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is not challenged. He " gave it away," to use his own expression. That
brings it up to 180. Mr. Wainwright, who is obviously a respectable
man, a man of position, a man who had got a business, and a man who it
cannot be suggested had any motive or interest in this case, comes along
and tells you a very substantial story indeed. What is it? He said, "I
advised Seddon to buy some property, to buy this house at 63 Tollington
Park. The price was rather more than he wanted to give, but I eventually
got the vendor down to 320." There was a deposit to be paid. The
deposit was 30, 10 per cent., but Seddon, who was no fool, pointed out
the fact that there was a forfeiture clause, and he did not like the for-

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feiture clause in the lease, and therefore he said, " I will not pay you
30, I will only give you half that deposit." Then Mr. Wainwright
properly observed, " I could not get over the forfeiture clause. There it
was, and Mr. Seddon was perfectly right. I said, ' Very well, let us make
it 15 instead of 30.' He agreed to take that, and he produced
15 in gold out of a bag containing a large sum of gold. I said, ' I do
not want gold. . Give me a cheque.' I thought he was a man of substance
and position, and I was perfectly prepared to take his cheque. He said,
' If you don't mind I don't,' and he gave me a cheque." Then this gentle-
man, who, I suppose, was not altogether disinterested (I do not believe
many actions in this world are purely disinterested actions; they are very
rare) gave him the advice which meant a little business to himself. Seddon
said, " I have got enough money to pay for this house, 320 " ; but Mr.
Wainwright said, ' ' Do not pay for it ; it is a very good time to buy
house property; there is a great slump in house property at this time;
the Budget has just come through, and people are frightened about house
property. Now is the time. Do not get rid of your ready money." You
cannot buy house property unless you put down some ready money, as you
know. The more you leave on mortgage the more ready money you will
have to distribute over a series of properties. He said, " Get a mortgage
for the 220." "Well," says Seddon, "it is rather a good idea. If you
have got any more property you might let me know, and I will find the
money to buy it and get mortgages.'' If property is going up, he stands to
win. I do not say it offensively, but I suggest to you that no doubt Mr.
Wainwright would get some small fee or commission. It is his business to
sell properties, and therefore he would get commission. I am told the
date is 3rd September, 1909.

Mr. JUSTICE BUCKNILL " On 3rd September I called on Seddon."
Mr. MARSHALL HALL Yes, 3rd September, 1909. On 3rd September
we get this man with enough money in the house to pay in cash for this
house, which has cost him 320, and we know also that he had at any rate
300 of Cardiff stock after he had taken out the actual 100 which he
took out for the purpose of eventually paying the purchase price of the
house, less the mortgage. You are not to strain points against this man.
That is not what you are here for. We are none of us here to strain points
against him. We have got to take everything in his favour. Here we have
independent evidence, before any question of motive or shady transactions
arises, the specific statements of three creditable witnesses, that this man
was possessed of something like 200 in gold at the end of the year
1909. What does he tell you? I do want you to give your careful attention
to this. He said, "I accepted the position; I agreed; and I thought of
buying other property. Mr. Wainwright submitted other properties to me,
but I did not care for them, and therefore I did not accept them, but I
was eventually compelled to take possession of 63 Tollington Park. I had
originally bought it to let it. I advertised for a tenant. I could not
get a tenant, and, not having got a tenant, I could not afford to let that
money lie idle and pay two rents, as I was paying rent in Seven Sisters
Road, so I lived at 63 Tollington Park, and saved money by so doing."
As you see, it is admitted he was allowed to charge a certain proportion
of the rental value of 63 Tollington Park for the office premises in the
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Closing Speech on behalf of F. H, Seddon.

