30th July 1888
Reference Numbert18880730-758
VerdictGuilty > unknown
SentenceImprisonment > hard labour

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758. WALTER REEVES (25) , Unlawfully obtaining certain postal orders by false pretences.


WILLIAM SIMPSON. I am an artist, of Mount Coldingham, Bannockshire—on 17th January I saw this advertisement in the Exchange and Mart, "60 good tools, saws, chisels, hammers, &c, cost 5l., take 30s. for the lot, apply Thomas Reeves, 16, Holborn, London, E.C."—I replied, enclosing a post-office order for 30s., and asking that the tools might be forwarded to me—I received this reply, "Workshops and Factory, Stratford, Essex, London, E.C. Thomas Reeves, Manufacturer and General Agent, Central Offices, 16, Holborn. Cheques crossed Charing Cross Bank. Sir,—Yours with postal order 30s. safely to hand, for which accept my thanks. Tools shall go by goods train on Wednesday. Yours truly, Thomas Reeves. "The tools did not come, and I wrote again, asking about the delay, and received this reply. (This stated that he was surprised that the tools had not been sent, but he was confined to his bed at home, and would order them to be forwarded from Stratford at once) I did not receive them, and wrote again and got this answer. (Dated February 18th, from W. Reeves, 91, Wick Road, Homerton, stating that Mr. Reeves was very unwell, and offering to return the money if the witness could not wait for the tools.) I then wrote this letter. (Asking for the return of the 30s. or the tools.) I received this answer. (From Thomas Reeves, 16, Holborn, stating that he was still unable to leave his bed, and expressing surprise at the tools not having arrived.) On 26th March I received this letter, (From the prisoner, enclosing a cheque for 30s., post dated 10 days, requesting the witness to wait a few days, and saying that the tools had been seized for debt.) I handed the cheque to the police, and have never attempted to cash it.

Cross-examined by the Prisoner. It was on the Charing Cross Bank. I did not pay it in.

Re-examined. I parted with the postal order because I believed the prisoner had the tools and would send them.

URWICK DAVIS . I live at Lyswen, Breconshire—in February or March I saw an advertisement in the English Mechanic, of 60 tools to be sold for 30s., by Thomas Beeves, 16, Holborn, and received this letter. (This was on a similar printed heading to the last, and stated "The tools shall be forwarded on receipt of 30s. cash") I sent a cheque for 30s., and received this letter. (From Thomas Reeves, acknowledging the receipt of the cheque, and stating that the tools would be sent on Tuesday by goods train.) I did not receive the tools, and wrote again, and received this reply on a printed heading. (Stating that when at Stratford he had told his people that the tools must go off at once, and if they had not gone he would return the money. Signed, THOMAS BEEVES.) I then wrote this letter. (This was found on the prisoner. It requested him to send the tools or the money by return of post, to save further inconvenience.) I then received this letter. (Enclosing a cheque for 30s., and stating that the tools had been seized for debt, and apologising for having been obliged to post date the cheque 10 days. Signed,THOMAS BEEVES.) I never presented the cheque, I gave it to the police before it became due—I then received this post-card. (Dated 30th March, from Thomas Reeves, stating that the tools would go off on Tuesday.) I never received the tools—I afterwards received a cheque for 15s., drawn by Mr. Bowd, on the West of England Bank Hay; I handed it to my uncle, who banks at the National Provincial Bank—I parted with my 30s. because I believed the prisoner had the tools mentioned in the advertisement—the words "Workshops and Factories, Stratford, Essex," was on the heading of the letters, and I believed it was a bona-fide affair.

Cross-examined. The 30s. cheque was on the Charing Cross Bank, the 15s. cheque, I think, was not—the 15s. cheque was duly honoured, and I agreed that you should pay the other when you could.

Re-examined. I wrote to the prisoner and asked him to be good enough to send the other 15s. as soon as he could—I have had an interview with my uncle since I was at the police-court, and I have no doubt that this is the cheque (produced).

