JAMES HESTER, GEORGE LATIMER.
28th February 1876
Reference Numbert18760228-251
VerdictGuilty > unknown; Guilty > unknown
SentenceImprisonment > penal servitude; Imprisonment

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251. JAMES HESTER was again indicted with GEORGE LATIMER (28) , for stealing ten sacks and five quarters of wheat of Joseph Leonard Hadley & Sons.

MR. BESLEY conducted the Prosecution;

MR. LILLEY appeared for Hester and

MR. M. WILLIAMS and MR. MOODY for Latimer.

GEORGE LAXTON . I am foreman to Mr. Bellamy of Gordon Wharf' Rotherhithe—I have known Latimer some time—I had seen him about a month previous to 15th December—I saw him on 15th December about 1 o'clock, as I was passing from the office to the wharf—he said "I have come down to sample five quarters of wheat sweepings that are lying outside the wharf in a barge, and I want you to land them for me"—I asked him for his dock note or a landing note—he said that he had not got either; he had only got a sale note—I told him I would not land them upon that—he said "I have come from the market, arid I have seen Mr. Bellamy, and he has given me permission to land it here"—the men were going to dinner, but I stopped them, and gave them directions to land the wheat—I saw the barge—it was made fast from barges from the wharf—I saw that she had more than five quarters in her—I called out for the name of the barge, but Latimer had then gone—I left before the sacks were landed—I returned in a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes, and the barge was gone, and five quarters of wheat in ten sacks were on the wharf which were not there before—I made an entry of them in my rough entry book—it was one of our men who called out the name of the barge; but I cannot say who—he may be here, and he may not; there are four men, and two of them are here. (The Court considered that as the men went into the barge where the wheat was to unload it, what they said in the course of doing so, was part of the transaction, and there fore admissable in evidence.) One of our men called out the name of the barge William and I chalked something on ten of the sacks, and entered it in my book at the same time—no goods are allowed to be landed without being entered—this is the entry I made "December 15th, ex. barge, Latimer. William five quarters wheat sweepings"—that is in my writing—a landing and delivery book is kept by the clerks in the office—they have the notes, or, if they have not, they take it from my book; mine is only a rough memorandum—there being no note in this instance, I made a communication to the clerk—a bulk book is also kept, and the clerk who keeps it gets his information from the day-book—I did not make a communication to him—I saw Mr. Bellamy next day, who directed me not to deliver the sacks till we got the note—1 next saw Latimer on the Friday or Saturday—this delivery order (produced) had been left on my desk the same day—when he came in he asked me if I had delivered the five quarters of sweepings—I said "No

I have not seen an order"—he said "There is an order lodged in the office for the delivery"—he then went away—he had told me on the 10th, when I saw him first, that he would send a landing note, but I never saw one—when he spoke of a sale note, he took a paper from his pocket and said "I have only a sale note, and I cannot spare that"—I did not read it—I did not see him again till after Hester was in custody—I saw the police take possession of the sacks.

Cross-examined by MR. LILLET. Four men assisted in the landing; Marsh, Jones, Ryan, and Priest—I have been connected with the trade on the river four years—there are many barges named William.

Cross-examined by MR. M. WILLIAMS. Latimer has been in the habit of landing things from time to time at our wharf, and I was in the habit of seeing him almost daily, but lately I had not seen him for a month—I might see him hundreds of times and only say "Good morning"—he comes on business for himself as a lighterman—he said that he had seen Mr. Bellamy, and had his permission to land the wheat there—not that he would get his permission—"Latimer, William" means Latimer's barge William—I have seen many barges named William,

Re-examined. I think he has landed something there before in 1875—1 have never seen any barge William belonging to Latimer.

