HARRY BENSLEY.
14th November 1904
Reference Numbert19041114-26
VerdictGuilty > unknown
SentenceImprisonment > penal servitude

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26. HARRY BENSLEY (29) (seepage 15) Feloniously marrying Lilian Clapham, his wife Kate being alive.

MR. MATHEWS and MR. BODKIN Prosecuted.

LILY MOBSBY . I am the wife of Amos George Mobsby, and live at 206, Albert Road, Addiscombe, Surrey—my maiden name was Lily Elma—I formerly lived at Thetford—while there I knew a Kate Green who is now in Court—I also knew the prisoner there as Harry Bensley—on August 6th, 1898, I was present at the Registry Office at Thetford when the prisoner and Kate Green were married—this is the certificate of the marriage, and I am mentioned as one of the witnesses—Edgar Elma. another witness, is my stepbrother—they remained in Thetford after their marriage—I cannot say for how long—I wrote to them.

ROSE SMITH . I am the wife of Thomas Albert Smith, of 65, Sandown Road, South Norwood—in February, 1901, I was living in Cobden Road—the prisoner and his wife came there to lodge with me—they lived together as man and wife there—they had two children—they moved to 34 Woodside, Anerley, and afterwards to 3, Anthony Road, South Norwood—they lived there for some time with their two children—in July, 1902, Mrs. Bensley came back to live with me, bringing her children with her, but without her husband—she remained until October, 1903—after October, 1903, I did not see her again—in December, 1902, I received this letter at 65, Sandown Road, addressed' Mrs. K. Benaley, 65, Sandown Road, South Norwood or Croydon. Or if not, then to occupier" I opened and read it it says, "Dear Madam,—Would you kindly write to Mrs. Henri Moncrieff to the address enclosed, as you might hear of something to your advantage also send your address, and if your name

was Kate Green: also if you was in an Orphanage at Ipswich if you have any children, their names and age'. Will you kindly answer this by return, as Mrs. Henrt Moncrieff is only making a short stay, and oblige yours truly, Mrs. Henrt Moncrieff. To Mrs. Bensley"—in January, 1904, I had a visit from the prisoner at (53, Sandown Road—he asked me if Mrs. Bensley was there, and I said no—he asked me if I knew where she was I said no—he said he had heard that his wife was expecting another child, and that he wanted to find his children—I told him of this letter from Mrs. Moncrieff, and that I had not answered it—he said I ought to have done so, and I should have been well paid for all my trouble—he did not say who she was—he then went away.

Cross-examined by the prisoner. Your wife left my house in October, 1903, to go to the infirmary.

LILIAN CLAPHAM . I am now living at 1, Hammerfield Place, Bexley Heath, and am a dressmaker—in June, 1902, I was a barmaid at Norwood, and made the prisoner's acquaintance—he was then a carman—a little while afterwards I began to walk out with him—he told me his name was Harry Burrell, son of Robert Burrell, who was connected with an engineering firm at Thetford, in Norfolk—he told me he was coming into a fortune in three years' time from his godmother, and he also had money at that time—he said the fortune consisted of a large estate situate between Suffolk and Norfolk, called "Eriswell Court," and that the trustees were Mr. Lindon and Mr. Howchen—we wrote to each other—about three weeks after the acquaintance began he proposed to me to marry him, and I accepted—he then said he thought my situation was not a fit place for me to be in—he proposed that I should go home, and then go to his sister till the marriage—he gave his sister's name as Lily Burrell, and said she lived at St. John's Wood—I agreed to his suggestions, and left my situation—I did not go home, but went to some rooms in Norwood taken by him—he said I was to stay there till his sister returned from a journey abroad—he used to visit me whilst there in the daytime but not at night—whilst there I made efforts to get another situation—I gave the prisoner the letters to post—I never got any replies—I stayed at the rooms till my money was exhausted—I was led to believe by the prisoner that my parents would not receive me at home so that I could not go there—I wrote to my parents and gave the letter to the prisoner to post, but I had no reply—I believed everything he told me—I left Norwood and went to 9, Homewood Terrace, Mitcham—the prisoner took the rooms—that was, I think, in August 1902—at Mitcham I lived there with him as his wife—he had no employment at that time—I Had jewellery and clothes, and part were sold to pay the rent—I left Mitcham and went to the Church Army in Edgware Road. London, and found employment with a dressmaker at 14s. a week—the prisoner did a little work occasionally—between us we paid the expenses of living—early in 1903 I found myself pregnant—the prisoner and I arranged to get married as soon as we had the means—he got some employment as a keeper at an Asylum at St. Albans in January. 1903)—on February 5th, 190-5, I was

married to him at the Registry Office at Marylebone—this is the certificate—he went in the name of Burrell, and I believed that that was his real name, and that he was a bachelor—I lived at the Church Army with a nurse after the marriage for a short time—I had a child, born on April 24th, 1903, which is still living—I afterwards went back to live with the prisoner up to December 1903—this letter of December 19th, 1902, is in my writing—I was then living at St. Albans—the letter was written to find the prisoner's wife—I cannot tell how my suspicions were aroused, but I suspected him—I found in his luggage a certificate of marriage—I spoke to him about it, and asked him if it was true—he denied at first that he was a married man, but at last he confessed to it, telling me that it was not a legal marriage, the reason being that it was so quiet an affair that nobody knew anything about it, that it was only a form of marriage, that he had bribed the registry people, and that it was not his right name—the name on the certificate that I found was 'Harry Bensley"—he then suggested I should write the letter in the name of Mrs. Henri Moncrieff, which I did at his dictation—I got no reply to it—I continued to live with him till his arrest—we went from St. Albans to Cape Town, where he was arrested.

Cross-examined. I received one answer to my applications for situa-tions, but I posted that letter-myself—I remember going to the Queen Charlotte Hospital the first time, when they told me to bring my marriage certificate—that was, I suppose, the real reason you married me—the marriage took place shortly after I went to the hospital for the first time—you told me several times that you would commit suicide, and on one occasion you took a bottle of landanum, or were supposed to have done so, and that made me give you mustard and water to cure it, I suppose—that was when any unpleasantness arose—I first saw the certificate of your first marriage after I lived with you as your wife—I did not see it at Norwood—you wanted me to pass it off as our marriage certificate, only the name went against it—you showed me letters supposed to be from lawyers, talking of settlements.

The 'prisoner called:

GEORGE COLE (Detective Sergeant H.) I have been to see a Mr. Burton and warned him to be here—he showed me a letter that he had received from you, asking him to give evidence to the effect that he went, with you to where your first wife had been living, and that when you got there you found that the home had been sold up—I have made inquiries and find that your first wife, you having left her, heard something about the second wife, and sold the home to provide herself with means of living.

The prisoner in his defence stated that his first wife deserted him, sold up the home, and disappeared with the children that he tried in vain to find her and the children that he met Miss Clapham and fell in love with her at first sight that he walked out with her, when they met her father, who created a scene that in consequence Miss Clapham said she would never (go home again, and asked him to find her somewhere to go and that as

he could not find his first wife, he did not think he was doing wrong in marrying Miss Clapham.

GUILTY . Two convictions were proved against him. Four years' penal servitude on each indictment, to run concurrently.


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