JOHN DAY BOWD . I am an ironmonger, of Sinderford, Gloucestershire—on 28th March I saw this advertisement in the Stock-keepers' Chronicle,"White English bull terrier dog, good colour, &c., only 13s., cheap at 3l. Reeves and Gilbert, 72, North Street, London"—I replied, asking for particulars about the dog and his pedigree and received this letter. (From Reeves and Gilbert stating that the dog was good in all points, and a sure winner, and would be sent on approval.) I sent them this cheque. (The one for 15s. produced by the last witness.) It was drawn to order—it

has been through my bank—I never received the dog—I received this letter. (Acknowledging the cheque, and asking whether the dog should be sent loose or in a box, the price of which would be 1s. 6d.) I wrote again asking why the dog had not been sent, and received this letter. (Stating that the dog would be sent when the box was paid for.) I then told them to send the dog loose, and received this letter. (Stating that the dog would be sent off the next evening.) I then wrote again and received this letter. (Stating that the dog had been stolen, and offering to send a bull terrier front Stafford shire instead.) I received this letter in May. (From Thomas Reeves, stating that he was ruined, as his partner had gone off with all his money and property, and asking the witness to wait a little longer and the 15s. should be returned.) I then received this letter: "3, Antwerp Street, London Fields, June 27. Dear Sir, Please forward postal order price 15s. for cash received last April. Trusting that will make things look straight for Mr. Reeves, yours truly, T. Bellairs"—I parted with my 15s. believing that Reeves had the dog and would send it, and I believed him to be in partnership with Gilbert—I knew the prisoner was in custody when I received my money back and accepted it.

HENRY GROCOTT . I am a clerk in a solicitor's office in Liverpool—I advertised for a bicycle in the Bicycle News of June 2nd, and received this answer. (From W. Clayton, of 3A, Antwerp Road, Hackney, offering a bicycle, nickel plated, &c., for 6l. 10s., on receipt of cash.) I then wrote this letter. (Making inquiries about the bicycle.) I received this reply. (Signed W. Clayton, and stating that the bicycle was thoroughly sound, and between 37 and 39 lb. weight, and stating that he had injured his leg and wanted to sell it, being badly off.) I then wrote, enclosing a 5l. note and Post-office order for 1l. 10s., requesting him to send the bicycle at once—I then received this letter. (Signed per W. Clayton, J.D., 3A, Antwerp Street, acknowledging the receipt of the 6l. 10s., and stating that Mr. Clayton was away owing to the death of a relative, but they had sent the letter to him, and on hearing from him, the machine would be sent off.) I wrote complaining of the delay, and received this letter. (From W. Clayton, and stating that the bicycle was fully addressed in order to be sent by London and North Western goods train.) I then wrote a letter, of which this is a copy, (Stating that the bicycle had not arrived, and threatening to put the matter into the hands of the police.) I then received this telegram: "Am writing to you by this post, CLAYTON," I then received this letter: "June 21st. Dear Sir, I find on inquiry that the machine was never delivered to the railway company, and that the receipt which I hold is fictitiously signed; the man who was entrusted to take the machine has not turned up, and I have come to the conclusion that he has stolen the machine, will you object to take another safety machine for it? W. CLAYTON." I telegraphed, saying that I would not have the machine, and must have the money or I should instruct the police, and received this letter. (This stated: "I shall have a better machine on Monday, please say if I shall send it.") I wrote, asking the address of the man who gave the fictitious receipt, as I meant to place the matter in the hands of the police at Scotland Yard—that letter was read before the Magistrate; the prisoner was then defended by a solicitor; the receipt was not produced, nor the address of the absconding person given, nor have I ever received them—I parted with my money believing the prisoner was able and willing

to send the bicycle, and the printed heading of his letter made me think it was a genuine affair.

Cross-examined. My last letter would not reach you till 24th June—I don't know when you were arrested—none ot my letters were returned through the Dead Letter Office.

