FREDERICK BOWMAN, FREDERICK CROCKER.
12th January 1909
Reference Numbert19090112-18
VerdictGuilty > unknown
SentenceImprisonment > hard labour

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BOWMAN, Frederick (45, baker), and CROCKER, Frederick (42, cheesemonger) , both feloniously uttering, knowing the same to be forged, a certain forged order for the delivery of goods, to wit, fifty boxes of lard, with intent to defraud the Morris Beef Company, Limited, both obtaining by false pretences from the Morris Beef Company, Limited, fifty boxes of lard, their goods.

Mr. Percy Simner prosecuted; Mr. Abinger defended Bowman; Mr. David White defended Crocker.

ANDREW THOMPSON . I am salesman in the employ of the Morris Beef Company, Hibernia Chambers, London Bridge. They are a fairly large firm in the provision market, and deal in Canadian lard by the name of" Morris's Pure Lard." As a rule this lard is stored at the Hibernia Wharf. On December 5 I received a message over the 'phone. It was followed by a note which purported to come from Messrs. Fitch, and Son, confirming the telephonic communication." Please give bearer delivery order for fifty boxes lard as per 'phone. (Signed) Fitch and Son, p. p. A. F. "The heading of the note is Fitch and Son, by the Royal Warrant, Purveyors to H. M. the King, Established 100 years," and then follows their addresses in Bishopsgate Street and Wormwood Street. In consequence of that I gave the delivery order for fifty boxes of lard to the boy who handed me the note. Fitch and Son are customers of ours. The delivery order was made out to the Hibernia Wharf. I identify the lard by certain marks and the name of the steamship on the boxes. The marks on the case produced correspond with the marks on the order. I believed the order was a real order from Fitch and Son for fifty boxes of lard. The market value of the lard was 48s. per cwt., and each box contained 1/2 cwt.

Cross-examined by Mr. Abinger. I do not recognise prisoner Bowman. Fitch and Son sometimes give orders by telephone. I cannot say how long they have been a limited company. I took the telephone message. I did not recognise the voice of the person giving the message. I have not since seen the person to whom I gave the order. Orders of that kind are often brought By people I do not know.

To Mr. White. I have had no business transactions with Crocker. I knew him five or six years ago as being in the employment of Fitch and Son. He was, I believe, shop manager. So far as I know he had no control over the notepaper. I do not know that for the last eighteen months or so Crocker has been living by buying and selling what are known as cracked eggs. I do not know that he left Fitch and Son in any trouble.

HERVEY STANLEY ROWLANDSON , secretary to Messrs. Fitch and Son, Limited. The company was incorporated about this time last year. We changed our notepaper a few months before that. The order for the 50 boxes of lard is written on our old paper. My firm deals with the Morris Company principally in lard, but not to any large extent,

about five or six orders a year. I keep the order book. It contains no order for lard on either December 4 or 5. The order produced is not a genuine order and the signature to it is not that used by the firm at the present time. I know both prisoners. Crocker was employed by the firm until about 2 1/2 years ago as shop manager or foreman. Bowman I knew as a customer. The letter produced (found upon Bowman) is, in my opinion, in Crocker's writing.

Cross-examined by Mr. Abinger. Possibly any clerk who asked for a sheet of notepaper could have done it. I do not know a Mr. Cohen in connection with this case. I have known Bowman ten or twelve years as a customer. He was formerly in business as a confectioner and bought butter and eggs of us, but not lard. I cannot say he is a good customer, as we made a bad debt with him. He was a buyer of cracked eggs, which are used in making pastry.

Cross-examined by Mr. White. If anybody employed by the firm came and said he wanted a piece of notepaper, I should let him have it. I do not know what an ordinary shopman could want a piece of our blank notepaper for. There are a few sheets at the present time in the shop. I was in the habit of frequently seeing Crocker's handwriting when he was in the employment of the firm, and am as certain that the letter produced is in his handwriting as one man can be certain of another's writing. Crocker left Fitch's because the was discharged for supplying one of our customers on his own account.

