Frederick Henry Seddon.

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of August, 1911? No, I do not.

Was it about October that you began negotiations with her about
an annuity? About September, I think.

According to the documents we have, the first letter is 5th October?
Yes. Would that be the first letter to the Bank of England?

It is the first letter of which we have any trace? Yes.

You, of course, were very familiar with annuity transactions? I
was not.

Your company did annuity business? Yes, I believe so, but I never
during the whole twenty years I was with the company once introduced
an annuity.

You are familiar with your company's prospectuses? Yes, they have
an annuity.

Do you not know there is a table for immediate annuities, as they
have for all kinds of policies? Yes.

And I suppose you get a commission from your company for any
special business you may introduce ? Yes ; I do not know what the special
commission is on that table.

It would not appear on the table, of course? No, but I have never
been informed what the commission on that table is.

According to your statement you arrived at an agreement with her
that she was to transfer to you all her India stock and her property,
the " Buck's Head " and the barber's shop, and you were to give her
an annuity of 2 to 3 a week? What she wanted.

That was her proposal? Yes.

And you were advising her? I was agreeing with her.

Had you ever done an annuity transaction before? Never in my

This is the one solitary instance? Yes; it has never entered my

This has turned out a remarkably profitable investment from the
monetary point of view? Only from that point of view.

On your statement you had paid out altogether 91? Yes.

And the whole of the property fell in to you? I was already in
possession of the whole of the property.

But you had no longer any money to pay out? That did not yield
me very much.

Evidence for Defence.

Frederick H. Seddon

What do you mean by saying that did not yield you very much?
I had only to pay out 2 8s. a week.

But it left you at any rate in possession of the property, without
any payment to make at all? But I was 7s. a week out that was paid
to my daughter, and I had the boy to keep, which was nearly 13s. a
week ; that is 1 a week. It only left me 28s.

You had got the property on the condition that you were to pay
out the annuity? Yes, exactly, which I did.

v ou had sold the India 3 per cent, stock for some 1516? For a
better investment.

You had bought the property in Coutts Road with that? Yes.

The fourteen houses which we have heard of? Which brought me
4 a week against her 1 4 a week profit against her 1 a week.

You had got that property? Yes, exactly; it was good security for
her, too.

What I am putting to you is that when she died it is clear you had
no longer to pay out money to her, whatever it was you had agreed to
pay her 1 Certainly not ; that is the basis on which an annuity is granted.

That I agree. It is very important, of course, in the purchase of
an annuity to have security that the money would be paid? Yes.

Would you tell me what security you gave her for the payment of
the annuity during the whole of the remainder of her life on the India
3J per cent.? Yes, she had 12s. a week saved in rent, which was entered
in her rent book " rent free," as arranged, and I gave her an annuity
certificate in payment of the amount of the annuity which would be paid
to her by my heirs, executors, or administrators in the event of my

You are speaking of an annuity certificate? Yes.

You told the coroner at the inquest that this arrangement about the
3 per cent, was a verbal one? At that time it was a verbal arrange-
ment. She got no annuity certificate from the date she transferred the
stock from October until January.

What is the annuity certificate that you are speaking of? It is a type-
written certificate drawn up by myself and signed and witnessed over a
sixpenny stamp.

Where is it ? I do not know where the original is ; there is a copy of
it in existence.

I should like to see the original? The original is with the duplicate
deed of the Buck's Head. Miss Barrow had charge of that, of course.

Whatever the document was, the security was the obligation on you
to pay? I am bound legally to pay.

Oh, I know, but do you mean to say you do not know the difference
between security and a personal obligation on you to pay after your
years' experience in business ? I had 5 to 1 on security.

I am not asking about you ; I have no doubt you had sufficient
security? I intended to carry out my obligations. I have never been
known to break them during the whole course of my life.

I put to you a very definite question, and I want your answer to it.
You were dealing with this woman who was living in your house, and
who had certainly, as regards this matter, no other advice? That was

Trial of the Seddons.

