undoubtedly a day of very great importance I mean the events of that
day after the death of Miss Barrow, and I want your attention to what
happened on that day. I have told you already about the male prisoner
having gone to the doctor at 7 o'clock, and I have told you about his
having gone to the undertaker. The afternoon was spent in this way. It
was a Thursday, and, as I told you when I started my address to you,
Thursday was usually the day the male prisoner settled up the week's
takings and business with the insurance company in which he was employed.
On that date a Mr. Taylor and a Mr. Smith came to his house and saw him
in the basement, which was his office where they habitually saw him, and
there they proceeded to the settlement of the week's business. Suffice it
to say, that that represented a sum of between 50 and 60 which had
been taken in gold or in silver during that week, which would be paid by
the canvassers to him, the male prisoner, as the result of their takings
during the week, and for which he would have to account, after deducting
* Dr. Sworn was attending her regularly. ED.
Trial of the Seddons.
liis commission, to his employers, who were represented by Mr. Taylor and
Mr. Smith. That was the ordinary routine of the business. We are not
in this case concerned with it, except upon this one date, because upon this
date, in the afternoon of this day, the male prisoner was seen by Mr.
Taylor and Mr. Smith in the possession of at least two hundred sovereigns
in gold. His banking account does not enable you to ascertain whence those
sovereigns had come; in fact, it is quite clear that they were not drawn
from that banking account. There is no means, so far as we are aware,
of explaining where those two hundred sovereigns came from, except that
I shall make the suggestion to you for your consideration, that those two
hundred sovereigns, or about that sum, was the money which, on the 19th
June of the same year, 1911, Miss Barrow had drawn out of the savings
bank where it had been deposited, and for which she was receiving interest
for many years. Why she drew it out we are unable to say. I shall
suggest again to you that she went there with the female prisoner, and
that it was only part and parcel of the system apparently that was being
pursued of getting into their hands the whole of the property of this
deceased woman. There was the 216 at this savings bank which was
drawn out on this 19th June, and it was paid out in gold apparently, it is
suggested, because of some doubt or some anxiety which had been aroused
in the public mind by the failure of a bank. At any rate, there is no doubt
about this, it was paid out in sovereigns. What became of that money
there is not the faintest evidence to show, unless it was this two hundred
sovereigns and odd which were found in the possession of the male prisoner
in the afternoon of the 14th September.
At the same period, on 15th September, immediately after her death
I will not say whilst her body is still lying in the house, because it had
been removed on the night of the 14th to the mortuary, but before, at
any rate, she was buried he goes to a jeweller in the neighbourhood and
takes with him a ring, which was a ring which had belonged to Miss
Barrow, which he desires to have made larger ; he also takes with him a
watch which undoubtedly was in the possession of Miss Barrow, which had
the name of her mother engraved on it, " Eliza Jane Barrow." He takes
this to the jeweller to erase that name and put a gold dial or a coloured
dial instead of the plain white dial which had been on the face of the
watch. Neither of these articles appears in the inventory of the jewels
which were left, and which eventually come into the possession of Hilda
and Enaest Grant when they come of age under the will. It is right
to say with reference to that, that the female prisoner when asked about this
said that the watch was a present to her, and that that was the explana-
tion of the husband taking it to the jewellers. Well, gentlemen, that
fact is one which you will take into account. In itself certainly I should
not desire to make too much of it; but, taken in conjunction with the
other facts and circumstances to which I have called your attention, does
it not seem a little odd, if it had been made a present to her and there
was nothing to conceal, that before even the body had been consigned to
the earth she was having it taken to the jewellers to have the name erased 1
Might you not ask yourselves also, why erase the name at all? Then,
again, within a few days, within two or three days, of her death you will
find the male prisoner paying for shares in a building society, with which,
Opening Speech for Prosecution.
