Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 26 January 2022), November 1891, trial of CHARLES GRANDE (38) (t18911116-27).

CHARLES GRANDE, Theft > extortion, 16th November 1891.

27. CHARLES GRANDE (38) , Feloniously sending to Elizabeth Mary Baldock a letter demanding money, with menaces, without any reasonable or probable cause; Second Count, threatening to kill and murder her.


ROBERT BENJAMIN USHER . I reside at 8, Grosvenor Place, with my mother-in-law, Elizabeth Mary Baldock—she is a great invalid and somewhat advanced in life—on 17th July last I found this letter on the hall table; I gave it to Mrs. Baldock; I did not see her open it—I went out, and afterwards saw her again—she then showed me the letter, and I read it—she appeared very much upset and excited by the letter—I communicated with the police authorities that evening.

Cross-examined. I found the envelope on the hall table, with something in it, closed—I gave it to Mrs. Baldock, and left before the opened it—I left the house and returned in about an hour; she then had it opened in her hand—this is the envelope—it was stamped 2d. to pay—it is a little torn now; I fancy that was done in opening it; it was in that state when she handed it. to me—I never saw or heard of the prisoner before I saw him at the Police-court—no money was sent.

ELIZABETH MARY USHER . I am the wife of the last witness—Mrs. Baldock is my mother—on 22nd July this letter arrived for her; I opened it and read it; I did not hand it to my mother—on 27th July I received this post-card (marked C); I also kept that from her—she was very much upset and annoyed by the first letter—I gave the documents to the police.

Cross-examined. No one, that I know of, came for any money—an advertisement was asked for in answer to the letter—I believe such an advertisement was inserted by the police, but nobody came—Mrs. Baldock looked upon the letter as threatening her life—she is a cripple, and cannot be moved; of course she was excited.

JAMES HALL . I live at 78, Kenton Street, Brunswick Square—I am now a clerk at the Polytechnic, in Regent Street—I know the prisoner; he informed me that he was a Dane—I was formerly in his employment as clerk, from October, 1888, to June, 1889—he was a private inquiry agent in the Strand; I forget the number—during the time I was with him I had frequent opportunities of seeing him write, so as to become acquainted with his handwriting; to the best of my belief this letter (A) is his handwriting, the envelope is different; I don't know anything about the envelope—this letter (B) is also in his handwriting—I think this post-card (C) is in the same writing; I would not Be confident as to that; this document (H. C.) is also his writing; also this (E. T.)—he was not in the habit of writing in any particular ink—I have seen him write printing letters—this document (S. J.) is of a similar character to those which ho was in the habit of using from time to time; both the envelope and the letter—when I say printing, I mean writing as though printing.

Cross-examined. I first met the prisoner in the Strand; I was in want—I did not meet him in the street, I went to his office—I was very much down in the world and hungry—I did not ask him for food and money; he gave me money to get food, for which I was very thankful—he gave me employment; that was principally at his private house, where I cleaned knives and so forth—when my duties were over there my employment