To the Court. In other words he put into his pocket a profit that ought to have gone into the pocket of the firm. He was paid £3 a week, I think; I am not quite sure.

JOHN THOMAS HUTT , carman in the employ of Edward Street. I remember Saturday, December 5. On that day the order on the Hibernia Wharf for the delivery of 50 boxes of lard was handed to me by a Mr. Allen, who is a carman contractor. The order was refused at the wharf because it was not signed by Mr. Allen. I came back and had the order signed by Mr. Allen. Then I went back again and got the goods. Crocker jumped on to the van and rode about 100 yards. He said he wanted to go to Tooley Street. I asked him where I should meet him, and he said we had better meet at the "Bricklayer's Arms" in the Old Kent Road. After I had got the 50 boxes of lard I saw prisoner in the Old Kent Road and drove to the" Bricklayer's Arms." There I met an old friend named Gregory and I asked him to come and have a ride with me. Crocker said to me," I shall want you to take this (lard) to Rye Lane, Peckham, and meet me under the archway." He then handed me the slip produced on which is written," 6d. for a drink; meet me under railway arch at Peckham." There was a 6d. wrapped up in the paper. I knew Crocker as Pitch. I drove on to Rye Lane with Gregory, and after waiting at the railway arch 10 minutes or a quarter of an hour, prisoner Crocker came up and said, "Ton will have to wait a minute or two," and, of course, I waited there. He came back in about 30 minutes or 40 minutes, and said, My customers is all gone. You will have to take these to the stable." I did not know where the stable was, and he said it was in the Atwell Road, which is about two or three

turnings away. When I got to the Atwell Road the stables were shown to me by Gregory. There were two chaps there and also prisoner Crocker. I delivered the lard and these young fellows put it in the stable. I did not notice whether there were any marks on the cases, but I saw the name of Morris. The lard was delivered at about a quarter past five as near as I can tell.

Cross-examined by Mr. Abinger. I do not know a man named Cohen. Allen is a master carman in the Borough Market and also a greengrocer. I have seen Allen since he gave me the order. I know Crocker, but I never saw Bowman before I saw him in the police court.

Cross-examined by Mr. White. It did not strike me as somewhat peculiar that I should be asked to take these goods first to the "Bricklayer's Arms," then to the railway arch at Peckham, and then to unload in a stable. Crocker knew I had the order because he was standing by when Allen gave it to me, and when I started he got into the van. I had never seen Crocker before December 5.

SAMUEL GREGORY , carman, gave corroborative evidence as to Crocker handing the last witness the piece of paper in which 6d. was wrapped, to the waiting under the railway arch at Peckham Rye and the subsequent deliver of the lard at the stables. He noticed that the name of Morris was on the boxes.

CAROLINE MORRIS , wife of George Morris, 6, Bournemouth Road. My husband has a shed in a mews or yard in Atwell Street. I saw prisoner Crocker on December 5. He called at my house and asked to see Mr. Morris. I told him my husband was out, but would be in in a few minutes. Then he said, "You know Mr. Bert Bowman!" I said, "Certainly I do." Then he said, "I want Mr. Morris to mind a few boxes for me until Monday." I said, "Yes, where is he to fetch the boxes from?" He said, "I have got them in my van, but the horse is so lame I shall want him to cart them away on Monday." I said, "Yes, he can do that. I have got a key, and if that will fit you can put them straight into the stable." I showed him where the stables were. I afterwards saw the van coming down the Bournemouth Road and the two carmen inquiring for Atwell Road. I did not see the boxes unloaded or in the stable on the Sunday, as it is very seldom I go round to the stable.

To Mr. White. Crocker did not say that the goods belonged to Mr. Bert Bowman, but he said that he came from him.

