8th September 1890
Reference Numbert18900908-687
VerdictGuilty > unknown
SentenceImprisonment > penal servitude

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687. ALDEN CARTER WESTON (31) , Feloniously forging and uttering an order for the payment of £300, with intent to defraud.

MR. GILL Prosecuted, and MESSRS. GR AIN and WARBURTON Defended.

HENRY WILLIAM RICHARDSON . I am a silversmith and pawnbroker, of Upper Street, Bryanston Square—I have known Weston since 1878, when he was an army student—I knew the circumstances of his being charged and convicted—I had previously had monetary transactions with him—I held a promissory note of his jointly with Miss Bilton—also two or three bonds, and I bought a horse from him and kept it in my stable—he came to me at the latter end of last September—I think that was the second time I saw him after he came out of prison—the first time I met him in Regent Street—I have tried to fix the date of his coming, but cannot; I think it was the end of September—he talked about his being in prison, and how he was treated; then I asked him if he had seen Lady Dunlo—he said he had seen her once or twice—I think that was on that occasion—the next time he brought me a cheque for £200 payable, to Lady Dunlo, and purported to be signed by Mr. J. Wertheimer—he told me it was signed by Mr. Wertheimer—it was dated 1st November—before I returned it I took this copy of it (produced, U. N., No. 34,475)—I kept it two or three days—he said it was a payment of money by Mr. Wertheimer to Lady Dunlo, and it was intended to be a present on her birthday, which was the same day as his own—I asked him the date; he said, "29th October"—he asked me if I would cash it, but hold it over till after the date mentioned, 1st November, Lady Dunlo's birthday—he did not say why he possessed it, and I did not ask him—I told him to leave it and I would consider the matter—he left it—I said, "It might be necessary for me to take it to the bank"—(I had never seen Mr. Wertheimer; I knew his name well)—he made no objection—I asked him where Mr. Wertheimer was living—he said, "No. 3, King Street, St. James's—I think he called twice afterwards to know if I had made inquiries—the third occasion I gave it back, having taken a copy of it—I said I was very busy at the time; I did not care to entertain it—he took it away—he produced this letter as it is, not in an envelope—he said the letter was sent by Mr. Wertheimer with the cheque to Lady Dunlo (Addressed, "Darling Belle," and written on Mr. Wertheimer's stamped paper, signed "Isadore Wertheimer" and enclosing cheque)—I next saw him, I think, on 5th October, four or five days after I had returned the cheque—he asked me if I would cash this £50 cheque that he had with him. (The £50 cheque teas dated 3rd October, and endorsed "Isabel Dunlo")—the cheque was in the same condition as it is now—he said that must be held over till the 29th of October, as he had not succeeded in arranging about the first one; would I do it—I compared the cheque with the copy I had taken of the other, and found it had the following number in

the book, "U.N., 34,476"—he said Lady Dunlo endorsed it—I gave him four £10 notes and £5 in gold—I consented to hold it over till 29th October—this is the receipt I took—it was written by my manager and signed by Weston: "5th October. Received of Mr. Richardson the sum of £45, being the amount I am authorised by Lady Dunlo to take for the cheque drawn by Isadow Wertheimer in favour of Lady Dunlo for £50"—I think I dictated that receipt—the words, "by Lady Dunlo," were written by Weston in my office—I said, "Fill in ‘By Lady Dunlo'"—I wanted that in, that he was authorised by Lady Dunlo to take £45—about 12th October he brought me this letter, asking me to lend him £10—it purports to be addressed by Lady Dunlo to him—it is headed '"Saturday"—I did not lend it—he said Lady Dunlo was going to get a further cheque from Mr. Wertheimer—on 17th October he brought this cheque for £300, and said, "Will you cash it?"—I said, "I will not do it unless I can pay the £50 into my bankers; I will not go behind my word. I promised not to pay it in till the 29th. Tell Lady Dunlo what I say, and ask her if I may pay the £50 in, then I will consider the other one"—he went away—he came back and said, "She is perfectly willing"—I said, "Write an authority then"—then he wrote this in my office: "On behalf of Lady Dunlo it is hereby agreed that the £50 cheque of Isadora Wertheimer is to be cashed immediately"—I saw him write it—I would not have it—he took it away—I paid into my bankers the £50 cheque on 16th—I have not had it returned—he brought the cheque for £300 again on 17th with the letter, written on the Pelican Club paper—I said I had not heard from my bankers, and was not prepared to go on—I said I did not care about it; my bankers had not had time to post the £50 cheque back if it had been dishonoured, and I did not care to go on—on 18th he came and said Lady Dunlo wanted some money—I gave him a cheque upon my bankers, crossed, and made payable to Lady Dunlo's order, for £25—I afterwards gave him this cheque of 22nd October for £53 5s.—the figures on the Pelican dub letter were on when I saw the letter, they are not mine—(The letter from the Pelican Club asked Mr. Richardson to give Weston the money for the cheque, and was signed, "Isabel Dunlo")—I presented the £300 cheque on 15th November—it was returned as marked—I called on Mr. Wertheimer—I did not again see Weston till about last Easter or Whitsuntide—went to look for him at Eider Street, when Mr. Wertheimer called on me—I brought the action upon the cheque in November—it was tried before Mr. Justice Charles—the verdict was against me.

