he was excited, the detective was in the room—he said nothing about "I admit having the money, but I never intended to embezzle it."

Re-examined. When I sent for the book in which he said I might find it, and No. 39 had vanished out of it, he made no observation whatever—there is very little in the book now, because part is given to the customer and part filed.

MARY STEVENS . I live at the Crown, Trafalgar Road, where I am

barmaid to Mrs. Lyons—on 21st October the prisoner came in the morning with some patterns for Mrs. Lyons to choose from, and he saw her then—I was there when he returned in the afternoon about three, and Mrs. Lyons gave him the order to bring eight yards of cashmere—he went and returned with eight yards, and she asked him to bring some trimming—I saw him give the cashmere to Mrs. Lyons and his bill, and I saw it receipted and he received 1l. 9s. 4d. in my presence—I gave this bill to the police—there was a slight mistake in the price, and it was altered from 1l. 10s. 1d. to 1l. 19s. 4d.

Cross-examined. Mr. Newton's clerk came in with him when he was trying to effect this sale, so that the transaction appeared perfectly open and above board—the public-house is only two shops from Mr. Newton's—Mr. Newton does not come in, his people do—I have talked to Mrs. Lyons about this, and said that from what I could see and overheard at the police-court all the witnesses appeared to have a spite against this man.

Re-examined. I said that because they all seemed to have a spite against him the day I was at the police-court—that was from the evidence they gave as to what he did and said, and so on—nobody from the shop except the prisoner was present when he brought the cashmere over and received the 1l. 9s. 4d., the other person was only there in the morning when the patterns were brought.

EVELINE HINES . I am Mr. Newton's head assistant on the fancy side—on 21st October he was away, and the prisoner had charge of the business—about ten minutes to twelve he came to me and said he was going to sell a cashmere dress to Mrs. Lyons, and I saw him take some cashmere away and go out of the shop—about four I saw him again, and he told me he had been unable to effect a sale with Mrs. Lyons, as we had not the velvet broche to match—at tea about five he repeated the same tale, and said he was very nearly cutting the length of cashmere off, that Mrs. Lyons would not have it as he had not got the velvet broche to match, and he added she was a very unforgiving woman.

Cross-examined. When he came back before dinner he said he was afraid he would not bo able to effect a sale as he had not got the velvet to match, and that he was taking the goods out to sell—it was done quite openly—I have had words with him on one occasion about matters of discipline—I was present on one or two occasions when he complained strongly and severely about Heath to Mr. Newton.

Re-examined. Just after the prisoner came back to Mr. Newton's after a customer had gone out to whom I could not sell some lace he said he would make it warm for me, and I said I was not afraid of him.

EMILY BROWN . I am in Mr. Newton's employment—I dissect the counterfoils given in with the cash and draw up the amounts, and see whether they correspond with the slips—dissecting means putting different goods to the credit of different departments—this is the book the prisoner had—on 21st October, between half-past three and four, the prisoner told me. he had given two cheques to a customer by mistake, and that I should find No. 39 missing in the morning—if goods have been sold it would have been his duty to hand in that counterfoil to the cashier, and it would have come into my hands next morning when I dissected—I heard the prisoner say to Miss Hines that he did not think he could sell the dress to Mrs. Lyons as there was only a yard and a

quarter of velveteen, and she wanted four yards—there is a youth Heath in the employment—I saw him that afternoon pick up some papers off the floor from behind the counter, and I saw him put them in the small pocket of his coat—I could not identify them at all.

Cross-examined. I was at the police-court twice, but only gave evidence once—I made a mistake before when I said that the prisoner instituted this system of duplicate cheques—I have not heard what the prosecutor said—I have heard him speaking to Mr. Newton about it, and also one of the others—before he came there were no duplicates, but we entered the amount on small cheques and balanced the money with the cheques—the prisoner would have a particular place to keep his book in the same as the rest—it would not be lying about the shop as a rule—I suppose he would put it anywhere he liked on his side—his name was written in it—I was not present when he charged Heath with stealing—when Heath picked up these pieces of paper he only said "I am going to have a look at these" as he put them in his pocket—it is an uncommon thing for bits of paper of that kind to be behind the counter—I never destroy a duplicate—if I make a mistake it is made void by the prisoner or Mr. Newton—the prisoner would have a right to make void a duplicate—he openly told me to make 39 void as he had given it by mistake to a customer—that was in Heath's presence—I don't know if he was listening—I don't think I told Mr. Newton at first I had seen Heath pick up the pieces of paper—I did the following morning—I have seen pieces of paper thrown down behind the counter before—I can't say how many pieces he picked up—this was about four; I can't fix the time—I have heard the prisoner talking to Mr. Newton about the discipline of the shop—he may have fined me; I think only once—I don't know if he told Mr. Newton he had fined me—he has spoken about Heath to Mr. Newton—I don't know what he has said—I think he has made complaints about him.

Re-examined. He said No. 39 would be missing in the morning.

FREDERICK HEATH . I am an assistant to Mr. Newton—between 3 and 4 on the afternoon of 21st Oct., I saw the prisoner taking some cashmere out of the shop—I saw him come back—I believe he had the goods then—he took out one parcel in white paper and brought a piece of white paper and the parcel, I believe, back with him; I don't know if there were patterns in it as well—when he came back I heard him say to Miss Brown No. 39 would be missing out of his book next morning, because he had given it to a customer by mistake—before that in the afternoon I was standing behind the counter and I saw the prisoner cut off a length of cashmere—shortly after he said that to Miss Brown I saw him come over to the other counter, open his book, take something out, tear it up, and throw it down behind the counter—I picked up the pieces and put them in my pocket; these are they—they were afterwards pasted together by Mr. Newton—I said something to Miss Brown about them.

