Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 01 June 2023), March 1910, trial of BONNY, Hy (38, surveyor), (t19100308-45).

HY BONNY, Deception > fraud, 8th March 1910.

BONNY, Hy (38, surveyor), . having received £17 for and on account of Rose Gray did fraudulently convert the said money to his own use and benefit.

Mr. Barrington Ward prosecuted; Mr. T. E. Morris (at the request of the court) defended.

JAS. EMPERINGHAM HAKEMAN , 9, Park Lodge Villas, East Finchley, laundry proprietor. On October 16 I bought Gray's laundry; prisoner introduced it to me and told me what the business was. I went to see it and made inquiries. I told prisoner I heard that the sister, Miss Gray, had an interest in it and required that she should enter into the agreement. Prisoner procured a letter of indemnity signed by Miss Gray, which he showed to me, and said that in consideration of £20 she was to enter into an agreement not to interfere with the business. The purchase was completed on October 16 by agreement (produced), by which I was to purchase the steam laundry, 9, Park Villas, East Finchley, for £120, to be paid on October 16, 1909, up to which date all incomings, outgoings, and liabilities were to be borne by Gray, together with the machinery purchased on the hire system from Beard, of which I was to pay the future instalments. That is signed by prisoner. The formal agreement (produced) was entered into. I paid a deposit of £20 to prisoner and met Gray at prisoner's office on October 16, when I handed to prisoner £46 in cash and notes, for which he gave me receipt produced, "Re Gray, to Hakeman. Purchase money under contract to Mr. Gray, £130. I have received from Mr. Hakeman, on account of Miss Gray, £21, Donelly's cheque £12 10s., Beard's cheque £30, deposit £20, making £83 10s. Allowing, as agreed, re shortage of trade £10, making £93 10s. Balance due from Mr. Hakeman, £11 10s., making £105. Cash paid on account by Mr. Hakeman £25, making £130. Received from Mr. Hakeman the above-named amounts, leaving a balance still due of £11 10s. Henry Bonny, for G. W. Gray, 16/10/09." Prisoner told me that £21 was Miss Gray's share and said that Miss Gray had agreed to indemnify me against interference with customers or setting up opposition business for £21, payable at time of the completion of purchase, and that he wanted the money in cash as she was coming up the following day to receive it. The two sums of £21 for Miss Gray and £25 for Gray I paid to prisoner on October 16; the £20 deposit had been already paid. The three cheques were honoured. I left prisoner's office—I did not see him pay the money to Gray. I then entered into possession of the laundry and the landlord accepted me as the tenant. In November I received a communication from Miss Gray, saw prisoner, and asked him why he had not paid Miss Gray the £21. He said, "Considering there is this bother about the lease I thought it just as well to have it in hand." I pointed out to him that the lease had nothing to do with Miss Gray and that the money had better be paid to her. He said, "Well, I will pay her, then, if you have no objection." I said, "Certainly; send it on. It is nothing whatever to do with me." Prisoner said he had not settled with Gray.

Cross examined. An agreement was signed, dated August 30, by which I was to pay the further sum of £10 for the assignment of book debts, Gray undertaking to get them in and that Miss Gray should not in any way interfere or do anything to prejudice the business. It was not in respect of that £10 that Miss Gray was to give the indemnity.

Prisoner introduced this business to me on October 6. I knew he was acting for George William Gray. I knew then that he was to get an indemnity from Miss Gray and that she had a laundry in Frederick's place. I never saw Miss Gray during the negotiations. Prisoner wrote the account and receipt in the presence of G. W. Gray and myself. Miss Bonny may have come in to light the gas. The receipt was not written at Gray's dictation. I have kept the additional £10 because the trade was not as good as was represented. Beard's cheque was not presented at once, at my request, but it has since been paid. I never saw Miss Bonny witness the signature to any document. I saw Gray sign one document.

