17th October 1892
Reference Numbert18921017-960
VerdictGuilty > unknown
SentenceNo Punishment > sentence respited

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960. SAMUEL GANE HARPER (57) , Unlawfully obtaining £10 from the Waterbury Watch Company by false pretences. Second Count, Obtaining sixty-five watches from the said company.

MR. GILL Prosecuted.

WILLIAM EDWARD PINDER . I am secretary to the Waterbury Watch Sales Company, Snow Hill—I advertised in April for a traveller in the watch trade, for Scotland, and got a reply from Samuel Gane Harper, of Milverton Villa, New Barnet, which was handed to the managing director, and has been lost—it was answered, and the prisoner said that he travelled for Ransoms, of Birmingham, and gave me Mr. Hansom's address, Kistor House, Torquay, who he said had retired

from the firm—I wrote to Mr. Ransom for his character, and received this reply. (Stating that the prisoner was a man of sterling integrity.)—I afterwards saw the prisoner again, and told him it would be necessary to have a guarantee, and gave him a form of the Guarantee Society, which he took away, and returned a few days afterwards, and said that he did not wish the smallness of his salary to be made public, which it might be if he applied to the Guarantee Society, but he would give us a private guarantee, if that would do, and suggested Mr. Ransom, of Torquay—I gave him a form for Mr. Ransom to execute, and received this letter. (Enclosing a guarantee for £300)—I believed that was genuine, and gave him sixty-five watches as samples, worth about £128—these are the terms under which he entered the employment. (£5 a week and expenses; to be terminated by three weeks' notice. Signed, "Samuel Gane Harper")—I also gave him £10 in cash for his travelling expenses—I had a few orders from him in June, but when I wrote there was very often a delay in his replies—it was his duty to write daily to the firm; we supplied him with forms to fill up every night, but he often let four or five days elapse—on 27th June I wrote him this letter. (Enclosing £6, giving him two weeks' notice to terminate the engagement, and requesting him to return to London at once.)—I received letters from him on June 30th, July 1st, August 6th, and August 8th, offering excuses, and on August 8th I wrote him this letter. (Stating that unless the samples were returned by Friday next, proceedings would be taken against Mr. Ransom, his guarantee, and that he was not entitled to salary after July, and enclosing an expenses book)—on 6th September I received this letter. (Stating that Mr. Ransom was in Madeira, and therefore he would leave the matter in the hands of his solicitor, and entrust the samples to him, and requesting payment of the amount due to him)—I wrote to Mr. Ransom at Torquay, but got no reply; also to Mr. Mann, the owner of Kistor House, Torquay—I gave instructions to Chamberlain, of the Private Inquiry Office, and went with one of his men, and Mr. Ransom to Youngman's Farm, Pinner, where I saw the prisoner and a lady coming along the road—Mr. Chamberlain's man said, "How do you do, Mr. Kean?"—they shook hands, and Mr. Ransom and I stepped forward—Mr. Ransom spoke to the prisoner, and his face became very red, so that he was uncertain whether he was the man; I lit a match and looked in his face, and identified him at once as Harper—he spoke with a foreign accent, as a German might do—that was not the way he was in the habit of speaking—he was taken to the station, and charged with stealing the watches; he was wearing a watch, which he admitted was one of them—he was taken to Snow Hill Station, and said that the watches were in the hands of his solicitor in Scotland, who held them as security for a debt—he has never mentioned the name or address of his solicitor—he had £42 from me in May and June, and I sent him other sums for expenses—he sent an account of his expenses to us weekly, and we sent him what he asked for for pushing our trade.

Cross-examined by the prisoner. You returned every one of the statements, with reasons why the accounts were not paid—you had to call on customers who owed us money; that part of the duty was faithfully discharged—you did not write to me every night, or, if not, send a telegram next day—I was never without your address—you did some business for us—you shook hands with a complete stranger who came out of a lane.

Re-examined. Staunton said that he had brought two gentlemen to buy his hay.

HENRY RANKIN . I am managing director of the Waterbury Watch Company—in consequence of our advertisement the prisoner came to Snow Hill, and represented that he had been a traveller for a Birmingham firm, and that Mr. Ransom was one of the partners—he signed this document, by which he entered the employment on May 30th, and was only in the employment till June 27th—these letters, P and M, are in the same writing as the letter we first received in answer to the advertisement. (One of these was from Milverton Villa, New Barnet, stating that Mr. Carberry regretted to say that his partner had absconded, leaving him in temporary embarrassment, and it would not be well for the family to be there, so he had closed the house; the other was from Kistor House, Torquay, signed R.J. Ransom, to Mr. Miller, of Uxbridge, stating that Mr. R.T. Kean had been a tenant of his at Ledbury for nine years, and his rent was regularly paid.)

Cross-examined. You did not say that you should require £500—there was no discussion about commission—I did not say it would be impossible under six months to say what you were worth.

GEORGE CORDING . I carry on business in waterproof goods, at 125. Regent Street—I am the owner of Milverton Villa, New Barnet—the prisoner introduced himself to me in March as an independent gentle man, and gave his name, Eustace Frederick Carberry, of Hatherly, near Cheltenham, and referred me to Mr. J. J. Ransom, of Kistor House. Torquay—I wrote there and got this answer. (Stating that Mr. Carberry had been a tenant of his, and was thoroughly respectable)—I let him have the house, and he executed the agreement in the name of Eustace Carberry—he took possession just before March 25th—he never paid any rent—I took proceedings in the Queen's Bench for ejectment—it was a quarterly tenancy at £90 a year—while he was there I received this letter from him. (The one stating that his partner had absconded)—also this letter. (Stating that matters would not be settled for a fortnight, and that he was still in the North looking after matters relating to his partner.)—also this (Hoping to see the witness about the middle of the next week.)