WILLIAM BELLAMY . I am a wharfinger of Gordon Wharf, Rotherhithe—our general rule is not to permit anything to be landed without a voucher for ownership—I do not recollect anything ever being landed and not entered in our books—it was Latimer's duty to make the first entry in his own rough book, and of my clerks to prepare entries in the other books of the firm—the landing and delivery books are here; the bulk book is posted from them—I have known Latimer fifteen years—he was a factor's waterman at one time, and a lighterman as well as a dealer in wheat, sweepings and so on—he did not apply to me previous to 15th December, for permission to land ten sacks of wheat at Gordon Wharf, without documents—on 16th December, I first saw the ten sacks on my wharf and gave directions about them—I saw Latimer at the office on the Tuesday following—he said "Mr. Bellamy will you deliver those five quarters of wheat landed on my account"—I said "Yes, if you will give me an order"—he said "Oh, yes, I have got the order," and put his hand in his pocket and gave it to me—I said "All right," and he left—this is it. (December 18th, W. C. Bellamy & Co., I authorise you to deliver to the bearer' for Mr. Skerman, five quarters of what ex craft, landed on my account for George Latimer, G. L.) I know Latimer's writing and should say that it is his—on the day after it was landed I found that there was no note with it, and I saw Latimer on the market, on the 17th, and said "Latimer, it appears you told my man I gave you permission to land five quarters of sweepings; I did not do so"—he said "Well, I did not think you would mind it, you have landed before for me"—I said "I do mind, don't do it again"—1 knew of Hester being taken in custody, at my wharf on Tuesday—I saw Latimer the next day at the Corn Exchange—I did not mention Hester's name, but I spoke to him about the wheat which Mr. Hadley had claimed—Latimer said "It is perfectly regular, I bought it in a regular way on the market"—I think he said that he gave 38s. for it, and that he had a sale note—he mentioned the man's name, but I won't be certain who it was—I said "That is all right, I am glad of it"—I have been in the market twenty-two years—I have heard of several people doing business in mats and bags, but there are

hundreds of people in the market who I never come across—I attend the market on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Friday's, and am not at my wharf.

Cross-examined by MR. M. WILLIAMS. I have known Latimer, fifteen years he is a respectable man—he mentioned a name where he bought it, and it is very likely that he mentioned the name of Martin, but I cannot say, the market is in Mark Lane, there are two buildings, the old and the new; I attend the old market—transactions in grain take place in both markets—I deal with large people—I land cargoes.

Cross-examined by MR. LILLET. Sacks are hired of persons whose business it is to lend them, Starkie for instance—sacks unfortunately frequently change hands by accident—sometimes they return to the possession of the rightful owner, and sometimes they do not.

WILLIAM BERRIDGE . I live at Jamaica Level, Rotherhithe—my sister, Elizabeth Berridge, carries on her late husband's business of a lighterman and I am employed by Messrs. Hadley, and I also assist my sister in her business—my sister's barges are hired at times by Messrs. Hadley to bring wheat from different, places on the river—Hester was formerly in my sister's service and his brother Edward worked under him at times—the course of business was to send empty sacks down in barges" to be filled at the place where the bulk was and brought back full to the mills at Black-friars—in Messrs. Hadley's business full sacks would not be sent down the river, only empty ones—on 13th, 14th, and 15th December there was a cargo of Calcutta wheat in the Victoria Docks belonging partly to Messrs. Hadley—the prisoner Hester made out this account of his work during that week; it is in his writing. (This contained the following: "Tuesday night, William, from D. to Deptford. * Wednesday, William, from Deptford to Mill.") It was Edward Hester's duty to load the barges at the Victoria Docks and bring them up the river to the mill—he could get to Blackfriars in one tide—I did not give the prisoner Hester directions until Tuesday evening about 6.30 or 7 o'clock to go to the Victoria Docks and join his brother—he had been employed on Monday navigating another barge, the Lizzie—I gave him no intimation till Tuesday evening that he would have to go to the Victoria Docks to his brother—I have to direct the men where they shall go—I never employed the prisoners on the William—the William. was not employed at this time by any one except Messrs. Hadley—on Tuesday 21st December the watchman Crossley, employed by my sister, gave me some information, in consequence of which I went to the river-side to Lucas & Skerman's wharf, but could not see the barge William—I went to the Platform Wharf and looked again but could not see a barge of that description—I then went down to Gordon Wharf—I first caught sight of Hester and the barge William, four or five barges outside Messrs. Bellamy's Wharf being made fast, and after Hester came ashore I'gave him his orders; at the time I was speaking to him I saw ten sacks of wheat on. Bellamy's wharf, three marked "Hadley," and seven marked "Starkie—that is the usual way in which our sacks are marked—Starkie is a sack-lender; I have borrowed thousands of sacks of him—I never lent any sacks of Hadley's—I said to Hester "You are having a pretty nice game"—he said "Nothing to do with you, Governor"—I gave him in custody—I saw the barge William there—I was present when the police took possession of the ten sacks—up to the time of seeing them there I had no notion whatever that ten sacks were there—these chalk marks were more legible than they are now, they have got rubbed off—I can see now "Swp," I believe,

