THE ARSON CASE AT NAPIER.
Napier, April 27. William Henry Shaw, late rate collector, was charged at the R.M. Court to-day with setting fire to the Government Buildings, and was remanded fer eight days. The'police having'set to work to make inquiries,found that it was the annual audit day, and the fact that a number of rate-book counter-foils had been pulled down from a shelf and ranged round Shaw’s books after oil had been poured over them in open order, so that they would readily, burn, directed suspicion to him. Ho was in the office, and was most active in suggesting theories to account for the fire, pointing out footprints on a table below a window, which nobody else could see. At last he seemed to become conscious that suspicion pointed to him, and at once he wont to the Mayor and confessed that he had embezzled money belonging to the Corporation, and had falsified the books to hide defalcations, but he denies having set the place on fire. The police have since discovered that Shaw purchased kerosene iu the bottles which were found in the room, from Messrs. Money and Go’s, on Saturday. Shaw is well connected, and has hitherto borne a good name. He was at one time a runholder in the country, but for several years past has been in the employ of the Corporation. About six months ago he was appointed rate collector, and it is supposed that the defalcations have occurred since then. He stales that ho has no idea how much he lifts embezzled, and it will take several days for the auditors-to find it out, though several specific embezzlements have already been d’seovered. Shaw has a wife and large family, and much sympathy is expressed for them. He has never lived in a fast manner’, and nothing occurred to arouse suspicion before the fire. The general belief is that he got gradually into debt, and on being pressed by tradesmen, took the money from the rates, and then altered the books to correspond with the amounts he paid in. His salary was over L2OO a year..
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 93, 29 April 1880
THE ARSON CASE AT NAPIER. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 93, 29 April 1880
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