18th July 1910
Reference Numbert19100718-36
VerdictGuilty > lesser offence
SentenceImprisonment > penal servitude

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PILCHER, Frederick Joseph (61, engineer) , forging a will and testament purporting to be the last will and testament of Mary Lilian Kerferd; (second count) uttering that forged will knowing it to be forged and with intent to defraud.

Mr. Muir, Mr. Travers Humphreys, and Mr. Oddie prosecuted; Mr. Marshall Hall, K.C., Mr. Curtis Bennett, and Mr. Hugh Brodie defended.

LANCELOT DESMOND FELLOWES , clerk in the Probate Registry, Somerset House, produced a document purporting to be the last will and testament of Mary Lilian Kerferd (Exhibit 1), dated May 19, 1898, attached to which was the oath of the executor (Exhibit 2) signed Frederick J. Pilcher and dated May 8, 1909; the Act of Probate (Exhibit 3), dated May 14, 1909; a letter (Exhibit 4) from a Mr. Holme, solicitor, of Liverpool, to Stephenson, Harwood and Co., dated November 4, 1909; an injunction (Exhibit 120), dated October 19, 1909, restraining prisoner and his agents from dealing with the deceased's estate; an order (Exhibit 121), dated October 25, 1909, appointing an administrator pending the action; an affidavit of prisoner (Exhibit 122), dated March 23, 1910, together with letter referred to therein; order revoking probate (Exhibit 123), dated June 6, 1910, and condemning prisoner in costs; and the pleadings in

that action (Exhibit 34), the statement of claim alleging that the will was a forgery.

HENRY WILLIAM HOBBS , Record Keeper, Estate Duty Office, Inland Revenue, produced affidavit of deed (Exhibit 89), showing total net value of real and personal estate to be £19,748 19s. 8d.

FRANK STOKES POPLAR , Streatley-on-Thames. The deceased was my niece. I was abroad when she died. I last saw her in December, 1908, in London. When abroad, prisoner wired me, saying my niece was seriously ill. I answered his telegram, and I then received this letter (Exhibit 90), dated March 22, 1909, stating the arrangements that were being made for the funeral and that he was keeping my sister, Mrs. Hasel, fully advised. He spells collapsed "collopsed" and Woking "Working." I received another letter from him on the same day, stating that he had not interfered with any papers and was waiting for me to give instructions as to what was to be done. On March 23 I received a letter from him (Exhibit 92), in which he writes "errond" for "errand," "and" for "than," and "dertermined" for "determined." I then received this letter from him, dated the 28th (Exhibit 93), stating that deceased had made a will on March 19, 1898, appointing him sole executor and leaving everything to him, "for at that time she had little to leave"; that before going on the Continent last year she had made another will, which she, according to Dorothy Jones's statement, had subsequently destroyed; that he had found in an envelope, marked "My will, M. L. Kerferd," an unsigned will, in which she had said, "My dear cousin, Fred J. Pilcher, knows all my wishes and will, I know, carry them out to the letter, and I appoint him my sole executor," and in which she had left the interest of £2,200 each, namely, "Aunt Isabella," Mrs. Hasel, Uncle Frank Stokes (myself), and Uncle Walter Stokes during their lives, and then to go to the Governesses' Home. I subsequently received a letter from him, dated March 30 (Exhibit 94), stating that he intended carrying out the wishes of the deceased as stated in the unsigned will. "April "is spelt "Aprol" and "importance" "importence," and "your" "you." (Witness here pointed out mistakes in spelling that prisoner had made in letters to him (Exhibits 94, 98, 100, 101, 102, 103, and 104.)

(Monday, July 25.)

HORACE GILDON HARWOOD , solicitor, 31, Lombard Street, E.C. On June 22, 1909, Mr. Frank Stokes consulted me with reference to the legality of his niece's will. I made some inquiries and eventually went on July 16 with him to Somerset House, where I saw the original will (Exhibit 1). We met Mrs. Hermendahl and Dorothy Jones there. As the result of my inquiries and what I had seen, I issued a writ on October 18 on behalf of Mr. Stokes as one of the next-of-kin, which I served on prisoner in Liverpool on October 22; it was for the revocation of the will and to appoint Mr. Stokes as administrator, on the ground that the will was a forgery. I told prisoner I had been instructed

to commence proceedings. He asked me what it meant and I told him. He replied, "I can explain." I then told him that any explanation he wished to make had better be made in the presence, of his solicitors. I afterwards met him at his solicitors' office, where I told them that the will was alleged to be a forgery. As prisoner made no explanation and his solicitors had taken up the matter on his behalf I suggested that prisoner should leave the room, which he did. I then discussed the matter with them. Mr. Holme shortly after left the room and, on his return, made a communication to me. I returned to London and an order was made on October 25 appointing Mr. Lawson as administrator. On November 4 Mr. Holme came to London and I showed him a photograph of the will. I then went with him to Mr. Kalkin, after which I received a letter from Mr. Holme, dated November 4, stating that prisoner was willing to take a decree revoking probate of the will, having regard to the fact that the attesting witnesses were dead and that the difficulties of affirmative proof would be very great, but stating that prisoner did not for a moment admit that the will was a forgery. The action came on for hearing on June 6. It was undefended and the will was revoked.