and according to what I have seen of the prisoner's writing on sacks, I believe it to be his, but I should not like to swear it.

Cross-examined by MR. LILLET. I personally saw the cargo of wheat at the Victoria Docks about November last—I believe the ship was City of Manchester—the wheat was then on the jetty—it was Indian wheat—a large quantity of wheat of various kinds is imported here from India—we have missed Hadley's sacks, and sometimes they come back, and sometime they do not—we use thousands of Hadley's sacks—we also hire Starkie's sacks—I was at the City flour mills when I told Hester to go down and join his brother on board the William; that was about 7 p.m.—I do not know that I detained him later, and that he complained that the last train would be gone—he did not tell me afterwards that he lost the train, and was obliged to walk down—I cannot say whether he accompanied me to the corn market on the 15th, but he most likely met me there—the market is from 11 o'clock to 2.30—he was not with me at the Corn Exchange from 1 o'clock to 1.30; nor was he there to my knowledge—we were in want of that very barge of wheat, and Mr. Hadley was very angry that the barge was not up—I did not see Hester that morning till after he got up with his bargs-1 swear I did not see him before the barge got up to the flour mills—to the best of my belief I saw him in the market that afternoon—persons are not admitted into the market from 2.30 to 3.30, but plenty of sales are transacted after 2.30—the door is closed, and you cannot go in, but those inside can transact business or go out—I believe I was in after it was shut that day, but I should not like to swear that I saw Hester—it is the best part of five miles from Victoria Docks to Deadman's Dock, and from Deadman's Dock to Gordon Wharf, is very nearly two miles, or it may be under it—it was high water at London Bridge at 3.42 on the morning of the 15th, and the difference at Victoria Docks would be about twenty minutes—I do not know whether it is more than that—if the wind was blowing hard from the S.W. it would obstruct the progress of the barge—I was not out that night—Hester was in my brother and sister's employ about four years—I can only speak to eighteen months of my own knowledge—each barge on the river has a number as well as a name, but lots of barges have one man's number on them—there are many Williams navigating the Thames.

EDWARD HESTER . I was employed by Messrs. Berridge, and had to obey my brother's directions, who was foreman—on 13th December I was with the barge William at the Victoria Docks loading wheat for Messrs. Hadley—I got in 130 quarters, 260 sacks on the 13th, and 140 quarters, or 280 sack, on the 14th—she would have carried another quarter—Starkie's marks and Hadley's were upon the sacks—after loading them, I put a tarpaulin on, and nailed them down with 5 1/2 inch nails—I finished loading on the 14th, a little after dinner time, and made all secure—I did not leave the barge then; I only went and got my pass, and then took her down to the grand entrance of the docks, close upon the river, and left her there—I returned at 10.30 p.m., and then remained by the barge—I did not know at all who was coming down to help me with the barge—I took the barge out of the docks by myself, and it was 12 o'clock when she was outside—if she had gone off then wa might have got home to Blackfriars with that tide if the wind had lulled a little—my brother came at 1.30 a.m., and said "Now, then, look sharp—we then navigated the barge to Deadman's Dock; that is a safe place for making barges fast till the next tide serves—we made fast there, and we both went off the barge to my brother's house in Adam Street, Rotherhithe

—I left him there about 5 o'clock, and he gave me orders to go into Milwall Dock the same morning, and load two quarters of wheat in Starkie's sacks—I saw nothing more of the William—I know no man named White in the docks; a man was there when I loaded, but I do not know his name—I have not seen him since.

