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MAGISTERIAL., Timaru Herald, Volume LIII, Issue 5302, 30 November 1891
GEBALDI.NE— Thubsday, Nov. 26ih,1891. \ (Before 0. N. Orbell aud H. W. Moore, | Bsqrs., J.Ps.) : ABBON. Henry Septimus Deoimus Homes was obarged with f eloniouslj.; and maliciously aetting fire to a hotel and dwelling house, ■with the intent of defrauding the 'jLivarpool and London and Globe Inauranoe CompaSiy, on 6th November inat. : Prisoner was also oharged with having' on 6th November inst, at Hilton* set fire to £he Hilton Hotel and dwelling bouse, John Jensen being in the houae at : IKe time of the fire. ■. Inspector Pender" appeared for the prosecution, and Mr White defended prisoner. The following evidence was given : — Alfred Fisher: I am a bookseller and journalist, and alao agent in Geruldine for the Liverpool and London and Globe Insurance Company. I recolleot prisoner coming to ■ raj ofEca in July, in regard to a proposal for insurance on his stock, furniture, and personal effects in the Hilton Hotel. After that I went over to the hotel and saw the stock and furniture, and felt satisfied that it waa all right up to the value of £240. I filled in the proposal fjr insurance, and it was signed by prisoner, who paid the premium for a year. I gave him the insurance policy (produced), which 1 forwarded to the head office at Ohristchurob. I went to the site of the hotel the day after the fire and found everything destroyed with the exception of a small portion of the stock. There was £150 placed on the furniture and personal effects, and £50 on the stock. There had been a fire previously at the hotel, about three weeks before the last fire, and a olaim was made by prisoner to the amount of £80. Ido not know whether it -was paid. James Alexander Bird deposed : lam the local manager for the Liverpool and London and Globo Insurance Company, at the head office for Canterbury, carrying on business in Chrislchureh. Mr A. Fisher is our agent for Geraldine. I recollect a proposal (produced) coming to my office. The endorsement on the interim policy transferring hia intereat in the policy to the Grown Brewery, is signed, I believe, by prisoner- In accordance with the endorsement on the interim policy, the policy marked C was made out direct to the Crown Brewery Company. I recollect seeing pri soner shortly after the 13th inat. He called at my office, and I had a conversation with him. He handed me a proof of loss (produced) marked D, with the declaration attached. It referred to the stock end furniture destroyed by 6re at the Hilton Hotel. ■ X kept it and told him I would look it over. He came again two days afterwards. I told him I could not accept it in that form, aod that he mnst give me particulars. I gave it back to him together with the declaration scd told him how to amend it, to show more of the details. He said that it was quite impossible for him to recollect what there was in the house, and that he would have to go back and refer to his wife, who knew more about it than hedid. He took the proof of los» and declaration away. I saw him the next day or the day after when he came to the office again and brought what purported to tie an inventory of Ihe stock and furniture of the hotel at the time of fire in November marked S. I had no conversation with him. Prisoner merely handed it in as the amended proof of loss. I have not seen him since, and hava not paid him the amount. No claim was made on me except the order produced from Mr Gabites. of Ximaru, together with a letter (marked F) from him for the snm of £6. It was signed by prisoner. The Crown Brewery Company have not made an? elaio? np to the present time. John K. Bamfield : lam a Justice of the Peace living in 'iimarn, and recollect the prisoner making the declaration produced marked D, which I signed, on his declaring ihe contents to be true. Samuel George Maddison : lam inspector for tha Eire losurance Association in Christ•ctmrch, and am a builder by profession. It ia part of my duty to inspect buildings, stock, and furniture, and value them. I went to the Hilton Hotel on 10th October, there having been a fire there. I went through every room in the hotel. I made a written estimate. I estimate £25 to have been the value of the stock in trade, and furniture £75. I allowed £25 for prisoner's personal effects, included in the £75. Prisoner waa not then at, home I next saw him on 16th November at the office of the Liverpool and London ani Globs Insurance office. He went there to see Mr iiird about proof of loss which he had put ic on the Saturday previously (marked V). Mr Bird handed it back to him aa being incomplete, telling him that ha would have to put the prices opposite each article he ■claimed for. I took up the proof of loss and asked him about the stock, if it waa in the hotel when I went to the hotel the first timo. He Baid he was sorry he was not at home on that occasion or he could have explained that it was low on account of a lot of the stock being at the Timaru and Geraldine racecourse where he had the booths ; and all the articles in the proof of loss were in the hotel at the time of the fire, and he had made up the proof of loss from a