Re-examined. In November Miss Gray wrote asking me why her money had not been paid. I destroyed the letter. She was not a party to any of the contracts and that is why I required that prisoner should get an indemnity from her. G. W. Gray is an illiterate man and I am sure he could not draw up an account like the one produced. I am certain Miss Bonny did not witness any signature in my presence.

GEORGE WILLIAM GRAY , 76, Thurston Road, Putney. In the early part of 1909 I carried on business as a laundry proprietor at 9, Park Lodge Villas, East Finchley; my sister had an interest in the business. We wished to dispose of it. In the summer of 1909 I consulted the prisoner and requested him to rind a purchaser. I paid prisoner 10s. 6d. for advertising. I put the price at about £350. About August or September prisoner introduced me to Hakeman and I agreed to sell the business for £130. Prisoner told me Hakeman would not have anything to do with the business unless my sister was a party to the agreement and signed a document agreeing not to interfere with the business. I am not sure if I saw such a document signed by her as I am a man of no education. On October 16 I saw Hakeman at prisoner's office. He paid prisoner £21 in gold for my sister and £25 for me—prisoner put the money in a drawer. Prisoner made our document produced, which was signed by Hakeman. Hakeman then left and prisoner handed me £25. He said he would telegraph to my sister to say that the business was sold and her money was ready at his office for her. The machinery for the laundry was being purchased on the hire-purchase system; some instalments were due and there were other outstandings which were deducted from the purchase price. I went to prisoner's office on October 19. He sells businesses such as general shops, and he asked me if I would like to be a canvasser and that he would make it worth my while if I could get a client for him. Receipt produced is signed by me. On the back the initials "G. W. G." are not mine. The document gives an account showing a balance due to me of 12s. 7d., after deducting commission and charges, payment of £25, and the cost of documents. I never received the 12s. 7d. from prisoner. I never received the £21 from my sister. The initials "A. H. M. B.," purporting to be the signature of Miss Bonny, as witnessing the signatures, was not made in my presence. Miss Bonny was not there. "G. W. Gray" written on agreement produced is not written by me.

Cross-examined. I signed agreement of October 15, 1909, indemnifying prisoner for all money to be paid me. The document was read to me by prisoner. I never received the £21 which was to be paid my sister. I do not remember seeing document giving instructions to prisoner to sell the business—it is very like my signature, but I do not remember signing it. I did not expect prisoner to conduct the sale, etc., for the 10s. 6d. which I paid for advertisements when instructing him—he had his commission and expenses out of £20 paid by Hakeman as deposit. I deny that I received the 12s. 7d. or any other sum besides £25, which prisoner handed me after Hakeman left on October 16. I had had no quarrel with my sister. She had a laundry at Frederick's Place. Prisoner told me of the arrangement that my sister was to have £21; he knew that she had an interest in the business. I have not claimed the balance of 12s. 7d. from prisoner—I have only had £25 out of the whole business.

Re-examined. I did not know what commission was being retained by the prisoner. I had no independent advice. Prisoner drew up all the documents and I signed some of them. I am certain I received nothing except £25.

ROSALIND GRAY , 179, Buckingham Road, Southfields. In March, 1909, I was interested in the laundry carried on by my brother, G. W. Gray. In the autumn of 1909 I saw prisoner and arranged to claim £20 for my share. I told him he should have £3 for commission—that I would be satisfied with £17—and I signed a document to that effect. I received nothing. On October 16 I received telegram (produced) from prisoner, "Gray to Hakeman settled to-day." I wrote several letters to prisoner asking for my share, but he has not paid me. At the end of October I communicated with Hakeman and afterwards instructed my solicitor.

