Alleged Conisboro’ Bigamist – Committed for trial

February 1919

Mexborough and Swinton Times, Feb 22nd

Alleged Conisboro’ Bigamist

Committed for trial

At Doncaster, on Friday, Henry Duke, Miner, of New Conisbrough, recently demobilised, was chargedĀ  with having committed bigamy.

Emma Ann Whitmore, a silk winder, 32 Mace Street, old Ford Road, London, said she had first met the prisoner in January, 1916 in Victoria Park Square, London. He was then a soldier, and he gave the name of Henry Smith, by which he was known in the army. At that time he was undergoing a course of cookery. Some weeks later he went away, being transferred to another place, when he stayed six months.

She then met again at the corner of May Street, Old Ford Road, and he told her he was stationed at Charlton Park, Woolwich. Afterwards in Christmas 1917, she discovered she was in a certain condition, and asked prison if he would marry her but he replied that he would do nothing until after the war. She asked his reason, and he said he would tell her later. She asked you if he were single, and he said he was, and if she did not believe him she could write to his sister at Doncaster. She, however, did not write to her, taking his word.

On May 28, last year, she went through the form of marriage with him at Bishops’ Road registry office, Bethnal Green. Afterwards he said he would take the marriage lines away in order to see about the separation allowance.

Subsequently he came to her mother’s house, and said he had got out of the Army. She afterwards received a registered letter from him signed “Henry Duke.” She enquired the reason for the change of name, and she received another letter offering an explanation. He sent money, generally every week, the largest amount received being 30 shillings.

She saw him in October at her mother’s house where he stayed the night. He then said he was going back to Doncaster, and after he left they corresponded with each other. He promised to spend last Christmas with her. He failed to turn up, however, and in consequence she came to Doncaster, on Boxing Day, and went to 20 Stewart Street, where she saw his sister Mrs Fieldman, and later she saw the prisoner. They went out for a walk, and he then told that he was already a married man with children, and that he spent Christmas Day at Denaby with his wife. Witness had a child in August, of which the prisoner was the father.

Prisoner said he was in France in January 1916, and witness agreed that it was January 1917 when they met. She also admitted she said she would do away with herself if he did not marry her. He told that he could not do anything until after the war, but her mother and her went to the registry office and put in the “marriage lines.”

Edie Samson, married woman, 5 Wainwright Road, Hyde Park, Doncaster, said she knew prisoner as Harry Duke, and also his wife, whom she knew before she was married. Witness was bridesmaid at the wedding in 1909.

Sgt Playfoot, who gave evidence of arrest, said, when charged, the prisoner replied “it is true.”

Elizabeth Duke, wife of the prisoner, was called. She said she was now living with him at 83 Loversall Street, Denaby.

Prisoner pleaded that he urged the young woman to wait until the war was over. Her mother. However, “urged him into it.” He was waiting his discharge at the time, in May 1918. She threatened to do away with herself if he did not marry her. They afterwards went through the form of marriage with her.

Prisoner was committed for trial

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