was at the office, as something of a messenger—before I wont to him I had been connected with the Cattle Market; originally I was apprenticed to a grocer—I have not been a tipster; I know what you mean, connected with the betting world; I have not—that is all I have been—I was only connected with the inquiry office since I came to London; those are the only three occupations in which I have been engaged—at the Polytechnic I addressed wrappers—on some occasions I was at the prisoner's house almost all day, the latter part of the time especially—he gave up the office—while he had the office I was principally there, as clerk, hardly a messenger; my duties were to copy documents that he wrote—there was not much messenger work to do—he gave me things written by himself to copy—I never had any of the printed ones to copy—I don't remember his complaining of an important letter lost from the office—he never gave me into custody for stealing it—he did give me into custody, but what for I don't know; it was not for stealing a letter, it was for robbery of clothes and forging some notes; I did not leave without giving any notice; everything was sold up—he gave me into custody on Bank Holiday, the 3rd of August, this year; the next day after that I went to Sergeant James, the man connected with this case—I know Lynch, he was a fellow-servant of mine at the office the latter part of the time—I saw him in August, I believe, before I had seen James—I saw him on the Saturday before I was given into custody; I knew Lynch's address—I saw him on Tuesday, the 4th—I told him that I had made a communication to Sergeant James—I did not not tell him that it was suggested that the prisoner was connected with this threatening letter case, I did not know that at the time; I think I first heard it on the following Monday; some one called when I was out on Sunday, asking mo to go to Scotland Yard; that would be the 9th—I am not aware that immediately after the 9th of August I told Lynch, I cannot call it to mind, I cannot remember—very likely I was constantly seeing him, I might see him during that week—I was not seeing him nearly every day, I saw him every week—I don't think I communicated with him on the matter the next time after I had been to Scotland Yard; I think I was told to be silent, and I kept so—I could not say when I first spoke to Lynch about it; no doubt I should say something about it, not connected with the Scotland Yard business; I have not studied handwriting at all—letter A is in a common commercial handwriting—I was accustomed to the prisoner's handwriting, I recognise it by the general run of it—I could not tell you anything particular by which I know it (looking at a paper)—I would not say anything about this—it is my opinion that letter is the prisoner's writing—I would not say anything about the address—I do not think this letter is his; it is a different hand altogether—I don't know anything about the post-card; I can't say one way or the other as to that—the prisoner generally wrote in black ink—I don't know whether there was red ink there—I can't say that there were many documents written in print—I suppose in a private inquiry business it is sometimes necessary to disguise handwriting—I don't know who did the printing; I never did it; I was never asked to do it—I never copied any printing that I am aware of—I saw him doing it on one or two occasions—there is a variety of printing in those letters; some in Roman characters, and all sorts of characters—I almost believe that I saw him do it,

I won't say positively, or something similar to that; I saw him do something on this document S. J.—it was in June, 1889, that the office broke up and he left—he gave the office up I think in December, 1889—I left Baker Street in June, 1889—since then till I saw these letters I never saw the prisoner's handwriting.

Re-examined. The letters A and B are in the prisoner's ordinary handwriting—I never had any charge made against me during the time I was in his service—when I was given into custody the inspector refused to take the charge, and said the prosecutor must take out a warrant, which he never did—no proceedings nave ever been taken against me upon it. Letter A wan read at follow:—"Madam,—Take notice that if you do not pay me the sum of £500, I dash your brains out as soon as you read this note, by a dynamite explosion. I stand in want of the said sum, and I must have it, or perish in the attempt. Remember, madam, that desperate men, or rather a man brought to despair by the villainy of a woman, will do desperate things, and indeed a woman shall pay for it. Be careful how you proceed in this case. You may be advised to apply to the police for protection, but if you do you will find that their protection is not much better than that of your lap-dog; if the English detectives cannot even apprehend the man who killed on the open streets in Whitechapel seven or eight women, then indeed their detective qualities must be limited; in fact, skill should not protect you from my hand. If I do not get the sum I have demanded, understand, I am firmly determined to have it or have your life as the value for it. If you estimate your life so low that you would not nay £600 for, then I must leave you to your own reflections. Do not believe that it is my intention to dash your brains out with a revolver, that, indeed, would be a madman's work. No, madam; a thin cake of dynamite placed between some mounted fulminate of silver, and the whole placed between the door and mat on the floor upon which you have to pass, or under your seat in the church, or even under the cushion of your carriage, will immediately explode the moment the weight of your body comes upon it, and dash you to pieces. I intend to do what I say; I have been ruined by a woman, and a woman shall pay for it. I have sent a letter like this to nine other ladies for the purpose, that if you do not pay I will dash your brains out, and you will then serve to others of us an example of what they have to expect if they do not pay up If you feel disposed to comply with my request, please then to insert in the Daily Telegraph the following advertisement: 'A. M. M. will comply,' and an address will be forwarded to you for where to address the money, or it may be that it may be called for, only mark well that treachery on your part will be punished with instant death, as I am well prepared for such an emergency. I am sorry to trouble you in this way, but I must have the money. Hoping you will be sensible enough to give the required reply, I remain, Madam, yours truly, a.m. M. Your last day for payment the 24th July. Mrs. B----, 8, Grosyenor Place. Madam, if you have not the sum I demand at hand, then inform me when you can pay it. I know that you are not poor, and you cannot miss a paltry sum. please insert the above number in your advertisement, No. 5." Witness. The prisoner gave his right address when I was taken into custody; it was some house in Kennington Road, I do not remember the number.

