PETER FENN, Deception > forgery, 11th September 1828.

Reference Number: t18280911-182
Offence: Deception > forgery
Verdict: Guilty > with recommendation
Punishment: Death
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Before Mr. Justice Guzelee.

1636. PETER FENN was indicted for that he, on the 18th of December , at St. George, Bloomsbury, having in his custody and possession, a certain bill of exchange, which is as follows: (i.e.)

£159. 10s. 0d. London, Dec. 14, 1827.

Four months after date pay to me or my order the sum of 159l. 10s. 0d. for value received.

To Mr. James Lucett, Old Brompton. P. FENN. on the same day, at the same parish, feloniously did falsely make, forge and counterfeit, on the said bill of exchange, an acceptance thereof, (which is as follows):-"Accepted, payable at Mr. Weaver's, 34, Parliament-street, Westminster. JAMES LUCETT." with intent to defraud Sarah Cooke ; against the Statute.

SECOND COUNT, that he, on the same day, at the same parish, having in his custody and possession a certain bill of exchange, which is as follows, (setting it out as before,) upon which said bill of exchange was a false, forged, and counterfeited acceptance thereof, which is as follows -(acceptance set out as before;) on the same day, at the same parish, feloniously did utter and publish as true, the said false, forged, and counterfeited acceptance, with intent to defraud the said Sarah Cooke. he well knowing the same to be false, forged, and counterfeited; against the Statute, &c.

MESSRS. BRODRICK and BARRY conducted the prosecution.

JOHN COOKE . I am shopman to my mother, who lives at Holborn-bars, her name is Sarah Cooke, her house is in the county of Middlesex. I have known the prisoner fourteen years, and was a pupil of his at Mr. Kirkman's, at Islington - he was a tutor there; when I left there I lost sight of him for about one year, but have known him intimately since for about four years; he has discounted bills with me, he discounted this bill with me on my mother's account, (looking at it;) I acted for my mother; I

think it was about February or March last, I discounted it at five per cent, and at the same time he observed "My lad, I will be of service to you, and I hope I always shall be;" he then ordered 16l. worth of goods of us, which he said he wanted either to give away or to dispose of, and offered me in payment for those articles a bill of 36l., and said "Give me 20l. in money, and that will settle for the goods;" but when the bill was presented, it was not worth a farthing; my mother sometime afterwards sought after Mr. Fenn, and employed Mr. Vincent, of the Temple - I went with him to Paris, but we did not find the prisoner there - we found him at Calais; he said he was in the act of leaving for England - the packet was then leaving; Mr. Vincent was with me; I saw Mr. Hanbury there; I think I saw two boxes outside the house, but I was so hurried at the time I do not recollect; I do not know what became of Hanbury afterwards - I do not think he was with us two minutes; when I first saw Fenn he was ready to fall upon the earth; he spoke first to me, and said "Oh! God! I am dead man - if I had a hundred necks, I must lose them all;" he afterwards added "Let me go to Newgate quietly - don't put me into irons;" he then held up his hands, and said "Melton, Melton has ruined me! he has robbed me of upwards of 7,000l. in two years;" he might have said more, but I do not recollect it; we did not allow him to go on board, but we secured him; I had this £159 bill with me, and produced it to him; I said "Mr. Fenn, how is that you have been so inhuman as to use me so - I hope this acceptance is a good acceptance;" he looked at it, and observed "James Lucett I have known for years, you may rely on it as a very good acceptance - it is as good as a Bank note;" Mr. Vincent was by at the time, and he asked him the residence of the acceptor - he said "he lives at No. 1, South-parade, Queen's Elms, Old Brompton," which Mr. Vincent wrote on the back of the bill - (here it is;) nothing more was said about it, to my knowledge.

Cross-examined by MR. ALLEY. Q. Is not the Citybar twenty yards beyond your mother's house? A. No, it is opposite - the house is in the county; I have lived there fifteen years, and my mother has been carrying on business for thirty-five years; I have no interest in the business - I merely receive a salary; I am her representative in the business; I have known the prisoner a great length of time - I have not had many transactions with him; I have discounted many bills for him, which he took up, but they were forgeries; he never brought people to me to discount on my solicitation - this letter is my hand-writing; (read.)

"Dear Sir - After no little persuasion, I have got the bill, and send it inclosed; likewise the silk handkerchiefs; if you will have a 200l. at Mr. Melton's for it to night, you will oblige me, and if you will look me out a nice little bill for 50l. at two months, this will save me half a crown; if you will also get another 100l. of Melton, for the one I sent back, it will rub all off."

Witness. The fact was, I had some bills in my hands which Fenn gave me, and represented them as very good bills, but which I was dissatisfied with, and I wanted to have an acceptance of Melton for them; upon my oath, I did not discount these bills for myself, but for my mother - I had the use of her money, which he knew; they were never discounted on my own account; I had not the means when I discounted the bill in question I gave him the difference, deducting the discount; to the best of my knowledge I gave him the money for it at five per cent., but then he gave me another bill in payment for articles purchased - I sometimes gave him money, and sometimes a cheque; we had an account at a banker, in my name, by the advice of all parties; I solemnly state I have no share in the business - I never discounted at more than 5 per cent.

