27th February 1912
Reference Numbert19120227-47
VerdictsGuilty > unknown; Guilty > lesser offence
SentencesImprisonment > hard labour; Imprisonment > hard labour; Imprisonment > hard labour

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SLATER, William (22, gardener), POWELL, Patrick (23, labourer), and SHERSHEWSKY. Lewis, 30, jeweller; Slater and Powell breaking and entering the dwelling-house of Francis William Garlick Catsell and stealing therein one hand glass and other articles, and £1 6s. 4d., his goods and moneys; Slater breaking and entering the dwelling-house of Oswald Carpenter and stealing therein two brooches and other articles, the goods of Daisy Ida Carpenter; Shershewsky feloniously receiving two brooches, one pendant, one bangle and other articles, the goods of Daisy Ida Carpenter, well knowing them to have been stolen.

Mr. Warburton prosecuted; Mr. Tully-Christie and Mr. Purcell defended Shershewsky.

Slater and Powell were first tried for house-breaking.

Police-constable FREDERICK WELSH, 487 N. Shortly before 8 p.m. on Saturday, February 10, I was in plain clothes in Wilton Crescent, Vimbledon, when I heard a dog barking loudly; shortly afterwards the two prisoners, whom I have known for the last 18 months, came up the road. I told them I was a police officer, and wanted to know what they were doing in the road. They told me they had been to see a young lady. I asked them where the young lady lived. They said, "Just back here in one of these houses." I said, "I am not satisfied with your statement about the young lady. I will go back and see her." As we were going along Powell tripped me up and they both

ran away. I gave chase and caught Slater. He was very violent. As we were struggling he put his hand in his pocket and threw something into the garden of Nos. 8 and 9, Wilton Gardens. I threatened to use my truncheon on him. He said, "All right, I will go to the station." A uniformed officer then came up; I told him in the presence of Slater, "He has thrown some jewellery in these gardens." The officer then searched the gardens. On the way to the station Slater said, "It is a pity you got me, I was going to get married in about a month's time. You ought to have got the other chap, he was loaded with stuff and had a stick on him (meaning a jemmy) as well." On searching him I found six pocket handkerchiefs, one silk handkerchief, the stopper of an electric torch, a watch, a bracelet, a ring, and sleeve-links, which have all been identified by prosecutor. In company with other officers I afterwards went to 14, Great Dover Street, Wandsworth, and arrested Powell. When charged he smiled and said, "I suppose Slater has shopped me." Powell is now wearing a black bandage over his eye; he was not wearing that when arrested.

FRANCIS WILLIAM GARLICH CATSELL , 22, Wilton Gardens, Wimbledon, surveyor of taxes. On Saturday, February 10, I left my house quite safe. When I returned home at 10.30 p.m. I found the whole place in disorder; the police were there. The glass of the back door was broken and the door was forced. Articles produced with the exception of the handkerchiefs are my property and disappeared on that night.

EDITH MARTIN , domestic servant to the last witness. At 6 p.m. on February 10 I left the house securely locked up with nobody in it; when I returned at 10 p.m. I tried my key in the front door, but could not get in. I got in by the back door, which had been broken open, everything, was in disorder, and the front door had been bolted on the inside.

Detective-constable CONSTANTINE WOODS. At noon on Sunday, February 11, I went to 14, Great Dover Street, Wandsworth, where I saw Powell in bed. I told him I was a police officer from Wimbledon and was going to arrest him for being concerned with Slater in breaking into 22, Wilton Crescent, and stealing jewellery to the value of £12. He said, "Who sent you here?" I said, "You were with Slater last night when you both broke into the house, Slater was arrested and you escaped. You answer the description of the man, and your photograph has been identified." He said, "I suppose Slater shopped me," meaning gave him away. I called Police-constable Welsh into the room, and in the presence of Powell I said, "Is this the man?" Police-constable Walsh said, "Yes that is him." I told Powell I should search the room; he said, "You will find nothing tare, all the stuff I had I threw away."

Police-constable ARTHUR LYONS, 760V. About 8 p.m. on February 10 I went to Wilton Crescent, in answer to a police whistle, and found Police-constable Welsh struggling with Slater. I afterwards searched the garden of No. 10, Wilton Crescent, and found an electric torch and an automatic toy pistol; on the pavement outside I found a yellow metal locket and a yellow metal charm (produced).

Police-constable CHARLES ANGLESTEIN, 635V, deposed to finding a gold pendant, metal brooch, and signet ring at No. 8.

Francis William Garlick Catsell identified these articles as his property.

WILLIAM SLATER (prisoner, not on oath). As I was coming along Wilton Crescent in company with another man Police-constable Welsh stopped me and asked me where I was going. I told him I was going home. He started searching me. The man who was with me tripped Welsh up and ran away, while I fell over with Welsh. He used me so violently that he tore the collar of my coat off. I had just met the fellow I was with and had not really recognised him. I did not say that the other man had a lot of stuff on him.