Cross-examined by MR. LILLET. My brother told me when he arrived that he did not leave the governor's house till the last train had gone from Fenchurch Street, and that he went and had a bit of supper and had to walk down—the tide served about 3.30, and he was there at 1.30—the wind was blowing very hard from the saw—that is an adverse wind, it was against me—that would make a very great difference in getting up the river—I could not possibly have got up to Blackfriars in one tide In the quarter—the wind was blowing, even if we had started at low water—we got as far up as we could and left the barge at Deadman's Dock, Deptford—I received orders to go and load another barge—my brother was foreman, and according to the rules of the firm it was his duty to give me orders and directions—it is 4 miles, or a little more, from Victoria Docks to Deadman's Dock by the river, and about 2 miles from Beadman's Dock to Gordon Wharf, and from there to the mill about 2 miles—it would take us two hours to get there in that state of the wind and tide.

Re-examined. With that tide and wind, we could not, starting at 12 o'clock, have got home, but we could have got to the Pool, London Bridge—we could have made fast at the Pool.

JAMES SKERMAN . I am a miller, of Rotherhithe—Latimer has done lighterage work for me for the last two years—I was examined once at the Greenwich police-court—I was shown this paper, or a copy of it, at Mark Lane on the Friday before January 6th—up to that time I was in entire ignorance of any order to deliver 5 quarters of wheat—I have waterside premises—we land direct from the river.

Cross-examined by MR. M. WILLIAMS. Latimer has done my work as a lighterman for two years, but I have known him by sight in the Com Exchange for many years—we have had several dealings—I had a foreman named Martin Herbert.

Re-examined. I keep books—Herbert had nothing to do with them, they are kept at Waltham Abbey, where I live—all entries of purchases are made there—I have not got my books here; there is nothing in them in reference to this transaction.

GEORGE CURZONS (Police Sergeant R 13). I have the custody of ten sacks of wheat delivered to me in the presence of Laxton and Mr. Berridge from Gordon Wharf—these (produced) are samples from it—when I first saw the sacks "Sweep" was written on several of them—I have handed samples to Mr. Andrews—these (produced) are samples from the bulk wheat I got at Hladley's mill.

Cross-examined by MR. M. WILLIAMS. Latimer surrendered himself on 30th December; he had written to say that he would do so, having heard that there was a warrant out against him.

WILLIAM ANDREWS . I am a corn factor—I have compared these samples from the sacks with these from the bulk—they are Calcutta wheat of identically the same quality.

Cross-examined by MR. M. WILLIAMS. There is a good deal of that kind of wheat in the world.

Cross-examined by MR. LILLET. When a cargo of wheat arrives from Calcutta it is sold to different persons.

WILLIAM TANNER . I am a greengrocer, of 137, High Street, Poplar, and shall have occupied those premises with my wife and family five years next August—I have never underlet any portion of the premises—William Martin, a dealer in mats, has never rented any part of the premises—I never gave leave to any one to use my address.

Cross-examined by MR. M. WILLIAMS. I do not know Mr. Preston, the solicitor for the defence—three men came to my place to make inquiries—I should not like to say that Latimer is one of them—I have seen a bill offering 5?. reward for Martin, not 50l.

Cross-examined by MR. LILLET. That was two months ago.

WILLIAM MARTIN . I live at 52, Robin Hood Lane, Poplar, and have carried on business there fifteen months as a corn dealer—I never lived at 137, High Street, Poplar, nor did I ever use that address—this sale note and invoice are not my writing, I know nothing about them—I never had any cards printed in my life—I am the only person in Poplar carrying on business as a dealer in mats, rags, and sweepings.

JOHN GRANT . I am a watchmaker, of 138, High Street, Poplar, that is opposite to 137—I have lived there for twenty years.—I never heard of any William Martin, a dealer in mats, bags, and sweepings.

STEPHEN JENNINGS . I occupied 137, High Street, Poplar, over twenty years ago, before Mr. Tanner lived there—I never heard of William Martin, in that neighbourhood, a dealer in mats, bags, and sweepings.

THOMAS GUNDRY (Detective Officer K). I am connected with the Poplar police station, and have known the neighbourhood eleven years; I have never heard of William Martin, a dealer in mats, bags, and sweepings, in Poplar.

