28th May 1883
Reference Numbert18830528-609
VerdictGuilty > unknown; Guilty > lesser offence
SentenceImprisonment > hard labour; Imprisonment > hard labour

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609. EDWARD O'CONNOR (27), MARY O'CONNOR (58), sad ELIZABETH O'CONNOR (22) , Unlawfully obtaining by false pretences a large quantity of boots with intent to defraud. Other Counts for conspiracy to defraud.


WALTER CHARLES ELMS . I am cashier to Mr. Dolman, a solicitor, a Jermyn Street, the owner of 16A, High Road, Knightsbridge—I saw the male prisoner with Mr. Dolman in February last—he wanted the house for a boot shop—the rent was 120l. a year.—he said that he was traveller for several firms, and had a shop at 4, Newgate Street—he arranged to send us references, which he did next day—they were Thomas Morgan, of 218, Tottenham Court Road, and John Andrews, of 48, Blackfrairs Road, leather merchant—we received those two letters in course of post (These were from the referees, stating that they had known O'Connor many, years and that all his dealings were satisfactory)—after that he called and signed the agreement and I witnessed it—he was to pay for the agreement before taking possession, but he did not, and I called next morning and found him in possession—I called again in a week or so and saw Elizabeth O'Connor—I asked her if Mr. O'Connor was—she said no, and the mother came down and said that she was put in to mind

the place till the workmen came in, and then she was going to clean it, and that O'Connor was travelling and she could not give his address—inquiries were then made and the references were found to be false—inspectors went over the premises to see if there was any dynamite there—they found that there was not and Mr. Dolman told me to turn them out—I employed a builder to do so and their things were turned out into the yard—the furniture was a chair which belonged to us, and some boxes and I think some sacks—we got no rent.

Cross-examined by the prisoner Edward. I was called in to Mr. Dolman to answer a question and remained in and heard the greater part; of the conversation—I don't know what was said before I went in—no rent was due till the following quarter—you got possession because the back door was unlocked.

HENRY CALCOTT . I am a stationer of 218, Tottenham Court Road, and have been there 10 or 12 years—no one named Thomas Morgan lived there in February or at any time, but a letter came in that name and was called for by a young female, but I was not in the shop—the prisoner had no authority to use my shop as an address.

MARY ANN SMITH . I have lived at 48, Blackfriars Road, it is a stationer's shop—no one named John Andrews has lived there during that time, but I allow letters to be left there to be called for—the male prisoner has come there for letters addressed to Edward O'Connor.

Cross-examined by the prisoner Edward. I do not pretend that you came in the name of O'Connor.

GEORGE ALFRED STOKES . I am foreman to William Hooker, a boot manufacturer, of 117, Bethnal Green Road—I received this post-card in March: "Gentlemen,—Please instruct your traveller to call with samples as I am about to open a new shop. Yours truly, John Andrews."—I went there and saw the prisoner Elizabeth—I asked her if Mr. Andrews was in; she said "No, but I will fetch somebody who represents him"—I said "I called from Messrs. Hooker respecting a post-card which I had received wishing to buy some boots of us"—she went away and fetched the male prisoner—I told him my business; he said "I will look at your stuff"—he did so, and ordered 12 pairs of boots and 12 pairs of top pieces for mending—I said "Who is Mr. Andrews?"—he said "He is a man who Has got plenty of money; he has taken this place at 120l. a year for 12 years for a shoe shop, but he hoped before the 12 years were up the next door people would take the premises"—he mentioned Turner's and another house which he was buying of—I believed his statement and delivered 12 pairs at 5s. 6d. and 12 pairs at 7s. 6d., and some top pieces, at the house, but in consequence of what Detective O'Brien said to me I took them back again—I have seen a pair of boots produced by the police, they are part of them, and I have seen others in the hands of the police—the police produced an invoice in my clerk's writing representing a portion of the goods ordered.

Cross-examined by the prisoner Edward. I drove the trap with the goods; my boy took them in and brought out the book signed—that was I believe the 11th of April.