PATRICK POWELL (prisoner, not on oath). On February 10 I was at work from 6 a.m. till 8 p.m. Police-constable Welsh has not known me for 18 months; he has never seen me before in his life. I want to call Slater as a witness to prove that I was not with him on the Saturday.

The Recorder. You cannot call the prisoner Slater, because he has not pleaded guilty.

Verdict (both), Guilty.

Slater and Shershewsky were then tried with regard to the breaking and entering the dwelling-house pf Oswald Carpenter, and feloniously receiving the property.

DAISY IDA CARPENTER , 37, Kenilworth Avenue, Wimbledon, wife of Oswald Carpenter, secretary. At between 5 and 6 p.m. on February 9 I left my house quite safe, with no one in it; when I returned soon after 1 a.m. I found the house had been entered by the scullery window; everything was in confusion. The bracelet, gold bangle, a little nugget of gold, two brooches, a pin, a silver mirror, a silver-backed brush, four silk handkerchiefs, a pair of pants, a knife guard, a little clock, a pillow-slip, a nightgown, bedspread (produced) are my property and were missing that night.

Detective-sergeant JOHN GILLON. At 1.30 p.m. on February 12, I, in company with Police-constable Woods, went to 36, York Road, Battersea, which is a small jeweller's, a watch-repairing shop occupied by Shershewsky. I said to him, "We are police officers. Are you the proprietor?" He said, "Yes." I said, "On Friday night last 37, Kenilworth Avenue, Wimbledon, was broken into; we have got two men in custody, ages 22 and 23, for committing the offence. Amongst other things stolen were two gold brooches, a gold pendant, one gold bangle, one hair brush with silver-mounted back, one gold locket, one silverbacked mirror, a pair of glove stretchers." I handed him a list and asked him to read it. I said, "These articles have not been recovered, and we have got good reason to believe that you purchased them from the two men in custody on Saturday last." I cautioned him. He said, "I have not seen the articles and therefore I cannot have purchased them. I do not know the men you refer to." The only description I had given of the men was that there ages were 22 and 23. He said, "Search my shop." At the same time he went to a locker and produced a rolled-gold watch and chain, and said, "These are the only articles I purchased on Saturday last." I said, "Knowing what I do know

I am not satisfied with your statements; I believe you are telling me lies." Turning round to Police-constable Woods I said, You stop here whilst I go to Whitechapel and Houndsditch and make inquiries." As I was about to leave the shop Shershewsky called me back, saying, "Here—you seem to know a lot about these things—suppose I bought them and sold them to somebody else, what then?" I said, "If they purchased them genuinely they have got nothing to fear." He said, Well, from what I can see of it, if I do not tell you you will find out. I am sorry 1 did not tell you the truth when you came in. On Saturday morning I bought two brooches, a bangle, a locket, and a pendant, a hair brush, mirror, and glove stretchers from two young fellows. I paid 10s. for them. One of them had a patch over his eye. I sold the brooches, bangle, and pendant to Laytons, Osborne Street, Whitechapel; amongst them was a bird's-eye brooch belonging to my wife. I sold them at 28s. the lot." That would be the two brooches, the pendant and bangle. He said, "The hairbrush, mirror and glove stretchers I sold to Marks Plotkin, Houndsditch." I then made inquiries and found his statements to be correct. When I returned I told Shershewsky that I had heard the jewellery was broken up. He said, "Oh, yes, that is right, I forgot to tell you that." I conveyed him to the police-station. When charged he said, "Well, I did not exactly know they were stolen."

Cross-examined by Mr. Tully-Christie. I have known Shershewsky four years. He is a Polish Jew and was naturalised last November. He speaks English fluently. He has never had any charge made against him before.

Police-constable CONSTANTINE WOODS corroborated. When Sergeant Gillon left to make inquiries I remained with Shershewsky. He said to me, "I am very sorry I bought that now. Of course I knew it was stolen. I am very sorry I told him a lie about that bangle. I did not sell it in Osborne Street, I sold it to the old gentleman who has just gone out of the house." Presently an old man who had been in the shop returned, and Shershewsky said to him, "Have you got that bangle I sold you?" The old man then went and got the bangle. I asked him in the presence of Shershewsky how much he gave for it, he replied "5s." He gave his name as George Williams.

Cross-examined. I took a note of what was said. In my note of "I am very sorry I bought that now of course I knew it was stolen" there are no commas. It could not have been, "I am very sorry I bought that. Now of course I know it was stolen."

Further examined. At about 9 p.m. on February 101 visited No. 1, Graveney Road, which is the house where Slater lives with his parents, I found in a bedroom a clock on the mantelpiece, a bed-spread on the bed, a pillow-slip, a nightdress, a pair of pants; the young woman with whom Slater has been keeping company gave me four silk handkerchiefs. All those articles have been identified by Mrs. Carpenter. When charged Slater gave his address at 1, Graveney Road; he said, you may do me for receiving, but you cannot for housebreaking."