Frederick H. Seddon

her fault ; ehe was offered it ; she was advised to have a solicitor. What
more could a man do? I bound myself by legal documents to pay her
the annuity, and I carried out my obligations.

Till 14th September? I would have carried them out during the
whole course so long as she lived. The funds were increasing year
by year. I was getting stronger financially all the time, and I gave her
better value than the Post Office could give by over 460.

This is what you said, is it true " I guaranteed to her another
annuity from the 1st January on India stock of 72 a year, and she
saved 12s. a week in rent. She had no security"? I do not think I
said it in that form.

Is that not true ? I think it was a leading question put by the coroner.

But is it not true that she had no security? Isn't legal documents
security isn't my financial strength security?

Did you realise she had the security in respect of the 1 a week from
the Buck's Head charge? She had.

Charged on the property? Charged on the property.

That is security? Yes, that is security.

Do you wish the jury to believe that you do not know the difference
between 'making an obligation to pay the money and giving security for
the payment of it? But isn't a legally drawn up certificate security on
my estate?

Do you not know that is only a personal obligation on you? I under-
stand it is recoverable by law.

Well, I have given you an opportunity of dealing with it. " She
transferred it to me in October on the verbal condition that I should allow
her an annuity in all of between 2 10s. and 3 per week." That is
right? That is right.

So that in October, when she transferred this to you, you were in
complete possession of it? I was in possession of the 1600 of India
stock. She was depending absolutely upon my verbal promise to grant
her the annuity at that date.

You told us that all this as regards the Buck's Head and the barber's
shop was done by solicitors, and that the stock was transferred by stock-
brokers, and so forth? Yes.

Did you try to do it first of all without solicitors and stockbrokers ?
I believe I did.

Did you try to do it by a document which you drew up between
yourself and her? Yes.

Without any solicitors in the matter at all? Yes.

Or stockbroker ? Yes ; well, I did not try to do it, but I drafted up
a document.

Did you have it witnessed? Yes.

By whom? My wife.

Anybody else? Not to her signature.

To whose signature? To my signature.

By whom was it witnessed? It was a double document, you see.

By whom did you have your signature witnessed? Mrs. Seddon' 8

What is his name? Arthur Jones.

Evidence for Defence.

Frederick H. Seddon

Anybody else? I cannot recollect.

What has become of that document? It was destroyed.

Why? Because I intended to put the document in the hands of the
solicitors, Russell & Sons, and have the whole property investigated.

Were you advised that a document drawn up in that way was of no
account ? Yes .

And therefore you went to the solicitors? Oh, no, no; it was the
solicitor, Mr. Keeble, that advised me a document of that description
would be of no account.

And that, therefore, it had to be drawn up in proper legal form?
Exactly ; that is how it is.

The solicitors came upon the scene? I had gone to them.

But you had gone to them to advise you as to whether this document
was good? No; I decided myself that the document was not good.

Why? Because I did not consider it would be sufficient.

What was the matter with it? I cannot recollect now the terms of
it exactly. It was a document that I drew up myself ; it was not drawn
up in a proper legal way.

It was what? It was a document that was not drawn up in a proper
legal way ; it was in general terms something to the effect that I would
allow her so much a year, and she would transfer the stock and property.

The point of the question that I am putting to you is this, you have
been laying stress on the fact that this was done through solicitors and
brokers, and all done in regular form? So it was.

Was not that because you were advised that having started to do it
yourself it would not be a good and valid document? No.

You were so advised? I was so advised.

And you had drawn it up beforehand? Yes.

And you had intended to carry it out? I decided before I went to
the solicitors. I studied it myself.

You studied what yourself? The document. I considered myself
it would be no good. One thought led to another in the transaction.
I did not intend to grant her an annuity first myself. It was when she
suggested that I should grant her an annuity the thought entered my
head, and I started, of course, to study it ; one thought led to another,
and this is when I drafted the document up.

Not only had you drafted the document up, but you had had it
witnessed by your wife, according to you, your wife's brother, and I sug-
gest to you somebody else? Yes.

A Mr. Robert? Roberts.

John Roberts? Some name like that.