Cross-examined by MR. GRAIN. I had known Weston since 1878—he introduced Lady Dunlo in my office in August, 1887—I had transactions with Weston jointly with Miss Belle Bilton, the result of which was, when Weston was convicted in March, 1888, a balance was left due to me on the joint transaction of about £115—my solicitors had instructions to press her as being jointly liable—I lend money otherwise than on pledge, upon bill or other security—the transactions between the prisoner and Miss Bilton were money lent—they signed my books in the usual way, jointly—payments have been made by her while Weston was in prison—when he came first to me I believe I knew Wertheimer by name—the prisoner asked me to keep the first cheque, and I suggested going to the Bank of England to make inquiries—he acquiesced—I had that cheque three days, and could have gone there any day—he gave me Mr. Werthoimer's address, 3, King Street, St. James's—I have ascertained

that that is correct—during any of those three days I could have gone to Mr. Wertheimer and asked him if the cheque was genuine—I had no doubt that it was genuine—I gave the money for the £50 cheque the very day it was brought—I did not inquire whether it was genuine, but I knew it was signed by the person who signed the first cheque—I had it in my possession from October 5th to the 16th, and could have inquired at Mr. Wertheimer's place or at the Bank whether it was genuine—the prisoner called twice between those dates—he wanted to borrow £10, and brought a letter—I negotiated the £300 cheque on the 18th, the day I received it, and on the 28th a gentleman from the Bank of England asked me where I obtained it, because Mr. Wertheimer repudiated it—I told them whom I had it from—they told me they believed the £50 and £300 cheques to be genuine—I instructed my solicitor on 16th November, and heard from him soon afterwards that the defence would be that they were forged—after that my solicitor took down a proof from the prisoner as to what he would swear in my action—I did not discover any hesitation in asserting that they were genuine documents—I knew the prisoner's address before the civil action.

Re-examined. After the £300 cheque I lost sight of him, and went to inquire for him in Ryder Street—I saw him in the street, and in consequence of my speaking to him then he went to my solicitor—that was on the Friday after a bank holiday, either Easter or Whitsuntide.

ISABEL MAUD PENRICE LADY DUNLO . My maiden name was Bilton—I was known as Miss Belle Bilton—I knew the defendant before his conviction—I was married to Lord Dunlo in July, 1889—just after Weston came out of prison I saw him one night as I came out of a music hall, and said "Good-night" as I passed—he afterwards came to Bennett Street where I was living with Mr. Abrahams, and in consequence of what happened I called my landlord—he went away with Mr. Abrahams—that was the only occasion I have seen him—it is not true I gave him a cheque for £200, or one for £50, or one for £300—I did not meet him in the grill-room of the Cafe Royal, nor did I endorse a cheque there or at Barnes—I never handed him any letters relating to the cheques of Mr. Wertheimer—I did not write any letters to the prisoner after he came out of prison—after Mr. Wertheimer knew of this matter I received this letter—that was written before the action was tried—it was brought by Thompson—it is in Mr. Weston's writing. (This commenced by "Dear Belle" requesting the witness to see him for a few minutes alone on a matter of the greatest importance, signed Alden Weston)—the prisoner's wife came to see me—I never endorsed cheques "Isabel Dunlo"—I signed my name in that way for the first time at Mr. Richardson's office—I have never been in the grill-room of the Cafe Royal in my life, or in the house at Barnes.

