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CAREER OF CRIME

THE MUEPEKER FOX

A "CROOK" FROM BOYHOOD

(From "The Post's" Representative.) ■■' ,;'• LONDON, 27th March.

It is the custom after a sensational trial and conviction to reveal in some detail the previous career of the criminal. Sidney Harry Fox, sentenced to death for the murder of his mother at Margate, appears to have started his career of crime at an early age. He was the son of decent working Norfolk parents, but was a source' of trouble to them from early boyhood. At thirteen ho was birched for a typical sneak-thief crime.- Ho went round collecting money for a charitable institution and stole the proceeds.' He was good-looking and plausible, and he exploited those qualities. Friends who thought that a boyish indiscretion ought, not to cloud his whole life got him a job as a page-boy in a West End family. He sobbed his,gratitude, learned to ape the ways of- people of good social standing—and stole some of the family plate.

Then came the war. In 1916, when the banks were understaffed, his plausible manners and affected' accent got him a job in Cox's Bank in Charing Cross. His vanity turned him. into a young man about town. To get tho money he needed he forged his customers' cheques.

Again his plausibility, combined with tears of repentance, helped him in a difficulty. Instead of being prosecuted he was allowed to.resign on condition that ho joined the Army. He became a cadet in the Eoyal Air Force. Ho "swanked"/that he was an old Etonian. No one suspected that he was1 the son of a railway porter. Ho used his banking experience to forge his brother officers' cheques. Ha went to gaol for thrcs months as a first offender.

IMPROVING HIS KNOWLEDGE.

.To improve his knowledge of the upper classes he took, a position as a footman. He took .a . cheque out of his master's' book, forged it, and- again went to-prison. When he „ came out he, left forgery for a while. He knew that his- next' conviction would' be a heavy one. He took to the confidence trick in the West End. On one occasion he was turned out of a fashionable club into which he had intruded.

Sometimes when he . was in prison his poor mother, who idolised her dashing and rascally son, worked as a cook or charwoman, and for a spell was in, a workhouse.

He had been a co-respondent in a divorce case,: iii which the woman was a wealthy' Australian. Ho used the fact to get more credit —his social circle, was so well-to-do. Finally he realised that tho game was up. Ho had no more money and could get no more. His niothor was no longer a iiolp to him,-but a handicap. It is beyond doubt that never before has there been reported in England a .case in which a man has insured his mother and then schemed from, day to day to 'lull her in order to obtain tho insurance , money. Nor has; a. case of strangling presented more extraordinary features than this

HOW CRIME WAS ESTABLISHED,

It is probablo that the crime of murder would never have been established but for the fact that the undertaker sealed with putty the coffin containing tho dead woman. Thus tho body was preserved from serious "postmortem changes. I ■

When Sir Bernard Spilsbury carriod out tho -exhumation ho had not tho slightest idea of the cause of death. It might have been duo to any ono of ii hundred causes.

There was not a single external mark' of violence. All the organs were reasonably healthy. There was no sign of gas or other poisoning; no sign of injury by fire- or smoke,- nothing to account for a natural death.

Then, hidden in the threat, Sir Bernard found a biuiso the size of half a crown. Had not tho coffin boon sealed the murder could not have boon established, • for tho bruise in the throat would hava disappeared.

Sir Bernard' next found another bruise on tho tongub caused by a tooth. But thero won; no teeth in the mouth, .and nobody then knew whore the teeth were. Before eliminating all other causes Sir Bernard went to his laboratory and conducted a series of chemical and spectroscopieal examinations. From these ho was a.blo to say definitely that Mrs.'Fox had been strangled, nnd that her cries had been stifled by a pillow.

[Tho capital sentence was carried ouf, early last month.]

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/EP19300519.2.14

Bibliographic details

CAREER OF CRIME, Evening Post, Volume CIX, Issue 116, 19 May 1930

Word Count
743

CAREER OF CRIME Evening Post, Volume CIX, Issue 116, 19 May 1930

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