Mr. Marshall Hall

basement which he used for the company, so that was a very advantageous
business for him. The basement pays itself, because it goes qua rent,
but he also lets the other part of the house, not to Miss Barrow, but some
person before. The man is in a very good position. He is drawing money
from the insurance company, he has got interest on the balance of the
Cardiff stock, he has got money in the savings bank, and he has got this
200 in gold. We cannot judge of a man by the highly-trained intellects
which some possess. We have got to deal with this man in his own way
of looking at life, and the way he looked at his position was this, " I am
earning 5 15s. a week. I have got a little money coming in from the
Cardiff stock. I have got a certain amount of ready money in hand, some
portion of which I am using for trading purposes in the wardrobe
business, and if an opportunity turns up I can make a bargain with it ;
but that is all very well when I am alive. Suppose something happens to
me, my wife has got five children, amongst whom is a little baby. She
has to be considered. If I die my wife will be in this position. She will
have this house mortgaged to the tune of 120, and she will either have
to pay interest on that mortgage or there may be a clause that on the
death of the mortgagor the mortgage could be called in." Apparently,
so long as he lived, the mortgage could not be called in within a certain
number of years, but we do not know whether in the event of his death
the mortgage might not at once be called in, because every mortgage con-
tains a personal covenant, and the personal covenant in this mortgage is
of considerable value (the man is earning 5 15s. a week), which becomes
valueless when the person dies. The legal personal representative of Mr.
Seddon would, of course, have only had the house and the balance of the
few hundreds. Therefore he says this, " I did not want my wife to be
in that position, so I will put 200 in the house." He has got two safes:
he has a second safe which he has brought there. He used the two. He
puts 100 in one safe and 120 in the other safe, and he says, " I put
that there as a provision against my death, and my wife suddenly being
called upon either to pay off the mortgage or to part possession of the
house." My learned friend, with that knowledge of finance which most of
us possess in a minor or lesser degree, points out, why not put it into the
savings bank and get 2 per cent. ? How long would it take the wife to
get it as the legal personal representative? I do not know. There is no
evidence of it. You can only use your own knowledge on the subject.
Seddon says, "That was not good enough for me. I wanted it absolutely
available for my wife." Do you disbelieve him? Why should you? You
-have had positive evidence that at the end of 1909 he had close upon 300
in the house. I suggest to you that you have indisputable evidence, which
you cannot attack, that he certainly had 200 in the month of November,
1909, in gold, which was all available. Gentlemen, he has got this money
;in the house in gold. There is his position.

Now, he loses his tenant, and Miss Barrow comes along. We know
very little about her. We do know that she was a woman of queer temper.
'One of the Vonderahes said that she spat in her face. Another one said
-that she was very irritable. Another one said she was " a ' hard nut ' to crack
on the question of money." On the evidence of Dr. Francis we know that
she was a woman of curious temperament. From any point of view she,

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had curious habits with regard to money. We know she did have 165 in
notes. That is in evidence. She also had a deposit account at the savings
bank. When she on 19th June, 1911, goes to the savings bank she draws
out 216 in gold, and will not take it in notes. We do know from Dr.
Francis that up to some time in March, 1909, she had been over-indulging
in strong alcohol, and had severe attacks of gastritis, from which, I
suggest to you, she eventually died. She had attacks of gastritis, which
is inflammation of the gastric region, brought on by the abuse of strong
intoxicants, and that would predispose her to be more susceptible to an
attack of gastrp-enteritis when gastro-enteritis in fact came on; I do not
put it higher than that.

