OSWALD OWEN.
20th October 1908
Reference Numbert19081020-73
VerdictNot Guilty > unknown

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OWEN, Oswald (25, shoemaker) ; robbery with violence upon Francis Arden, and stealing from him one watch and chain and 3s. 4 1/2 d. in money, his goods and moneys.

Mr. A. C. Fox Davies prosecuted; Mr. H. D. Roome defended.

FRANCIS ARDEN , 71. Neason Grove, West Ham, barman. At 12.30 a.m. on Sunday, September 27, I was in Plaistow Road. I had been to where my sister is a barmaid at Westway Road, Millwall, and finished up by calling on a friend in Barking Road, Plaistow. I was going home over Plaistow Bridge when I saw four men standing on the kerb', one of whom I recognised as the prisoner, whom I knew by sight, having known him five years ago and again seeing him a week previously. I knew his face. Prisoner came out from the other three, tripped me up, struck me a very violent blow in the left eye, knocking me to the ground, and hit me again as I fell. He said, in a stuttering voice, "Take that." On the ground I was again kicked by prisoner. When I got up I found my right trouser pocket turned

inside out and that I had lost 3s. 4 1/2 d. in money, a brass chain, and a gun metal watch of little value. The men were gone. I at once complained at the police station, was seen by the doctor, and went home. It was then one a.m. On the following Tuesday I identified prisoner from nine or 12 other men without any hesitation or trouble whatever. I am sure he is the man.

Cross-examined. I had only had two glasses of ale all night and was sober. There was nothing particular which drew my attention to the four men—I did not take any notice of them at all. Prisoner is not a friend of mine. The assault all happened in about two minutes. There was no one in sight when I got up. I said at the police court, "I saw the prisoner running away from me down Maud Road "—I saw the back of one of the men, but I would not be sure it was the prisoner. Nothing will alter my belief that it was the prisoner who attacked me. When I went to the police station I gave the name and description of the prisoner, said that I should know the man again, that he wore a shabby coat, a white muffler and had a dark moustache. I spotted him in a minute. I do not think the man would have done it if he had known who I was. I have spoken to him several times five years ago in Malta. I do not think he recognised me.

Dr. A. CREGONO, 43, Romford Road. Stratford, assistant divisional surgeon. I was called to see prosecutor between one and two a.m. on September 27. He had a lacerated wound across the right eyebrow, not a clear cut wound, and had another blow on the left eye. I asked him if he was hurt anywhere else; he said, "No." The injuries he receives are consistent with his evidence. He was sober.

Police-constable ERNEST BROADLEY. 148 K. On September 29, at 10.30 a.m., I saw prisoner and said, "I shall arrest you on suspicion of highway robbery with violence." He said, "I do not know anything about it; there must have been a mistake made."

Cross-examined. He appeared very much surprised.

Detective-sergeant FREDERICK CLEVELAND, stationed at West Ham. On September 29 I saw prisoner at West Ham Police Station, and said, "You will be put up for identification, as you are suspected of assaulting a man and stealing his watch and money in the Plaistow Road between 12 and one a.m. on Sunday." He said, "All right." He was then identified by prosecutor without hesitation from among nine other men. (To the Judge.) When charged before the magistrate he pointed to the prosecutor and said, "I have known him seven or eight years."

(Defence.)

