Conisborough Clerk Charged With Embezzlement And Forgery.

February 1886

Mexborough & Swinton Times, February 19, 1886

A Conisborough Clerk Charged With Embezzlement And Forgery.
Yesterday’s Proceedings.

At the Rotherham Borough Police court, yesterday, before Alderman Wigfield, Thomas Boaz Chapman, clerk, of Conisborough, was brought up on remand charged with embezzlement.

Mr. H. H. Hickmott appeared to prosecute; the prisoner was not represented by a solicitor.

Mr. Hickmott said the prisoner was charged with embezzling the sum of £3 11s. 9d., the moneys of Messrs. Baker and Burnett, railway wheel manufacturers, Brinsworth works, Rotherham. He was a single man, and had been employed as invoice and ledger clerk at a salary of £2 a week. The facts were extremely simple, but they nevertheless showed that the prisoner had been carrying on for the last ten months a most injurious system of embezzlement. On the 5th February Mr. Baker asked him for the receipt book, and he said he could not find it, but since then the book had been found in prisoner’s hat box at his lodging. On the following morning he stole a ledger, took it to the refreshment room at the Rotherham M. S. and L. railway station, and destroyed it in the fire. Prisoner presented an account for £3 11s. 9d. To Mr. A. Burnistone, of Conisborough, which was paid, but not accounted for by the prisoner. Knowing that he ran the risk of discovery what he did was this. In the old ledger was a balance of £1 13s. 6d., and the prisoner wrote ‘cash, 169,’ (this being the folio in the cash book) ‘£1 13s. 6d.’ This allayed suspicion. On referring to the cash book folio there was no corresponding entry. The folio was a more sham.

Evidence was then given in support of the indictment. – Mr. Burnistone, traction engine proprietor, of Conisborough, proved that on the 22nd December prisoner called at his house at Conisborough and asked for payment of the account. He handed the cash, £3 11s. 9d., and prisoner gave him a receipt (produced). – John Baker, partner in the firm of Baker and Burnett, said for about 4½ or 5 years, up to the 6th February last, prisoner had been in his employment. He was invoice and ledger clerk, and received £2 a week. He was not authorised to receive moneys on account of the firm, and the amount of Mr. Burnistone’s account had not been paid over. On referring to Mr. Burnistone’s account in the ledger there was an entry made by prisoner on a cash payment of £1 13s. 6d., but no such sum was entered in the cash book.

There was a new account in the new ledger in Mr. Burnistone’s name showing a balance of £1 18s. 3d. On the 5th February witness asked prisoner for the counterfoil book. This was at the railway station to which they had followed him. He said he was unable to find it. Since then a Mr. Barras, of Doncaster, brother-in-law to the prisoner, had given him the counterfoil receipt book (produced). On referring to it he found the counterfoil of a receipt which purported to have been given to Mr. Burnistone for £3 11s. 9d.’ dated December 22nd, 1885. From between the counterfoil receipts dated October 16th and October 20th, a receipt had been torn out, and on referring to the counterfoil of the receipt purporting to have been given to Mr. Burnistone, he found that that particular receipt had been gummed in.

P.c. Hepworth said he apprehended prisoner at Doncaster on the 10th inst. In answer to the charge he said ‘All right.’ – This was the case for the prosecution; and in reply to the magistrate prisoner answered, ‘I have nothing to say.’ He was committed for trial at the assizes. Prisoner was further charged under the 24th and 25th Victoria, with forgery.

Mr. Hickmott said on the 28th January Mr. John Bennett, a shipper, of Goole, sent a cheque for £3 8s. 6d. to Messrs. Baker and Burnett. That cheque the prisoner took to the shop of Mr. Arthur Vickers, clothier, of Doncaster, and gave gave it along with another cheque in payment for a suit of clothes. On the 5th February, when spoken to, he rushed into the prosecutor’s private office, and in taking out a leaf must have cut his finger. This was evident because there were marks of blood on the cheque.

Arthur Vickers, clothier, of Doncaster, said on the 6th February prisoner paid the cheque (produced) in settlement of an account. The same day witness paid the cheque into the bank, and it was honoured. Would not have accepted the cheque if he had not seen the name Baker and Burnott endorsed on it. – Wm. Frank, cashier in the employment of John Bennett, shipper, of Goole, said on the 28th January he sent a letter containing the cheque to Messrs. Baker and Burnett. On the 30th he received a receipt. – John Baker said the endorsement ‘Baker and Burnett’ on the cheque was in the prisoner’s handwriting. Prisoner had no authority to endorse that or any other cheque, to dispose of any cheque, or to open any letters addressed to the firm.

When formally charged the prisoner said, ‘Anything I have to say will be said at the trial at the assizes.’

Committed for trial.

Mr. Hickmott informed the court that he should call a witness named Collins at the assizes, who saw the prisoner sign the cheque.