Cross-examined. I am acting for Mr. Stokes and the other next-of-kin The question of who is heir-at-law is still open. I never knew deceased and I had not known anything of prisoner before this. Mr. Beyfus, who represented the next-of-kin, said in court that we were not in a position to say who had forged the will.

Re-examined. For the purposes of the action that was immaterial. Prisoner never gave any explanation.

FRANK STOKES (recalled, further examined). Exhibits 105, 106, 107, and 108, letters from prisoner to witness were read, witness pointing out mistakes in grammar and spelling that prisoner had made therein.) I came to England on May 4, 1909, and I got a letter on June 4 from Mrs. Hermendahl, written from abroad, and another one on June 15, in consequence of which on June 22 I went to see my solicitor, Mr. Harwood. On June 26 I received a letter from Dorothy Jones. I saw prisoner on several occasions, but I never learnt from him either verbally or in writing where he had found the will (Exhibit 1). After seeing the will I instructed my solicitor to commence proceedings for its revocation.

Cross-examined. I first met Mrs. Hermendahl in New Brighton about 15 years ago. I never communicated with her or saw her since I believe she was a great friend of deceased's. I know that Dorothy Jones has been with deceased and before that with her mother for 13, or 14 years. She never wrote to me as far as I remember. Mrs. Hermendahl has told me that she has taken her into her employ. I saw the vituperative letter that Mrs. Hermendahl wrote to prisoner. I always had the idea that deceased believed in cremation, but I cannot say that her wish to be cremated dated as far back as 1898. I thought she and prisoner were very good friends. I knew very little about her business affairs. I was in Rome when prisoner wired me on March 18, "Lily sinking; come," but I wired back saying I could not do so on account of my health. I received four telegrams in all

from him. I do not remember receiving a letter from him, dated March 28, saying that he did not intend to move in the matter of papers or arrangements until I returned, "for your and her wishes, especially the latter, must be carried out to the letter." I telegraphed to him on the 25th, "Stokes suggests you open will and telegraph names of executors"; that was in reply to his letter of March 22, in which he said, "I am not interfering with papers or will, which I wish you to open, and then we can arrange what is to be done." I know he was the only person who attended the funeral. I know that deceased suffered from lupus and that she was eventually cured after several operations. The first time I ever saw the unsigned will, dated January 25, 1909 (Exhibit 86) was on July 2, 1909, at Mr. Holme's office in Liverpool. I should say the whole of it is in deceased's hand-writing, but I am not very well acquainted with her handwriting, because I did not receive many letters from her. On the back of the envelope in which it is enclosed is "Opened and resealed, L. K." I see she spells "Frederick" "Fredrick" and "benevolent" "benovolent." I notice that the dot on the "i" in "Pictures" is inside the loop of the "p" and that in "Pilcher" in the alleged forged will there is also a dot; it occurs twice. In Exhibit 86 she has altered the "T" in "Tea" and has spelt "ormolu" "ormulu". I cannot absolutely say that deceased derived all her property from her mother. I know that my sister, her mother, made a will leaving all her property to her daughter. My sister was very close about her business affairs and I did not know much about them. I did not expect to be appointed my niece's executor nor did I expect anything particular to come to me. I was on very good terms with her. I should have considered the interest on £2,200 as a generous recognition. There appears to me to be a slight break of fluency in the last six words of Exhibit 86 beginning "and I appoint." There was a document attached to that which contained specific requests as to the disposal of certain articles belonging to her. Prisoner sent me copy of the extracts which affected me or my family. I proposed that a trustee should be appointed and prisoner agreed to it later. He sent me the things that my niece wished me to have. When Mrs. Hermendahl wrote to me I wrote to prisoner on June 16 (Exhibit 173), saying hat I had a letter from her making grave charges against him and other information respecting the will seemed to be imperfect. She got the interest on £1,700 under the unsigned will and prisoner declined to give it her. I know that there was some correspondence between her and prisoner about some jewellery, but I did not know what it was. I did not want to be mixed up in it. Prisoner wrote me and said that deceased was a true friend of Mrs. Hermendahl's, but that Mrs. Hermendahl was cruel and insincere, causing the deceased many an unhappy hour, and he did not propose, under the circumstances, to allow her anything. I did not consider myself legally entitled to anything under the unsigned will. Prisoner showed me the letter (Exhibit 174), from Mrs. Hermendahl to him, dated June 13. I went with her and Dorothy Jones to see the will at Somerset House on July 16. She did not say anything then as to whether she