ANNIE DESMOND . I live at 83, Kennington Road—my mother lets

out apartments there; about the end of June last the prisoner took the top back room at 6s. a week in the name of Grant; he said he was getting money from a lawsuit—I attended to his room while he was there—one day as I was cleaning the table I went to remove a book, and as I moved it I saw a piece of paper underneath, on the table—it was written in red ink—I read it; it began, "Madam, take notice" and demanding a certain sum of a lady, and if she did not send it by a certain day he would dash her brains out, and he would use dynamite in the cushion of her carriage, and at the threshold of her door—she could call the police for protection, but it would be no good, it would be as much use as a lap-dog; that he had been ruined by a woman and a woman should suffer—this was very soon after he came, at the end of June or the beginning of July—that is all I remember of the letter—I don't remember when it was said that the dynamite was to be used—he continued lodging at the house up to 12th August—a little time before lie left somebody called to see him; I took him to be a tipsy man—I told the prisoner that a gentleman called and wished to see him, and asked if he was still giving music lessons; he said he did not know that anybody would call for him—he asked me more than once for a description of the person, and I gave it as well as I could—when he left, on 12th August, I understood he was going to Brighton—he did not come back—he took duggage with him; I kept his rooms for him for nine days, that would be up to 20th August—I did not keep them longer, because he sent us a letter from Paris; this is the letter (A. D). (James Hall. This letter is the prisoner's writing, envelope and letter both.) (The letter stated that as his stay in Paris would be several months, there was no necessity to keep the rooms.) I have seen the letter (A.) addressed to Mrs. Baldock—the words in the letter I saw on the table were just the same.

Cross-examined. I could not remember word for word in the letter—I said at the Police-court that it was about three weeks before that I had seen the letter, or about a fortnight before he left; I think it must have been about that time—I am of that opinion still—we had some stuff stolen from our place, and mother went to Kennington Lane about it, and two detectives came to inquire about it, that was about a week after the prisoner had gone; that was how this matter came about—but before that I saw two gentlemen outside our house, watching it—I did not know who they were—it was when the police came about our stuff that I had a talk with them about this—I think that would be about the 19th or 20th August; I don't remember the date—I did not see Sergeant James about it—I never saw him till I got to the Police-court—Mr. Gray, of Kennington Lane, was the first person with whom I had any conversation about the letter—he did not show me a copy of it—he came and asked who was in the room before Mr. Grant had it, and I said Mr. Lushington—mother told him that I saw a letter in red ink on Mr. Grant's table, and then Mr. Williams came—I did not show the letter to my mother; I left it on the table in the same place, under the book or in the book—it was when I was dusting the room I saw it—I read it through—it was on a white piece of paper—I told Mr. Gray that I thought it must be a copy of a letter—I could not swear to it—I did not attach any importance to it until the matter cropped up with Gray—I did not discuss it with anybody—I read it all—I remember the threats because it frightened me—I remember

the dynamite, the cushion of the carriage, and the threshold of the door; I remembered it before the police discussed the matter with me; they did not discuss it till after I had told them—then they told me what the letter was; they showed me a letter; I had told them all before they showed me the letter—I have a little memory, I don't know about it being a good one; I could not very well forget a thing like the dynamite—I am perfectly sure that it was not after a conversation with the police that I began to recollect the thing more accurately—the prisoner never locked his rooms when he went out—he used to lock them when he was in—I was never in the rooms when he was there—he was out the greater part of the day—we had other lodgers—the prisoner had complained of people coming into his room when he was out; he saw one of them coming out of his room; that was the one we suspected had stolen the stuff; it was a female; she has not been convicted of it; we cannot find them.