Mrs Constable's dictation and his own knowledge. He w us sure there was nothing therein but was in the hotel when it was destroyed ; that this was hia third fire and misfortune eeemed to follow him. Rt purchased his goods from the Farmers* Co-operative Association, Timaru, Wood, Bhand and Co., Ohristchurch, and Mr Caro, Ohriatchureh. Next da; I got the amended proof of loss from Mr Bird. Jhomns Liviogstono ', I am a detective stationed at Timaru, and recollect seeing prisoner in limaru on 31st October last. He asked me if I was coming out to make enquiries about a fire which had taken place at tne Hilton Hotel on the 6th October. I told him it was useless going out there then aa repairs had been effected, and it would do no good. I said " I suppose you have no idea what caused the fire? " and he replied that it was through a defective chimney. He said he was going to tbo Old Country if he aould aell out, and had a man going out to look at the business on that day. There was another Bra at the same holel, and I saw Homes at Hilton on the 7th November, the chy after the hotel had been burned down. I told him I came to cjako enquiries about the fire and would like to gafc a statement from him us to what he knew about it. I went ini.o a room in Mr Bradley's st/ore and he made & statement to me which I took flown in writing. Prisoner aigned each sheet of the statement after it had boen read over t> him, and ho enid it w»s correct. The place was burnt down when I came there. (Statement produced, and road over by tba witness iind marker! F) I arrested prisoner on the 17th inst. at 'iimuru on the present charge. He aaid nothing. I aatr priaooar on the railway platform on the 12th inst. In my presence ho said that on the night of the fire of the 6th inst. he went to bed about half past ten o'clock, read fo? an hour, and put out the candle, and that th&ra was no light in his houae downstairs after that till the time he was called up about the fire in the morning. William Berry deposod : I ncn a contractor and builder, and reside in Gcraldiue. X wont to the prisoner's hotol to ex*mino the chimney and take it down on the 19th ■October. I took the chimney down as far as tbo githorings, I examined it very closely. There were mnrk» of a previous firn in u room nt the back of the chimney, I took the chimney down below that. I found no crevices in the chimney whore a flro could get tbrougb, I rebuilt it. In my opinion I left the chimney in aperfeotly safe and soand condition. No fire could get through, aa it was well plastered imide. When I examined the ohimnoy at . first there was no appearance of fire in it. Boards were bnrnt away from the back of tho chimney, I could not trace the fire from tho chimney fr> the weather boards. There wa» no connection between the boards and tho chimney, thore boing a space of two inches between them. James Blytb : I. am a builder roeiding at Tomuka, and also an insurance agent at Ternuka. I knew the Hilton Hotol. t was there on Iha duy before tho lire. I went (hero to see if the repairs had been done after the fire which occurrod in October l»»t. .Prisoner was there. I looked over the chimney and other repairs, and thny were left in ■yoo/J condition and perfectly safo , a» .regarda flre. I was in the bar and «omo of tue'robms. It. i« niwfc of my duly as. insoranco agonfc lo «i>n I'.'" ur,tl viiluo stock. I had a look round and put a value on it in mv own mind, f.ho etoab in the bar at £12 to £15. I was in tho I
dining room, .kitchen, bar. the two sitting I rooms, and tap-room, and four bedrooms upstairß. What I saw was worth about £50 at tbe outside. The prisoner said he was satisfied in regard to tbe repairs to the buildiug, and on his saying, "What about the furniture," I told him that I had nothing to do with that. He said he was going to leave the hotel when a suitable tenant could be got for it ; that his wife was away in Timaru ill, and he had no servant as the two girls had left him. William Willoughby deposed : lam a oon- 1 stable of police stationed in Geraldine, and' also hold the appointment of bailiff for the Resident Magistrate's Court, Geraldine. On the 28rd October I had to exeoute a distress warrant, and put in a man as bailiff in tbe hotel. It was for £5 odd in a civil oase. The man waa in charge two days when the amount waß paid. On 2rd November 1 1 executed another distress warrant. On this! occasion I took away what I seized. There was an interpleader case in this, in the Bosident Magistrate's Court, and the stock was handed over to Meeara Rutland and Co., Timaru. There wore some outstanding summonses existing after tbe fire. Margaret Mary Campbell ; lam a general servant residing at Mr Alexander McLean's, near Geraldiue. Some time ago I was in the employ of prisoner at the Hilton Hotel as general servant, and was there at the time of the fire in tbe hotel in Ootober het. The family consisted some time previously of Mr and Mrs Homes, Mrs Pearce (Mrs Homes' mother), and two children. I was the only Bervant at the time of the first fir»: There was no man servant or barman. Mrs Pearce was away about a month before the fire; in Timaru. I did not see any damage done by the first fire to the furniture or