WILLIAM BAKER.
23rd April 1912
Reference Numbert19120423-8
VerdictGuilty > unknown
SentenceImprisonment > penal servitude

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BAKER, William (40, traveller) , felonious possession of a mould on which was impressed the obverse and reverse resemblance of a sovereign.

Prisoner was tried upon this indictment at the last Session (see preceding volume, p. 766); he pleaded guilty, and was sentenced. He appealed against the conviction, on the ground that in pleading "Guilty" he had misunderstood the charge, and that there were informalities in the taking of his plea. The Court of Criminal Appeal (7 Cr. App. R., p. 217) allowed the appeal, directing prisoner to be put back to the present Session, and again called upon to plead.

Prisoner now pleaded Not Guilty.

Mr. Robert Wilkinson prosecuted.

Detective-sergeant CHARLES LEE, W Division. At 10.30 p.m. on February 20 I went to 20, Darley Road, Wandsworth, and saw prisoner's wife. In the front room first floor I found an iron spoon containing molten metal lying in the fender, a plaster of Paris mould of a King George sovereign, dated 1911, and two half-moulds on a cup-board, three bottles of Owbridge's lung tonic in the cupboard, a bottle of liquid gold gilt, and some boxes of gilding material (produced). I then saw prisoner at the Streatham Police Station, showed him the mould, and told him that the sovereign bearing the impression of King George and the other property was found at his address last night. He replied, "I have been trying to make medals." I did not find any medals at his house. On February 28, at the rear of the Southwestern Police Court, prisoner was charged with possessing this mould and with two cases of uttering a gilded shilling and a counterfeit sovereign; he made no reply. I was present when prisoner was picked out from nine other men by Dickinson. Flint gave me this

counterfeit sovereign (produced). Saunders handed me this gilded shilling (produced).

Cross-examined by prisoner. Your wife did not tell me that you were making medals; you told me you were trying to make medals. When charged you did not say it was a lie.

JANE JONES , wife of John Jones, 20, Darley Road. A week after last Christmas prisoner and his wife took a first floor front room at my house at a rental of 3s. 6d.; he lived there till his arrest.

To prisoner. I never saw you making any coins; I was very surprised when this charge was made.

WILLIAM V. SAUNDERS , 57, Old Town Clapham, chemist On the evening of January 18 a woman called at my shop and made a communication, in consequence of which I despatched by my errand boy (Dickinson) a bottle of extract of cod-liver oil and malt and a bottle of Bovril, costing altogether 2s. 3d., and 17s. 9d. change, for a sovereign, and told him to go to Macaulay Road. A short time afterwards he came back and handed me this gilded shilling (produced). I sent him back again to Macaulay Road with a syphon of soda water. I afterwards handed the gilded shilling to the police.

To prisoner. I do not remember ever seeing you in my shop.

WILLIAM DICKINSON , errand boy to the last witness. In the evening of January 18 the last witness gave me a bottle of cod-liver oil and malt, and a bottle of Bovril, and 17s. 9d. to take to 6, Macaulay Road. When I had got to within a door of 6, Macaulay Road prisoner came up to me, and said, "Are you going to 6, Macaulay Road?" I said, "Yes" He said, "Give me the goods and the change." I did so, and he gave me what appeared to be a sovereign and told me to get a syphon of soda water. I went back to the shop and handed the coin to Mr. Saunders. I took a syphon of soda water to 6, Macaulay Road, but in consequence of what they told me I took it back again. On March 6 at the police court I picked prisoner out from among eight or nine other men as being the man to whom I had given the goods on January 18.

To prisoner. When I met you it was dark. When I picked you out I said I "thought" you were the man; I made sure afterwards. (To the Judge.) I am now sure he is the man.

FREDERICK WILLIAMS , 6, Macaulay Road, Clapham. Neither I nor anybody in my house ever ordered any Bovril or cod-liver oil and malt from Mr. Saunders' shop. Nobody but myself and family live at 6, Macaulay Road.

CHARLES FLINT , 264, Brown Hill Road, Catford, chemist, trading as "The Amorax Manufacturing Company." At about 6.30 p.m. on February 16 prisoner came into my shop; in consequence of what he said I gave my errand boy (Newey) a bottle of Bovril and a bottle of Owbridge's lung tonic, and 18s. 2d. I wrote the address on the wrapper on this bottle of lung tonic (produced). When Newey came back he handed me this coin (produced).

To prisoner. When you were put up for identification among a number of other men at the police court I picked out another man; he was stout but taller than you. (To the Judge.) I was flurried at the

moment; directly after when I saw him before the magistrate I was sure that prisoner was the man who came to my shop.

CHARLES NEWEY , errand boy to the last witness. On February 16 Mr. Flint gave me a bottle of Bovril, 18s. 2d., and a bottle of lung tonic, on the label of which was written "104, Ardgowan Road." When I had got within ten doors of 104, Ardgowan Road, a man, whom I cannot properly identify, came up to me and said, "Have you got the goods?" I said, "Yes." He said, "Could you run back and get a syphon of soda?" I said, "We have not got any syphons; we have sold out, we have some pint bottles of soda." He said, "That will do—run back." As I was going he said, "Give me the change for the sovereign." I gave him the 18s. 2d., and he gave me a coin which looked like a sovereign (produced), which I gave to Mr. Flint. We were half way between two lampposts when I met prisoner.

To prisoner. I could not pick you out.

DAVID ALLEN HISLOP , 104, Ardgowan Road, Catford. On February 16. I ordered nothing whatever from Flint's shop. I know 17. nothing of prisoner; he never lived at 104, Ardgowan Road.