There is a little more we know about her. She at first lived with some
people named Grant, and Mr. and Mrs. Grant had both died, and had left
two children entirely unprovided for. Mr. Hook was the brother of
Mrs. Grant, and he admitted that Mrs. Grant was also an alcoholic sub-
ject who had drunk to excess, and, in fact, that was more or less the
cause of her death. We know, as it very often happens, when the evil
influence of Mrs. Grant was removed, possibly Miss Barrow resumed her
normal condition. It is common knowledge, and everybody knows, that
one person will often incite and encourage another person to drink. Any-
how, Miss Barrow came as tenant with the boy Ernie Grant. We can
realise her taking a fancy to this child, because he was the child of these
unfortunate people, the two Grants. She brought with her the two
people named Hook. As to Hook, we know nothing except what he has
told us. He was a man of no means at all, and he was entirely de-
pendent upon Miss Barrow for his living, and it was a matter of vital
importance that he should live rent free and be provided for at her ex-
pense. Anyhow, Miss Barrow does provide for them, and brings the
husband and wife to the Seddon's house. The only return for this
living rent and board free is that Mrs. Hook is to teach Miss Barrow how
to cook. This is Hook's story. I am not putting him forward as a
witness of credibility, and I should have thought that the same reason
which operated upon the prosecution not calling Margaret Seddon would
have also operated upon them not to call a man of Hook's class. The
class of man Hook is does not depend upon hearsay evidence. You heard
the class of man he was when he tried to quibble with me when I slipped
out " Mrs. Barrow " instead of " Miss Barrow " in the question. He
said, " No, obviously untrue," and when I said that I meant " Miss
Barrow." he said, "Oh, yes, Miss Barrow." That is the sort of man
you have got to deal with. You remember the avidity with which he
recognised a watch which had been absolutely altered. This woman's
watch had had a cracked white face, but he instantly recognised it with
the gold face. Then he said he did not look at the face ; he did not
turn it over ; and then he reluctantly told you he did look at the face.
I submit to you that he is an absolutely unreliable witness. We have
not got much to test him on. We have not got the Treasury funds at
our back. We cannot employ all the scientists and analysts to come
and give evidence upon scientific matters. We cannot employ detectives
to watch who comes to buy fly-papers. We have got to do what we can
under the conditions which exist, and therefore we have no opportunity of
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Closing Speech on behalf of F. H. Seddon.

Mr. Marshall Hall

tracing Mr. Hook's career backwards to its early stage. It may be if we
could we would find out something to Mr. Hook's discredit. Anyhow, we
have not. There is nothing to know, but we have got to know that
wherever he is met he has been contradicted. Upon his evidence depends
this preposterous statement that this woman had 380, besides a bundle
of notes, in a little tin cash box, when she came to this house in July,
1910. He is very positive in his evidence; he says, " I helped to move.
Creek helped me. I carried that box in a bag in my hand at 5 o'clock
when I delivered it to her. We never had a drink. We never stopped
and had a drink. There was no public-house on the way. The cart
was never stopped." I had him back, and asked him, " Did you have a
drink before you started, or at the moment of starting? " and he said,
" No, we never had a drink. Miss Barrow never held the horse's head."
Creek is called. He is a perfectly respectable man. He may not be
a rich man, and he may not have the position that some other people
have, but he is an honest, hard-working man at his particular trade. He
says that this was the only afternoon on which he ever remembers moving
anybody from Evershot Road to Tollington Park, and that that took
place between 12 and 3, and the moving was all over at 3. "I swear
that Hook never had anything in his hand. He never carried a bag in
hia hand," and, more than that, he says, " I am perfectly positive that
we did have a drink while Miss Barrow held the horse's head."

I submit to you, Hook is lying, and yet you are asked to believe
Hook upon the vital question as to whether this lady had 400 in gold
and a bundle of notes, which she took into that house. It is a very small
matter, but on the point of time, you will remember Mrs. Vonderahe
corroborated what Creek said. She said that it was all over at 3 o'clock
at the latest, yet, when I put it to Hook, he persisted in 5 o'clock; I
gave him 12 to 3, but he persisted in his 5 o'clock. He had come to
tell one story, and he did not mean to alter it. Whether it was true or
not was a matter, I submit to you, of absolute indifference to him. He
told his story. He had not been heard of for some time, and he came
upon the scene, and he was going to tell his story for what it was worth.
It may be that his memory was entirely faulty, but if it were faulty upon
one subject it would be faulty upon another, I suggest to you.

What happens when he gets into the house? It is to Hook's interest
to stop; he admits that. What happens? Well, gentlemen, as I say,
we have not got the actual letter that Miss Barrow wrote to him, but
he admits that it was very much in this form " Mr. Hook, as you and
your wife have treated me so badly, I must now inform you of my inten-
tion to part with you. I wish you to leave my rooms at once, and I
desire to remain here without you and your wife. Yours, Eliza Mary
Barrow." You would think that a man and his wife, who are entirely
dependent upon this woman, and who are there as her guests would have,
at any rate, recognised her right to say, " I do not want you any more
I want to terminate this arrangement ; there is no arrangement for any
definite time," and you would think that they would, at any rate, treat
her with some courtesy. She was his old sweetheart, you know. He
had known her for many, many years. What is his answer? For-
tunately, we have got his answer; it is exhibit 24. "Miss Barrow, as