Cross-examined. You said you had been living on your means in Somersetshire, and that you came to London to join a new partner.

EDWARD VERNON SHORE . I had to do with the letting of this house—the prisoner is the person who took it as Carberry.

WILLIAM WOOD . I am a butcher, of New Barnet—I knew the prisoner living at Milverton Villa in the name of Carberry—he wrote me this letter on 9th June: "Mr. Carberry regrets to inform Mr. Wood that his partner has absconded, leaving him in temporary embarrassment. On his return to town he will have the pleasure of calling on Mr. Wood"—he never called—I do not know when he left—he what we called "moonshined."

Cross-examined. Your goods went away in the night—my man called at your house several times.

JOHN MANN . I keep a boarding-house, Kistor House, Torquay—I never saw the prisoner till he was in custody—on 4th March I received this letter. (Sting that he required rooms for Mrs. Ransom and himself, inquiring the terms, stating that Mrs. Ransom was unable to travel in very severe weather, and requesting that any letters might be forwarded)—I also received this letter. (Stating that Mr. Ransom had had a bereavement in his family, which had upset all his plans, and that he was going to the North of Ireland, and

requesting that any letters might be sent to the Lake Hotel, Killarney.)—I forwarded his letters; he never came.

Cross-examined. Intending visitors are frequently delayed.

THOMAS WILLIAM LIGHTFOOT . I am a cigar maker—I know the prisoner by the name of Ransom; I have received letters for him, which I gave to him or Mrs. Ransom—on August 28th I received this letter: "Sir,—If you have any letters for me, kindly put them in an envelope and send them to me at Funchal, Madeira. I enclose stamps, postage 2 1/2 d.—J. T. RANSOM"—I received a letter with the name of the secretary of the Waterbury Watch Company on it, and sent it to Madeira.

Cross-examined. You asked for letters to be received in the name of Ransom and you called and said, "Have you any letters for me?"—I said, "What name?"—you said, "Ransom"—I am positive you said "For me"—I did not know you till then—I handed them to you.

GEORGE HALE . I am a carman, of 41, Upper Marylebone Street—I received instructions from the prisoner to remove some goods in the name of King—he said that there was no rent owing, and he did not want the neighbours to know where he was going—my van arrived on June 6th, at nine p.m., but we did not begin to take out the things till twelve—it was a cross-country journey, and took twelve hours—the place was beyond Pinner, about ten miles, and we had rather a heavy load—a woman named King went with the vans.

Cross-examined. I arrived there at night, but the horses were put into a stable—we drove out about six a.m., and one of the horses fell down, we had a difficulty with that horse throughout the journey—there were two good horses and one indifferent—I cannot say whether the police were told that I was not to begin loading till twelve o'clock, which I did—it was the height of summer; we continued loading all night, and it took us till nearly six a.m.—a police-inspector came and took the name of the van, but I did not inform the police—it did not forcibly strike me that it was done to evade a distress or payment of rent.

Cross-examined. There were two vans—unless we had started in the morning we could not have got there in six hours; New Barnet is ten miles from London.

WILLIAM PERCY SEBORN WILLS . I am a salesman, of Uxbridge—I had to do with letting Youngman's Farm in May—the prisoner introduced himself to me as B. V. Kean, and referred me to Ransom, of Kistor House, Torquay—I wrote to him, and got this answer: Sir,—"Absence from home prevented my answering your note yesterday," and giving him a good character—he had possession till he was arrested, as far as I know—I received this letter from him.

Cross-examined. My rent has been paid up to Michaelmas—I have heard from a Mr. Ransom since, but not in reply to any letter of mine.

GEORGE SMITH INGLIS . I am an expert in handwriting—I have seen the documents signed Harper, Cadbury, Kean, and Ransom—they are all written by the same individual.

Cross-examined. Documents A I and M are given me as your genuine writing, and B C and D are the same writing as your letter.

FREDERICK STAUNTON . I was engaged in making inquiries in this case, and traced the prisoner to Youngman's Farm, passing in the name of Kean—I arranged the meeting when he was stopped, and went up and shook hands with him—when the match was held to his face he ran

away—I ran after him, and addressed him as Harper—he said, "Not me; what am I charged with?" and then the Inspector came up.

Cross-examined. I mean solemnly to say that you ran away—you shook hands with me.

Re-examined. I said, "Mr. Kean, these gentlemen have come to buy your hay."

DANIEL DENNING (City Detective Sergeant). On September 5th I brought the prisoner from Snow Hill to Guildhall, and on the way he said, "I did not think Mr. Rankin would have been so hard on me, I can return the watches in a few days; I left them with my solicitor in Glasgow, he holds them as security for money owing to me by the Watorbury Watch Company, and I shall not give them up till they pay me"—he also said that the solicitor was away for a few days—I asked him the solicitor's name; he made no reply.

Cross-examined. I did not say, "You can depend upon me, if you will make me a confident in this matter; it will be altogether better"—you did not say that they were in the hands of a friend, who was going to give them to his solicitor.

The prisoner, in his defence, stated that he looked upon it as a six months' engagement, and had spent all his energy in extending the business; that he had a claim against the company for six months' salary, and the watches would not be equal in value to that in a forced sale; that he had spent the £10, and the other amounts which he was charged with, in travelling expenses, and he denied writing the letters which Mr. Inglis stated were his.

GUILTY .— Judgment respited.

The COURT disallowed the expenses of the witness Hale.

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