WILLIAM HEARN . On 11th April I went with Mr. Stokes to 16, High Road, Knightsbridge, and delivered a parcel of boots and leather to the prisoner Mary—she asked me. what was in it; I said "Boots from Stokes and Son," Bethnal Green Road, and produced this delivery

book and asked her to sign it—she asked what name she was to sign it, in her own or Mr. Andrews's—I said that the one who took the parcel in was to sign their own name—she signed this, "M. Andrews," as it now appears, and I left the goods—I am employed by Mr. Hooker.

HENRY MARSHALL . I am an Inspector of the Criminal Investigation Department—in April last I made inquiries respecting 16A, High Road, Knightsbridge, as there was a notion that dynamite was concealed there—I found the basement occupied by the three prisoners and Timothy O'Connor—on 11th April, with Inspector Swanson, I searched the house—there was no appearance of any business being carried on, the place was very filthy, and there was not a bed to lie upon, only some rags, and one or two old chairs and saucepans—the elder prisoner was wearing a man's coat—I said something about smells and that I was going to look at the drains, and I eventually said that I was going to search for explosives—I said "What account do you give of yourself? You have taken these premises with false references; you have given the name of Morgan, of Tottenham Court Road, and Andrews, of Blackfriars Road"—he said "I admit there is no Morgan, but there is a Mr. Andrews"—I made no note because I knew nothing of this charge.

Cross-examined by the prisoner Edward. You said you were going to Mr. Dolman about giving up possession of the place—it has been a shop for eight years, but never opened as a shop.

MATTHEW O'BRIEN . I am a Detective of the Criminal Investigation Department—I watched these premises by Inspector Marshall's directions—I have seen the two female prisoners go in and out—there was no sign of business; the shutters were always up in the daytime—I stopped Mr. Hooker's goods from being delivered—I was not aware that the prisoners had been turned out on 13th April till I went into the mews behind the premises about 5 p.m.—I saw the two female prisoners there, and three chairs, two boxes, and an old bag—I came out, went into the High Road about 5.30, and saw the prisoner Elizabeth come out carrying a brown paper parcel—I followed her, stopped her, and asked where she was going—she said she was going to take the parcel away—she went back with me to the mews, and I opened the parcel—it contained six pairs of boots, and she had a new pair on—Mr. Stokes has identified them all, and also a pair which were in a box.

Cross-examined by the prisoner Edward. You used to take the shutters down to let light into the shop—I did not see any one touch the goods, and I was watching to see that no pawn-tickets were made away with.

ARTHUR STANDING (Detective Officer). On April 13th, between 7 and 8 a.m., I went to Rutland Yard, to the mews behind this shop, and saw the prisoners in charge of a quantity of rubbish—I found six pairs of boots, six pairs of half-soles, and twelve pairs of heels, which the prosecutors have identified—I asked Elizabeth where she got them, and after some time she said that they came from the shop—Mary had her hand in her breast, and I asked what she had got—she gave me six pawn-tickets for six pairs of boots, two pairs of which have been identified.

Cross-examined by the prisoner Edward. Two plain clothes men brought a man who was believed to be your brother to the station about half an hour after we arrived, and next day Mr. Stokes mistook him for you, and identified him as the person who gave him the order.

