Gilded sixpence used in payment for goods

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At the Scarborough Police Court, before the Mayor (Mr CC Graham), in the chair, and other magistrates, Ethel Annie Vasey, 44, Castle Road, summoned for having obtained, it was alleged by false pretences, a piece of ribbon, a toy, and the sum of 9s 10d, belonging to Eva Mary Johnson, on January 10th, pleaded that she gave a gilded sixpence in mistake for half a sovereign, and found it out later, but as her husband had been out of work 18 weeks “it was too great a temptation.”

The Clerk, at the outset, asked the Chief Constable what the alleged false pretences were, and the Chief, replied: By an act of tendering a gilded sixpence in purchasing goods in such a manner as would represent it to be a half sovereign.

Defendant elected to be dealt with summarily, and pleaded not guilty, “I took the coin,” she said, “but I meant it for the half sovereign I had in my purse.”

The Chief Constable said that Miss Johnson carried on business as a draper at 73 Castle Road. Between 9 and 10 o’clock on the night of Saturday, January 10th, defendant went to her shop and purchased a yard of hair ribbon, valued at a penny, and a penny game. She laid upon the counter the gilded coin. Miss Johnson, supposing the coin to be half a sovereign put it on a shelf at the back of the counter and gave the defendant 9s 10d change. After defendant had left the shop Miss Johnson served a little girl, and then took up the coin to place it amongst her other money. She then noticed that it was a rather singular yellow, and examining it more closely she found it to be an 1887 Jubilee sixpence which had been gilded. She knew Mrs Vasey by sight, as the latter had purchased goods at the shop, but she did not know Mrs Vasey’s address. Mrs Vasey was not in sight when Miss Johnson went to the door of the shop, and being late on the Saturday night she was unable to pursue the matter further. She found out however, where Mrs Vasey lived, and went to see her on the Sunday morning. She told Mrs Vasey what the coin was and Mrs Vasey replied: “No, it was a half sovereign.” Miss Johnson told her she was certain she (Mrs Vasey) had taken the coin, and she then replied: “Well, if it is a gilded sixpence I got it from the insurance man.” It appeared, continued the Chief, that defendant’s husband had been ill, and had been receiving 10s a week from a sick club. This had been paid by Mr John Fidler junior. Miss Johnson then invited Mrs Vasey to meet her next morning at the shop, and they would go and see Mr Fidler. They saw the latter about noon at his house in Caledonia Street, and he said at first that he could not be sure he had not given the coin, but on looking at it he said, “I don’t think I could have given that.” Mrs Vasey said she was sure Mr Fidler had paid it to her, and her husband could bear that out. Miss Johnson, being unable to get any further with the matter, said she would have to report the matter to the police.

Mr Vennall, jeweller, Victoria Road, would tell the Bench that about three weeks ago the defendant sent to his shop an 1887 Jubilee sixpence and asked him to gild it, as she wanted to give it as a present. Mr Vennall accordingly gilded the sixpence, and charged sixpence for doing so, which was paid. Proceeding, the Chief said that the matter was put into the hands of the police, and enquiries began on Monday. An envelope, containing 9s 10d, and a note were left by a woman on the Tuesday at Detective Yeoman’s house for Detective Yeoman, but Mrs Yeoman took little notice of her simply taking the envelope in. On the following day Mrs Vasey went to the house, saw Detective Yeoman, and asked him whether he had given the note and money to Nawton. Detective Yeoman said he had done so. Subsequently Mrs Vasey desired an interview with Detective Nawton, but he referred her to him (the Chief). That was on the Thursday. He strongly advised her not to say anything about the case which might incriminate herself, but she said, “I want to make a statement to you. I want to explain the matter.” He again warned her, but she said: “I want to tell you about it, as I don’t want any proceedings.” She then proceeded to tell him that she got the sixpence gilded at Vennall’s a few days ago, as she was going to give it to her sister for a present, as it was her birthday a day or two ago. She had paid it to Miss Johnson in mistake for the half sovereign, and was sorry she had yielded to the temptation, but she was hard up, her husband was ill, and rent was owing. She had found the half sovereign in her purse, and then knew that she had received the 9s 10d change for the gilded sixpence.

The only coins she had were the half sovereign and the gilded sixpence.

The explanation given by defendant was such that he thought it was imperative that he should bring the case so that the whole facts for and against defendant might be brought before the Bench.

The Mayor, on behalf of the magistrates, said the latter would take a lenient view of the case as defendant had been under such temptation. They hoped she would take that as a serious warning indeed. She would be bound over in her own recognisance of £5 to come up if called upon with a period of 12 months, and would be placed under probation for that time.

Defendant: Thank you.

The Chief Constable asked that the 9s 10d be handed over to Miss Johnson.

The Clerk (to the defendant): You agree with that?

Defendant: Oh, yes.