Cross-examined. I had had no quarrel with my brother. Prisoner wrote on October 4 asking me to see him about any claim I considered I had against my brother. On October 17 prisoner wrote asking me, as some of the matters were left over, to call on Wednesday. On October 18 he wrote, "Do not fail on any account to be here by one o'clock to-morrow, Tuesday, or you will be too late for anything. I must have your authority. The other appointment is for two o'clock." On that day he wrote, "As you gave me no power I have had to settle without reference to you. I am afraid I cannot do anything for you now as the clause in the contract has been abandoned by Hakeman, unless I can secure for you the balance due to your brother out of the amount retained in hand by Mr. Hakeman." I was not to receive the balance of £11 10s. due to my brother. I was to have £20. On October 28 I received letter (produced) from prisoner asking me to call on Sunday, and stating that he would show me the correspondence, and that he was sorry that I had not kept the previous appointment. I saw prisoner two or three times and asked him for my money. In November prisoner proposed to set up a transfer agency in Southfields, and agreed to pay half the rent of a shop that I should take—it had nothing to do with the payment of my £20.


HENRY BONNY (prisoner, on oath). Since 1898 I have been in business at Stafford House, Finchley, as a house and estate agent. I then entered the employment of Rogers, and have been eight or nine years on my own account. In May, 1909, Gray instructed me to sell his laundry for £450. I advertised it in the "Daily Chronicle" on May 28, received about 23 applications; advertised it again on July 28 and received reply from Hakeman. He viewed the place and made an offer to purchase on August 20, which Gray accepted. Miss Gray had nothing to do with the negotiations. In October I learned that Miss Gray had made a claim to the utensils and machinery and to £10 weekly worth of trade. On October 8 Miss Gray came to see me. I arranged, that she was to have £10, the additional purchase money included in the contract. The contract price was £120, but Hakeman agreed to give £10 more to Miss Gray if she gave an indemnity and an undertaking not to interfere with the business. On August 26 the offer which Hakeman had made was abandoned, because of the claims set up by Miss Gray. Another contract was drawn on August 30, which was repudiated by Gray September 13. On October 8 I saw Miss Gray and agreed that she should receive the additional £10. I never undertook that she should receive £20 or £21. The utensils she claimed were in the possession of the landlord and I satisfied her that she could not set up her claim against his right. She said, "I do not suppose my brother will keep that promise" (referring to the payment to her of the £10) "any more than the rest of the promises he made me." I said, "The best thing for you to do is to turn up on the day of completion—October 16." On that day Hakeman came to my office. Gray followed about an hour afterwards. I made out statement produced at the joint dictation of Hakeman and Gray, setting out the payment of £20 deposit, the amounts payable to the landlord and to Beard, the commission and expenses and the payment by Hakeman of £46, the receipt of which was signed for by Gray. Hakeman then handed me £46 in cash, which I put into an inkstand drawer on my desk. Document produced acknowledging the receipt and settlement of the matter was signed by Gray and Hakeman; I gave Hakeman a receipt and he left. I then handed Gray the £46 and two cheques payable to the landlord and to Beards; went through with him account produced showing the receipt of £20 deposit, the charge and commission, etc., amounting to £19 7s. 5d., balance 12s. 7d., asked him to receipt it, which he did, and handed him the 12s. 7d. Gray returned me the two cheques to be forwarded to Beard and the landlord. Miss Gray did not come on that day and on October 16 I informed her that the purchase had been completed. Hakeman had arranged to meet Beard and Co.'s representative at my office on Tuesday, October 19. I wrote to Miss Gray to be sure and be there on that day. Gray came at 2 p.m. and he signed receipt produced and initialled the total amount of the purchase money, £130. That was because I had nothing to show that I had paid him the £46 and that the clause relating to the £10 additional purchase money had been

abandoned. I afterwards saw Hakeman and Beard. Miss Gray did not come. I am quite certain that I handed the £46 to Gray on October 16 and that on October 19 Gray signed account produced.

(Tuesday, March 15.)