GEORGE MORRIS , husband of the last witness, spoke to seeing some boxes of lard in his shed on Sunday, December 6. The boxes were marked" Morris and Sons." He identified prisoner Bowman, whom he saw in the Green Lanes. Stoke Newington, on the following Monday, when he was delivering six out of 25 cases of the lard at the shop of a Mr. Allardyce. Bowman then directed him to another shop of Allardyce's, and he drove up just past to the bank entrance. Bowman then told him he would not want him for a quarter of an hour and he might as well go and have a bit of something to eat; so he went and had a bit of something to eat, and when he came back his van was unloaded. Bowman paid him 15s.

Louis BATMAN, greengrocer, who hires a part of the stable in Atwell Road, spoke to seeing the 50 boxes of lard delivered at the stable.

THOMAS JOSEPH ALLARDYCE , baker, Harringay. I have three shops, 93, Green Lanes; 27, Grand Parade, Harringay; and 7, Palace Parade, Hornsey. On Saturday, December 5, prisoner Bowman, whom I had known before, came to my shop and offered me some lard at 44s. a cwt. Ultimately I agreed to give him 40s. It was sold as damaged goods. At first I said I would have 3 cwt., then I was persuaded to buy 5 cwt. and eventually 7 cwt. were left I arranged that some of it was to be sent to my shop in Green Lanes, and some to my shop in Harringay. I paid him £4 in cash on account, and subsequently when Bowman called I paid him by cheque the sum of £10. The market price of the undamaged lard was 46s. or 48s. I was not there when the lard was delivered, and I did not see it until the police-sergeant came on the Tuesday.

Cross-examined by Mr. Abinger. Bowman called on me about 6.30. I do not know that he was waiting an hour to see me. It was my usual rest time up till half-past six. I have known Bowman 15 years, and so far as I knew he was a man of the highest respectability. For years he was a confectioner, and alter that up till within a short time of this occurrence he had a farm where pig-breeding was carried on. I did not know he had given up the farm and become a general dealer. He was a man I would trust. He came about this lard in the ordinary way; there was nothing secret about it. I consider I offered him a fair price for a damaged article. I think it was United States lard. He made no demur to taking a cheque. The cheque was crossed. I did not ask him where he got the lard from.

Detective-sergeant FREDERICK PUSEY, M Division. On December 9 I saw prisoner Bowman just after he bad left this house in Forest Road, Walthamstow. I said, "Your name is Bowman, is it not?" He replied, "Yes." I said, "I am making some inquiries respecting 50 cases of lard which you have been dealing with, which have been obtained by a false order from the Morris Meat Company, London Bridge." He said, "I know nothing about any lard." I said, "You had better be careful, because I have traced some of the lard to you, which you have sold to Mr. Allardyce." He then made a statement to the effect that a man named Cohen whom he met round Smithfield Market had offered him 7 cwt. of which he had left six boxes at Mr. Allardyce's Green Lanes shop and eight at the Harringay shop. Then he said, "I did not go with the carman, but met him there. I saw Mr. Allardyce after I had delivered the goods and drew a cheque from him for £10. I changed the cheque in the Mile End Road. I met Cohen in a public-house at the corner of Brady Street, Whitechapel, at eight p.m. on Saturday. That is the first time I saw him that Saturday. I do not know who Cohen is or where he comes from. That was the first time I knew anything about the lard." I said, "You went to Atwell Mews, Atwell Street, on Monday morning and brought 25 boxes of lard away in your own van, to which was attached a grey pony." He said, "That is quite right." The pony was mine, but the van did not belong to me." I then told him I