GEORGE HENRY GILBERT . I am a builder of Cricklewood—about 4th March, 1888, I saw this advertisement in the Daily Chronicle " Mechanic Wanted who understands repairing bicycles and tricycles, and can invest 15l. or 20l. cash. Address T., 46, Brooksby Wharf, Homerton, E."—I wrote to that address, and afterwards saw the prisoner, and on March 8th I signed this agreement to enter into partnership with him at 32, North Street—I paid 5l. that day as part of my share, and afterwards 4l. more—he said that the business would bring us each in from 3l. to 5l. a month—I, was with him a month, but never received any profit—I saw these bill-heads setting forth that there were works at Stratford, and asked him where the works were—he said "That is all bounce, I have no works at Stratford, that is merely an advertisement"—I only saw two or three customers at North Street; he had a workshop there in his private house with a bench in it—I took some orders for bicycles to a place in the south of London; they were for machines advertised in the Exchange and Mart—it was called the "Cycle Company"—I took the machines and delivered them; they had been sent by customers—the day after the prisoner was charged at Worship Street I paid another 1l. to the partnership—the day after Good Friday the prisoner did not come to business, and I went to North Street and received goods value 6l. 12s., and a customer there subsequently gave me 8l. on the prisoner's behalf—I also received cheques for 5l. 10s. and 10s. which had been sent by customers; that made 20l. 12s. in goods and money—I purchased a bicycle and sent it to Mr. Tinning, giving 5l. 10s.for it—I gave the prisoner 1l.—I purchased another bicycle for 4l. 10s. and sent it to a customer—a few shillings are still due to me—I had nothing to do with the prisoner after April 5th—I had nothing to do with Mr. Bowd or Mr. Grocott—I never saw sixty tools in the prisoner's possession, or a white English bull terrier—there were about thirty tools in use, which were moved from Brooksby Wharf to North Street.

Cross-examined. You had an old safety bicycle at Brooksby Wharf, and I saw parts of two others—I saw a tricycle downstairs with broken wheels—I don't, know whether they were broken on the railway—you told me there were 120 tools; I will swear you said the words on the heading was only an advertisement—you received 10l. from me altogether, but you have not given me a receipt for the 1l.—a registered letter arrived in April when you were arrested the first time; you were arrested twice—I took away some knives, forks, spoons, and a sewing machine to return them where you had received them from—I also took about 20 books, there were not 70—there were two dogs in a shed, a white terrier and a greyhound—I did not say at the police-court that I saw no dogs; I said I never saw a bull terrier there—I did not leave, because I wanted my money back.

Re-examined. The goods I removed from North Street I value at 6l. 12s.—the prisoner told me what they cost—I was at North Street when some jewellery came by post, and I sent it back: it was supposed to come in exchange for a bicycle, and I wrote and stated the facts—

there was no bicycle on the premises of the value of the jewellery sent—the prisoner was not ill while I was there—I have been shown a letter signed W. Clayton, describing a bicycle, but I never saw such a bicycle while I was there.

WILLIAM HENRY TOMLINSON . Early this year I had an office at 16, Holborn and I fitted up a room on the first floor, making two compartments with a desk in each, which I let at 4s. a week each—it was called "The Central Registrar Offices"—the prisoner was my tenant for one compartment—there were no tools, bicycles, or dogs there.

Cross-examined. I saw you there once—the business was by correspondence—you attended there every Monday.

JOHN HALSEY . I am a manufacturer—on 5th March, 1888, I let the house, 32, North Street, to the prisoner—he took possession that day—I inquired of his reference, and found it satisfactory, but on April 9th I received the key and this letter: "Having been unfortunate in my commercial transactions, I am compelled to leave the neighbourhood"—I did not receive the last two weeks' rent.

PETER ALEXANDER HUTCHINSON . I am cashier at the Charing Cross Bank, Bedford Street—the prisoner opened an account there in January in the name of Reeves by paying in 5l.—the last transaction was March 23rd, when he owed the bank 3l. 17s. 5d.—this is a copy of his account—it is not true that a number of post-dated cheques were awaiting clearance—the last cheque paid in was on 23rd March—7th March 30s. was paid in. I think by cheque.

Cross-examined. The account is still open—you paid in 1l. 15s. the day after you opened it.