Re-examined. This letter was the only piece of writing in his room that I read—he always left his writing about the room, but I never took much notice of it—Sergeant Williamson was the man who I thought was the tipsy man.

WILLIAM WILLIAMSON (Detective Sergeant). I am the person who called at 83, Kennington Road on the 18th August, and made some inquiry about the prisoner—I was watching the house on 11th August and some days before.

HENRY WYBORN (Chief Inspector F). In August, 1887, I was one of the inspectors of the D division stationed at Tottenham Court Road Police-station—I had a constable serving under me named William Hughes, No. 409; I received this letter dated 5th August, 1887, (H. W.) through the Commissioner—I knew the prisoner at that time—after receiving the letter I saw him at his house, 35, Charlotte Street, Portland Place; he and a woman had the house between them—I took with me the letter and showed it to him, and had some conversation with him respecting the complaint in the letter—I don't remember the exact words—I made a report of it at the time—I said, "I have come to see you respecting this complaint," showing him the letter, and then he entered into details—it was a long letter, complaining of the conduct of Hughes—I was with him discussing the merits of the complaint about ten minutes or a quarter of an hour—he spoke to me about Hughes, and the purport of the letter.

Cross-examined. The house in Charlotte Street was a large house—he was living there with a prostitute—I have known the woman for years; her name was on the door; I knew her before he picked her up; I have known her on the streets for years—I don't say the letter is in the prisoner's writing; I never saw him write.

ELIZABETH TAPLIN . I am the wife of Charles Taplin, a solicitor's clerk, and live at 27, Gordon Dwellings, Camberwell—some little time ago my husband had some business which he transacted for the prisoner—at the end of July this year I received this letter (E. T.), it came by hand—the prisoner called at my house and asked to see me—I declined to see him—I afterwards met him in the street; he said, "Have you received my letter, madam?"—I said, "Yes"—he said, "Why did you not come up and see me?"—I said I did not think proper; I thought I had better not; he had better wait and see Mr. Taplin—I showed

him the letter—I kept it in my possession—I sent it to our solicitor, Mr. Deakin, to write to him—it came from 83, Kennington Road, and is signed by him. (The letter was written in red ink, and requested the witness to forward to him his portmanteau, his dog, and other things.)

FREDERICK GEORGE NETHERCLIFT . I have made handwriting a study for forty-eight years; during the adjournment of the Court I have looked at the letter just produced, marked E. T., also the letter H. W., addressed to the Commissioner of Police—I have compared them with letters A and B addressed to Mrs. Baldock, and I say in my judgment the four letters are written by the same hand.

Cross-examined. I have made a very hurried examination of them, but quite sufficient for my purpose—I have been through pretty well all the documents, not to remark all the peculiarities in each, but I am quite positive they are written by the same hand—I do not often find a peculiarity in one person's writing that I find in another, I do sometimes, but very seldom—I am not in any other business—I was a lithographer and fac-similist, and published a work upon the subject, which I dedicated to Royalty—there are other experts in handwriting, not many, there is Mr. Inglis; there are two or three who style themselves exports, brought forward in opposition to me—it may be that I am sometimes wrong, I do not remember it, sometimes persons have taken an opposite view—Mr. Inglis is not an expert, he is a lithographer, as well as myself—he has been on one side and I on the other, in difficult cases—I am now speaking from a general glance of these documents; I have seen this handwriting before—I think I have seen all these, A, B, C, and D—I think I can pledge my oath that these are all in the same handwriting.