HENRY BONNY (recalled) cross-examined. There was a sort of half-and-half promise made by Mr. Gray that Miss Gray should be paid £10. It was to come out of the £130 purchase money. It was mentioned before the magistrates, I was rather excited there, and I do not recollect exactly what was said. Attention was called to the clause in the contract, and I think one of the Bench said that had nothing to do with the case at all. On October 3 I had an interview with Mr. Gray. Mr. Gray then told me to tell Miss Gray that she could have the £10 under the clause in the contract to shut her up. I repeated that to Miss Gray on October 8. It was to be a kind of present. She gave her undertaking to her brother not to interfere with our business in consideration for the £10. I never received £21 from Miss Gray on her behalf; I received £46 in hard cash for Mr. Gray, and I paid it over to him. I knew that £21 was to be received by Mr. Gray, but it was nothing to do with me; that was from the information they gave me. I wrote down on the two documents No. 2 and No. 5, signed by Gray and Hakeman, "Re Miss Gray £21."I simply wrote down what they told me. Document No. 6 I always kept; that was my receipt. The writing on the back of it was not there on October 16; it was put on on either the Monday or Tuesday following; that receipt was for my protection. Mr. Gray wanted me to give him that, but I told him that was to show my deposit account had been settled up when I paid him the 12s. 7d. Then he said to me, "I have nothing to show I have paid you £19."I said, "Very well, I will give you something when you come on Tuesday." On that date I gave him No. 7 with a copy of my receipt on the back of it. The figures I put at the back of No. 6 I got from a rough memorandum I made out to check the balance of money when I was paying over to Mr. Gray on the 16th. I wrote down, "Cash paid H. Bonny £25," because it was paid for H. Bonny. I ought to have put down the whole of the cash in one lump sum. That sum of £25 was put down simply for the sake of not writing out the whole of the documents again; one is to show the balance of the account. They were all practically done at dictation. You put a very different construction on those documents to what I intended. On November 28 Mr. Hakeman came to see me at my request about the assignment of the lease. He said he had heard from Miss Gray or Mr. Gray, I do not know which it was exactly. I swear he did not ask me why I had not sent Miss Gray the money. I heard Mr. Hakeman say that yesterday, but I did not notice that he was not cross-examined to it. It is untrue that I replied that the reason was because of the bother about the lease. It is untrue that he pointed out that the lease had nothing to do with Miss Gray or that I had suggested it was because of this clause in the lease that the money ought to be kept back. It is untrue that I then said to him

"I will pay you if you have no objection." I gave him the lease. I went across to Brussels and back again last January. I am constantly away from home, and letters are forwarded to me, and I either answer them by telling them on the telephone what to reply or I send rough drafts to be copied and sent on. I was not at Brussels on January 6 when the first letter was written by the solicitors. I had it about a week or ten days later. It was asking for Miss Gray's £17. I cannot say when I first saw it. My people see to the correspondence as well as myself. The reply to Mr. Jameson's letter was written by my daughter; I cannot say when. I was not in Brussels at that time. I keep in communication with my wife as to my whereabouts. I went to Brussels there and back; I was away 24 hours altogether; it was either January 5 or 6. When I came back I went to Sittingbourne for one day. I went back home about the 13th or 14th. I may have then ascertained that my daughter had written the letter: I do not know. My attention was called to the summons having been served three or four days after it was served. I dictated this letter: "You had better see the summons is immediately withdrawn and go into the matter with us, and then if Miss Gray or anyone else still considers or thinks they have any claim, you can then issue a writ, and we will accept service on behalf of Mr. H. Bonny. Yours faithfully, A. H. Bonny." That is my daughter. I say on October 16 Miss Gray had no interest in the business at all because she told me on October 8, which was the only time I saw her, that she did not expect her brother to keep the promise he gave her any more than he kept his previous promises to her. I sent her the telegram on October 16, so that she could see her brother and make any arrangements she liked. He promised to give her £10 before he spent the money and got rid of it. If she had seen him before that he would probably have given it to her. I say the whole of the money was paid over to Mr. Gray exactly as I received it when I received the telegram referred to. The telegram was already written out; it was not sent off till 8.3 on the Saturday night, but it should have gone before. I thought it had. Mr. Gray was there from 4.30 till 7 or 8 o'clock. The whole of the money had got into his hands that evening. After the completion, I next saw Miss Gray on November 19. I did not discuss the matter of the money with her; it had passed out out of my mind. I had nothing more to do with the business.