Cross-examined. I wrote letters to the prisoner when he was in prison—these letters (produced) are my writing—I sent them to him through the prison authorities; but one is to his father—at the time he took his trial in this very dock I had great affection for him—I did all I could to assist him—I was present during the whole of the trial—I do not think the later letters were refused admission from some irregularity, I did not write to him after July, by the advice of friends—when he came out my brother-in-law was talking to him, and he said, "How do you do?"—I do not know that he went home to supper with my sister that

night—she was living in London Road at that time—I do not know whether I went away with my sister and her husband—I saw him again when he came to my room in Bennett Street—it has been called an assault, but he did not strike me—I did not shake hands with him before he left, when I had a blow from the door—he wanted to borrow money of me, and Mr. Richardson said "No"—Mr. Wertheimer gave me a great many cheques, and was very kind to me—I do not know that he is not a very careful man in signing cheques, or that his signature is peculiar—I should say that this cheque (looking at a letter) is not his writing—it is a forgery—I do not know when I first heard from Mr. Wertheimer that these cheques were alleged to have been passed by me—I think the last date of passing a cheque was in November, 1889—the man Thompson had been valet to the prisoner before his conviction, and on my recommendation Mr. Wertheimer took him into his service in the same capacity—Mr. Wertheimer did not discharge him; he disappeared—I do not know this writing—I do not recognise it as a genuine document, written by Mr. Wertheimer—I would not dare to say whose writing it is—I would not say whose writing the body of the letter is—I have often been to the Westminster branch of the Bank of England to cash cheques of Mr. Wertheimer's—I have done so once since my marriage, and only once.

Re-examined. That was the only occasion after my marriage that I had a cheque of Mr. Wertheimer—I pledge my oath that these letters were not written by me.

ISIDOR EMANUEL WERTHEIMER . I spell my name Isidor without the "e"—I live at 2, Ryder Street, St. James's—I did not give Lady Dunlo a cheque for £200 in September or October, nor did I give her one for £50—this is not my writing, or written by my authority—this cheque for £300 was not written by me or by my authority—I did not write this letter; the Friday letter to Lady Dunlo, nor the letter with the heading of the Pelican Club—there is no truth in the statement that I was waiting at the Cafe Royal, or sent her a cheque for £300, or that I had taken a box for the competition—I had an account at the Western branch of the Bank of England—it came to my knowledge in October that a cheque for £50 was debited to me—I made inquiries, and saw Mr. Richardson's manager—I had consulted Mr. George Lewis previously—I then gave instructions to my bank to pay no cheques, without instructions from me, at the request of the agent—I first saw this card of mine when the civil case was being tried—that is asking for a cheque on the 16th October, 1889—it was not written by me—I had a cheque-book in my possession at that time—I examined it, and found three cheques were missing; two were torn off, and one was torn out, counterfoil and all—the numbers correspond—after Thompson was out of employment I took him into my employment, and he continued there till October—in his capacity of valet he had my keys—he disappeared from my employment early in October—I caused inquiries to be made, but could not find his address, and the next I saw of him was driving with Weston in a cab—that was the first intimation I had that he was in communication with Weston—afterwards civil proceedings were taken with regard to the £300 cheque—I gave evidence—Lady Dunlo gave evidence, and the matter was tried by Mr. Justice Charles—I never gave Lady Dunlo a

post-dated cheque—the £50 has been paid to Messrs. Lewis and Lewis by the Bank of England.