had seen it before, and for all I know that was the first time she had seen it. This is the letter she wrote on June 13 to prisoner: "I was waiting to get the things before writing to call you 'forgerer.' I can even guess whom you got to witness it. After long years of waiting I have the satisfaction of letting you know what I think of you. I have always had the greatest loathing and contempt for you and can read you like a book. At the last those crocodile tears and bursts of grief amused me very much. You have now ended by doing exactly what I expected. I even said to your poor dupe: 'What is to prevent him forging your will? He signs your broker's papers and dividends.' She even wrote and called you forgerer! You have added that to the rest of your villainy. Forger, pimp, rogue, liar, and diseased contaminator. A nice person to be at large! I know the contents of your dupe's will. The money is cursed. It will never do you or yours any good, mark my words. I could write much more of your noble character, but this much will relieve you of any conceited ideas you may have had of my friendship. I have often looked at you, and thought any baboon would have been preferable. You are despised among men. I have heard you discussed, but did not claim the honour of your acquaintance. Of the dead I won't write, only say it was a mad pity on my part for a mortal I looked upon as abnormal and a physiological study. You were a fit mate. I am writing to Mr. Frank Stokes. A villain like you will never think of the injustice you have done to others, whose futures were depending on what the dead had intended should be done for them. It is also possible you have suppressed Lily's last will, and did not require to forge it.' I told prisoner that she had said if he went up to see her she would see him about that letter. I do not remember that he told me that the cause of the letter was because he had refused to give her her share under the unsigned will. He did go and see her at my suggestion. He did not tell me that she was not responsible for her statements when in that sort of temper, and that the letter was not a genuine one, and that he could not understand it because a few days previously he had had letters from her in a most friendly spirit. I think he showed me a letter from her addressed to him in his Christian name. I do not recognise this little bag and I have never seen this piece of paper before. The estate is now in the hands of the official administrator.

Re-examined. This cremation paper, dated May 12, 1898 (Exhibit 175), appears to be signed by deceased. The handwriting on the envelope (Exhibit 176) enclosing it is entirely different. The letter of June 4 is the first communication I had from Mrs. Herraendahl; she asked me for an appointment on her return to England, as she had something serious to tell me. I have not that letter.

ARTHUR ROWNEY , 47, King Henry's Road, South Hampstead. I am a brother of Walter George Rowney, who gave evidence at the police court. I had a brother named Frederick Rowney, who died on December 1, 1904, and the person mentioned in this certificate of death (Exhibit 6) answers to his description. He lived at 14, Aschurch Terrace, Shepherd's Bush. This signature on Exhibit 1, "Fred. W Rowney," of "Old Sergeant's Inn, Chancery Lane, E.C.," is nothing

like that of my brother's. I cannot say whether he was living in Old Sergeant's Inn in 1898. These two letters headed "the Old Serjeant's Inn, Chancery Lane" (Exhibits 7 and 8) were written by him. He spells "Serjeant" with a "j" in each case. I know his hand-writing. I should say Exhibits 9, 10, 11, 12, 12a, 12b, and 12c are all in his handwriting. My father's name was "Frederick William Rowney." The signature on the will is not like his. Lovell Phillips was a great friend of my late brother and he stayed with him in Old Serjeant's Inn for considerable periods at a time.

Cross-examined. I saw a good deal of my brother in 1897 and 1898: we were in business together. I know nothing of Mrs. Or Miss Kerferd then and I did not know that my brother knew Miss Kerferd. He was sometimes away from London for week-ends. He used to sleep at Old Serjeant's Inn. I did not know that she used to lend her flat there sometimes for week-ends.

Re-examined. I never heard of Miss Kerferd before this case. After my brother's death I might have heard of prisoner being a friend of his.

ROSE PHILLIPS , sister of the late William Lovell Phillips. My brother died at the age of 60 on November 17, 1908, leaving a widow, L. A. Phillips. He appears to be the person described in this death certificate (Exhibit 16). This signature, "Lovell Phillips," in Exhibit 1 is not in his handwriting. Exhibit 18, which is all in his hand-writing, is headed "7, Old Serjeant's Inn." In formal documents he would sign his full name. I know he knew prisoner, but I did not know the extent of their friendship.

ELIZABETH EDWARD HERMENDAHL , widow, 24, Vale Court, Maida Vale. In 1893 I hired a house called "Bonavista," at New Brighton, from Mrs. Kerferd, with whom I subsequently became acquainted. I became intimate with her and her daughter, Mary Lilian Kerferd, who, I believe, had £30 a year. I know her handwriting well. On March 17, 1909, I went to visit her at "Neilgherry." She was out when I arrived, but came in shortly afterwards. She seemed to be semi-conscious. I had some conversation with her about her will The next morning she was unconscious. Prisoner asked me if I knew what she had left him and I said I believed it was £6,000 for business purposes. He said "Is that all?" and I said, "Yes, that is all I know." On the morning of the 19th deceased died. I left the house immediately after breakfast. One day in May I telephoned prisoner and said I had been waiting to hear about the will and asking if it had been proved. He said, "Yes." I said, "Was there anybody mentioned?" and he said, "No." Before I went to the South of France I spoke to my solicitors and whilst there I had a letter from them, and I wrote to Mr. Stokes. On June 8 I got this letter from prisoner (Exhibit 18), stating that he had given orders for the case of things that deceased had wished me to have to be sent to my address. He spells "Saville" "Savel." Enclosed in that letter was Exhibit 17, which is a list of articles in Miss Kerferd's handwriting, which she wished me to have. I received from my

