31st May 1910
Reference Numbert19100531-21
VerdictsGuilty > pleaded guilty; Guilty > unknown
SentencesImprisonment > penal servitude; Imprisonment > preventive detention

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COLE, Thomas (45, artist), pleaded guilty of feloniously possessing a forged die for the making of penny postage stamps; feloniously possessing certain forged postage stamps; feloniously possessing a mould in and upon which was made and impressed the obverse and reverse sides of a florin. He was further indicted for that he is a habitual criminal.

Mr. Pickersgill, M. P., and Mr. Goddard prosecuted; Mr. St. John Macdonald defended.

Sergeant ALFRED SCHOLES. At 4.15 p.m. on May 13 I served prisoner at Brixton Prison with this notice, that he would be charged with being a habitual criminal. He said, "I was never asked what I had been doing for a living." I told him I was present at the station when Inspector Neil asked him. He said, "I was told by the chaplain, when I left Dartmoor, that I should be discharged at Reading, and that an officer of the Prisoners' Aid Society would meet me and find me work. An officer did meet me there. I think his name was Musgrave, or something like it. After walking me about all day round the town he said he could do nothing for me, so I went to Birmingham." I asked him if he would like me to make any inquiries for him and he said, "I have not done any work since I came out because I could not get any." Prisoner was released from prison in July, 1908.

Cross-examined. I wrote to the Reading Police to call on Mr. Mudeman, the agent missionary. This letter, written by him to prisoner, agrees almost with the result of my inquiries: "Reading. May 26, I am acknowledging receipt of your letter as I am of opinion you are the man I met on July 8, 1909, at the Great Western Station. I then recommended you to lodgings, then to report, and afterwards paid you the 31s. gratuity due to you, and on Sunday, the 11th, you had your meals with me at my house, and intimated you should go north. As I did not see you after Monday I marked you on my book 'Left town,' concluding you were seeking work elsewhere, and had duly reported to the police your intention. I do not know what statement you want me to confirm. It is true we had no work for you to go to at once, but we were also on the look out for you, and it was only four days from your arrival to your leaving and you had other cash in your possession, so you were not hard up. We should have done our best to aid you into going right had you stopped here. I am sorry to hear you are in trouble again. "Prisoner gave me the name of Cape, from whom I made inquiries. Cape said prisoner had been his tenant and had done no work for him; that he had borrowed money from prisoner and was still somewhat indebted to him, that he was a very quiet man; that he did not know much about Ms business, and that he had paid his rent regularly. Prisoner was occupying 230, Hornsey Road, as his tenant, and had been for six months previous to his arrest.

FREDERICK COOK , ex-principal warder, Brixton Prison. I was present at this Court on January 30, 1890, when prisoner was convicted in the name of Ingaman of the possession of moulds for coining, and he got 10 years' penal servitude. The previous convictions proved against him were as follows: January 2, 1880, Birmingham Quarter Sessions, six months, with uttering counterfeit coin, in the name of Herbert Davis; July 28, 1880, Ashton Petty Sessions, six weeks for stealing a pipe; December 13, 1880, Birmingham Sessions, three months as a rogue and vagabond; November 4, 1885, Nottingham Assizes, five years' penal servitude for possession of bad coin.

Detective-sergeant ISAAC DICKS, Cardiff City Police. On May 8, 1899, I arrested prisoner, and on July 27 he was convicted at the Swansea Assizes of uttering counterfeit coin and being in possession thereof in the company of a man named Maguire. He was sentenced to five years' penal servitude. He came out on June 29, 1905, having had a remanent to serve, and he came to Cardiff and reported his arrival. After remaining 14 days he went to Birmingham.

Police-constable WILLIAM TAYLOR, Windsor Borough Police Force. I was present at the Reading Assizes when, on November 6, 1905, prisoner pleaded guilty to uttering counterfeit coin, when he was sentenced to three years' penal servitude. His license was revoked, and he had 18 months of the old sentence to serve.

