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Author Topic: A Most Curious Fraud Trial. Kent Assizes 1916  (Read 1991 times)

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Offline Mickleburgh

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Re: A Most Curious Fraud Trial. Kent Assizes 1916
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2018, 11:20:46 »
Bizarre rather than curious one would have thought. Obviously a very devious child, no wonder he became a politician! Five marriages also suggests a somewhat flawed character and he veered to the far right.  Interesting that in later life he became interested in alternative punishments for crime, a `good whipping` perhaps. Presumably this particular episode was well buried as such a revelation, even in the `30s,`40s and `50s, would have been career damaging. A strange one.

Offline Desbrow

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Re: A Most Curious Fraud Trial. Kent Assizes 1916
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2018, 15:30:03 »
Reading through, I was just starting to wonder about what might have become of the boy, only to discover that you’d gone the extra mile to add the postscript – thank you.


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A Most Curious Fraud Trial. Kent Assizes 1916
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2018, 22:40:35 »

An astounding story of a precocious boy's deception practised on parents who believed everything he said, was told at Kent Assizes, when Norman Hulbert, sixty-five; Sarah, his wife, forty-nine; and Norman John, their son, twelve, were indicted for forging and uttering a cheque for £45.

For the prosecution it was stated that the three defendants visited a shop at Tonbridge and purchased various garments, stating that they were going on holiday. Mr. Hulbert presented in payment a cheque which purported to be signed "E.W. Handcock." A well-known gentleman of that name lived at Tonbridge, and, thinking it was his cheque, the shopkeeper accepted it. About the same time a motorcycle for the boy was bought at Messrs. Gamage's, London, and another cheque, signed "E. W. Handcock," was tendered by Mr. Hulbert. Both cheques were rejected by the bank, Mr. E. W. Handcock repudiated all knowledge of them.

Mr. and Mrs. Hulbert protested their innocence when arrested, while the boy said he was under the influence of a strange man whose name was Handcock, and who had threatened to kill him if he did not do what he told him. Mr. Hohler, K.C., who defended, described the case as a most extraordinary one. Mr. Hulbert, who was at one time manager of sugar plantations in the Sandwich Islands, returned to England some years ago, married, and lived at various places in Kent. At that time he possessed about £5000, and last Christmas, when the alleged offence was committed, he had securities to the amount of £2300 in one bank at Tonbridge.

Both father and mother doted on their boy, and believed implicitly everything he said. The boy had told them that a gentleman named Handcock had taken great interest in him, and was going to get him a scholarship in a university. He further said that he had to pay this gentleman premiums, and his father, believing the story, gave the boy in all nearly £200.
Just before Christmas the boy told his parents that Mr. Handcock wanted all three of them to go for a holiday. The parents were then taken by their son on a wild tour through the country. They went from Tonbridge to Sevenoaks, from Sevenoaks to London, then on to Ryde, from Ryde back to London, then to Margate, then to Liverpool and to Ireland. Mr. Hulbert signed both cheques in the name of Handcock because the boy said it was Mr. Handcock's wish that he should do so. Both firms had since been paid their accounts.

Mr. Hulbert, in his evidence, said that when they arrived at Sevenoaks his son said, "I have seen Mr. Handcock, and he says we are to go to London." Asked by the court whether he had ever seen the gentleman, Mr. Hulbert replied that while at Gamage's his son said that Mr. Handcock was in the building. The supposed Mr. Handcock was then standing with his back to the toy department. He afterwards said to his son, "Was that Mr. Handcock I saw upstairs?" and he replied. "Very likely."

Asked whether he believed his son's story now, Mr. Hulbert replied. "The way it has turned out I cannot believe it." He added that his bank book would show he had no intention of defrauding Mr. Handcock or anyone else. The boy, who displayed remarkable precocity, adhered to his story that what he did was at the instigation of this strange man.
The jury at once acquitted Mr. and Mrs. Hulbert, but convicted the son.

Mr. Justice Bray, addressing the boy, said he had brought terrible disgrace upon his parents and also upon himself. That he was a very clever boy there could be no doubt, and if he used his talents in the right direction he might some day do great things. Regretting that he could not order him a sound whipping, his Lordship directed the boy to be detained in a children's remand home for a month.
From the Kalgoorlie Argus (Aus) Tue Oct 1916.

In view of the judges remarks I wondered what had become of the boy.
It turns out he did quite well.
Wing Commander Sir Norman John Hulbert DL. 1903-1972.




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