OSWALD OWEN (prisoner, on oath). I live at 65, Brookes Road, Stratford Road, Plaistow. On September 29 a police constable arrested me in Plaistow Road for robbing a man three days before. I denied it. On Saturday, September 26, between 9.30 and 10 p.m., I went to West Ham with my wife, bought some leather to sole her boots with, and some bananas for the boy, and returned home a little I had several interviews with Mr. Gyde. I had in the first instance a letter from him saying he wished to see me, and after interviews in which I went into the matter I agreed to join the board. I arranged to go down and view the property. I had no practical knowledge of slates. I saw a number of favourable reports upon the property. I was present at the board meetings when the prospectuses were presented for consideration. There may have been alterations in the wording, but I do not think there was any material alteration of the drafts. No pressure was put upon myself or other members of the Board to induce us to pass the prospectuses. As chairman I got £100 a year from each company. There was no occasion for me to subscribe for or pay up shares according to the articles of association. I only signed. There was no qualification. At the board meetings I was usually in the chair, and Mr. Bridges, Mr. Lawrie, and Mr. Dodson were present. I had confidence in those gentlemen. Gyde was mostly present. Neither Gyde nor Darby attemped to influence me unduly. I do not know of any document in the history of either of these companies which was not submitted to me and my co-directors. I have not discovered anything material that was not disclosed to me by Gyde and Darby. So far as my experience of companies has gone there was nothing irregular in any meetings of these companies. The ordinary course of business at the board meetings would be that I should take the chair. Directors were present and the secretary read out the minutes of the last meeting which were signed. Then we discussed anything that was on the agenda to be brought before the meeting. Mr. Lawrie had expert knowledge of slates. It is a long time ago but I recollect the occasion of the drawing of the debentures. Gyde took no part in the drawing. I think Mr. Reynolds took the hat at the time the actual drawing took place. It was held with the crown downwards, and Reynolds put his hand in and took out the tickets. Possibly the hat might have been on the table. My recollection is that the hat was held in such a way that whoever held it could see inside it. I have not the slightest doubt as to the complete fairness of the drawing. I do not think anything was said afterwards as to anyone being able to look at the papers if they wanted. I had no doubt when I read the reports that the quarries, with proper capital, would be a commercial success. I recollect that a proposal was made to raise further capital for the amalgamation of the two companies. I was in favour of that, and I still think it would have been a very good

after 11.30. While out I saw our lodger, Rose Downs, with her young man, Mire Hedges; we also saw in a fried fish shop my Landlord, Brenchley, and his wife. Returning home we had supper and went to bed at about 12 p.m. My wife asked me to get a banana for the boy, which I did in my shirt. As I was getting into bed I lifted the window and asked Rose Downs, who was outside with her sweetheart to hurry up and come in as we wanted to go to sleep. I then returned to bed, went to sleep, and did not get up till the morning.

Cross-examined. I believe my wife let Rose Downs in after I was asleep. My house is about five minutes' walk from Plaistow railway bridge. I passed over that bridge coming home at 11.30 p.m.

KATE OWEN , wife of prisoner. On Saturday, September 26, I came home from work at seven p.m., had my tea, stopped in till 9.30, when I went out with my husband to Weat Ham; we met Rose Downs with her sweetheart at 10.15; bought some fried fish at a shop where we saw our landlord and his wife, also bought some bananas, got home together at 11.15, had supper and went to bed at 12. I asked my husband to get a banana for the boy, which he did; as he returned to bed he spoke to Downs, who was outside with her young man. He then got into bed. I went down and opened the door for Rose Downs at one a.m. Prisoner did not go out again till 10.30 the next morning.

Cross-examined. When prisoner was arrested I remembered what we had done on the Saturday. We passed over the railway bridge at five minutes to 11.

STEPHEN BRENCHLEY . I occupy the house where prisoner lives. On September 26 I returned from a football match at 6.15 p.m., went out shopping with my wife at 9.15; I saw prisoner and his wife outside the "Lord Nelson" at 11.10, got home at 11.30, and found prisoner and his wife had then got home. Prisoner did not go out again that night. I sleep in the front room downstairs and should have heard him open the door.

Cross-examined. I heard prisoner's wife open the door for Rose Downs. The passage is uncarpeted, and I should hear anyone.

AMELIA BRENCHELY , wife of the last witness, corroborated his evidence.

Cross-examined. I did not hear Rose Downs come in. I slept in the front room downstairs with the last witness.

ROSE DOWNS , match maker. I live at the same house as the prisoner. On September 26 I was out with my sweetheart, Mire Hedges, when I saw prisoner in Market Street, West Ham, at 10.15 p.m. I went for a walk and returned with my sweetheart to the house at about 12. A few minutes afterwards prisoner lifted up the window and said, "How long are you going to be?" I said, "Not long." He said, "I am off to bed." About 10 minutes afterwards his wife let me in.

MIRE HEDGES , 64, Boleyn Road, Forest Gate, carman. The last witness is my sweetheart. On September 26 I saw prisoner and his wife in West Ham at 10.15 p.m. At nearly 12.30 I was standing

outside his door with Downs when prisoner spoke to her from the window. She went in at about one a.m.

Verdict, Not guilty.


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