29th July 1889
Reference Numbert18890729-651
VerdictGuilty > pleaded guilty
SentenceNo Punishment > sentence respited

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651. ELIZABETH JANE FROST (30) , Feloniously forging and uttering a receipt for the payment of money, with intent to defraud.

MR. CHARLES MATHEWS and MR. A. GILL Prosecuted, and MR. WARBURTON Defended.

JAMES SAMUEL BOLTON . I live at 5, Fleet Street, Deptford, and am

employed at chemical works—I have been separated from my wile for some time by mutual agreement, not a judicial separation—we had two children, the deceased boy Sidney and a girl Mary Ann—Mrs. Amelia Winters was my aunt; she lived at 153, Church Street, Deptford—the prisoner is Mrs. Winters' daughter; she married Thomas Frost—in 1887 Mrs. Winters took charge of my two children, at my request, for 10s. a week, and they went to live with her at 153, Church Street—the prisoner lived next door, at 155—Mrs. Winters agreed to insure my children, and it has since come to my knowledge that my son was insured in the Prudential Insurance Office, and also in the Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society—Mrs. Greenaway is the prisoner's sister and my first cousin—I often saw my son at Mrs. Winters'—he had very good health up to Christmas last, but after that he had diarrhœa and vomiting; he died on February 11th—I had been at Mrs. Winters' on the 9th, but I did not see the prisoner—I last saw her about February 8th—on the 16th, the day of the funeral, I accompanied Mr. Baker, of the Prudential Office, to Mrs. Winters. Mr. Coleman and Mr. Cremer from the insurance office were present.

Cross-examined. I consented to his life being insured—I did not know the amount—I signed a document, and was paid £7 by Mr. Baker; Mrs. Winters was present—she got £3, and I got £7—the cheque was for £10—the prisoner was not present—she cannot read or write—I do not know that she has the reputation of being rather weak-minded—I paid one premium—I paid for the funeral out of the £71 got—I was insured in the office, but the policy has lapsed—I certified myself as the father—the cheque was paid to Mrs. Winters; I did not see it; I was told how much it was—on the day that the boy died Mrs. Winters told me that she had missed paying, and the premium had run out—I was discovered to be alive, and sought out on February 16th by the representatives of the Prudential Company, and accompanied them to 153, Church Street, and saw Mrs. Winters, and learnt that she had refunded the money she had received.

WALTER EDWIN MARTTN . I am chief clerk in the claim department of the Prudential Insurance Company—this form of proposal was sent to the office about 31st January, 1888, purporting to come from the boy Sidney Bolton, proposing an insurance of £10 on his life, at a weekly payment of 1d.—only half was to be paid in the event of his dying within twelve months—we accepted that, and on 13th February issued this policy (produced) which is strictly in accordance with the terms of the proposal—on 3rd April, 1888, we received this second form of proposal from the same person for the same sum, and on 23rd April this second policy was issued to the boy under the same conditions—the premiums were regularly paid down to February 11th this year; it is not true that the policy lapsed—about February 12th I received this claim from my agent, and believed it to be genuine, purporting to be by the mother of the deceased boy—there are several questions which have to be answered, and she does answer them—she says that the mother is living, and that they are insured in our office and another office—it is signed, "Sarah Bolton, her mark; witness, Emma Greenaway"—we require a certificate of identity, which I find is signed, "Emma Greenaway; witness, W. Coleman"—it says, "I not being a relation of the deceased"—that is one of the rules of the office—I believed it was genuine, and caused this cheque

to be drawn and forwarded to our agent, Mr. Coleman, on 12th February, and received a receipt from him about the 13th or 14th—I believed that, to be signed by Sarah Bolton, the mother of the deceased—it was witnessed by Mrs. Frost—we had an idea then that he was the husband, but afterwards we soon discovered that the father was alive, and that the information in the claim that the mother was the sole surviving parent was not true—the father came to Mr. Baker, our superintendent—we had an interview with Mr. Baker, after which we received these two documents, dated 16th February—fourteen policies, including these two, were payable at 153, Church Street, Deptford, and 5s. 3d. was the weekly amount claimed there.