JAMES CARTER . I have been a letter carrier nine years, and have been engaged in delivering letters in High Street, Poplar; I have no knowledge of ever having had a letter addressed to William Martin, 137, High Street, Poplar.

JOHN HADLEY . I am in partnership with my brothers—we had a parcel of Calcutta wheat in the Victoria Dock—it was a fixed quantity—we paid for what we bought, and there was a deficiency of forty or fifty sacks, and the people made good the loss.

Cross-examined by MR. LILLET. Sometimes when a cargo is sold out the last person is liable to find a deficiency, but we bought a specific quantity and it turned out deficient—we only had three barge loads; I do not know whether the barge William brought up the quantity that was put on board, the books will show that.

Cross-examined by MR. M. WILLIAMS. Our receiving foreman counts the sacks as they are brought into the mill—he is not here.

Witnesses for Latimer.

MARTIN HERBERT . I am foreman to Mr. Skerman, the witness—I have known Latimer about eight years, he has always borne a good character, and Mr. Skerman has had dealings with him—on a Wednesday or Thursday in December he told me that there was, I believe, five quarters of wheat lying at Mr. Bellamy's Wharf, and would I take it in—he also said that he had fifty or sixty quarters of wheat or sweepings lying at the Victoria Docks, which would be there and he was going to show it to be Mr. Skerman—he subsequently brought me a note of some description; I think this

is it (produced)—he told me to take it to Mr. Bellamy, and he would deliver me the wheat; but I did not apply for it on account of a pressure of business—fifty quarters came up on the Friday or Saturday, but it was not landed owing to this case.

Gross-examined by MR. BESLEY. I was examined once at Greenwich—I saw nothing of the barge with the fifty quarters till the Monday or Tuesday—I had no right to buy the fifty quarters, and Mr. Skerman refused to buy it on 11th January—I did not tell Mr. Skerman that these five quarters were mixed up with the fifty quarters, about which there was a charge—I did not buy any—I do not as a rule take in goods before I buy them—I never take in goods without telling my master, that the entries may appear in his books—I should have delivered this order but it was a trivial little lot, and I took no notice—I never got Mr. Skerman's authority to bring the ten quarters of wheat to his premises—I never communicated to him that there was an application to me to take possession of property I had not bought—I did not communicate with him till Latimer was in custody.

STEPHEN EMMETT . I am a lighterman, and have been in Latimer's employ, between two and three years—he deals in wheat and wheat sweep-ings, and is also a lighterman—on a Monday, about a fortnight before Christmas, I saw him in conversation with a tall man-about my height who I have often seen in the Docks and on the old Corn Market, and on board ships, trying to get bargains—I did not know his name then, but I heard on the following Wednesday that it was William Martin—I was waiting that Wednesday for a man, and Latimer told me not to go away as he wanted to send me something—I waited a few minutes, or it might be half an hour—the man went away, and then he came to me and said "Go down to Gordon Wharf and ask them to land five quarters of wheat that I have just bought of that gentleman that you saw leaving me"—I said "Yes," but I called at two or three places first—I went to Gordon Wharf, saw Laxton and told him that I wanted it landed and then went away.

Cross-examined by MR. BESLEY. Q. Just take that piece of paper and write for me the word "Latimer" and the word "Martin." (The witness did so). That is my ordinary writing—I did not write these other papers upon my oath.

Re-examined. I am not in the habit of committing forgery.

JOSEPH MARSH . I am an engine driver at Gordon Wharf, in Mr. Bellamy's employment—I was called at Greenwich police-court as a witness for the prosecution by Mr. Besley—on loth December I had an order to help land five quarters of sweepings, from Laxton, the foreman—we landed it and I carried five of the sacks myself—I saw the lighterman standing on the after part of the barge—it was not Hester—I did not notice the name or number of the barge.

Cross-examined by MR. BESLEY. Before I went to the police-court, Mr. Meering, the clerk, did not take me to Greenwich police-court, nor did I see him before I was examined—I was, I believe, taken down to Greenwich with Laxton, our foreman, when Hester alone was in custody—I did not say "That is the man right enough," I swear that.

Re-examined. I am still in the same employment where Laxton is foreman.