somehow, he was connected, and paying for three shares a sum of 90 in
sovereigns. Altogether, so far as we have been able to trace, payments
are made of at least over 150 in gold during these very few days which
elapsed immediately upon the death of Miss Barrow, for which we are
wholly unable to account either from his bank book or from his savings
bank book. He had apparently two accounts. He had an account at a
local branch of the London and Provincial Bank, and he had also an
account at a savings bank. None of this money appears to have come
from there, and this money does not appear to have gone into there; but
there it is dealt with by him. So far as we have been able to trace
with all the careful inquiry that has been made, with the exception of a
small amount which has been paid in with some business money on the
15th which, according to the view which we present to you, was some of
the gold which he had got from Miss Barrow's money (this 200 odd), and
also a sum of either 25 or 30, which is paid into the savings bank
within a few days, and the 90 which was paid in gold for the shares for
the building society, also within this very short period immediately after
the death with those exceptions we are unable to trace what has become
of the money. But that will account for something like 150. I am
not able to give you the exact amount, but it is very near 150.
Now, one question which will have suggested itself to you, I have no
doubt, already is, if this was not the money which belonged to Miss
Barrow, of which the male prisoner was found in possession that afternoon,
what had become of it? She was in the habit, as you will hear, and as
I have already told you, of keeping gold in a cash box. What had become
of the 400 which was in the cash box when she went into the prisoner's
house in July of 1910? As I have explained to you, we know that the
notes had got into their possession ; and I suggest but I tell you that
I am not able to trace it that equally the gold had found its way into
their possession too ; and with regard to the 216 which had been drawn
in June and brought home by her to the house there is not the faintest
ground, so far as I am able to put before you from the inquiries which
have been made on behalf of the Crown, for suggesting that that money
had been dealt with in any other way; and, again, so far as we know,
there is no other means of explaining how it was that the male prisoner
found himself in possession of this large sum of gold in the afternoon of
this busy day when he was arranging for the funeral of this woman who
had died in his house on that very morning, except that it had come out
of that cash box. According to his statement, and according to a state-
ment which he handed to the relatives, there was no cash at home except,
as I have pointed out to you, this sum of 4 10s. ; according to another
document (so that I may put everything before you that he had said with
regard to it) it is put as a sum of 4 10s. found, either in the cash box
or near there, and 5 10s. which was found in the drawer, that is, 10 ;
and then there is an explanation given of how that 10 was spent. But
except for those trifling sums at the utmost therefore this sum of 10
there is not the faintest suggestion or explanation of what had become
of all this money.
Now, gentlemen, in that state of things the inquest took place on the
23rd of November; it began on that day. At the inquest the male
Trial of the Seddons.
prisoner gave some evidence, which will be read to you. The substance
of it I have dealt with when I have been explaining to you in dealing with
these various dates and events what the explanation has been that the
male prisoner has put forward. His evidence will be read to you in
detail, and you will, of course, give it the most careful consideration. I
shall refrain for the moment from making any further comment with
regard to it. But I desire now to direct your attention to what happened
as the result of the inquest and the post-mortem examination. The
inquest, as I say, began on 23rd November; it was adjourned, and was
not resumed till 14th December ; but on 4th December the male prisoner
was arrested, and this is what he said when he was arrested. I invite
your attention to it. Inspector Ward told him that he arrested him for
the murder of Miss Barrow by administering arsenic. He said, " Absurd!
What a terrible charge, wilful murder ! It is the first of our family that
have ever been accused of such a crime. Are you going to arrest my
wife as well? If not, I would like you to give her a message for me.
Have they found arsenic in the body? She has not done this herself. It
was not carbolic acid, was it? as there was some in her room, and Sam'tas
is not poison, is it? " Then he repeated the word " murder " several
times on the way to the station. Now, that is a rather remarkable
statement, even making every allowance for the state of mind of a man
who is arrested. It is a little difficult to understand why he should ask,
" Are you going to arrest my wife as well? " He says, " Have you found
arsenic in the body? " then he goes on. When he is taken to the police
station he is left in charge of the sergeant there, and he says this,
"Poisoning by arsenic what a charge! Of course, I have had all her
money affairs through my hands, but this means Police Court proceedings
and a trial before jury ; but I think I can prove my innocence. I know
Miss Barrow had carbolic in her room, but there is no arsenic in carbolic."
That is his statement, and it is right that you should have before you
the view that he gave, whatever it was, when the arrest took place.