By the COURT. There are some peculiarities in the writing to which I could call attention, in the word "two," for instance, which occurs all through the documents in letter A; the beginning of the word "Madam," that word is formed in rather a peculiar way, and it is the same in the letter produced by the last witness; and the k's are alike all through.

WILLIAM JAMES (Police Sergeant D). In the early part of September. I was watching for the prisoner about the streets—I followed a boy for the purpose of tracing the prisoner—on September 3rd I received thin letter, in printed characters: "Hyde Park Scoundrel, do not let me see you in my way again. I could see you yesterday, although your detective Smart could commit perjury when well bribed; you dog, you could not see me. Bo careful, and do not come in my way; for, sure as this is written by me, the man whom you have injured by your crime of perjury, I dash your brains out the moment you come near me. I will see your heart blood before they get me again by your perjury. My hand is used to firearms, and by heaven I shall not miss you when I get you in my sight"; addressed Police Sergeant James, Tottenham Court Road Station—I was attached to the Tottenham Court Road station at that time, and I am stationed there now—on 26th September I went to Maiden Railway Station with Detective Holder, and there saw the prisoner—I caught him in the roar, and said, "Grande, consider yourself in custody"—he said, "What for?"—I said, "For sending letters to ladies demanding money and threatening to murder thorn"—on the way to the station he said, "You dirty scoundrel! this is your

work, you who have received £50 from Morris to put me away before; if I had seen you I would have blown your brains out. You dirty dog! you are good at perjury when you are well bribed. I shall soon be out of this, and then look out; I will not shoot you, I will put about six inches of steel into your back"—at the station he did not give his address—he was not asked his address at Maiden Station—after I left him there I went to No. 1, The Oaklands, Acacia Road, Maiden, and there searched the two front rooms on the ground floor—I there found, amongst other things, this cigar-box, tied with a strong string, fitted with two springs, one on each side, with a patch of gunpowder; two bottles of acid, and several other articles—I afterwards took the prisoner by train to London—I had handcuffed the prisoner at Maiden Police-station.—as we were on the platform, the train was coming in; I was holding the prisoner's right hand with my left, and as we were getting into the train the prisoner pushed me very hard towards it, and on getting into the train he said, "You scoundrel! it was my intention to push you under the train; I would not mind doing it"—he continued the whole of the way from Maiden to Waterloo making use of threats of violence towards me—he said, "You, as a clever detective, could not catch me; I have seen you many a time—when I sent a boy from the Messenger Company to the bank in Victoria Street, I saw you, I was in the churchyard; and you. the gentleman detective, you b—fool, you could have seen me; I saw you in Hyde Park following the poor little boy, you b----fool, and you could not see me"—I said, "Yes; that is what you said in the letter you sent me"—he said, "Me send you a letter?"—I said, "Yes"—he then said, "Ah, yes; that will be my line of defence; if any letters have been sent, it was you, you dirty dog, who have sent it; I will settle with you when I get through this; and it is a good job you have got me now, as I was off to New York on Monday"—and then, shaking his handcuffs, he said, "If I could only take these cuffs off I would take my hands round your neck and strangle you, you dog, I would."

Cross-examined. I saw the witness Hall on 4th August—the watch had been set on the house at Kennington long before that, in July—officers were deputed to do it by the Inspector; I was one—I saw the prisoner leave there in the early part of August—he was not pleased to see me at Maiden—I put down in writing what the prisoner said, about three hours after, at Rochester Row—I put down everything I could remember; I remember it distinctly—I say seriously that he made an attempt to push me under the tram—we were waiting in the waiting-room till the train came in—on the platform I was between him and the train—Holder was in the train with us—I could not do any writing in the train; knowing the man's character and his threats I was afraid of him.