solicitors a statement as to what had been proved in the will and I thereupon on June 13, 1909, wrote prisoner a registered letter (Exhibit 174, see page 411). I did not sign it, but he knew my hand-writing He telephoned the next afternoon asking me to come up and see him, as he wished to explain matters, and I said he could not see me and I wished no explanation. On June 16 he came to my flat and, pulling the letter out of his pocket, asked me what I meant by forgerer. I told him it was English and was exactly as I had written it. He asked me if I would apologise to Mr. Stokes and himself and I said I would write an apology when he proved himself not to be a forger. I had not said a word against Mr. Stokes. I told him he had his redress and that I believed he could give me five years for accusing him unjustly. I emphatically deny that I withdrew anything. Several pages in this recipe book (Exhibit 19) are in deceased's handwriting. I should think she wrote in it in about 1895. I could not be positive that all the Exhibits 20 to 28 and 31 and 32 are in her handwriting. I think Exhibits 29 and 30 and 33 are. The whole of the first three pages of the unsigned will (Exhibit 86) are in her handwriting. In my opinion, no part of the will (Exhibit 1) is in her handwriting. Deceased had told me what her intentions were with regard to her will I remember witnessing her signature to the cremation paper, which is dated May 12, 1898. The "K" in Exhibit 1 is formed in quite a different way to the signature on the cremation paper.

Cross-examined. I knew that deceased was very much attached to prisoner and she relied on him. I have independent means of my own. My income has never been discussed in the matter. I knew prisoner probably about 14 years. I believe deceased had a great antipathy towards Mrs. Pilcher, and I believe an absolute dislike for prisoner's children, I believe he ultimately persuaded her to leave something for one of them. I cannot say that I was on good terms with him; I treated him occasionally with rather contempt. I have always had the same opinion of him. I expected that deceased would leave me an emerald and diamond ring. The first I knew of the unsigned will was when Dorothy Jones told me in March; I did not see it then. I identify this as deceased's bag (Exhibit 174). I believe she kept her keys in it. This piece of paper (Exhibit 177) is in her hand-writing; it says: "In case of accident telephone 97, Maidenhead. Wire Pilcher, Liverpool. Own name Miss Kerferd, Neilgherry, Bray-on-Thames." She was afraid of accidents. The first I heard of the alleged forged will was when I went to Somerset House with Mr. Stokes, Mr. Harwood, and Dorothy Jones on July 16. I had never seen it or a copy of it before. I think it must have been in May, 1909, when I first had any communication with prisoner as to what deceased had done with her property, but I do not want to be positive about dates. I never knew there had been a will found until I heard from my solicitors about it at Whitsuntide. This letter of April 14, 1909, to prisoner is in my handwriting. I had my reasons for calling him "Dear Fred." I wrote that it was a pity deceased had not left Neilgherry to him, and that it seemed hard it should go to strangers after all the time and thought he had spent on it; that is quite true.

At the time I wrote that letter I had heard nothing about my name having been mentioned in any document. I see I say, "It was very touching of Lily to have left articles mentioned." I had understood for several years I was to have certain things. It is a dishonest letter, and I wrote it because I never could have got satisfaction out of him had I asked him a direct question; I was waiting to hear about the will and I thought I would keep in with him until I did. I had my suspicions then. He had sent me on April 13 a memorandum of articles that deceased had left me, but I did not know it was part of the unsigned will. I swear that he did not tell me anything about the unsigned will in the letter. He never promised to give me any details of what deceased had left. I see I say in my letter to him of May 6 that I am waiting for the details he had promised and that I supposed he had carried out all the instructions in the will. I retract what I said as to his not having promised me details. I must have known there was an unsigned will at that time. I quite forgot about that. The reason why I changed my attitude towards him between May 6 and June 13 when I wrote the anonymous letter was that I had heard from my solicitors that he was the sole executor and legatee under the will. He sent me the things that I mention in my letter of June 13 or June 18. I suppose it may be said that I kept up my dishonest correspondence with him until I got them., I was playing a game with him. I knew when I received these things that I was entitled under the unsigned will to the interest of £1,700, but I had no discussion with prisoner about it. I swear I never asked him for it, and that he never said that he would not give it to me because I was well off and did not want extra money. I was wrong in my idea about the witnesses to the will whom I refer to in my letter to him of June 15. (The witness wrote down the names of the witnesses to whom she referred.) I suppose my language in that letter is rather exceptional, but I meant what I said. When I said, "I know the contents of your dupe's will," I meant the will by which she told me she had left him £6,000 for business purposes; I did not know it was cancelled then. I referred to the deceased in the way I did because she had peculiar ideas about everything in general. She frequently spoke about wills. She was a very determined woman. I do not regret having written the letter, nor do I withdraw it. I suppose 'pimp" means a panderer. Prisoner suggested I had written the letter under the impulse of the moment, but I said it was after deliberation. I sent Dorothy Jones a copy of the will which Mr. Stokes had sent to me; I think that was in June—it was before I went to Somerset House. I was inaccurate when I said that I did not know the contents of it until I went in July to Somerset House; I retract that; it was a slip of memory. Having received a copy of the will I wrote the letter of June 13 to prisoner. I am not telling untruths, I wish to be accurate. I do not think Mr. Stokes can know whether I had seen the will before July 16 or not. Prisoner sent me some things that should have gone to Mr. Pollock. It is untrue that I refused to return them until he gave me a turquoise chain. I sent them to be repaired, and when they were returned to me I sent them to Mrs. Pollock, telling