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you are so impudent to send the letter to hand, I wish to inform you that
I shall require the return of my late mother's and sister's furniture, and
the expense of my moving here and away. Yours, D. B. Hook." What
does that mean? He had got his sister's furniture, but he had no right
to sell it, as he admits he sold it to her, as it did not belong to him.
He would not be the next-of-kin, but he had sold her the furniture and
taken a receipt for it. He is not a very creditable person to have any-
thing to do with. What is he saying to her, " If you are going to get
rid of me I am going to make myself disagreeable. I am going to have
all the furniture, and you will be in a nice hole then I am going to take
away the furniture that belonged to my mother and sister." And then
he goes on to add finally the postscript just as a woman would do the
final threat " I shall have to take Ernie with me, as it is not safe to
leave him with you." Why was not it safe to leave him with her 1 ?
What do we know of Miss Barrow? We do know that the boy said in
his evidence that she once threatened to jump out of the window because
he had done something that annoyed her, and that is probably true,
but what had Miss Barrow done to Hook that Hook should dare to say,
"It is not safe to leave Ernie with you? " Of course, it is a veiled
threat. He knew he could get at the poor woman that way. He knew
he could hurt her more by taking the child, and he says, " If you are
going to get rid of me I shall take the furniture, and I shall take Ernie.
Where will you be then? "

The threat is not efficacious, and Miss Barrow is not frightened by
it. She persists in getting rid of him. She goes to Seddon, and she
says to Seddon, " I cannot get rid of this man, you must get rid of him
for me. I am your tenant. Get rid of him." Seddon thereupon
writes him that letter, and gives him a notice on 9th August " Dear
Sir, As due notice has been given you, and duly expired, I now find it
necessary to inform you that you are no longer entitled to remain on my
premises," &c. Hook says to Mr. Seddon he will not go in twenty-
four hours, and there is an angry scene between them, and he insults
him. He has only been there ten days at the outside. " I told him
to his face, ' It is her money you are after.' ' What ground had he for
making such a monstrous suggestion? There was absolutely nothing,
except that Mr. Seddon had backed up Miss Barrow in her desire to get
rid of this man, who, according to the boy's evidence, had taken the boy
and his own wife out on that Sunday, leaving her crying. What possible
foundation was there for Hook making that suggestion, " I told him it's
her money you are after. It would take a regiment like you to get her
money out of her." He was grossly impudent to this man who, at any
rate, was his landlord. This man was entirely dependent upon the
charity of the woman with whom he was living.

Has it occurred to you I know it has in this case that Hook's
conduct was absolutely inexcusable? If Hook was an honest and genuine
man, and he meant what he said, and it was not mere vulgar abuse, and
he thought Mr. Seddon was after her money, and it was not safe for the
boy to be with her there, and Mr. Seddon was going to steal her money,
and that she had in her possession 400 in gold, besides a large sum in
notes, he knew where the Vonderahes lived, and he knew where the other
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Closing Speech on behalf of F. H. Seddon.

Mr. Marshall Hall

relations were, and he could have given some information to them. Yet,
when he is turned out of that house, as he is, because he will not go, in
August, 1910, he never makes any sign of any sort or shape. So far
as Miss Barrow is concerned, he might have been dead. He never turned
up again upon the scene until 25th November, when, reading in a news-
paper that there was an inquest upon Miss Barrow, and that she had
drawn 216 in gold, he comes upon the scene and makes a statement to
the police. Gentlemen, I say that evidence is absolutely unreliable, and
it is absolutely unworthy of any credence of any sort or shape, and I ask
you to disregard it entirely, because you cannot possibly rely upon it.