WILLIAM COLEMAN . I have been agent for the Prudential Insurance Company since December 3rd, 1883, and live at 25, Edward Street, Deptford—I have been in the habit of calling weekly at 153, Church Street, to collect the premiums due to the company—Mrs. Winters usually paid them, but sometimes the prisoner did—I claimed 5s. a week when I started, and then it increased to 5s. 3d.—among the premiums there was 1d. a week on each of two policies in the name of Sidney Bolton, and on February 11th I received notice of his death, and called that evening at Mrs. Winters', and saw her and the prisoner and Mrs. Greenaway—we went into the back room—a light was procured—I placed this form of claim on the table—Mrs. Winters had told me at my house that the father was dead, so I said, "Which is the mother?"—Mrs. Winters pointed to the prisoner, and said, "This is the mother"—I said, "Are you the mother?"—she said, "I am"—I filled up the claim by putting questions to the prisoner, and writing down the answers—I said, "I want your name on this paper"—she said, "I cannot write"—here is printed on the claim: "The person claiming has attained the age of twenty-one years, and is the mother of the deceased," and another question is, "Are the deceased's parents alive?"—I filled in "The mother"—"Are there brothers or sisters of the deceased living?"—I put in "Sister"—I got that information from the mother—"Was she insured in any other company or society?"—I put that question, and the answer was "No"—it then states: "I do hereby declare that I am the holder of the policy, etc., and as the mother of the deceased I claim payment to me of the said policy, 11th February, 1889"—when she said that she could not write, I referred to the Registrar's certificate of the boy's death, and said, "You have got your mark on here?"—she said, "Yes"—I asked her name—she said, "Sarah Bolton "; and I wrote it down, and "153, Church Street, Deptford"; and asked her to make a cross at the end of the name, which she did, with a pen—I asked Mrs. Winters for a witness to the signature; she said she could not write, and beckoned Mrs. Greenaway forward, who wrote her name as a witness; she had been there all the time, and heard what took place—I asked for a witness to the identity of the deceased, who was not a relative, and Mrs. Winters again beckoned Mrs. Greenaway—I said, "Are you a relative of the deceased?"—she said, "No"—I was not aware that she was the prisoner's sister—I produce the certificate of identity—it begins, "I, not being a relative of the deceased"—it is signed "Emma Greenaway," and she filled in the address," 53, Reginald Road, Deptford"—I received from Mrs. Winters two policies and the register of death and the premium receipt-book, and forwarded them to

the head office, from whence I afterwards received a cheque for £10 and a form of receipt—on 13th February I went to the house and saw the prisoner and Mrs. Winters—I wrote her name down on the receipt, and said, "As you cannot write, before you make your cross I must have a witness"—I read the letter and the claim-form to them, and said to Mrs. Winters, "The father is dead"—she said, "Yes"—the prisoner said, "He has been dead six months," and Mrs. Winters said, "Nearly seven"—when I asked for a witness, Mrs. Winters went into the passage and said to a little girl, "Go and fetch Tom," and in ten minutes the girl brought a man in, and I said, "I want you to witness this mark"—the mark was made, and the man signed "Thomas Frost"—the cheque was lying on the table, and I left it there—I believed her name to be Sarah Bolton, and that she was the mother of the deceased—the payment of 4d. on February 11 was made to me by Mrs. Winters at the time I had the policy and the premium receipt-book given to me.

Cross-examined. I got the information from the father on Friday, the 15th—I met him at Mr. Cremer's house.

By the JURY. When the prisoner paid me the money I was not aware that her name was Frost—I did not know her name till she told me it was Sarah Bolton, and it was two weeks before I found out who she was, though I had been collecting there six months—I only saw her two or three times; on the other times Mrs. Winters paid me the money—I did not know Mr. Frost when he was called in to witness.

SARAH BOLTON . I am the wife of James Samuel Bolton, and the mother of the deceased—I have been living apart from my husband for some years—I used to go to see my boy at his great aunt's, at 153, Church Street—he died on February 11—I had insured his life—the signature to this claim and this registrar's certificate are not mine; I know nothing about them—about two years ago I saw Mrs. Winters in High Street, and she spoke about insurance—I said that I would have nothing to do with it.

MR. MATHEWS proposed to put in the prisoner's evidence taken at the inquest on the deceased, but the RECORDER considered that as the prisoner was not a voluntary witness, she was under coercion, which would exclude her deposition. He had argued a similar case thirty-five years ago, when defending a person for murder, and Lord Truro had decided in his favour. Upon this MR. MATHEWS did not press the evidence.

HENRY PHILLIPS . (Police Inspector R). I saw the prisoner at the station on 22nd July—I told her she would be charged with forging a document for the payment of money, with intent to defraud the Prudential Insurance Company—she made no reply.


There were three other charges against the prisoner on the Coroner's In quisitions, which were postponed to next Sessions.— Judgment Respited.

Before Mr. Common Serjeant.

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