stook. A wa'l wa» partly burnt. I was in the habit of going through the rooms daily, cleaning them. ' There were seven bedrooms upstairs. The plan produced show* the bedrooms up* stairs. Thnre was one bear "in below, occupied by Mr lloiues. Af'<r tue fir?t fire Mrs Hqmeß was thore, but luft on ine following Saturday. I waa only there one week after tbe first fire, and nothing Wus removed excopt a few clothes which Mra Homes took away. Iha week before the first fire some things were removed from No. I bedroom ; the bedroom ware and looking glass. They were sent away addressed to Mrs Pearce, Timaru. That was from tbe room in which the fire occurred. There was a bed, dressing table, and wash-hand stand left. I could not say anything in regard to the bar or what was in it. In the list produced in regard to tbe private bedroom the things were there when I left before the fira except there were 5 pairs of blankets, not 10 as stated. I never saw any silverware there, £5, or slippers. Tbe things in the passage were all there. All tbe things mentioned were in the dining room ; also tl>e things mentioned in the kitchen, In bedroom No 1 there was no oilcloth or carpeting when I left, no chairs, no mattress, blankets, no sheets, pillows, quilt, vallances, looking glass, washatand ware, brush, comb, towel, or bag of clothes. In No. 2 bedroom, no chairs. In No. 3 bedroom there was a wooden bedstead instead of an iron one. There were no chairs in No 4or No. 5. In No. 1, there was only one bedstead instead of two There were no mattresses or palliasses, sheets, pillows, chair, waahstand ware, brush comb or towel. There was nothing on tbe landing except a flower stand. The fire escape and cradle were in No. 7. There waß no jam in the oiipboard in the front sitting room, when 1 leit. 1 know a man namod John Janfcen, who was employed occasionally aa barman. The Lcavys lived there occasionally. The furniture in the house when I left was not of first class quality, but medium. There were no milkpans or buckets in the scullery. Jane Constable : I am a married woman, my husband's name being George Constable, a labourer. I live about five minutes' walk from the Hilton hotel. It was kept by prisoner till the sth November when it was burnt down that night. I went to the house ocoasionally. to assist in the work, but I did not sleep there. I recollect Maggie Campbell leaviog. It was Bhortly after the first fire. I took her plaoe there for a week, going there daily. I went through tbe rooms and made the beda and knew generally what was in the house. I saw two chairs go away on tbe Saturday before the last fire. That wjs all to my knowledge. I recollect Mra Homes leaving, but was not there at the time. I did not paok up anything in tbe house. (Thia witness then gave similar evidence as to that give by the last witness in regard to the inventory of furpiture etc., in the house.) It waa n calm night wben the fire occurred. I was there till S p.m, on the night of tbe fire. A. small fire was left iu the kitchen range, but I don't know if tho range was closed or not Jack Jansen and a swagger and Mr Homes w ere there when I left that night Jansen and prisoner were always on good terms. I did not Bee prisoner and Jansen talking together that evening. I know of nothing being removed from No. 1 bedroom after Maggie Campbell left. Joseph Whaypols : I am a labourer, and was on my way in search of employment and 1 arrived at the Hilton, hotel on the evening before the fire. I got a shako-down in a hut about 80 yards from tbe house. I turned in at about 9 p.m,, and was not disturbed till the fire. . I woke up and eaw a light through the fire. I got un and saw that the back of the house waa on fire and flames coming through tho roof. I saw two men walking towards the back of the house. I went to tbe back of the house. I saw Homes going to a mail named Jansorj who was lying on his back. He was apparently hurt. He got all right afterwards. 1 did not notice prisoner doing anything, except be removed the man. I helped prisoner to take some casks from tho front of tho house, and shift them further away from the fire. They were beer casks and heavy. I think there were threo. Prisoner said we could do nothing to prevent the place being burnt down, He didn't seem muoh alarmed about it. Ho aßked me not to mention anything about the place he would see it all right; with me after. He gave me Ss when I was going away. Prisoner was behind me, and I heard him say that he thought I was a smart fellow and they would have to mind what they »aid. I don't know to whom be made that remark. He spoke in an ordinary tone of voice. He told me to stop till the police came out and the enquiry was over. I waited till the police ciime. After tbe house was burned down,, prisoner asked me to go and call a man, but I didn't know who he waß. William Henley : I am a labourer living at Hilton, and wsw st the Hilton hotel on Din ovoning of the 6tli. Saw Jans™ »nd prisoner togotber talking, sitting down at the table. I left about 20 minutes pant tun p.m 1 kiii callod ud nt about 5 am tho next morning when the hotel was burnt down, und 1 went there. When I first saw prisoner I asked him what he had been doing. Ho