Re-examined. I wrote to Miss Gray on October 4 saying, "Your brother has authorised me to arrange any claim you consider you have against him." On the 8th she came. I then discussed with her about the payment of £10; I told her her brother was willing to give her the £10 additional purchase money named in the contract. On the 16th I sent her the telegram and the following day I wrote this letter, "Mr. Hakeman took possession yesterday and partly completed yesterday, but the outstanding rates, taxes, gas, etc., had to be left over, also part of the purchase money"—that was the £30 to Beard and Stonnell. On the 16th Mr. Gray, Mr. Hakeman, and myself signed a large number of documents and I received £46 from Hakeman, which I put in the drawer I have mentioned and handed the contents

of it to Mr. Gray. Mr. Gray then told me that £21 was to go to Miss Gray.

To the Judge. I had no discussion with Miss Gray as to whether she would be contented with £20 for her interest in the laundry, nor had I asked her whether my commission out it should be £3. Nothing passed about it.

ALICE HELEN MARTHA BONNY . I am defendant's daughter and assist him in the office. I have seen this document No. 6 before. The initials "G. W. G." on it are Mr. Gray's initials. I saw him sign them with my pen. This part of No. 6 is my father's commission account and expenses, coming to £19 7s. 5d. Document No. 5, the indemnity, bears my signature. It was written on October 16. Mr. Hakeman, Mr. Gray, and my father were present when I wrote it. My father suffers from epileptic fits and I was there to attend to him if he became ill.

Cross-examined. I write letters for my father if he is ill or away. I wrote this letter of January 10 (document 20), but I do not quite remember whether it was my composition or not. I believe I wrote it from a draft. This document 21 is my writing. I do not think I composed it. I do not remember. When my father is away, we sometimes arrange at what time he should telephone to us and I go down and wait for the message to come through at the post office. I cannot say where my father was on January 25. I have not a very good memory. I was told a summons had been issued. I cannot remember how I came to write the letter enclosing an extract from the summons. I suppose I must have had a draft to copy from. Now I see this document (22) I know I made the copy from the summons. I really cannot remember how I came to write the letter; that is the absolute truth. It was not dictated by my father; I am quite certain of that, because he was not in the house; he did not come home till the Sunday morning. There are three or four friends of my father who know all his business and could have helped in a matter like that. [Witness was asked to name one of them, but did not answer.]

Re-examined. This letter of January 25 was not written at anybody's dictation, because there was a draft letter written to me and I destroyed it afterwards; it must have been written from a draft. I cannot remember who wrote the draft. I have had things dictated to me on the telephone.

To the Judge. I remember my father going to Brussels. He was there two or three days, I think. While there, he only sent us a telegram saying when he would be home again. I will not be certain as to the time he was away; I do not remember.

THOMAS GEORGE ROGERS , surveyor, Cholmondeley Park, Highgate. I have known Bonny for about 13 years. He was in my employment for about nine years. During that time he was absolutely trustworthy and honest.

Cross-examined. He ceased to be in my employment about three years ago. He has had two of three transactions with me during that time. His financial position has not been good. I do not know that

he has been very much pressed for money or that there are a number of committal orders out against him. Since he left me I have not known much of him.

Verdict, Guilty.

Detective-inspector THOMAS DUGGAN, S Division. I have made inquiries respecting the prisoner. He gave me the names of four persons to see and I have seen them. The first was Mr. Stockman, but he had only known him by sight. The second, Mr. Bennett, could not say anything in his favour. Mr. Bennett is overseer for Finchley and the prisoner has come under his notice in respect of the non-payment of rates. The third knew nothing about him and the fourth says he is one of the most mysterious persons in Finchley. He has not been convicted before. He pays no rates at all, not even the King's taxes.

Sentence, Nine months' imprisonment.


(Monday, March 14.)