Employee embezzled £5 9s from his firm

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1914 Police Court

At the Scarborough Police Court today William Kirkham (17) clerk, 16, Ireton Street, a respectable-looking youth, was charged on remand with having embezzled £3 9s, 15s, and £1 5s, received by him for his master, Woolf Newman.

Kirkham pleaded guilty, and was represented by Mr C Royle.

Mr J Whitfield, solicitor, appeared for the prosecution. He described the prosecutor as a financier carrying out business at 22 Huntriss Row, under the name of S Newman. Defendant had been engaged with the firm for the past two years as a clerk and amongst other duties he had to perform was to go to the County Court from time to time when so instructed, and draw out monies which had been paid into the credit of the firm. On April 19th he went and drew out the £3 9s 6d. He failed to account for this, and omitted to enter any money in the cash book. On the previous Saturday, in consequence of investigations into plaintiff’s conduct, defendant was asked if he had got any money from the County Court, which he had not accounted for, and he then replied in the negative, but on Monday morning he admitted he had received that money.

The 15s forming the second charge had been a postal order sent by a Filey client, the money never 
being received by Mr Newman, and in the third case defendant called on a customer in Scarborough and received £1 5s. The receipt of it was entered by defendant in the cash book, but he omitted to pay it over to his employer, or into the bank. The total deficiency was £17 11s. There were 12 cases where the defendant had collected money and entered the receipt of it in the customers’ receipt books, and then failed to hand over the money.

The Clerk: Had he entered these payments into his own cash books?

Mr Whitfield: No, none of them are entered.

Proceeding, Mr Whitfield gave particulars of other transactions, the deficiency going back as far as June last year, but they were mainly from the month of October last to April. It was pointed out to defendant that some of the money had been received in the course of four or five days, and defendant said he had lost it.

The manager for Mr Newman – the latter being ill in bed – gave evidence.

By Mr Royle: Witness was often at Hull managing that business.

Mr Royle: And consequently the defendant practically managed the business here?

Witness: Well, there was Mr Newman.

Mr Royle: But when he was not there the boy was responsible?

Witness: Yes.

Replying to further questions witness said that defendant had been a hard working lad. Witness knew that 
defendant had a sister aged 15 and a brother of 10 at home, but he thought there was rather more than £1 a week to keep the home on. The defendant had 15s, and his sister 5s. The sister was at the office, and the defendant was often at Mr Newman’s house, where he got a good many of his meals. Defendant had told witness that they had a private income of 30s a month.

Mr Royle: That was the rent of the house?

Witness: I understood that the rent was 5s 3d a week.

Mr Royle, for defendant, made a strong appeal for leniency, and asked that the boy should be dealt with under the Probation of Offenders’ Act, “the finest Act on the Statute Book today”. Under the Act they could dismiss the case, and he could have another chance. He had won a scholarship at school, entitling him to stay four years, but he could not remain there full time.

His mother died about 18 months ago, and his father nine years ago. He had been thrown on to the world with a sister and younger brother to provide for, and having many sums of money passing through his hands he had succumbed to temptation. If he was given another chance, Mr George Hall, of the Salvation Army, under whose instructions he (Mr Royle) appeared, would do all he could to assist him, and Mr WT Northorp, the defendant’s former school master, would do the same.

Mr Hall said he always found the defendant one of the best. Mr Northorp said the boy was really a clever lad at school, gaining a scholarship at 12, enabling him to go to the Municipal School for four years. He remained two years, and then had to leave on 
account of poverty.

The magistrates, after 
retiring, asked Mr Northorp if, in the event of their binding defendant over, he would supervise him under the Probation Act, and to this he agreed.

He would be bound over for 12 months.

The Bench thanked Mr Northorp, and Mr Royle also thanked him and the representatives of the Salvation Army.