SIDNEY WILLIAM SMITH , Assistant Assayer, H.M. Mint. The mould (produced) is suitable for making counterfeit sovereigns of the present reign, dated 1911. The coins (produced) are a good shilling gilded, and a counterfeit sovereign, dated 1911. (To the Court.) My impression is that the mould had been used.

To prisoner. There are also a plaster impression bearing some resemblance to the King's head, with "George V." on it, and a rough plaster impression of a heart-shaped design, bearing the letters "G. R." inside. (To the Judge.) There is also a gilding mixture made of finely divided copper.

(Defence.)

WILLIAM BAKER (prisoner, on oath). During the last four years I have been getting an honest living by selling haberdashery and small toys to little shops, and each year in the summer time when there is anything particular on I have been in the habit of making Coronation medals, Empire medals, and Boatrace favours, with the idea of selling them at shops to help to get a living. On the Sunday before my arrest I met a man whom I know fairly well, and he said, "I have got something that will suit you; I have got three or four bottles of cough mixture, and I will bring it over on Sunday morning if you get the beer in." I said, "I do not know about getting the beer in, but if you bring it over I daresay you will find a glass of stout there." On the Sunday he came and brought with him three bottles of Owbridge's lung tonic, for which I gave him 1s. He then said, "I have got something that will suit you for your Empire favours this year," and he gave me the sovereign mould (produced). I did not even look at it; I put it on the dresser and went out, and there the detective found it when he called on the Tuesday. I was arrested on suspicion of loitering, and the detective asked my address, and, not being frightened—I had nothing to fear as I thought—I gave him my right address, where he found these things. The following

morning he came to me at the police station and told me what he had found, and I said, "Yes; I had those for making medals for the Coronation and Empire." I did not even know at the time that it was a mould of a sovereign.

(Wednesday, April 24.)

WILLIAM BAKER (prisoner), recalled, cross-examined. It is true that I was convicted here in 1907 for housebreaking; I was also convicted in 1903 for picking pockets. Since my last release I have been getting an honest living; I borrowed a few pounds and got some stock in haberdashery, etc., and sold it to small shops. Every summer I made Empire medals and Boatrace favours. I got the patterns from a shilling or a sixpence. The man who met me at Clapham I had not seen for two years; his name is Willis, and he goes to race meetings a lot. We went and had a drink and he said he would bring over some cough mixture as I said I had a shocking cold. I told him where I lived, and he brought it over on the Sunday. He then said, "I have got a mould which will give you a fine impression for your Empire favours, and he gave it to me. It was a well known thing that I was making medals. My wife has any quantity of moulds. I gave Willis a glass of stout from my wife's bottle and a shilling. He gave me three bottles of lung tonic. (To the Court.) This was the mould for making sovereigns. This was on the Sunday evening before my arrest. I did not touch the tonic; I had some of my own stuff.

ELIZABETH PARKINS , 50, Langroyd Road, Upper Tooting. Seven years ago prisoner lived with me. He lived with me about 12 months, and then left. He returned to me about four years ago to where I was living at Noina Road. He then started-making these moulds for medals for the Boatrace, the King Edward's Memorial, and the Coronation. Last winter he spent three or four nights a week with me; his wife and I are great friends. I should not think it was possible for him to make bad money, because the coins he made did not turn oat perfect by a long way.

Cross-examined. He left me again finally about 12 months ago. I do not know what be has been doing since then, nothing more than he has been travelling in haberdashery and other things. I have visited him and his wife at 20, Darley Road, but I have not stayed in the house.

LOUISA BAKER , wife of prisoner. At the time of prisoner's arrest I was living with him at 20, Darley Road. I have also lived with him at 47, Langroyd Road with Mrs. Parkins. My husband had these moulds" in order to make medals for the Memorial of King "Edward and the Coronation of King George, and he was just going to start the Boatrace favours when he was arrested. He has also been selling haberdashery and gas mantles; he sold two or three dozen gas mantles on the day he was arrested. When King George's money first came out he had halfpennies and threepenny pieces for the plain impression, and destroyed them as soon as he had got what he wanted. This mould for making sovereigns, which he is accused of feloniously possessing, he got for making a medal as a Boatrace favour; he told me so two days

before he was arrested. It was lying about, he did not put it away anywhere. For making these medals he heated lead in a tablespoon; he never made any coin; he never had the things to do it with. On the Sunday morning before he was arrested a man called at our house and he and prisoner went to have a drink; when they came back prisoner showed me the mould and three bottles of Owbridge's lung tonic, which he said the man had given him. They were put back on the side and never opened until the detective found them. On the evening of January 18 we were at 47, Langroyd Road. At 11 p.m. on February 20 the detective called and told me that my husband had been arrested for loitering at Streatham. He then took the sovereign mould and a star medal mould. I told him there were several different kinds of moulds. He said, as far as I recollect, that those he had would be enough. There were several moulds lying about. I produce a packet of moulds which my husband used for making medals. I have seen my husband making medals.

Sergeant LEE, recalled. Although I searched the house I could only find the two moulds I have produced; it is untrue to say that other moulds were lying about. Mrs. Baker did not tell me that there were other moulds.

Verdict, Guilty.

A further indictment for passing counterfeit coin was not proceeded with.

Two previous convictions were proved.

Sentence: Three years' penal servitude.

BEFORE MR. JUSTICE COLERIDGE.

(Wednesday, April 24.)


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