MARKS PLOTKIN , jeweller, 106, Houndsditch. On Sunday, February 11. Shershewsky, whom I have known for three years, came to my

shop and sold me the brush, mirror, and glove stretcher produced for 8s. He told me he took them in exchange from a customer. I did not think them very cheap. As a matter of fact I sold them for 6s. He also offered me some broken jewellery, which I did not buy.

To Mr. Tully-Christie. I have always found Shershewsky strictly honest.

JOSEPH LAYTON , 17, Osborne Street, Whitechapel, jeweller. I have known. Shershewsky for two years. Between 12 and 2 p.m. on Sunday, February 11, he called on me, as Was his custom, and brought me some broken jewellery, including a bird brooch and a wedding ring, for which I paid him 26s., which was the market price for that weight of gold. That same afternoon I melted it down into nugget produced. He has always borne a good character.

GEORGE WILLIAMS , 51, Darien Road, Battersea. I have known Shershewsky for two years; I run errands for him. On February 12, between 1 and 2 p.m., I saw bangle (produced) on his shop bench; I asked him to sell it to me, and bought it for 5s. On Monday the police asked me for it and I gave it to them.

Cross-examined by Mr. Tully-Christie. It is common for working jewellers like Shershewsky to have pieces of broken jewellery.

Detective SIDNEY PHIPPS, V Division. It is customary for the police to circulate an official "Pawn List" of articles stolen among pawnbrokers, and to tell them to communicate with the police if they are offered any such articles. At. midday on Saturday, February 10, I landed Shershewsky a private list (produced) containing, among other things, the property stolen from Mrs. Carpenter's house. I told him that was property stolen from Wimbledon, and asked him to make a careful search, and if anybody should come and bring it to him he was to notify the police at once. He replied, "All right." As he seemed to read it hurriedly, I read it out to him.

EDWARD ALFRED TAYLOR , Broadway Market, Wimbledon. I have been a jeweller for 25 years I estimate the retail medium price of the silver-backed brush at 12s. 6d., the mirror at 18s. 6d., the glove stretchers at 5s., the gold bracelet at 25s. or 30s. I consider 8s. for the silver things is a perfectly ridiculous price.


LEWIS SHERSHEWSKY (prisoner, on oath). I became a naturalized English subject last November; I produce my letters of naturalisation. Since 1907 I have carried on a jewellery and watchmaker's business at 30, York Road, Battersea. Sergeant Phipps called on me on Saturday, February 10, as I was opening my shop, gave me a paper, and said, Read it over." I looked at it. He told me if any such articles were brought to me I was at once to communicate with the police. At about noon the same day Slater and Powell called; Slater said he was going to get married and wanted a wedding-ring. They then produced the bangle, two brooches and a pendant, and said they wanted 12s. I weighed it and found it to be five pennyweights. As the gold would not have sold for more than 7s. 6d., I offered them 6s.; but as they

refused I ultimately gave them 12s. That is a fair price. I bought them because I really did not know they were in Phipps's list. He did not read the list out to me. On Monday the police came and frightened me, and I said, "I have not seen anybody, and I have not bought it." I afterwards said I was a fool not to have told them before, and I gave them all the information in my power. I did not know they were stolen when I bought them. I said, "I am very sorry now, I can see they are stolen."

Cross-examined. I did not see anything odd in two young men like Powell and Slater being in possession of part of a lady's toilet. When the officers came I first of all denied all knowledge of these things. I disposed of the things at once, because I was short of money.

Three jewellers were called, who stated that Shershewsky had a good character for honesty and truth.

WILLIAM SLATER (prisoner, not on oath). At 10 p.m. on Friday, February 9, I bought this stolen property from a man whom I have seen once or twice in the streets selling plants. I do not know his address. After I was arrested I gave a description of the man to Police-constable Woods. I did not know it was stolen property. I sold part of that property to Shershewsky. I did not break into Mrs. Carpenter's house.

The Recorder directed that there was no evidence of housebreaking. Verdict (both), Guilty of felonious possession.

Slater confessed to having been convicted at Newington Sessions on June 30, 1911, receiving nine months' hard labour for housebreaking; Powell confessed to having been convicted at Newington Sessions on March 21, 1911, in the name of Robert Handyside, receiving 12 months' hard labour for housebreaking and receiving, after four previous convictions for felony and three summary convictions; Slater was bound over at the South-Western Police Court on October 1, 1910, and on February 24, 1911, for loitering. He was stated to have been in the Army reserve for a short time, from which he deserted. His father and brother were convicted housebreakers; Powell was stated to be rather weak-minded and easily led away. Owing to statements made by convicts Shershewsky had long been suspected of receiving stolen property.

Sentences: Slater and Powell (each), Eighteen months' hard labour for housebreaking; Slater, Nine months' hard labour for receiving, to run concurrently; Shershewsky, Fifteen months' hard labour.

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