Divisional-detective-inspector ARTHUR NEIL, Y Division. On April 21 I arrested prisoner on the charges of which he has pleaded guilty. I know nothing of him. I asked him if he would give me any information about himself as to what he had been doing for a living.

He was very abusive in his manner and used most filthy expressions, remarking, "That is for you to find out. I again asked him but he still declined to give any information about himself. His record shows that on July 8, 1909, he was released, and a few days after a warrant was issued for his arrest for failing to report. The result of the inquiry goes to show that he is a very clever man; he is an artist and an engraver. He had a splendid set of engravers' tools and a die for making postage stamps. In his room at Hornsey Road, where I arrested him, I found a number of duplicate moulds. (Witness enumerated a large number of articles such as were to be found in the stock in trade of coiners, including a large amount of counterfeit coin and apparatus for forging postage stamps.) When searched £13 in gold was found on him. He was most violent at the time of his arrest.


THOMAS COLE (prisoner, on oath). Three months previous to leaving Dartmoor Prison I asked the chaplain if he could find me work. He recommended me to go down to Reading and he would tell the agent down there to meet me on the station. When I got there I was met by the agent. I went there of my own accord. He showed me about Heading. I asked him if he could find me work, and he said he could not. He showed me all round Heading and then went and got my lodgings. He said I had better see him in the morning. I went to his house in the morning, and on my asking him if he had got any work for me he said he had not. I went round again to him the next morning with the same result. I then went to Birmingham, hoping to find my brother, but when I got there I found he was dead. I returned on about July 18, and went to a Rowton House in King's Cross. Somewhere about September 1 went to 230, Hornsey Road, where I rented a room from a Mr. Cape, a tailor For five months I worked for two or three days a week for him, never receiving more than 8s. or 9s. a week. I lent him several small sums; he has not repaid all of it. I worked till February, when he could not give me any more work, and I tried to get a living at painting picture postcards, but I could not, so I fell back on my old courses again.

Cross-examined. I told the agent that I was going to leave Reading. I deny that Inspector Neil asked me to give him the names of people from whom I had tried to get work. When I was liberated from my term of penal servitude in 1898 or 1899 I had a very good job at Birmingham, and after about 10 months I lost my situation over the police; since then I made up my mind that I would never report if I got into trouble again. I complained to the inspector several times about my work being interfered with, but they would not listen. I tried to get a living while I was at Rowton House by painting postcards, which I tried to sell to anyone who would possibly buy them. I cannot tell you the name of any person to whom I sold them. I did not go to shops; I used to ask people in the street. Sometimes I would earn 10s. a week in that way, but very rarely. I was able to lend Cape some money

because I earned a little from my postcards as well as the 8s. or 9s. I got from him. I commenced making bad coin about the end of February. I did not say to Scholes, "I have not done any work since I came out because I could not find any." The £13 found on me was part of the proceeds from coining and part I had earned. I did not get a penny from the forged stamps.

CHARLES CAPE , tailor, 230, Hornsey Road. Prisoner took a furnished room from me at 4s. a week from September 13 till the time he was arrested, on April 21. He came to purchase clothes a week before September 13, and that is when I first knew him. He paid his rent regularly. He appeared to be very hard up, and I employed him about four days a week in doing odd jobs, such as ripping and even house work. I do not think I ever paid him more than 7s. a week; it may be that I have paid him as much as 9s. Towards the end of February I could find no more work for him. Two or three weeks before Christmas I wanted some money, and he said he knew somebody who would lend me £2 or £3. I borrowed £5 and £1. I consider I have repaid that, but as there was interest charged I have not really repaid it; I' owe him 16s. still. During the time he was living with me he apparently led a respectable life; he did not bring any bad associates to the house, and he was supposed to be a teetotaller.

Cross-examined. He was very quiet indeed. I told the police all I knew. I did not say I objected to giving evidence because I was afraid of violence.

Verdict, Guilty.

Sentence (June 2), Three years' penal servitude and five years' preventive detention.


(Wednesday, June 1.)

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