Cross-examined. I am quite sure of that—I heard of the forgeries about the end of October—I did not make up my mind that Weston had forged these cheques immediately I saw them—I could not know who the forger was—I saw this one about February this year—I first heard that there was such a cheque in November from Mr. Richardson's solicitors—they wrote and told me their client had a cheque for £300, and, unless I paid it, they were instructed to take proceedings, and I referred them to Messrs. Lewis—I did not know that Weston was the person who had passed this cheque to Richardson—I did not know until the pleadings were put in that there was a cheque for £300 purporting to be signed by me, and endorsed by Lady Dunlo, in Richardson's hands—I did not about the first week in November know of this particular cheque—on October 20th I ascertained that the £50 cheque had been passed by Weston—I knew that it was forged, and that he had uttered it—I did not prosecute him, I left that to my solicitors—I knew they would do what was right and proper—the question was who should prosecute him, I or the Bank of England—I asked the Bank of England to prosecute—I do not know whether they refused—there was a good deal of correspondence between them and Messrs. Lewis—when I ascertained the forgery of the £50 cheque I did not know positively that I was a co-respondent in the divorce suit—I had a hint given me—I did not know it in November—I first learnt it by being served with a citation in March, 1889—at the time I placed this matter in Messrs. Lewis and Lewis' hands I knew that they had been in communication with Lord Clancarty, but I had no information that they were in communication with Lord Durlo—the two things were most intimately connected—Mr. George Lewis said, "Before you give me instructions, it is only right and fair that I should tell you I have received certain instructions from Lord and Lady Clancarty"—I knew that Lord and Lady Clancarty were anxious that Lord Dunlo should be divorced, but I did not know what was in their minds—I made up my mind to prosecute when the civil action was tried before Mr. Justice Charles, and before the verdict—after the trial, but before the verdict—an officer from Scotland Yard had been sent for—that was in July—I thought the Bank were the proper persons to prosecute, and I think so now—they were liable—I was once in partnership with my father in a way—at the time these cheques wore issued my income was very much diminished, and there was not a balance of £300 at the Bank, or anything like it, when the cheque was drawn—there was a very small amount there—they have a rule that you are obliged to keep a certain amount there, but they make exceptions, and mine was an exception—I had every confidence in Thompson up to the time he left—he frequently changed cheques for me—he was a confidential servant, and a man of some education—he sometimes paid my bills—I daresay he had disobeyed my orders about 27th September, 1889—he went out without waiting for me more than once—I wrote this letter to him, "As you have again disobeyed my orders, and gone out without waiting for me, I shall not require your services after this day week"; but he asked me next morning to forgive him, and I did—I thought better of it, he was a very good servant—I believe the Scotland Yard people have tried to find him, but unsuccess-fully

—Weston has been married for the last two years, and I have seen Mrs. Weston—I never made Weston's acquaintance; I do not know him; I am not in the habit of associating with such people—I never have known him; I knew of him in March, 1888; I saw him when he was brought up for his examination in bankruptcy, when he was in prison—I accompanied Miss Bell Bilton, as she was then, to see him; that was at the Court in Portugal Street—I knew the relations which existed between them—I saw him on the evening he came out, on the expiration of his sentence, but did not speak to him—I have seen him several times at the Royal Music Hall, standing among the audience, but have never spoken to him in my life.

Re-examined. The citation was served on me in March, 1890—I saw Mr. Lewis about this matter last October, and rightly or wrongly I acted on his advice—the civil action on the £300 cheque commenced last November, and was pending until July—I heard Weston give his evidence.

DAVID BARTON . I am a cashier at the Bank of England, Burlington Gardens; Mr. Wertheimer has an account there—on 17th October this card was presented to me, and on the faith of it I gave the person presenting it the cheque-book from which this £300 cheque was taken; the cheque was presented at the Bank, and returned marked, "Signature differs"—this cheque for £50 was presented and honoured; it is the first number in the book.

Cross-examined. I am not chief cashier; I was examined on the trial of Richardson v. Wertheimer on July 4th—I do not recollect saying, "I believed at the time that the signature of the £300 cheque was in the writing of the defendent, and I believe it still"; my recollection is that I was not asked with regard to the cheque, but with regard to the card—I was examined as to the order for the cheque-book—I cannot say whether I believe the £300 cheque bears the genuine signature of Mr. Wertheimer; it has a very great resemblance—as regards the card, I said on 4th July that I believed it to be the genuine signature of Mr. Wertheimer, and I believe it still; I am inclined to say so even to-day, but I am not so positive now as I was then, because so many things have happened—I am not aware whether the Bank authorities have refunded the £50.

Cross-examined. I have seen one or two forgeries—the object of a forger is to make the signature as like as possible—I would not have given the cheque-book unless I had believed the card was Mr. Wertheimer's writing—the cheque-book was in an envelope, addressed to Mr. Wertheimer.

JAMES EBENEZER LICKFOLD . I am a solicitor, and managing clerk to Messrs. Lewis and Lewis—I have had the conduct of this matter, and have full knowledge of the facts—the £50 was paid to me on 21st July, by Messrs. Freshfield, the solicitors to the Bank of England.

Cross-examined. I said I would bring an action, and they sent a cheque in full discharge respecting the £50 cheque.

FREDERICK GEORGE NETHERCLIFT . I live at 10, Bedford Row, and for upwards of 40 years have made a special study of handwriting—I was instructed by Messrs. Lewis and Lewis to examine the documents impounded by the Judge's orders, in the action of Richardson and Wertheimer—I examined a letter purporting to be written by Mr.