On 15th January, the inquest having meanwhile proceeded further,
the female prisoner was arrested. All she said when she was arrested
was, "Very well."
Now, gentlemen, after that somewhat brief outline of the facts of this
case into which you will have to inquire, I shall proceed, with the assist-
ance of my learned friends, to call the evidence in order to prove before
you in the proper and regular way in a Court of justice what I have
opened to you as to what will be proved by the witnesses on behalf
of the Crown. Gentlemen, I would ask you to bear this in mind through-
out this inquiry. It is important in the interests of justice, and important
in the interests of the defence, that you should keep clearly before you
that the charge which is made is a charge made against both the prisoners ;
that at the end of this case, at the end of the evidence subject to any ex-
planation that may be put forward by my learned friends, and subject, of
course, to the direction of law from my lord, and to the assistance which
you will get from my lord in the consideration of the evidence, you will
then have to determine whether you are satisfied that both of these
prisoners committed this murder. I say to you at once, in accordance
with the principles upon which the criminal law is administered in this
Opening Speech for Prosecution*
country, that if, as the result of the evidence which is put forward to you
on behalf of the Crown, you come to the conclusion that there is a reason-
able doubt of the guilt either of one or of the other, or it may be both,
why, gentlemen, if you have a reasonable doubt, the prisoners are entitled
to the benefit of it. But, equally if, when you have considered the
evidence in all its bearings, and heard everything that is to be said in their
favour by my learned friends if, as the result of it all, the conviction is
forced upon your minds, from the consideration of the evidence, that
either the two prisoners, or one of them, was responsible for the adminis-
tering of the poison to Miss Barrow, it will be your duty to say so ; it will
be your duty to give effect to the conviction of your minds. It is your
duty to do justice in this case, bearing always in mind, as I have indicated
to you, that the conviction must be brought home to your minds before
you should find a verdict either against the one or the other of these
Evidence for the Prosecution.
PERCY ATTBRSAL, examined by Mr. TRAVBRS HUMPHREYS I am Police
Constable 266 of the E Division. I am accustomed to making plans. I
now produce exhibit 6, a plan made by me of the neighbourhood of 63
Tollington Park, North. That plan is correct and drawn to scale.
Evershot Road is a turning out of Tollington Park. Upon the plan I
show No. 63 Tollington Park and also No. 31 Evershot Road, the dis-
tance between the two places being 244 yards. I also show on the plan
160 Corbyn Street, which is 433 yards from 63 Tollington Park. I
produce exhibit 43, which is a plan showing the interior of the house
63 Tollington Park. In the basement there is a large room in front,
which can be approached from the street without going through the front
door, going down the basement steps, and there is also a back kitchen.
On the ground floor there are two rooms. On the first floor there are
two bedrooms, one front and one back, and on the second floor there is a
bedroom looking over the front and what is marked as a kitchen next to
it ; at the back there are a bedroom and a small bedroom. I also produce
exhibit 27, a plan on a larger scale of the front room in the basement
of 63 Tollington Park. (Copies of exhibit 43 were handed to the jury.)
Cross-examined by Mr. MARSHALL HALL Just take the plan of the
basement for the moment. Where you have got " Table " marked in the
extreme north at the top, as a matter of fact there is a shelf, is there not,
over that table, and a cupboard not a shelf next to the safe? You
have marked "shelf" next to the safe; as a matter of fact it is a cup-
board? The shelf is in the cupboard.
It is an enclosed shelf? Yes.
The same answer applies here ; this lower shelf is an enclosed cup-
board? That is so.
ROBERT ERNEST HOOK, examined by Mr. Mum I am an engine-driver,
and I live near St. Austell, in Cornwall. I had known the late Miss Barrow
since 1896. At that time she was living with my mother at Edmonton.
Trial of the Seddons.
Robert Ernest Hook
I could not say the exact date when she went, but she stayed with my mother
until she died in 1902, and then she went to my sister, Mrs. Grant, at
43 Roderick Road, Hampstead. My sister's husband was alive at this time ;
he died in October, 1906. At that time I was living at my sister's house.
Did you ever see any money that Miss Barrow had in her possession
while you were in your sister's house? Yes. That was in October, 1906; I
helped Miss Barrow then to count it.