soiri he had had a misfortune in tho house being burnt down, and Jack Jansen bad nearly been smothered in it. He said that he might be arrested ovor it on suspicion, sa there waß suspicion in regard to the last fire. Prisoner and I wero pretty friendly and I looked nftef tho bur when he wag at the race?. T euv/ hoiiib nf.ook come back to the hotol from tlin Geraldine and Timnru racee, I biilieve this wus bofpro Hid lirst flre. . Williurn Millar Patrick deposed: I am a contrnctor living at, Gapte' Valley. I wbb at the Jfaknhu river, eoliwg, on Ujo.eyepiug of thn 6th Nov. with thrco of my brothers. Between half-past 12 and a quarter to 1 o'clock I wus passing the Hilton butol. The! bouse was all right. There was a light in' or.oof tlio window. dowo»t»fr». I don't know what room prisoner occupied in the house. (Witness hero pointed out tbe room on the plan of the hotel, being prisoner's bedroom.) There was no sign of fire in tbe house with I tue exception of this light. John Jansen j I am a labourer living at Hilton for tbe past five years, and bave some friends thcro. I had been employed by prt«oner for about » month, since the first (Ire, n» a general servant I used to haye full olmrgo of the bnr sometimes. I was there on the night of the fire, and slept in No, 6 bodroom. . Went to bed at about half past 10 o'clook and left prisoner in the bouie. Ho occupied a room on tbe ground floor. There wag only this room used a* a bedroom down, itairo. . I was tbero tba whole of the day I bafore tbe flre. I only saw one jar in tho bar on that day. Thorn wasn't much in it. It wss not half full. I got it out after tho flre, and ifc was eavod. Thrco jars of wine were saved, one about an ft gallon jar and two ftnajlonos. There wero not Bix bottles of cordials in the bar. They might have, been in tbo cupboard, There were none i&ved. Th*
! three barrels of beer were saved. There were some bottles on the shelves, including aboul half a dozen champagne bottles, some witl: whiskey in. There were three decanters onlj saved. I dont know about the glacaes Witness here went through the in' ventory of goods in the house befon the fire, and stated what was saved. Then was no brandy in the bar. Two jars of run were eavud. I saw no box of horse and oattli drugs and receipts. There were some oordiali in the front room oupboard, but no apiriti that lam aware of. Homes had some stool eent to the races at Geraldine and Timaru A deal came back from the latter, whiol went to the former, and what was lefl was returned to Hilton. On the night of thi fire I was disturbed between two and three o'clock, when prisoner came into my robii and called me. I eaw that the bask part o: the hotel was on fire right up to the roof When I came out of my room there was n< one there but Homes. He told me he had flret the hotel. Ha didn't say anything more then I got the stuff out of the bar, and prisone got things out of his bedroom, and burst tb< bar door open, I went in and got what ' could. Homes did not save much. Then were two drawers, but what was in them I V!< not know. I broke into tbe sitting room, sne got one chair out. Then I was overpowers; by the smoke. I became uaconscioun, auc then the plaee was all burnt down. Previou to going to bed I had a conversation witl prisoner. He said : '.' I am going to bun the place to night." I did not reply. I didn' believe him, because he had talked about do ing it for two or three weeks bofon then. He said he would make money by ih insurance. I knew that the place, slock, am furniture were insured. Tbe building belongei to the Crown Brewery Company. Prison? and I stayed in tbe 10000-boi of tbe stabl after the house was burnt. We talked to gether, but I don't know what was aaii because so . much was said. He Baid h expeoted ' to be looked up for setting fire ti the place. He offered me £20 not to say any thing. He said he would pay me if I went t< Geraldine on the Tuesday after. I went thor but he didn't meet me. Ho was not doing great deal of business in the hotel. Pom days he took nothing. Mrs Homes and Mr Pearce left the hotel ao - ne time before th fire. I don't know why they left. I behev Homes was in difficulties. Be told me h was going to the old country. He told nx the amount of the insurance was £200, ani that he would make £120 by the fire. Cross-examined by Mr White : Severe people came to tbe scene of the lire on th day hf i-r. the fire, Bradley, Hoaley, and othere immediately after tbe place was burnt down I didn'f, make the same statement to tben that I have undo here to-day. Tbe onolan telling now is the truthful one. Because was not paid for it, is the reason why I.mak the statement to-day. I didn't tell the polic till a week after the fire as it didn't pay m to do so. I never told Healey or anybod; else that I was to get £50 from Detectiv Livingstone for uplitting on prisoner. This concluded tbe evidence, and prieonei i»ho reserved his defence, was committed fo trial at the next criminal sittings of th Supremo Court to be holdan at Timaru. Bai was allowed — prisoner in £200, and tw sureties in £200 each.
MAGISTERIAL., Timaru Herald, Volume LIII, Issue 5302, 30 November 1891
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