should arrest him and convey him to Southwark Police Station, where he would be placed for identification with other persons. There he was identified by the man Gregory as the man who had shown him the way to the stables on the date that the stuff was stolen. I searched him and found upon him a quantity of memoranda, and amongst other things the following letter: "Dear Fred,—I thought the matter over after our con venation with 'Mac' yesterday. As they are apparently watching you, it seems to me to be asking for trouble to go on with anything just at present. I will drop a line as to meeting later in the week.—Yours truly, F. C." I saw Crocker on the morning of December 18 as he was leaving his house at Balham Hill. I said "Mr. Crocker" to him twice. Ho said, "That is not my name." I said, "What is your name?" He said, "Mr. Seaton." I said, "I have reason to believe your name is Crocker." He said, "Come back to my house; you can ascertain my name is Seaton." I said, "I am quite positive your name is Crocker. I shall arrest you for being concerned with a man named Bowman, now in custody for forging and uttering an order for 50 boxes of lard, the property of the Morris Beef Company." He said, "You have your duty to do; I have nothing more to say." I conveyed him to Southwark Police Station, where he was placed with nine other men, and identified by two or. three of the witnesses as the man giving Gregory and Hutt the piece of paper and telling them to go to Peckham Rye. He was subsequently charged and made no reply. I conveyed him in a cab to Tower Bridge Police Court. On the way he said, "It is quite right all out the witnesses. I could have told you that this morning if you had asked me. I was there when the lard was got from the box, and I arranged with Bowman to help sell it, but we were too late for the sale on Saturday. There were 50 boxes altogether, and the only place I thought of was Mr. Allardyce's shop at Herringay. I went with the van, but I took no part in selling it. Bowman did that." I subsequently went to Allardyce's shop and made inquiries, but instead of finding 25 boxes I only found 14. The box produced is one I brought from Allardyce's.

Cross-examined by Mr. Abinger. I have made inquiries about Bowman. I cannot say he is a highly respectable man. He has been a bankrupt, I believe. After he was turned out of his shop he did a little bit of jobbing round the wharves and warehouses. One day about 18 months ago a carman dropped a sack of sugar at 327, Whitechapel Road for Mr. Bowman. The carman was arrested, and Bowman's sister, who lived at the place, gave evidence at the Thames Police Court that the sugar was taken there for some other person; otherwise she would have been arrested for receiving it. Two men are now in custody and awaiting trial at Chelmsford who have been at his farm receiving stuff there. One is MacPherson, the" Mac" referred to in the letter. They had been getting bullocks, sheep, and pigs by worthless cheques. Bowman gave these men a reference to get a banking account at Walthamstow. I do not know whether the two men have been convicted, but they are awaiting trial 1 took Bowman's statement down in Forest Road, Epping. I cautioned

him and told him to be careful. I have tried to find the man Cohen spoken of by Bowman in the neighbourhood of the Whitechapel Road. I did not inquire for him at Smithfield Market, where I have no doubt there are a number of people named Cohen to be found.

Cross-examined by Mr. White. I have also made inquiries concerning Crocker. For some years he has been known by the name of Seaton. He was discharged from Fitch's for not doing his duty in a proper manner. He was a buyer and salesman, and I think the firm found out that he was buying goods from another firm at 60s., and having them invoiced to Messrs. Fitch at 68a. I got my information from Mr. Hugh Fitch. After Crocker left Fitch's, as far as I can gather, he went to a man named Shaw, and he was to receive one third of the business that he took into the place. I do not think he was there more than six months. He introduced as a customer Frederick Bowman, of 327, Whitechapel Road, which was a place where prisoner Bowman used to have stuff left I have no information that Crocker worked at Sainsbury's, obtaining employment there on the strength of the character he received from Fitch's. As to what he has been doing in the last few years I could say a lot. There are no previous convictions against him.

(Defence.)