Mr. JUSTICE BUCKNILL Please answer the question and do nothing
else; you will get into trouble if you do not.
Examination continued You said you did something with regard to
that money; what was it you did? I helped to count it.
Mr. JUSTICE BUCKNILL You see why I spoke. These people are being
tried on a capital charge. It might possibly be, if you do more than answer
the question or make any remark, you might be doing or saying something
which would not be evidence, and then the trial might have to be begun
all over again.
Examination continued It was gold that we counted; it was all loose
when we started to count it, and it was afterwards put into bags. All
these bags were blue and white, as far as I can give the colour. There
was 20 put in each of ten blue bags; there was 50 put in one white
bag with two two-shilling pieces in it, 30 put in one with three pennies in
it, 20 put in one with " 20 " written in ink upon the bag, and then
there were two bags containing 120. I could not say how much was put
in each of these two bags. The total sum in these bags was 420 4s. 3d.
Then, besides that coin there were bank notes, but we did not count these.
The bags and the bank notes were put in the cash box, which I now
recognise as exhibit No. 2. My sister, Mrs. Grant, died in 1908.
Up to the time of her death Miss Barrow was living with her at
Walthamstow, 53 Wolseley Avenue. After my sister's death she lived with
Mr. and Mrs. Kemp at 38 Woodsome Road. Just after I got married, on
7th February, 1909, she left Mr. and Mrs. Kemp and went to live with a
cousin, Frank Vonderahe, at 31 Evershot Road. I saw Miss Barrow at the
cousin's house and also at my house at Hampstead. She lived with the
Vonderahes up to the time we removed to 63 Tollington Park, which was
somewhere about 26th July, 1910. I moved my furniture into the house
first, and Miss Barrow also moved with my assistance on the same day.
My sister had two children, Hilda and Ernest, a girl and boy. After my
sister's death Ernie was living with Miss Barrow, and Hilda was living
with me. When Miss Barrow moved in to 63 Tollington Park Ernie went
in with her; he had been living with Miss Barrow since his mother's death
in 1908. The girl Hilda was down at St. Margaret's, at an orphanage
there. Ernie and Miss Barrow were on the best of terms. He was about
seven, or he might have been eight, at the time they moved to 63 Tollington
Had you and your wife made any arrangement with Miss Barrow as to
what rent you were to pay when you moved into Tollington Park? Yes, the
arrangement was that we should live rent free, and my wife was to teach
Miss Barrow housekeeping and cooking. That was the only arrangement
that was made.
After the time when you counted the money, and it was put into that
Evidence for Prosecution.
Robert Ernest Hook
cash box, did you ever see the cash box or the money again? Oh, yes, I
saw it several times. The first time I saw it was at Walthamstow, and
the next time I saw it was at 31 Evershot Road. I saw it on three different
occasions at 31 Evershot Road. I cannot say how many times I saw it at
Walthamstow; I saw it a great many times. I also saw it at 63 Tollington
Park. I saw it open in this manner twice (describing) with these lids
open. That is where the blue bags were. I saw the blue bags with the
20 in them. I did not see anything else on that occasion; I do not think
there was anything else I could see, because the bank notes were under
this tray. That is all I saw.
For what purpose do you know was the cash box opened on that
occasion? It was through Miss Barrow going to get money out of it; but
it was a usual thing for me to see her go to this cash box.
But when you saw it at Tollington Park do you remember what the
occasion was of her opening it then? Yes, to put her money in. In this
end of the box under the tray Miss Barrow always had a bag there, which
she termed an odd bag ; I asked her what she meant by an odd bag, and
she said for everyday use ; and she took money out of her purse and put it
into this bag. I dare say I saw it half a dozen times at Tollington Park.
What did you see in it at Tollington Park? I saw the money, the
ordinary packages, and my late brother-in-law's watch and chain were
Anything else? And the notes. Miss Barrow had four rooms on the
second floor or on the top floor at Tollington Park. They were used as
two bedrooms and a kitchen, and one was not furnished at all. My wife
and I had the big room. Ernie Grant slept with Miss Barrow. My wife
and I stayed at 63 Tollington Park for fourteen days ; we went in on the
Tuesday before August Bank Holiday, and left on the Tuesday week
How was it you came to leave 63 Tollington Park? Well, we got
ordered out by Seddon. On the Saturday evening before we left Miss
Barrow and I went out for a walk; we went to the laundry at Grove Road.