ARTHUR FOSTER CLIFF . I am manager to Mr. Hodson, of 20, Charles Street, Leicester Square—in September last he advertised for a traveller, and received this letter, dated 28th September, 1882, from Edward O'Connor, of 48, Blackfriars Road—I replied, and got another letter from the same address, giving the references, in consequence of which I wrote to Mr. Daniel Morgan, 96, King's Cross Road, and received this letter signed Daniel Morgan, saying that Mr. O'Connor was a highly respectable young man and a total abstainer—I made an appointment and saw the prisoner Edward at an hotel, and engaged him as traveller on commission—he sent me several orders, some of which I executed and some I did not in consequence of inquiries—one of them purported to come from Mr. Alfred Rex—this is it—the total amount was between 20l. to 30l. worth—we sent off the advice and invoice by that night's post, and received a letter from Rex, in consequence of which I communicated with the prisoner by letter or telegram repudiating the order, and I think he came over—he instructed us to send the goods as the order had been sent to us in the wrong name; the goods were for Mr. Andrews, of King's Cross Road, who was an equally good man—we then sent the parcel by the Midland Rail way to John Andrews—we afterwards got a further order from Mr. Andrews through the prisoner for goods to be sent to King's Cross Road—we sent one parcel—the arrangement on the order was, I think, for five off in 30 days—we sent this bill for his acceptance, and received it back marked "Accepted, John Andrews." (This was for 30l. 14s. 5d. payable at the Birkbeck Bank.) It was presented and dishonored—in the beginning of this year, as the prisoner was not doing a satisfactory trade for us, I came to town to see the prisoner, and went with him to 4, Newgate Street, which I understood was his office, and went with him in a cab to 97, King's Cross Road to see Andrews—he went to the door, and an elderly female opened it—I could not swear to her—he came back to the cab and told me Mr. Andrews was out of town, and would be back in a day or two—I said "This does not look like the place of business of a man who is to be trusted with money"—he said "He has always paid his account promptly "—it was a private house, and not like a boot manufactory—we have never received any payment for any of the goods we sent to King's Cross Road—I have identified some boots produced by two pawnbrokers; they were made specially for Andrews—the total of Andrew's account with King's Cross Road was 50l. odd—we did not authorize him to furnish 4, Newgate Street in our name, or to pledge our credit in any way—he was to furnish us with a guarantee, which we never got—we sent goods to his office for him to sell on commission, and in consequence of what we discovered we got them back again.

Cross-examined by the prisoner Edward. I told you not to send the order of September 22nd till he had paid his first account—we did not send the order in spite of that, we had instructions to send it on or we should not have done so—I cannot produce the letter—it was agreed between us and Messrs. Hoff land that we should make inquiries about everybody—we did not make enquiries about Andrews because we took your word for it that Mr. Rex was as good a man as Mr. Andrews—it is a strange thing, but when you removed to Knightsbridge so did Andrews—I made inquiries about Rex—I got back the goods I sent to Newgate Street,

the value was about 100l.—you attended to your business so well that we never got letters for three or four days, because you never went to your office—I do not know whether anything is due to you, if there is it is very little.

ALFRED SCARF REX . t live at 28, New Street, Covent Garden—I know the male prisoner—I did not authorize this order from Alfred Rex of New Street, Covent Garden, to be sent to Mr. Hobson, of Leicester—I know nothing about it—I received an advice that the goods were on the road, and I wrote repudiating the order.

ARTHUR SOLOMON . I am a furniture dealer of 164, Queen Victoria Street—I know the male prisoner, he came to me at the beginning of January and wanted an office fitted up and furnished at 4, Newgate Street—I made an appointment to meet him there—he said that the office was to belong to Hobson and Co., of Leicester, he was their London agent—we sent him an estimate—he said that if we took him off 3 1/2 per cent, he would see the governors and get us the job; we agreed, and he wrote us a letter and said that he accepted our offer to do it, and we wrote him a reply saying that if it was to be done for him we could only do it for cash before it commenced, but if it was for Messrs. Hobson we would—he told as it was for Hobson's, but we did not see them—we supplied furniture and fittings value 14l. Less 2 1/2 per cent, and then sent in our account to Messrs. Hobson, of Leicester, and in consequence of their reply we wrote to the prisoner, and afterwards the prisoner ElizaBeth came and said that she came from Mr. O'Connor and offered a sovereign off the account—I asked who she was, she said she was a friend of Mr. O'Connor's—I asked her if she was his sister, she said no, only a friend, and she had worked with him—I did not take the sovereign and have not had any portion of the money—I should not have supplied the furniture to the prisoner if it had not been for the representation about Messrs. Hobson.

Cross-examined by the prisoner Edward. I sent the estimate to you—you did not deny having my letter saying that payment must be made in advance—on the contrary you said, "The letter will damn me."

GEORGE SEARLE . I am a carman in the service of the London and North-Western Railway—I produce a way bill of 28th November, 1882, of goods I delivered at 97, King's Cross Road to the prisoner Mary—she took the book upstairs and brought it back signed T. Andrews—I found another way bill dated 9th February when I delivered to Andrews two boxes at the same address and gave the bill to the prisoner Mary, who took it upstairs—she paid the charge, 4s.