Gentlemen, as far as I know, nothing took place in August or Sep-
tember. Then we come to October, when the first negotiation took place
with regard to the annuity. In October we get the negotiations with
regard to the India stock. I think I have already dealt with them. I
have already pointed out, and I am not going to repeat it, that she got
what she -herself wanted an annuity. I will just go over the figures
for one moment as to what annuity he granted for her own satisfaction.
He granted her 72 and 52 per annum, and, in addition to that, there
was 31 4s. made up of 12s. a week for the rent. So that you see
the total amount that he had to pay under the annuity was 155 4s.
Against that, what he received was this. He received 1519 16s., the
proceeds of the East India stock, and he received a figure, which you must
take as genuine in this case, because there has been no contradiction of
it, 706, which was the then value of the Buck's Head property, according
to the valuation which was put in in the case. Therefore he received
1519 16s. and 706. As against that he had to pay some 38 14s.
for costs and incidental expenses, so the net amount he received was
2187 2s. Now, I have made a calculation, and I have no doubt it will
be checked if it is not accurate. For that sum, in the Post Office,
in the event of death no payment, and the first payment after six months,
which is a very important consideration in dealing with the value
of an annuity, she would be able to purchase an annuity of 128. So,
you see, she benefits to the extent of 27 per annum by the purchase of
an annuity in this way, assuming the annuity she is paid is secured. The
question of security, with all deference to my learned friend the Attorney-
General, is entirely immaterial so long as the annuity is paid. I quite
agree that for the purpose of valuing an annuity for the purpose of sale
it would make a great deal of difference as to who was the guarantor of
the annuity ; but, for the purpose of merely paying the value of the annuity
to the annuitant, it makes no difference, because, so long as the instal-
ments are duly and punctually paid, she has no claim or remedy against
the person who has granted the annuity to her. Seddon, honestly and
honourably, carried out his obligation, and she got 27 per annum more
than she would have got under any other scheme of annuity through the
Post Office or through a first-class insurance office. My learned friend
Mr. Dunstan reminds me that as to 52 of an annuity she was absolutely
secured upon the property. As to the 72, I agree she is entirely
dependent upon the honour of Mr. Seddon. As a proof, however, of his
honourable intentions, he does not invest this money in some " wild-cat "
securities, or anything of that kind, with a view to making a large profit,

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but lie bought substantial house property, which could not run away. I
say that, although it may have been theoretically a bad security for this
woman, he appears to have been behaving honourably, as far as he was
concerned, and she benefited to the extent of 30.

One little item comes in here. It is a very small item, but sometimes
the slightest straw shows the way the wind blows. He tells you he had
paid 4 13s. for costs. She would not pay them, as she objected very
much to solicitors an objection which is shared by a great many people ;
nobody likes the law, whatever branch of the law one deals with; there is
a great prejudice against it. I am not suggesting it is any insane view
on her part, but she said, " I will not pay any costs," and he has to pay
the costs. In addition to the costs which he had paid, which were the
proper costs of the conveyance, he had to pay a sum of 4 13s. for the
costs of the solicitor who represented her. He asked her to pay it, and
she said, " No, she would not pay it," but she gave him a small diamond
ring. I merely asked, in the dark, as to the value of it, when the jeweller
was in the box, and he said, " I would give 4 for it myself " ; therefore
you may assume that it is worth something between 4 and 5 for the
purpose of purchasing. That is merely a question of a diamond ring which
she gave him for having paid her costs over and above the costs which
she had properly incurred. As I say, that is a small amount, but it shows
he was not robbing the woman. We are not experts or judges of what
diamond rings are worth, and when we hear of a diamond ring we think
it is worth a lot of money, whereas the jeweller, who is an expert, says that
it is worth 4 or 5 to buy. That is the transaction, as far as we know,
which took place in October. The stock was transferred, and then the
annuity was deferred until the whole matter could be settled up with
regard to the Buck's Head property. Upon the completion of the Buck's
Head property transfer in January, 1911, the annuity was paid promptly
from that time. I do not suppose for a moment that my learned friend
will attempt to question those receipts, for the very simple reason that he
has made use of them in his argument to show that Miss Barrow had more
money in the house. My learned friend cannot have it both ways, and he
cannot say they are bogus receipts. On the face of them they are all
obviously genuine, and not to be questioned. Any way, they are not
questioned, and therefore I am entitled to say that, so far as the bargain
was concerned, it was honourably carried out until the month of September,
when she died.



Online LibraryFrederick Henry SeddonTrial of the Seddons → online text (page 39 of 57)