MORRIS HART . I am a Government contractor, of Terrace Place, Stepney Green, and am a purchaser of wheat sweepings sometimes—I attend sales for that purpose—there was a man named Martin bidding for some marked

sacks at Irongate Steam Wharf—I have a contract with Government for empty sacks—they change hands—I won't say that I have had Hartley's sacks, but I am certain I have bought a dozen differently marked sacks at Irongate Steam Wharf by public auction.

Cross-examined by MR. BESLEY. I do not know whether I ever had any transactions with Martin—I may have—I have no writing from him—he did not give me a card—I never spoke to him.

JEREMIAH LYNCH . I am a master stevedore of Shadwell—I know a man who goes by the name of Martin—I cannot swear that his name is Martin—I have purchased very bad sweepings of him from ships' holds—he has had cards, but I have not had them, not to notice whether it was 97 or 197—this card is like those he had.

Cross-examined. I last saw a card like that six months ago—it was in my hands—Martin gave it to me on board one of the steamboats—I have not looked for it; I may have destroyed it, I have so many given me—I only know where he lived by the card—I know that a reward has been offered for the printer of this card—Martin came to me on 12th December, Saturday, and asked me if I was the buyer of some sweepings—I saw him again on the 19th outside the George, at Woodford—it was months before that that he delivered me the card—I have had transactions with him; I have purchased mats from him—I have no writing from him.

JOSEPH FARRYER . I have been a licensed lighterman some years—I have known Latimer some years—I have heard of Martin, a dealer in mats and sweepings, and I saw him once talking to Latimer in the market, and I have seen him in the docks.

By MR. LILLEY. I know Hester; he bears the character of an upright honest man.

Cross-examined. I was not asked to come as a witness—I went to the police-court to hear the evidence—I was not there when Hester only was in charge—my first attendance was on the morning of Latimer's surrender—I was neither inside or outside the Court when Hester only was in custody; I was not in Greenwich at all—I was in partnership with Latimer; it lasted three months—I never heard of transactions with Martin—I was only in the lightering part—I never saw his writing—I only knew that Hester was in custody by seeing it in the newspapers—I was at the police-court every time Latimer was there—he called as a witness Mr. Skerman's man.

Re-examined. I saw Mr. Besley at the police-court, and I am not likely to forget it—Latimer was formerly my partner, and I take an interest in his welfare.

Witness in reply.

EDWARD MEERING . I am clerk to Newbon & Co., of Doctor's Commons, solicitors for Mr. Hadley—I was engaged in the prosecution of Hester and attended before the Magistrate at Greenwich police-court—I saw Marsh there on 30th December, the morning that Latimer surrendered, and before Latimer was put before the Magistrate—Marsh had seen Hester previously in my presence; Laxton, Marsh, and I were going to the station at the time; Marsh and I were walking alone, and I said to him "You see, Marsh, Laxton will prove the false pretences and that the goods were landed, and you will identify Hester as the man who brought the barge up"—he said "Oh yes, he is the man right enough"—I am sure that was said by him after he had seen Hester in custody.

Cross-enamined by MR. M. WILLIAMS. I do not always hear correctly—I am a little hard of hearing.

Cross-examined by MR. LILLEY. Marsh was examined before the Magistrate and gave the same evidence of identity as he has today.

Re-examined. I spoke to Marsh and heard what he said.

GEORGE LAXTON (re-examined). The witness Emmett did not come to me on 15th December, at Gordon Wharf and ask for permission to land on behalf of Latimer five quarters of wheat.

Cross-examined by MR. M. WILLIAMS. I saw him that day at the wharf.

Cross-examined by MR. LILLEY. After I saw the five quarters on the wharf on 15th December I chalked on two of them"5 qrs. William"—there was "Sweep" on them when they came in.

By MR. BESLEY. I did not chalk that—Emmett came just before Latimer, he spoke to me about a sample of wheat he called sweepings, and I told him I knew nothing about it, and did not see him afterwards—Latimer came not many minutes after that.

Latimer received a good character.

HESTER— GUILTY Five Years' Penal Servitude.

LATIMER— GUILTY Two Years' Imprisonment

Before Mr. Baron Cleasby.


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