Wertheimer to Lady Dunlo, and one from Lady Dunlo to Weston, also the £50 cheque, and the £300 cheque, and the Pelican Club letter, and the card with the order for a fresh cheque-book, and compared them with genuine cheques of Mr. Wertheimer's and with his admitted writing, and Lady Dunlo's, and with writing which is sworn to be Weston's, and my opinion is that the £50 cheque and the £300 cheque are forgeries, and that Weston's hand forged them—the letters which purport to be written by Weston to Lady Dunlo, and by Lady Dunlo to Weston are forgeries, and bad imitations—they were written by Weston—I found the same peculiarity running through them all; Mr. Wertheimer's Christian name is spelt with an "e" in them all, and there are other peculiarities.

Cross-examined. I believe conscientiously that I have never been wrong in my life—I do not say that when juries have disagreed with me they have been wooden—headed juries—I say they are clumsy forgeries.

Re-examined. I am prepared to point out my reasons.

BERNARD ABRAHAMS . I am a solicitor, of Great Marlborough Street—after Weston came out of prison he called on me and said that he was in difficulties, and asked me to assist him—I said that I would as far as I was able—he said that he was going abroad—I drew a cheque for £5 to order, and gave it to him, and he endorsed it—this is it—he said that before leaving he should have to say good-bye to Lady Dunlo, and asked me to go with him, and I consented—I went up first to see her—in my opinion the assault was purely accidental, in pushing the door it went against her head—I expressed regret for the occurrence.

CHARLES RICHARDS . I received a warrant for the prisoner's arrest on the charge of forgery, dated July 8th, and executed it next day—I said, "Weston; I am a police officer, and hold a warrant for your arrest"—he said, "All right, come upstairs"—I went up and he said, "Who prosecutes me?"—I said, "Mr. Wertheimer"—I took him to the station—I searched some lodgings in the Strand where he had been staying, and found some paper with different hotel headings, and the Junior Conservative Club, and Junior Travellers' Club, St. James's Square.

PERCY HOWARD . I am in the employ of Walsh and Sons, shorthand writers—I took notes of the evidence given by the defendant Weston, and of his cross-examination in Richardson and Wertheimer, and of the entire case—I produce a correct transcript.

Witnesses for the Defence.

GEORGE TRAIN . I am a cashier at the Western branch of the Bank of England—Mr. Wertheimer had an account there in 1889, and I am well acquainted with his signature—looking at the signatures to these two cheques, I believe I should have cashed them if there had been funds to meet them—Mr. Wertheimer had given notice at the office that no cheques were to be cashed—there is nothing characteristic about Mr. Wertheimer's signature, it is a loose sort of signature, and it varies—the signature to this letter from the Pelican Club is not a signature at all, I cannot pronounce any opinion about it—the Bank had previously cashed the £50 cheque.

Cross-examined. I did not pay the £50 cheque—I have never paid a forged cheque—I wrote this, "Signature differs," on the £300 cheque—I think the "W" is knocked into the "E" in this I. E.

Wertheimer; I cannot see them perfectly as two letters; I cannot see the whole of the "W"—I do not see any peculiar formation in the "E" and the "Win this cheque of Mr. Wertheimer's, which has been paid across the counter—I see in the first cheque the "I" and the "E" and two strokes afterwards—Mr. Wertheimer spells his name "Isidor."

CHARLES A. PYE . I am the senior cashier at the West-end branch of the Bank of England—I believe the signature to these two cheques to be in the hand of the drawer—I have seen them before—the signature to the £300 cheque is different, because instructions were given not to pay anything except to Mr. Wertheimer personally.

Cross-examined. Mr. Fletcher paid the £50 cheque—in the cheques which the Bank were paying at that time the "I," the "E," and the "W" can be seen—I think these two letters are in Mr. Wertheimer's writing.

WALTER JOHN FLETCHER . I am assistant cashier at the Western branch of the Bank of England; I cashed one of these cheques, and if the other had come to me in the ordinary way of business I should have cashed it.

Cross-examined. I have the same opinion of both of them—I can see the "I," the "E," and the "W" in all these cheques—I see the dots in all of them—I cannot judge of the signature to these two letters, because I never saw them before, but I should say that the body is Mr. Wertheimer's writing—he spells his Christian name "Isidor. "

GUILTY *— Seven Years' Penal Servitude.

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