JAMES HOLDER (Detective J). I was present with James on 26th September, when the prisoner was arrested—the prisoner was carrying this bag in his hand at the time he took possession of it—I opened it at Maiden Police-station—I found in it this revolver, it was not loaded; also this brass knuckle-duster, a metal whistle, and some memoranda—the prisoner was present when I found them—I said to him, "You see what this bag contains?"—he replied, "I got them for you b----scoundrels, and meant to give it you"—James was in the station at the time, I could not say in what part, I should think he could hear what the prisoner said—on 28th September I was present at Westminster Police-court

—the case was called on and remanded, after the information of Miss Desmond had been read—after that the prisoner went for me, and I went to his cell; he said, "How do you thick I shall get on after what that girl said? I never thought of seeing her here to-day; she appears to have recollected lots of things that I had forgotten myself; I never thought she would have come here and speak against me. Whatever shall I do, after what she has said? But I shall stand a good chance to get out of it if the lady does not come; and the man Hall, of course, swears to my writing, because I once charged him; that is a very serious thing for me; but never mind, I have got the best man in London to defend me; he is up to all the tricks of the trade"—Mr. Arthur Newton, of Marlborough Street, was appearing for him at that time.

Cross-examined. The whistle I found in the bag was not a police whistle, but very similar—he appeared somewhat excited at being arrested—it is not a fact that I first spoke to the prisoner when passing his cell; he sent the gaoler, Sergeant Burchell, for me; the message was that Grande would like to see me—I did not caution him before he made the statement—I have been sixteen years in the force—I made the note at the time, as I stood by the wicket gate; he saw me writing it—this is the original note (produced)—this is an additional memorandum—the note I took of the statement I read a few minutes after I had spoken to Inspector Moore, at the same station—this piece of paper has nothing to do with that—I did not take the whole of it down at the wicket gate—it was almost immediately after I had seen the inspector that I wrote this down in my book.

HENRY MOORE (Inspector). On 16th September, about midnight, I found the prisoner at the station—I told him I was an inspector of police, and held a warrant for his arrest, which I could read to him; I commenced and read as far as Mrs. Baldock's name, when he suddenly fainted and fell on the floor—when he came to he asked me to read the warrant again; I did so—he said, "With intent to steal £500"; then, after a pause, he said, "Where was the money sent?"—he then muttered the word "menace" several times—I said, "You know the meaning of it?"—he said, "Yes; threats"—he was then charged, and whilst being charged he said, "It is lucky you have got me just now, as I was off to America on Monday.

Cross-examined. He had been in custody since seven o'clock—I did not know that he had been without food all day; I don't know what caused him to faint.


He was further charged with having been convicted of felony on 9th July, 1877, at the Guildhall, Westminster, to which he pleaded NOT GUILTY.

GEORGE HEWLETT . I was formerly in the D division of Police—on 9th July, 1877, I was at the Sessions of the Peace at the Guildhall, Westminster—I produce a certificate of the conviction of Christian Neilson (This was a certificate of conviction of stealing and receiving, after a previous conviction—Sentence, Eight Years Penal Servitude and Seven Years' Police Supervision)—the prisoner is the man.

Cross-examined. I am not in the Police now; I retired last May—I have not seen the prisoner since July, 1877, till about a month ago—there is a photo of him here—don't know whether the warder is here

—I don't know when the prisoner came out of prison—I think he was convicted at this Court in June, 1889, but I don't know it.

Re-examined. I have no doubt that he is the man who was convicted in 1877.

THEODORE BARTELLS (Detective Sergeant). On 6th May, 1884, a prisoner who was released on ticket-of-leave reported himself to me—the prisoner is that man—he reported himself in the name of Christian Neilson—I saw him again in Holloway Prison, after his arrest on this charge—I did not know him before.

Cross-examined. He only reported himself on his release, not afterwards—I did not make inquiry for him—I have heard that in 1889 he was corresponding with Inspector Wybrow—when he reported himself I was furnished with this document containing his photo, with a description of marks, and so on, in the usual way.


(See Old Court, Tuesday, 24th).