Having my shirts to fetch, I asked her if she would like to go walking
with me to fetch them. We stopped in Tollington Park in the road a long
time talking about the conversation (sic) of her public-house. We were
out about two hours, and then we returned to Tollington Park. I was
always on good terms with Miss Barrow. Between 9 and 10 o'clock on the
Sunday night I got a written notice from Miss Barrow. Maggie Seddon
gave it to me.
What had you and your wife been up to on the Sunday? We went to
Barnet, my wife, Ernie, and myself, after dinner on Sunday afternoon, and
we got back about 6 o'clock in the evening.
Did you have any conversation with Miss Barrow yourself when you
came back? Yes.
Friendly or not? Yes. When I got the written notice handed to me
by Miss Seddon, I wrote a reply on the back part of it, on the extra leaf,
and sent it back to Miss Barrow. The next I heard about our going was
Maggie Seddon came up and told me that her father the male defendant
wanted to see me. I went down and saw him. He said to me, " So I see
you do not mean to take any notice of Miss Barrow's notice ordering you
Trial of the Seddons.
Robert Ernest Hook
to leave? " and I said " No, not this time of night." He then gave me an
order to clear out within twenty-four hours, and I said, " I would if I could,
and, if I could not, I would take forty-eight hours." He said, " I do not
know whether you know it or not, Miss Barrow has put all her affairs in
my hands," and I said " Has she? " I asked him if she had put her money
in his hands. That seemed to surprise him, and he said " No." I said,
" I will defy you and a regiment like you to get her money in your hands,"
and he said that he did not want her money, that he was going to look
after her interests. That was all that was said at that time. The next
thing that happened was the tacking of the notice on the door for me to
quit. That would be about half-past one on the Monday morning.
How did you know it was on the door? Because I heard the rapping
at the door, and had a light in the room. I shouted, " Who is that? " and
he said, " All right, Hook, now you go out of here careful and quietly
to-morrow." I did not just at that moment think there was anything
tacked on the door; it was later in the night. My wife was not very well.
She was very restless, and I had occasion to get up and go out and get
some water, and I saw this notice tacked on the door. It was a notice
ordering me to clear out within twenty-four hours, and signed, " F. Seddon,
landlord and owner." I left the house about 10 o'clock on Tuesday morning.
I went back to the house the next day along with my brother. That
was the only visit I paid to 63 Tollington Park after I left.
Had you ever seen any will of Miss Barrow? Yes. I saw it in Miss
Barrow's box on a good many occasions, and also in her hand. The last
time I saw it was at 31 Evershot Road. She kept it in her trunk. Miss
Barrow was very close with regard to money. She was careful, very careful.
She did not spend much.
Cross-examined by Mr. MARSHALL HALL I think you never saw Miss
Barrow again after you left? No.
That was in August of 1910. The next time that you come on the
scene you saw an account of the inquest in the paper, did you not? Yes.
On the 25th November, 1911? Yes.
And then you wrote to Chief Inspector Ward, and said you had some-
thing to say? I did.
You have been in the army, have you not? Yes.
Did you have fever very badly when you were in the army? I had
enteric fever in South Africa, but not very badly.
Where did your sister, Mrs. Grant, die? She died at Walthamstow,
63 Wolseley Avenue, in 1908.
Miss Barrow had been living with her ever since your mother's death
in 1902? That is right.
When Miss Barrow lived at your mother's house had you lived there
too ? Yes.
How old are you? Forty.
So you were about ten years younger than Miss Barrow? Yes, about
Was she any relation of yours? No.
I think you said before the magistrate that you had been sweet-
Do you mean by that you had proposed to marry her? No.
Evidence for Prosecution.
Robert Ernest Hook
At the time that Miss Barrow lived at your mother's house did you
ever see her in the possession of any large sum of money then? Yes.
Had she still got that little cash box at your mother's house? I