Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Who’s telling the truth?

We often come across cases where it becomes the word of one person against another.  This week we had a case of stolen flour, with 2 men accused of a crime, both giving convincing statement of their innocence and in turn, blaming the other.

A Welwyn miller by the name of James Chalkley had employed Amos Fowler for 4 or 5 years.  Fowler’s role was to deliver flour out from the railway station at Luton to the customers with written orders.  On 22 July 1887 a sack of flour went missing from the station.  A witness by the name of George Battens, son of a cow keeper, explained how he had been on the railway bridge when he had been approached by the co-accused William Lawson.  Lawson asked him to use his mule and cart to carry a sack in return for sixpence. Battens fetched his mule and cart to the bottom of the railway steps at GNR.  Lawson was waiting and after 5 or 10 minutes Fowler came up and they went into the yard.  Battens followed.  They stopped him went on 20 yards to a truck and fetched a large sack which was white and floury looking.  Fowler carried it and put the sack in Battens cart with Lawson undoing the tailgate.  Battens took the sack to a house in High Street, High Town and Lawson met him at the door and took the sack into the house. 

Both men were arrested and Fowler was charged with the theft of the sack of flour and Lawson with receiving stolen goods.  However their own statements varied greatly.  

Statement of William Lawson:  On Monday he had been going up Chapel Street by the Queens Hotel.  He saw a wagon and horses standing against a baker shop.  The Wagoner came from behind the wagon and asked him if he had his old pony and cart.  Lawson said he had sold it and the Wagoner said he wanted to send some flour to High Town and had not wanted to take his horse and wagon up there.  Lawson said he could get a pony and cart and agreed to meet the Wagoner at the station.  On his way he met George Battens and asked him to go to the GNR station with him in return for sixpence.  At the station he went into the yard with the Wagoner who went to the truck and got a sack of flour out of it and put it in Battens cart.  Battens drove off and he met Battens again at his house. He took the flour into his house as he had forgotten where he was taking it so went to the Bull to meet the Wagoner to tell him he’d forgotten.  He told the Wagoner he would like the flour and gave him 10 shillings, with the Wagoner agreeing and saying he’d be back in a day or two and would collect the rest of the money.  He believed the Wagoner had the right to sell the flour.

Statement of Amos Fowler:  he had met Lawson as he came down Bute Street.  Lawson asked him for a sack of flour for Mr Giltrow and he agreed.  They went to the station and Lawson said he had a cart.  He put the flour sack in the cart.  Mr Giltrow often fetched or sent for a sack or two.  Mr Chalkley told him to always send a sack if he asked.  He did not receive any money or give a receipt.  He did not know Lawson’s name.

So here’s our challenge……who do you think was found guilty?  We’ll reveal the answer on Friday.


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