her not to tell prisoner I had done so. I sent deceased this turquoise chain from Bombay. I never wrote to her and said I could not send her one as turquoises were too expensive; I wrote and said I was sorry they were not as nice as I should have liked them to have been. A friend of hers sent her a larger one from India, which prisoner said had got to be sold. I told him I was referring to the small one and not to the large one. It is true I wrote him on September 17 saying that I would not return the articles until the chain was returned to me, but by then I had returned them. If it is the fact that he wrote me a long letter saying that I had never sent the chain to deceased, I did not receive it. I took Dorothy Jones into my service on April 26 this year. I did not see a good deal of her before that. I never helped her to write a letter to prisoner. I did not influence her in any way. I believe for a lone time past prisoner has transacted deceased's business; I understood he superintended the building of her house at Bray. On October 12, 1909,1 sent him down a champagne case filled with bricks and stones because I thought he had sent it to me. After I found that I was mistaken in that I instructed my solicitor to apologise for me and pay the expenses. Perhaps I am a little eccentric.

Re-examined. Deceased never knew what my means were; I never led her to believe that I had small means—rather to the contrary. I expected she would leave me the diamond ring because I had made a compact with her that she would leave that to me and I should leave my diamond half-circle to her. With reference to my letter of April 14 I knew he was very anxious to have Neilgherry. Almost the last words that deceased said to me were, "Fred is worrying me to death to leave him Neilgherry." I told her not to bother about it that night and we would discuss it in the morning. I knew at the time of her death that there was an unsigned will because Dorothy Jones, I believe, told me. When writing him on June 13, calling him "forgerer" I knew that the will of 1898 must be a forgery, because it was quite contrary to her expressed intentions to me. She told me that Dorothy was going to get £2,000, and I believe there was going to be a small annuity left to an old servant, Mrs. Gray. As regards the sentence in my letter to him of June 13, "She even wrote and called you forgerer," I saw the letter that she wrote and I posted it. Dorothy Jones was with a Mrs. Freemantle, who died, and I wrote to her asking if she cared to come to me. I have known her 12 or 13 years.

MARY BOWER , The Doon, Liskeard, Cheshire. I have known deceased 30 years. I know her handwriting. This will (Exhibit 1) is not in her handwriting. In October, 1908, at "Bonavista," New Brighton, I remember her looking over some deeds with prisoner and I think he wrote her name across them and she said he did it so well that he would soon sign her cheques. In July of last year I went to see prisoner at Liverpool and asked him about the will that deceased had made on the night of her mother's funeral in 1907. He mumbled a lot and said she had cancelled it. I said I did not believe him and he said, "Oh, yes, she did—Dorothy says so." I said I did not believe Dorothy either and asked him if she had not left any will. He

said, "No, not exactly. She left a few papers and things, mentioning one or two people." He showed me some papers fastened with a pin and a list of jewellery. I said, "Is that all?" and he said, "There was a kind of draft of a will." I asked him if there was enough to prove and he said it was going to be proved in December. I asked him about the chain that deceased had told me she was leaving my daughter and he said he would send that at Christmas. This post-card, dated November 23, 1909 (Exhibit 165), is from prisoner to me. I know his handwriting and, in my opinion, Exhibit 1 is written by him. Deceased was a very correct writer and she was a very good speller: she never touched up any of her letters.

Cross-examined. I should say Exhibit 86 is in deceased's hand-writing. I do not think "Fred. J. Pilcher" in that document is in her handwriting because it is patchy and shaky. I have my doubt whether from "These annuities are in perpetuity" and onwards is in her handwriting. I have no ill-feeling against prisoner 1 suppose deceased would know how to spell "ormolu" and "benevolent." It surprises me to see that she has spelt "benevolent" "benevolent." I am not a good judge of spelling myself. I was expecting prisoner to leave me something. She gave me £80 to pay my boy's school fees. I got a letter from her, but I do not think it was complaining that I had not thanked her for the money. It is destroyed. I did not write to her and ask her to let me have £2 on my daughter's opera cloak; I asked her to buy it from me for £2. She had bought lots of things from me before. She wrote and said something to the effect that she was not a pawnbroker, but it was very unlike her to write in such a strain. I do not believe she did write it herself. I never at any time wrote to prisoner asking him to give me some money to pay my daughter's fare from Cheshire to London. I did not tell him when I saw him at Liverpool that I was disappointed that I bad not received anything. He did not tell me that the opera cloak incident had put her against me. I swear it was never mentioned. He said that he thought Dorothy had influenced her against me. I did not say, "Oh! I know what a liar she is. Remember she is Welsh. I will be even with her yet. She is a black devil of the deepest dye." It was with reference to the will that I said I did not believe Dorothy. I think she could be made untruthful. I never heard of a wedding ring being missed when I was stopping with deceased. No charge of any kind was made. I never had any difference with Dorothy. The chief reason for my saying Exhibit 1 is a forgery is that the writing is not steady. I said on the last occasion that I was making helmets for soldiers in the South African War with deceased when she made her will in May, 1908. I do not think I have made a mistake in the date. The war was contemplated then. Prisoner offered me any money I would like to have if I were short of money and I declined it.