ALBERT BRAND . I am a carman at the Midland Railway—I delivered the parcel of goods mentioned in this way bill of 16th December, 1882, at 96, King's Cross Road—I saw an elderly female, who signed the way bill J. Andrews—a man who was very much like the male prisoner came in from the street and took the way bill from her.

Cross-examined by the prisoner Edward. He was very much like you, and he brought it down signed—I was there five or six minutes.

HARRY SEWELL . I am an auctioneer—I was in the service of Debenham and Fair brother—on 25th March, 1882, they let this house in King's Cross Road to the male prisoner at 65l. a year—he signed this agreement and I witnessed it (this was for three years from 11th April, 1882)—he was in possession from 11th April, 1882, till February, 1883—I applied to him several times for the charge due for the agreement, but

it was never paid—the last time I called was August last—I saw the prisoner Mary there—she represented herself as the caretaker.

Cross-examined by the prisoner Edward. I left Debenham's last September, but I can swear that no rent was offered—we were to do certain repairs when the costs of the agreement were paid—we did not prepare the agreement.

JOHN HENRY CHADWICK . I am assistant to Mr. Somers, a pawnbroker—I produce two pairs of men's boots pledged on 13th March and 13th April for 5s. 6d. and 5s. In the name of James—I believe the prisoner Mary pledged the pair on 13th April.

Cross-examined by the prisoner Edward. It was about a quarter to 7 p.m.—I am not aware that she was in custody at that hour—she said that she pawned them for her son—she brought two odd ones, and went back and changed one.

FRANK RENNIE LUCKES . I am assistant to Mr. Brobbington, of 27, Wardour Street—I produce a pair of men's boots pledged on 27th February for 5s. in the name of Allen by, I believe, the prisoner Elizabeth.

MATTHEW O'BRIEN (Re-examined). I 'took the prisoner Edward on 21st April at Back Hill—the two females had been arrested and remanded a week before—I told him the charge—he said "You need not have troubled to look after me, for I intended to surrender to-night to clear my mother and sister"—on the way to the station he said "What am I to be charged with first, for I shall have to defend myself against the whole of them on Monday?"—I made no answer.

Cross-examined by the prisoner Edward. I saw Mary at the place about an hour and a quarter before standing came there—I arrested Elizabeth at 5 o'clock, and when I brought her back Mary was sitting on a chair.

ARTHUR STANDING (Re-examined). I arrested the prisoner Mary about 7.40 on 13th April in Butland Yard—O'Brien was there.

Edward O'Connor's Statement before the Magistrate." The principal thing I wish to say is the two principal witnesses I shall call are these two, and I cannot put them in the box unless they are discharged. I would rather not say anything till I can put them in the box, and then I can make everything perfectly dear and straight.

Edward O'Connor, in his defense, stated that although he had taken the premisses, and let the lower part to Andrews, that when he made up his mind not to open the shop he countermanded the boots, and had he been at home he would not have taken the goods in. he stated that had he been at liberty he could have found Andrews and produced him, and that the police might have produced him had they wished to do so, and he would have been found to be as different as possible in build, height, speech, and education. He stated that when Andrews gave the said order he, O'Connor, wrote, "Don't send this order till he pays the first account" but in spite of that they sent the goods, and therefore he was not to blame. Although the prosecutors, not having made inquiries, sought to throw the blame on him, had they asked him "Is Andrews safe for 50l.?" he should have said "No" and that the other prisoners, they being his mother and sitter, had acted entirely under his instructions, and when they signed for the boots they did not know what was in the parcel. That when the boots were thrown into the street, if they had not picked them up and put them in a place of safety, the passers-by would have taken them. Mary O'Connor stated that she knew Andrews perfectly well, and his family and friends, and that she only acted for her son. Elizabeth O'Connor stated that she was perfectly innocent.

EDWARD O'CONNOR— GUILTY of obtaining by false pretences.Twelve Months' Hard Labor.

MARY and ELIZABETH O'CONNOR— GUILTY of conspiracy. Recommended to mercy by the Jury, believing them to have been under the influence of the prisoner Edward .— Two Months' Hard Labor each.

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