FREDERICK BOWMAN (prisoner, on oath). For the greater part of my life I have been a baker and confectioner at various places, Walthamstow last. I gave up the confectionery business, and went into pig breeding at Temple Mills, Leyton. I still have the farm, but I had a lot of ill luck in breeding, and the page died off. I then went into the salvage line, dealing in salvaged goods from shipping companies, damaged wheat, and so on. I have known Crocker I suppose about twelve years. On the morning of Saturday, December 5, I got off the tram at the "Thatched House," Leyton, and there I saw Mr. Frederick Cohen. I cannot tell you where he resides, but I have met him at Smithfield and at various sales. He hat no place of business that I have ever heard of. Altogether I have had three dealt with him. I bought tome damaged wheat of him, which was delivered at Temple Mills. Then in September I bought some damaged maize, about 3 cwt. or 4 cwt., and after that some tallowy oats, I suppose about 20 qrs. Cohen told me that this lard had been damaged by sea water, and he asked me if I could tell some for him, and I said I would try. The tame day I met Crocker at Aldgate and told him what had happened, and Crocker asked me where be could find Cohen. I told him he would be at the "Bricklayer's Arms" tome time in the afternoon. Crocker wanted to sell some of the lard. That was all that took place between us. I did not know that a forged order had been presented to Messrs. Morris purporting to come from Messrs. Fitch. I had no hand in that At to Gregory's statement that he taw me in Peckham at 5.30 on that Saturday, I was in Harringay at 5.30, waiting for Mr. Allardyce to get up. I have a brother named Bert who resembles me very

much in appearance. It would take about an hour and a half to get from Peckham to Harringay. My arrangement with Cohen was that all I could get over 36s. per cwt. was to be my profit. I did not ask Cohen where he got the lard from. Dealers do not as a rule ask each other where they get damaged cargoes from. I did not open a case to look at it, and did not see any of it till I saw it on the Monday. On the evening of the Saturday I saw Cohen about, 8 o'clock at a public house at the corner of Brady Street, Whitechapel, by appointment. I met him there because I had no business place, and he had none as far as I know. I told him a had sold Mr. Allardyce 5 cwt. of the lard, and I thought he would not mind taking 7 cwt. Cohen said, "Have you got any money?" I said. "Yes, I have got £4 on account," and I gave him the £4. He asked when he was to deliver it, and I said he was to deliver it before 12 o'clock on Monday at the Green Lanes. He said, "All right, it shall be there." I do not know Allen. I saw the lard for the first time on the Monday at the Green Lanes in a van. I did not see Crocker between the Saturday and the Monday, but I saw him at Green Lanes. I think he came up to say he could not sell any of the lard. If I had told Cohen I was going to sell the stuff to Allardyce he might have gone there and traded on his own account, and I should not have got any profit from him. I also gave the cheque for £10 to Cohen and he handed me back 30s., my commission. That is all the profit I made out of the transaction. I did not know that the lard had been deposited in Morris's stables till the detective told me. The letter found upon me I suppose I received six or eight weeks ago. "Mac" was a servant who worked for me some time ago, looking after the pigs. "As they are apparently watching you" refers to the police. There had been a robbery within a few yards of the piggery, and "Mac" told me, one morning that the people round there were all being watched on account of it "It seems to me to be asking for trouble to go out with anything just at present" has reference to a project of Crocker's as to betting. He said what a fine opportunity there was for making a book over this way, as the Great Eastern people employed 8,000 men, and he thought it would be very fine business.

Cross-examined. I have tried to find Cohen, but have been unable to do so. He does not haunt the places I am accustomed to go to. I was willing under the circumstances to find a job wherever I could. I was always open to earn money.

To the Court. My brother is not here. I do not think he could be brought here by the morning, as he has gone away.

Cross-examination continued. I told Inspector Pusey that Cohen was a Jew. I could not tell him where he could be found; I should like to find him myself. I have never been to Harringay from Peckham, and am not aware that the journey can be done in three-quarter of an hour.