Re-examined. (This conversation about money was since deceased's death—when he told me the 1907 will was destroyed, I think. Prisoner wrote me, "I hold myself responsible for further fees to complete boy's schooling, namely, £10 per annum," and I took it as deceased

had made herself responsible for them. I have never taken any other money from him.

(Tuesday, July 26.)

DOROTHY JONES . I am now maid to Mrs. Hermendahl. I was formerly in the service of the late Mrs. Kerferd, entering her service in 1896. She died on October 4, 1907, and I remained in the service of Miss Kerferd until she died on March 19, 1909. After Mrs. Kerferd's death Miss Kerferd went abroad and returned to England in May, 1908, when she hired a house called Neilgherry at Bray, which she afterwards purchased and lived in until her death. Prisoner frequently came there; he looked after some building that was going on there, which was started in October 1908. Deceased, who was suffering from diabetes, went on March 17, 1909, to London with prisoner to see a doctor. On her return Mrs. Hermendahl was there. Deceased was very dazed and faint. When she was abroad prisoner managed her affairs; he had been a frequent visitor just before Mrs. Kerferd died. On the night of Mrs. Kerferd's death or the next day Miss Kerferd made a will. Prisoner left the morning it was going to be signed. She had not to my knowledge made a will before. The cook and the housemaid witnessed it. At Christmas, 1908, she showed it to me with "Cancelled" written across it; that was the last I saw of it. I saw her writing another will. did not take very much notice of it. This (Exhibit 86) is in her handwriting. The paper I saw her writing on was like this; she had lots of lists and things. This unsigned will was kept on her writing table drawer, which she kept locked. She put the key in her little bag. I think I have seen the envelope enclosing it before; it was kept in the same drawer. In 1909 I was sleeping upstairs, while deceased. was on the ground floor, prisoner having the next room to hers. He called me in the early morning of March 18 and I found deceased very ill. Prisoner said that the doctor who had been sent for had said it was only a question of a few hours. Deceased was not conscious that day at all. Prisoner said to me, "She has talked about people dying without a will and now she goes and does the same thing herself. Remember how upset she was the other night when I wanted her to sign her will?" He had tried to get her to do so March 10; I saw she was upset then. The next time I saw him, on March 18, he asked me what deceased had left him, and I said, "She told me £130 a year "; I was referring to the unsigned will. He said, "Only £130 a year, after all I have done for her? Hasn't she left me Neilgherry?" I said, "No; she seemed as if she would. She told me you had promised her that if she did you would live in it like a hermit." He said, "Tell Mr. Stokes that, but drop the last sentence." Later on that day he said, "Did Miss Kerferd make a will when she was abroad in my favour?" and I said "No." Towards the evening he asked me for her little bag that her keys were in. I went to her bedroom and fetched it for him. Deceased was in a comatose

state then. I saw him at the writing table, some of the drawers of which were locked. He found deceased's private letters and he asked me about her friends, because he wanted to write to them. I did not notice afterwards whether any of the drawers had been opened with keys or not. At his request I gave him the letters that he had written to her and he put them into the fire; I think this was after the death. The unsigned will was kept in the top drawer of the writing table with the cancelled will, her cheque book, her stamps, and the analyses from the doctor. I saw a good deal of paper like that on which the will (Exhibit 1) is written in Mrs. Kerferd's cabinet and on the writing table at Neilgherry. I saw none of it after Miss Kerferd died. In my opinion, no part of Exhibit 1 is in her handwriting. I left Neilgherry on April 20 or 25. Prisoner told me before I left that the unsigned will was the will and there was no going away from it; and he said that I was provided for at the rate of £100 a year; he said I should receive £20 on June 1, and after that it would be £50 on every June 1 and December 1. He wrote to me on May 29, 1909, enclosing me a list in deceased's handwriting of things that had been left to me (Exhibit 31) and which he had given me before I left. Up to this time I had never heard of any other will, except the two I have mentioned. On June 1 he wrote me, saying that £10 would be sent me on November 30, with £2 10s. interest, but nothing about the £20 which had been promised me on that date. It was I who underlined the word "Kerferd" in that letter; I had been to Somerset House and seen the will and I compared that letter with what I had Been in the will. I remember deceased's handwriting in 1898 and in 1909, and the will (Exhibit 1) resembles her recent writing. On June 20 he wrote me, asking me how and when I should like to have the money and that the lawyers would arrange it, and that he was the sole executor of the will, as Mr. Stokes's name did not appear in the directions left him by the deceased. Mrs. Hermendahl had by this time sent me a copy of the will (Exhibit 1). Under the cancelled will I was to have had £2,000 absolutely. I did not know that under the unsigned will I was to have £85 a year; I though prisoner was referring to that will when he said I was to have £100 a year. On June 22 I got a letter from prisoner's solicitors in Liverpool asking me to go and see them. I wrote to prisoner, saying I should be there about 12. On the 24th I went to his office. He was surprised to see me, although I had written to say I was coming. He seemed very upset. He sent out his clerk and then said that he had been very upset over a letter from Mrs. Hermendahl; that everything was going on quite smoothly until she upset everything. He said that she had called him a forger and that she had refused to see him so that he could explain matters. I said, "If you are not a forger, why don't you have her up?" and he said, "I don't want to soil Miss Kerferd's name." He cried a good deal and said how fond he was of her and how he missed her. He then asked me what deceased had said to me about her will and I said that she had said Mrs. Pilcher was very ill, she was the last of her race and she was not likely to live the summer through; all her people died young, and that when she was dead

