John William Heath Fraud Case

INTRODUCTION BY MELENIE MYATT

The following article features John William Heath born 1855 in Horton, he was the son of Samuel Heath born 1829 in Horton, it is his Father's brother John Heath born 1820 in Horton who is the complainant in the case.

It was perhaps the financial consequences of the case that led John Heath to move his family to Alstonfield to live with his Mother in law which is where they are shown living in the 1881 census.

John William Heath meanwhile seems to have remained a publican in Hanley where he is living in 1881 with his wife, children and parents. He later moves away from the area staying in the hotel/publican trade.

It can only be imagined what distress and rift this case must have caused amongst the family.'

THE STAFFORDSHIRE DAILY SENTINEL MARCH 18 1879

A SINGULAR CASE OF FRAUD BY A NEPHEW.-

John William Heath, landlord of the New Inn, Newstreet, Hanley, was charged with having obtained a deed of mortgage for £200 by fraud and false pretences, and appropriating to his own use certain sums of money on the same from his aged uncle, John Heath, farmer living at Gratton, near Endon.- Mr, Tennant appeared for the prosecution and Mr. Richardson defended.- from the opening statement of Mr. Tennant, and which was supported by evidence, it would appear that in the summer of last year the prosecutor had purchased some land adjoining some which he owned at Gratton, and that after paying for it his capital became exhausted.

His nephew saw him concerning the matter, and said that if he would make over to him a deed of mortgage for £200, he would get him that amount of money and hand it over to him. The unsuspecting old man did as he was asked, the deed ment being signed by him at the office of Mr, Griffiths of Newcastle. A few days afterwards he saw the defendant, and asked if he could let him have any money on it, when the latter replied that he could not, but that he had lodged the document with Mr. Challinor of Hanley, who had promised to see if he could not get the necessary sum on it.

The whole of the land prosecutor held had previously been mortgaged for £1000 and some odd, and defendant took the deeds and asked Mr. Challinor's representative to make one Consolidated mortgage. Upon the deed, sums amounting to £144? were advanced to the defendant, who, it was concluded, denied having received any to the prosecutor and therefore kept the money for himself, the old man at the time, as it was alleged, starving. The latter repeatedly applied to his nephew for funds, and was always told that no money had been raised on the deed, urging as a reason that gentleman did not wish to advance more on land so heavily mortgaged.

Ultimately he applied to Mr Challinor's clerk for the deed, as no money could be raised up on it, when he learned what had actually taken place.- Several legal arguments took place between Mr. Tennant and the learnedcounsel for the defence, the latter urging that in the money transaction the defendant stood as the principal, and not as an agent or bailee, and therefore could not be sued; also, that the agreement between himself and his uncle was a promise to perform certain things, no date or time being fixed for payment of any money over, and that the defendant had a heavy bill against his uncle for assisting him in gathering in his hay harvest three years ago, and also carting his hay up the market. It was further urged that the defendant had borrowed money from him at different times previous to the execution of the deed. All three allegations, however, the prosecutor denied, his wife also corroborating his statement.-

Mr Richardson also urged that the claim was civil one and should be made in a civil and not a criminal court.- The stipendiary, however, overruled this objection, and evidence was given by the prosecutor and his wife, and also Mr. Snow, clerk to Mr. Challinor, bearing out the statements of Mr.Tennant, and the defendant was remanded for the completion of the depositors, previous to his being committed to the assizes, bail being accepted.

THE STAFFORDSHIRE DAILY SENTINEL MARCH 25 1879

THE EXTRAORDINARY CHARGE OF FRAUD AGAINST A PUBLICAN.-

John William Heath, landlord of the New Inn, Hanley, on bail, was charged on remand with having obtained by false pretences a mortgage deed for £200, from his uncle, John Heath.- Mr. Tennant prosecuted, and Mr. Richardson defended.- the latter gentleman opened the case for the defence. He stated that when the deed was executed it was explained to the old man that the money was to pass.

He owed the prisoner several small sums, and the prisoner promised that he would not demand either principal or interest so long as the old man lived.- Mr. James Williams, formerly a clerk in the employ of Mr. Griffiths, Newcastle, but now resident at Stafford, said that he attested the deed produced. He read it over to the prosecutor, who signed it. Witness understood that the consideration was a past one. No money was asked for by the prosecutor.- In cross-examination, witness said that the prosecutor gave him to understand that he had received the consideration.- The defendant was then committed for trial at the assizes, bail being accepted.

THE STAFFORDSHIRE SENTINEL , SATURDAY, JULY 19 1879.

CROWN COURT.- TUESDAY

There was only one case of fraud which would require any special attention. John William Heath was indicted under 24 and 25 vin., cap. 96sec.90, for fraudulently inducing John Heath to execute a mortgage security of £200. The offence appeared to be this: The prosecutor had purchased a small estate at a place called Gratton. It cost about £2,000, and was mortgaged for £1,400 or £1,500. The prosecutor, wanting £200 to meet some pressing demands, spoke to the prisoner, a relative, who replied that he had some money at Lloyd's bank, Hanley, which he would advance, and get the rest. He said that he should require the prosecutor to execute a mortgage, and the prosecutor wanting money, and having no reason to doubt the prisoner, assented. The deed was prepared by a solicitor, and executed, but no money was handed to the prosecutor. He received no money at all, and the consequence was that he was sold up and utterly ruined. If the prisoner merely had the deed executed to raise money for himself the fraud was certainly a very cruel one indeed. His Lordship concluded by saying that he saw no reason to repeat what he had stated at the last assizes, but he regretted that more of the prisoners had not been admitted to bail, and thought that magistrates should exercise their right in this respect very freely, especially in small felonies, and dismissed the Grand Jury to their duties.