Cross-examined. I don't think I said before the Magistrate anything about his giving as a reason for tearing up the duplicates that he had given it to a customer—I saw him cut the cashmere off—he would have a right to make void a duplicate—he has complained about me to Mr. Newton several times—one day it was about my breath smelling—I am not sure if he has complained of idleness—I believe he has of inattention to business—he has grumbled at me—he said I picked up a 6d. behind

the counter—a constable was brought in and I was charged with and confessed in my employer's presence to taking the 6d.—the prisoner complained to my employer of that—when he came in I could see he had not paid in any money—I believe he had his duplicate book with him when he came in—I can't remember whether I saw it or not afterwards that afternoon; I might have done—he might very often have been near where I was—there are often bits of torn-up paper lying about on the floor behind the counter—I made some remark to Miss Brown when I picked them up; I don't recollect what it was—I did not hear what she said to-day—I was not surprised at seeing paper on the floor, but I had a suspicion, so I picked it up—I won't be certain if Mr. Newton had come in before he tore them up; I will not swear he had not—I knew it was wrong for him to tear them up—I thought I had better wait till after business and give them to Mr. Newton when the shop was closed—the prisoner was standing at the counter when he tore it up—I knew it was missing and was surprised when I saw him take it out—I did not know what I was going to pick up; I thought that was it.

Re-examined. I had not stolen the 6d., and the prisoner, after seeing Mr. Newton, accused me also of taking 2s., and said I had better confess to one or the other or he would lock me up, and I then said I had taken it because of that, and that I thought it would worry my parents, but I had not stolen my master's 6d.—my master knew it and kept me in his service.

By MR. KEITH FRITH. Before the prisoner spoke to me about the 6d. he was closeted with Mr. Newton.

EMILY GOLDTHORPE . I am cashier to the prosecutor—no sum of 1l. 9s. 4d. was paid in by the prisoner to me on the afternoon of 21st October for Mrs. Lyons's transaction—he brought me no duplicate numbered 39, or anything of the sort.

Cross-examined. I have been there about two months—previous to that I had no experience as a cashier—I have made several mistakes since I have been there, but never without having somebody to overlook them.

Re-examined. My duty is only to see if the duplicate corresponds with the money.

JOYCE (Detective R). On Wednesday morning, 22nd October, about 9 o'clock, I was at Mr. Newton's shop by direction—the prisoner came upstairs; I asked him if he had sold any goods to Mrs. Lyons—he said "Yes"—I asked him if he had received any money, what he had done with it—he said "I received the money, and was going to keep it until Mrs. Lyons had some more goods, and then pay it in in one account"—he went on his knees and asked to be forgiven, as he would be rained—he was given into custody and taken to the station, where I told him he would be charged with embezzling 1l. 9s. 4d., the property of his master—he said "I am guilty, I am guilty; I am a ruined man"—I searched him and found 1l. 9s. 7d. in his purse—that was all he possessed.

Cross-examined. He did not say at the police-court that on being asked to explain he at once offered the money—he did not offer the money—his words were not "I am certainly guilty of receiving the money, but not of embezzling it"—I told the same story twice over at the police-court—I don't know if my deposition was lost—I had nothing to correct on the second occasion—the prisoner said on the first occasion when cross-examining me "I am guilty of having the money"—my version was that he only said "I am guilty, I am guilty; I am a ruined man."

The prisoner, being allowed to make his own statement to the Jury, said that having sold the cashmere he put the duplicate in his book and the money in his pocket; that as soon as he got to the shop he placed his book carelessly on the counter, and he had to serve some one, and forgot all about the money until he got home, when he laid it on his dressing-table, and that the next morning he said to his landlady "I left that money upstairs which I ought to have paid to Mr. Newton;" and that he quite believed the duplicate would be found in his book; he denied having stated "I am guilty" but asserted that what he said was "I am guilty of receiving the money, but I am not guilty of embezzlement; this will ruin me;" and he admitted having been previously convicted, but said that after that he had had a situation for two years and a splendid character.

Witness for the Defence.

ELLEN ORCHARD . I live at 13, Heston Street, Deptford—the prisoner has been lodging with me for two months up to his arrest, and always conducted himself honestly and respectably in every way—on the morning of his arrest, before he went out, he said to me that he had had a row with Mr. Newton and had to leave his place, that he had had some money the day before and had forgotten to pay it in, and was going to pay it in that morning—the next I heard was that he was in custody, and I then went to the police-court, and was bound never to be here to-day.

Witness in Rely.

DONALD ROBERTSON . I produce the certificate of the prisoner's conviction in July, 1874, at Newcastle-on-Tyne, of unlawfully obtaining money by false pretences, when he was sentenced to seven years' penal servitude—he had previously been twice convicted.

Cross-examined. He would get no remission the first year, but after that he could have deducted a quarter of the whole.

The prisoner received a good character since he had come from penal servitude from Mr. Wheatley, the Secretary of the St. Giles's Christian Mission.


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