he (prisoner) was going to marry her, and then she would make a fresh will leaving him everything but only for life. He said, "You must not tell my lawyer that," and he told me not to mention the cancelled will, because as it was cancelled it was no good. He continued, "You can tell my lawyer that Miss Kerferd told you that she must sign her will, because if she did not, I was to have all." That was not true; she was always complaining about his wanting her to sign her will. I do not remember him saying anything else. He said that if I mentioned the cancelled will all the money would go into Chancery, and nobody would receive a penny. I went with him to the lawyer's and I was asked questions. My answers were taken down in writing. He interfered sometimes. I read over my statement and signed it. (Mr. Marshall Hall formally protested against the admission of the statement since it had been intimated to him that Mr. Holme, in whose custody it had been, was not going to be called. Mr. Muir stated that he had only been called at the police court for the purpose of obtaining from him certain documents; that he did not intend now to call him for reasons which he was prepared to go into fully, and that, in fact, at the police court the defence had strenuously opposed his being called. Mr. Justice Ridley said he could not interfere.) Prisoner was present all the time I was making the statement. I said, "Miss Kerferd often spoke to me about making wills. She said, 'As it stands now the Colonel will have everything.' I can safely say that the only will Miss Kerferd ever signed and had witnessed was that of 1898. If she had executed any other will, I am certain she would have told me.' That is all untrue. I said it to please the Colonel. I knew I was doing wrong. I also said what was true: "I believe the last expression of her wishes was contained in the sealed envelope (the unsigned will). A few days before she died she showed it to me, saying, 'This is my will. It is a horrid job, but I must get it finished.'" I got a cheque for £25 from prisoner on July 1, which I acknowledged and kept. I received a letter on July 9 from him with reference to some things that had been left for Miss Pollock; in it he spells fork "fork" and deduct "duduct." I wrote to Mr. Stokes the day after I had been to Liverpool, and then I saw Mr. Harwood. On July 16 I went to Somerset House and saw the will. On October 11 prisoner wrote to me enclosing a cheque for £25, my quarterly allowance, which I returned. He said in that letter that he had got Mrs. Lovell Phillips as caretaker at Neilgherry, with her child. I had never heard her name before. Deceased had mentioned Fred. Rowney's name to me once, but I had never seen him. I recognise this book "Wills—how to make and how to prove them," as having been in the possession of Mrs. Kerferd and afterwards of Miss Kerferd. Exhibits 35, 42, 43, 46, 51, 53, 58, 59, 65, 71, 82, and 84 are in prisoner's handwriting. Exhibit 111 is a postcard which prisoner sent to deceased. On one occasion, at the Charing Cross Hotel, prisoner had signed a paper for deceased and deceased said, "He has done it so well that I should be deceived in my own signature."

Cross-examined. I know Miss Bower. She told me yesterday that she had been asked about a wedding ring. Deceased gave her her