So that was the document. It had been signed when you had it ?
Well it had not been signed entirely ; they witnessed my signature after-

You signed it? Yes.

And your wife witnessed your signature? No.

I thought you told us that? No, my wife witnessed Miss Barrow's

Your wife witnessed Miss Barrow's signature, and your wife's brother
and Mr. John Roberts witnessed your signature ? The next day.

M 177

Trial of the Seddons.

Frederick H. Seddon

So that the document was complete? For what it was worth.

Who is Louie? A sister of mine.

Were you anxious that this matter should not come out at the
inquest about your having drawn the document first of all, and having had
it witnessed before you went to the lawyers? No.

Did you wish the assurance given to your brother-in-law, Arthur
Jones, that he was not in it at all? Yes.

And that he would not be called? Yes.

And that nothing would come out about those original documents
which have been drawn? I did not say so.

Was not that the effect of it? No.

Was not that what you meant? No.

And everything had passed into the hands of the lawyers ? I told him
that before he left London.

In point of fact, nothing has ever been said until the question I put
to you just now had been answered about these documents having been
drawn up and this document having been drawn up and witnessed before
the lawyers came upon the scene at all? Nothing had been said to any-

Nothing had been said either at the inquest or at the Police Court?

Or here in this Court? No; because they are non-existent.

I want to put one question to you to which I want your particular
attention. By the death of Miss Barrow you benefited in money, at any
rate, by not having to pay the annuity? To the amount of 28s.

And the amount of 20s. you arrive at ? Weekly

By taking into account the 12s. a week which you would have to pay,
as I understand you

Mr. MARSHALL HALL He said he would have to pay 13s. for the boy,
and he would lose the 7s. that the girl got.

By the ATTORNEY-GENERAL Will you tell us, I am not sure how you
make that up? I paid her 2 8s. a week. Out of that my daughter
received 7s. That makes 2 Is. Then I keep and clothe the boy,
which I consider is equal to 13s. a week, so that is 1 out of 2 8s., which
leaves 28s. And at that time I am in receipt of 14 14s. 3d. weekly.

Can you tell me whether you can suggest anybody else who would
benefit, according to what you know, in money, by the death of Miss
Barrow? If Miss Barrow died intestate naturally the cousins would

Yes, but she did make a will? But the relatives were not aware of
that before she died.

The will was made on the llth, and she died on the morning of
the 14th? Yes.

I am asking you about what the state of affairs was on the morning
of the 14th, when she died. Was there anybody who would benefit by
the death except yourself? And the children.

To the extent you mean of the furniture and belongings? Yes.

I will leave that out; that was a small matter of 16? No; I
cannot say that they would, but I had not taken that into consideration.

What? I had not got that in my mind.

Evidence for Defence.

Frederick H. Seddon

But, I am right in saying, am I not, that there was nobody else
would benefit except the children to that extent? You put that in my

That is right, is it not? Yes, of course.

What do you mean by saying that I put that in your mind ; do
you mean that it had never occurred to you before? I had not given it
consideration before.

Do you mean you had not thought of this before? Only by what
the prosecution had suggested, that the fact of my benefiting may

What? From the fact of my benefiting they considered they were
justified in arresting me.

Was Miss Barrow a person of ' ordinary mental capacity? Yes,
ordinary ; I consider she was a very deep woman.

Was she very deaf ? She was not deaf that she could not hear ;
she could hear fairly well ; you had to speak in her ear ; she could hear
me speaking in ordinary tones, if I was speaking close to her ear. She
could hear music and singing well.

She wore glasses to read by, did she not? Sometimes, not always.
She could see without glasses.

And the room in which she lived, I suppose, was an ordinary
bedroom ? Yes.

With the ordinary bedroom furniture? Yes.

I mean, with a basin, jug, and water? Yes.

Water bottle, and all that sort of thing, with a glass? Yes.

A chest of drawers? Yes.

And a bed, and the usual bedroom furniture? Yes.

Where was the light in that room? Over the mantelpiece.

What light was it? Gas light.