COURT. Q. When was it you found the prisoner at Calais? A. The latter end of March; we brought him to England, and he was taken to a lock-up house in Chancery-lane; he has been in custody ever since.

GEORGE VINCENT . I am an attorney. I was employed by Mrs. Cook, and went to France with the last witness; we went to Paris for Peter Fenn, but did not find him there - we re-traced our steps to Calais, and found him in company with a man whose name I have learned is Hanbury, at Lawson's, the Crown hotel - we had been up six nights, and declined to go any further, or to let him go; Hanbury remained but a short time with us - they had got their trunks outside the house, and were going to the packet, which was to sail in about five minutes - they had had their breakfast; I told Mr. Lawson that Fenn's trunks must go in again, and we went up stairs, where the prisoner gave Hanbury a 5l. note: Hanbury left the hotel in about three minutes; when I first saw the prisoner, he appeared frantic - paralyzed, and I made a memorandum of what he said at the time; Mr. Cook was there the whole day, but I went to take a walk, as I had got Fenns passport, and I knew he could not leave; what the prisoner said was (reads) "Melton is my ruin - he has obtained 7,000l. of me in the last two years; I will go quietly to Newgate, only don't put me in irons - I will plead guilty, I shall then have about six weeks after I am condemned; I will be seen by no one - I will do as Fauntleroy did, and it will be over in a moment; I was coming to England to deliver myself up to justice;" I produced this bill to him, and asked him what it was - he said it was good, and I marked it "good" in pencil; I told him I doubted its being good, as it appeared to be all in one hand-writing; he said No, it was drawn upon his friend James Lucett, whom he said he had known for twenty years, (I think.) or a great many years, and it was as good as gold - I told him that Old Brompton was a very large place, and to give me the address of James Lucett - he gave it me, and I wrote it on the back of the bill, in his presence, No. 1, South-parade, Queen's Elms, Old Brompton - I came to England with him and Mr. Cook; I have since seen Mr. Lucett.

Cross-examined by MR. ALLEY. Q. Are you the person who was examined yesterday. A. Yes: when he came to London he had not an opportunity of escaping. I gave him leave to go to the Hummums, but my brother watched him there - I did not tell him my brother was watching him; he could have attempted to escape, but he did not to my knowledge.

WILLIAM WEAVER . I am son of Thomas Weaver, No. 34, Parliament-street, Westminster - I know Mr. James Lucett; I have seen him write - the acceptance on this bill is not his writing; it is made payable at our resience.d

Cross-examined. Q. Mr. Lucett is a physician, is he not? A. Yes; this was his right direction, but he has left there about ten months - I am assistant to my father, who keeps a carpet warehouse, but his private residence is at No. 66, Millbank; I have seen Mr. Lucett write in Parliament-street, at my father's - I know his signature when I see it; I have not been close to him when he wrote - I know his writing, I have some of his writing here; I cannot say exactly when I saw him write - upon my oath he did not write for the purpose of enabling me to be a witness; I cannot tell when it was I saw him write, nor what it was - it was not so late as three months ago.

MR. BARRY. Q. Do you recollect upon what occasion you saw him write? A. On no particular occasion; this is not his writing.

COURT. Q. How are you enabled to speak to his hand-writing at all? A. By the J and the L-I have seen him write, but have not been close to him.

MR. ALLEY. Q. How does he spell his name? A. James Lucett.

JAMES LUCETT . I am not acquainted with the prisoner - this acceptance is not my hand-writing; I did reside at the place stated at the back of the bill. but I do not reside there now, nor did I on the 14th of December, 1827.(Bill read, see Indictment.)

COURT to JOHN COOK. Q. Did your mother know of your discounting this bill? A. Yes; there was an account opened at the bankers' in my name, at the request of my mother, on account of her age, and at the request of our friends also - Fenn knew I acted for her.

The prisoner here read the same Defence as on his former trial,(see page 710) and with reference to the case in question, stated that he had himself frequently discounted bills for Mr. Lucett, which were payable in Parliament-street; he added the agent from whom I received them brought me a blank acceptance of Lucett's, wishing me to draw it rather than him - having known Lucett for several years, I yielded, and became the drawer, thinking it was Mr. Lucett's acceptance. Vincent has said to day he sent his brother to watch me closely while I was at the Hummums; he can only have said that from hearing my defence yesterday - I still repeat that I was at liberty; the coachman who drove me from where they left me, to the Hummums, asked me if he had not better drive me at once to my private dwelling, or to any other place in the neighbourhood, as I told him I did not like to sleep at such a place as the Hummums; when I once asked Cook why the business was conducted in his mother's name, why her name did not appear in the bills as well as his own, he replied, "The business is my mother's, and should any of these bills prove bad, or he unpaid, if I cannot take them up, I can soon get white-washed in the Bench, and the business be my mother's still."

GUILTY - DEATH . Aged 55.

Recommended to Mercy by the Prosecutor (through Mr. Brodrick), on account of his good conduct for many years; and by the Jury, on account of the transaction in which the parties had been engaged .


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