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Extract from Northampton Mercury - Friday 16 February 1912


BUTLER'S DOWNFALL Thefts from Burton Latimer Hall

At Kettering Police Court on Wednesday, before Mr J A Gotch and other magistrates. William Joseph Kent, butler, Burton Latimer, was charged with stealing £31 5s, the money of Colonel George Harrison Champion de Crespigny, at Burton Latimer Hall, between September 1 and February 10.

Mrs Champion de Crespigny said the prisoner had been employed as butler at the Hall since November, 1910. In the smoke-room at the Hall was a roller top desk, in the drawers of which were two cash boxes. She occasionally left the keys in the desk when she was about the house or gardens but the cash boxes were always locked. Prisoner had access to the room. In March last she had £5 in one of the purses and it had been her practice to put £3 in that particular purse each month. She examined the purse on February 1 and instead of finding £42 which she expected there was only £13. Out of another purse she missed 25s.

Inspector Dunn said he made inquiries into the robbery and on February 10 he interviewed the prisoner at the Hall. He told prisoner that he suspected him of having committed the robbery and he replied, “I am sure I know nothing about it.” He asked prisoner to account for between £45 and £50 which he had paid away to various tradesmen in Burton during the past few months and he replied, “I have been dishonest. I had £2 from the desk about the beginning of September and I continued to keep fetching £2 or £3 at a time. My mistress used to leave the keys in the desk, and I took the money whilst they were out. I am very sorry but I am pleased it is found out." He then charged him with the theft, and brought him to the Police Station.

On the following day prisoner picked out several articles which he said had been bought with the stolen money. They included two suits of clothes costing £4.4s, another suit £4, fancy overcoat £2 5s, two pairs trousers £1 8s 6d, wrist watch 12s 6d, set of studs £1 5s, gold cross 5s, fur necklet 8s 6d, pair shoes 10s 6d, wrist watch 8s 6d. He had also lent money and given gifts to various lady friends. He found receipted bills upon prisoner amounting to £41 14s, the majority of which had been paid since last September. The prisoner had rendered every assistance in the recovery of the articles purchased with the stolen money. Prisoner pleaded guilty. Supt Hooper said the prisoner had hitherto borne a very good character. He was sent to gaol for three months with hard labour, the property and money recovered to be returned to prosecuters.

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