During the whole time that she was with you, from 26th July, 1910, to
1st September, 1911, had you ever known her to be laid up? Occasionally
a day or two in bed, or anything like that, but never what you would call

You said something just now to my learned friend about your not
thinking she was a good life? I did not; from my observations, I
considered she was an indifferent life.

Did you form that opinion at the time you were negotiating with
her for the annuity? I might have done.

You would have done? Yes, I might have done; I looked upon
her as an indifferent life.

That is an element which you would take into account in determining
whether or not you would enter into the annuity transaction? Her
average expectation of life in any case was only twenty or twenty-one
years, and I calculated if she lived out that term how my financial
position would be; it would increase year by year.

Your view was that she would not live over that term? I did not
feel she would.

And according to your view, as you have expressed it, you thought
she would live less than that term? Yes, I did not expect her to live
her average expectation of life a woman in her indifferent state of


Trial of the Seddons.

Frederick H. Seddon

And you have told us you would not expect her to live twenty-one
years ? Yes ; she would not be a life that I could recommend to an
insurance company to accept.

I should like to understand, if the ordinary expectation of her life
was twenty-one years the life of a woman of that age and you thought,
as you told us, it was going to be less than that, what sort of a view did
you form in your own mind about it? I could not say; I could not tell
how long the woman was going to live.

But some years less? I have known people in consumption outlive
healthy people; as the old saying is, "A creaky gate hangs a long

During the whole time that she was at your house, how often were
you in her room? Take, first of all, the period before 1st September,
when she was taken ill? I never went up into Miss Barrow's room
excepting I had occasion as the landlord of the house to go, whenever
she had repairs she wanted to do when she complained of whiting falling
off the ceiling, and that sort of thing.

Did she used to come into your room at all? Always into the dining
room ; she had the free use of the house ; she went where she liked.

From the time she was ill, 1st September, is it right that your wife
was attending her? Yes.

And looked after the food? Yes, as far as I knew.

And looked after her generally from the time she was ill? Yes,
she wanted her ; it was too much for Maggie.

You told us about the will you made on llth September. Had you
any idea that she wanted to make a will? Not until my wife told me.

When was that? I could not swear whether it was on the Sunday
or the Monday, the day that it was made ; I am not quite sure. It was
mentioned to me twice before I attended to it.

There is no doubt that you did draw the will? Oh, I did, yes; I do
not deny it.

It is in your handwriting? Yes.

You have told us about the instructions she gave you as to what
she wanted? Yes, but I knew what she wanted doing, she had often
told me.

Did you think it was important that she should make a will that
day? I did not think it was important that she should make a will that
day, I only drafted it up to satisfy her ; it was my intention to go and
see Mr. Keeble and get a proper one drafted up.

Drawn by a solicitor? The one that had acted in respect to the
property before. She would not have solicitors. Of course, I intended
to take her to a solicitor.

What property did you think she had to leave on that date, llth
September? 1 never gave it a thought.

When you were thinking of having a solicitor to come and draw it?

Do you say, then, that according to your view you did not know
that she had any property at all? She was dealing with the children's

The furniture and the jewellery? Yes, that is what she was con-


Evidence for Defence.

Frederick H. Seddon

cerned about; she did not want that to get into Hook's hands, because
he was the next-of-kin to the sister, Mrs. Grant.

The jewellery and her personal belongings? She said thati the
watch was the boy's father's watch, and she wanted the boy to have that

Who suggested you should be trustee and executor? She decided I
should be. She wanted me to look after everything; she had taken
me into her confidence from the beginning, and, naturally, she wanted me
to attend to everything in the end.

You were in her confidence she looked to you for assistance and
protection, did she not? Yes, there was no particular claim regarding
protection ; I mentioned the word " protection " when the Hooks were
living in the house.

What I mean by protection is that you were in her complete con-
fidence? I was the owner of the house, and I would naturally protect
my tenant.

Never mind Hook for the moment. You were completely in her
confidence? Not completely in her confidence, no.

We will say you were in her confidence? She had confidence in me,
that is what I mean ; I was not a confidant of hers ; she never told me
anything about herself, or affairs, or family.