By the COURT. The largest balance he had was 20l. 0s. 1d. on 5th March, part of that was drawn out next day—on the 17th it was 15l.; on the 19th it was 6l. 8s. 7d.—on 23rd he paid in 35s., which decreased the balance to 3l. 17s. 5d.

ALFRED WOODWARD . I am chief clerk in the Inland Telegraph Office—I produce an original telegram, dated June 21st.

JOSEPH HELSON (Police Inspector J). On 30th March I arrested the prisoner at 32, North Street, Cambridge Heath—I found a number of letters, and among them one from Mr. Simpson, which has been produced—he was discharged the following Friday—I subsequently received this letter from the prisoner. (This was dated May 1st, stating that he was doing his very best to settle with the persons who had sent money, naming several whom he had paid, and asking whether his partner, Mr. Gilbert, could not be made to give up 9l. 10s. in money and goods, which he had taken away.) I have seen the prisoner write; I have examined the whole of the documents attached to the depositions, and in my opinion every letter but two is in his writing, and the original telegram—I have been to Stratford, and cannot find any place there which he has had anything to do with—he was remanded from Saturday to the following Friday, April 5th or 6th, and then discharged.

Cross-examined. I did not go to 14, Selway Road, Angel Lane, Stratford—when I arrested you I saw an old bicycle, and a lot of books, some a hundred years old—you produced some receipts, and told me how you came by the goods—I saw two mongrel dogs in the back yard, I will swear they were not thorough bred—I should call one a lurcher, the other was rush tailed—I did not see more than 30 tools there—you have

reported yourself regularly—some of the statements in your letter are true—you have sent a bicycle to Mr. Bowden, and Mr. Davis gave evidence that you sent him 15s.—I saw two violins and a concertina at North Street.

Re-examined. The prisoner has never mentioned before to-day any address at Stratford where he alleged that he carried on business—he mentions Mr. Carr in his letter—I had a complaint from him, and another from George Smith—there was a complaint from Bowden, and I found a letter from Fairish in the prisoner's possession.

GEORGE EDWARDS (Police Sergeant T) On 23rd June, at 12 p.m., I took the prisoner on a warrant, at 3a, Antwerp Street, London Fields—I read the warrant to him; it related to Mr. Bowd's case—he said "I have got Mr. Bowd's dog now"—I found two dogs there, but no bull terrier—one was a wipeet, which is smaller than a greyhound—I found these two letters, signed "H. Grocott," and a number of printed billheads in the name of W. Clayton—I said "Who is Clayton?"—he said "I am trading in that name"—I took him in the name of Walter Reeves—I examined the premises thoroughly; there were no bicycles or tricycles there—I found this parcels book, but Mr. Grocott's name does not appear in it—I do not find among the papers any receipt for a bicycle supposed to have been given to the London and North-Western Railway, nor have I been furnished with the name and address of the person who is supposed to have stolen it and absconded—I saw two or three saws there, and a plane and a hammer, but not 60 tools.

Cross-examined. I did not tell.Mr. Gilbert that he could take the goods away—I do not remember his saying that you owed him 20l.—I took a number of letters from you acknowledging the receipt of goods, mostly birds, and I believe one acknowledged the receipt of a bicycle, and there was an entry showing that it had been sent off, and also that several dogs had been sent off, "Live dog and box"—I have been to 16, Holborn, and they told me there that there had been numerous complaints respecting you.

(The prisoner produced a written defence, stating that at the time he advertised he had two bull terriers, one of which he sold, and the other was stolen, and that he wrote to Mr. Bowd, offering to return the money or another dog, but as he did not reply, he returned the 15s., and Mr. Bowd accepted it; that he had upwards of 200 tools at the time he advertised, but most of them were taken for debt; that he entrusted Mr. Grocott's bicycle to James Stokes to take to the station, who made of with it; that he took another name because his name had appeared in the newspapers, and if he continued to trade in that name he could not have done any business; and that while he was ill, his partner, Gilbert, went off with all his stock in-trade.)


He then PLEADED GUILTY to a conviction of forgery at this Court in March, 1882, after a previous conviction.— Twenty Months' Hard Labour, having still to work out 18 months of his former sentence.

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