FREDERICK CROCKER . (prisoner, on oath). I have never had any charge brought against me before this. I have known Bowman ten or twelve years. On December 5 I met him in the neighbourhood of Aldgate Station. He told me he had some lard for disposal and asked me if I could dispose of any, as I was well known in the provision trade. I said I thought I could. He told me it was damaged lard. Up till the end of November I had been with Shaw and Co. Previously I had been dealing in cracked eggs, which are used for confectionery purposes. He told me I could see the lard at the "Bricklayers' Arms" between three and four the same afternoon. I went to the" Bricklayers' Arms" and there saw Cohen, whom I had seen twice in the company of Bowman and knew as a dealer. I asked Cohen about the lard he had for sale, and he said it would be there presently. We were in conversation for some little time, and he then gave me a small packet and told me to take it across to the carman (Hutt) and tell him to go to Rye Lane, Peckham. Afterwards I went on to Peckham myself in accordance With Cohen's instructions. I have no stable at Peckham. Cohen gave me the address of a man named Morris and said, "If you go to that address and mention the name of Bert Bowman he will store this lard until Monday." I had previously told him it was no use attempting to sell lard on a Saturday afternoon. I went to the address given me by Cohen and saw Mrs. Morris. I asked her permission to store the boxes in the stable, and mentioned the name of Bert Bowman. She said she knew Bert Bowman well and I could do that, certainly. I had never seen Mrs. Morris before that date. The statement of the carman Hutt that I got on to his wagon and rode for 100 yards going to Tooley Street is absolutely untrue. Before I left Cohen at the" Bricklayers' Arms" he gave me 4s. or it might have been 5s. After I had spoken to Mrs. Morris I went back to where the van was standing and told the carman Hutt to take the boxes to the stable in Atwell Street. I was not with Bowman after, and left him in Tooley Street. He was not with me in Peckham. If Gregory says he saw me and Bowman together that afternoon that is wrong. The boxes were unloaded by the Carmen and two young fellows who were in the stable at the time. I saw some of the boxes at Harringay on the Monday—I presume they were the same. I saw Bowman there. With the exception of the 4s. I received nothing else from Cohen. When I was in Fitch's employment I had opportunity of getting hold of their notepaper but I never had any of it after I left their employment. I left there about June, 1906, for the reason that I had been engaging in transactions on my own account. That came about in this way: A man named Pearson, who had been in the employ of the firm for some time, was discharged as he was getting rather old—there was nothing against his character. He came to me some time afterwards and said he had nothing to do and had a family dependent on him and if he could get some goods for sale he could get a living; could I help him? After considertion I said yes; I would buy some goods and he could sell them. So

I bought goods in the market and this Pearson sold them. It came to the knowledge of Mr. Edwin Fitch and Mr. Stanley Fitch. They called me up into the office and said that they heard I had been engaged in outside transactions, they would not have that, and I must leave their employment. Mr. Stanley Fitch gave me a written reference. After that I went to Sainsbury's. There is no truth in the suggestion that I traded with Fitch's money or that I had goods invoiced to Fitch's at more than cost price and took the balance myself. I asked Mr. Fitch if there was any imputation of dishonesty as to my transactions and he said none whatever.

Cross-examined. At the time of this transaction of December 5 I was in no regular employment. I had just left Shaw and Company. I have been on, bail, but have not since seen anything of Cohen, though I have been to the places where I had been in the habit of seeing him. I did not tell Sergeant Pusey I was at the docks when the lard was obtained. I told him I arranged with Bowman to help sell it. I told Pusey my name was not Crocker but Seaton. That is the name I have been going by for three and a half years. I first saw Hutt at the "Bricklayers' Arms." I did give the paper to Hutt with directions, enclosing a coin of some description. On the Monday following I did not see the boxes actually delivered at Allardyce's shop in Green Lanes, but I saw them on the van. I did not notice how many there were. I did not go to the other shop. Fifty boxes were stored in Morris's shed. I have no knowledge where the rest are. Having seen them stored I did not worry about them any further. I admit that the letter found on Bowman was written by me. I could not see my way to going into betting transactions while Bowman's place was being watched in consequence of something that had occurred at Temple Mills. With 8,000 men there employed by the railway company I thought there was a very good chance of making a starting-price book.

Verdict, Both guilty.

Sentence, Each nine months' hard labour.

Mr. Simner asked that the lard might be restored to prosecutors.

The Recorder said the police would no doubt exercise proper discretion. This being a case of obtaining by false pretences and not one of larceny, he could make no order of restitution.

BEFORE THE COMMON SERGEANT.

(Wednesday, January 13.)


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