Of course, you realised that she was, at any rate, trusting in you?
To see that the children got this, yes.

As far as I understand from what you have said, her whole anxiety
about this will then was simply as to this furniture and the small amount
of jewellery to the boy and girl, Hilda and Ernest Grant? Yes ; her
principal anxiety was about the uncle of the boy.

What about her money? She never mentioned it.

But you were making her will? Yes, but I tell you I drew it up
hurriedly. I never expected that that will would ever be used.

Is that why you made it? I made it to satisfy her. She wanted a
will, and I told her to have a solicitor.

Is that why you wanted it witnessed when it was made? It had to
be witnessed.

In order to be a legal document? Yes, it would not satisfy her

You knew she was worse, did you not? No, I did not.

Mr. MARSHALL HALL I do not want my learned friend to mislead.
I think the doctor's evidence is that she was better.

The WITNESS I did not consider her any different to any other
day that she had been in bed.

By the ATTORNEY-GENERAL The doctor has told us that he came to
see her in the morning, and he has told us what her condition was?
But I did not know then ; I know now from what the doctor says.

Did you inquire at all as to what her condition was? No.

At least, you knew then, did you not, that supposing she happened

to die before her will was made ? She was a woman who complained

more than necessary with regard to her ailments.

She does not seem, according to her view, to have complained as
much as was necessary? I do not follow that.


Trial of the Seddons.

Frederick H. Seddon

On llth September she was ill, was she not? Yes.

She had been in bed from 1st September? 2nd September.

Taken ill on 1st September, and remained in bed? She was in bed,
at any rate, as far as I know, from 2nd September and got up on one
occasion and went out of the room right along the landing into the boy's

Then on llth September, when this will was made, how long con-
sideration had you given to it? I had not given a great amount of con-
sideration to it at all.

You have told us that she asked you to do it once or twice beforet
Yes ; well, it passed my mind again after ; I did not give it a great
amount of consideration; I always felt in these matters she ought to
have independent legal advice.

Had you some forms of wills in your possession? 1 think I had a
torn one. (After a pause.) No, not on that date.

When did you get it? At a later date.

When? Some time after the death.

How long after the death? I could not say; I bought some for the
purpose of having my own will drafted up.

Had you any experience in drawing wills? No.

Had you anything to help you to draw this one had you any form
before you when you drew this one? No, I do not think so; no, I had
not a form before me. I have seen the printed form of wills.

This is a document, as you know, which is drawn up in a legal
form? I do not know that it is drawn up in legal form. For instance,
I was informed at Somerset House that the attestation clause was wrong
or something.

At any rate it uses legal language? It uses legal terms that I am
acquainted with.

That is what I want to get from you, legal terms that you are
acquainted with? Yes, I have seen on the printed will forms.

That is what I put to you; you had seen the printed will forms, and
you had seen the kind of language, at any rate, that had to be in the
will, and you draw up, " This is the last will and testament of me, Eliza
Mary Barrow, 63 Tollington Park, Finsbury Park, N. I hereby revoke
all former wills and codicils." That you knew? Yes.

You knew the expression, did you not, " all she died possessed of " ?
I used that expression.

Not in the will. Do you not know that you did not use it in the
will? Look at the will. In the will you speak of "household furni-
ture, jewellery, and other personal effects"? Does it not say "inclusive
of " something? I thought " all she died possessed of " was in the will.

Let me understand what you mean by that. Just think a moment.
Are you suggesting that you thought that in the will the property that
was to be passed upon her death would include cash? I did not know;
I never gave it consideration. It escaped my mind for the time being.
It was done quite hurriedly. My sister had only just come from Wol-
verhampton, and I was busy with my office work at the time, and I did
it quite hurriedly.

Evidence for Defence.

Frederick H. Seddon

Let me put to you the suggestion I am going to make quite plainly,
so that you may understand it before I put the question to you. Now,
I want you to follow it. I do not want you to fall into any trap, so
that I am going to put the point of my question to you so that you
may just follow? Yes.

In the will again and again you speak of "all my personal effects,"

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