mother's wedding ring. I said to her that I should have thought that she would have liked to have kept it herself, but she said Miss Bower was a very great friend of her mother's, and she thought she would like it. Nothing happened after that about it. I told Miss Bower yesterday what had happened; there was nothing in it. I think deceased was a bit annoyed with Miss Bower about an opera cloak incident; I know she wrote to her, but I cannot say what was in the letter. I know she also wrote about the money she had paid for the boy's schooling, as she read me the letter, but I do not remember what was in it. Prisoner has been very kind to me and I have no ill feeling against him except that he deceived me and deceased. I know that Mrs. Kerferd only wanted to leave her daughter £300 a year. I do not know that prisoner had anything to do with making her change her mind. I and prisoner witnessed the mother's will. She and deceased used constantly to come to London and stay in Bryanston Street while Mrs. Kerferd was alive. Prisoner and deceased had been very great friends for many years. I returned the copy will that Mrs. Hermendahl early in June had sent me; it was in Mr. Stokes's handwriting. I have no idea how long I kept it. I destroyed the letter she wrote me enclosing it. I saw the names of the witnesses upon it. I must have noticed the date. I went into Mrs. Hermendahl's service this April. I heard from her now and again since she sent me the copy will, but not often. I was astonished to get it. I did not tell prisoner when I went to Liverpool that I had seen it. I think I can say that Mrs. Hermendahl went abroad on November 6. She did not come to see me on October 29. She never sent me copy of a letter that she wanted me to write to prisoner. She showed me a copy of the letter of June 13 she had written to him long after she had sent it. I did not understand some of it. I swear that in October I had no communication from her about writing to prisoner. I remember writing a letter to prisoner and his wife in that month. I think I know how to spell "forger." I do not know how Mrs. Hermendahl's spells it. I remember she called prisoner a forger in her letter, but I did not notice how she spelt it. I see I spelt forger "forgerer" in my letter to prisoner in October (Exhibit 193). I can-not say how I came to do it. I spelt Lovell "Loval" because that was how it was spelt on the will. In that letter I accused prisoner of being a forger and with being the cause of deceased's unhappy end. I know that deceased was devoted to him, but they always had difficulties over money matters. Prisoner was always bothering her to leave him Neilgherry and I think she would have done it to get rid of him. I did believe that prisoner was devotedly attached to her, but I have not believed it since last summer, when I found out things for myself. He kept no secrets from me. I gave prisoner the bag with the keys on the 18th—not the 19th. One of prisoner's sisters came on the day that deceased died and another one came after. I do not remember prisoner telling me that the private locked door in the writing table was not to be touched. I cannot say whether he did not touch it till after March 25. I do not remember being shown a telegram from Mr. Stokes, telling prisoner to open will and wire

names of executors. Prisoner went alone to the funeral. After deceased's death he was always crying. I only knew the contents of the cancelled will by what deceased had told me; she had left him £6,000 for business purposes only. Prisoner was in debt and deceased said some of it was to go for that. (On Mr. Justice Ridley's inquiring, Mr. Muir stated that this cancelled will had not been seen by anybody since January, 1909.) I forget whether Mrs. Hermendahl was to have £1,000 or £500. Deceased never signed "Mary Lilian Kerferd" ordinarily. I saw her sign that way on the 1907 will and also on papers for her stockbrokers. I was told afterwards that I would not get anything under the unsigned will, as it was not signed, but I did not know that at the time. I think my mother told me. Prisoner never spoke to me at Neilgherry after deceased's death in the presence of anybody about deceased or her affairs. He did not tell me on March 25 in the presence of Miss Lizzie Pilcher at Neilgherry that he had found a will dated 1898, leaving everything to him, and he did not read it to me. He did not call me from the dining room into the drawing room and say that he had found a bundle of papers consisting of an old will dated 1898, counsel's opinion on Mrs. Kerferd's will, a cremation paper, and an unsigned will. I knew that she kept a cremation paper with her documents; she told me she had signed it. I do not know that she kept it in this locked drawer. Prisoner did not tell me that he knew the unsigned will really represented her last wishes and that, in spite of the will of 1898, which left him everything, he was going to do everything according to the unsigned will. I was left £2,000 as long as I did not marry, but prisoner said he would alter that. I did not care whether I got it or whether I did not, because it was such a bother. When I wrote him a friendly letter on June 3 I did not know what he had done. It is true I wrote him a friendly letter on June 19, when I had read a copy of the will, but at that time I had not seen the will with my own eyes to know it was a forgery, although I had my own thoughts about it. I went to Liverpool because prisoner wrote asking me to see him. I see by my letter of June 21 that it was at my own initiative that I went to see him. I wrote saying his solicitors had asked me to go and I would call and see him. I meant to imply that prisoner asked me to go and see him before I went to the solicitors, so that he could tell me what to say. I never read his letter of June 21, telling me to go and see the solicitors, until a week after I returned; he had put the wrong address. My letter to him of June 21 was acknowledging another letter which I received from him on that date. Prisoner suggested I should tell the solicitor both Mrs. Kerferd and Miss Kerferd treated me as an equal. I never occupied the next room to deceased while prisoner was about. I should not have made the untrue statements that I did make if prisoner had not been there.

Mr. Marshall Hall said that during the course of the examination certain facts had been borne in upon his mind, and he had pointed out to prisoner that, even on the defence he proposed to put before the Court, there was no legal answer to the charge of uttering. To the charge of forging the will prisoner had always pleaded, and did still

plead, not guilty. But to the charge of uttering prisoner wished, under his advice, to plead guilty. Prisoner accordingly took that course.

Mr. Muir stated that he accepted that plea, but it must not be supposed that he in the smallest degree accepted the view that prisoner was not the forger.

The Jury returned a formal verdict of Guilty of uttering.

Evidence to character was called.

Sentence, Three years' penal servitude.


(Friday, July 22.)

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