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The Pearl Case

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The Pearl Case

Post by Karen on Mon 25 Apr 2011 - 22:39



Owing to the admirable arrangements made by the City police today, there was no unusual crowding at the Council Chamber at the Guildhall, where Mrs. Ethel Florence Osborne, charged with having obtained 550 pounds from Messrs. Spink, the jewellers, was brought up to answer the charge. Not more than a hundred persons were outside the historic building when the time came for the accused woman to face an accusation so terrible for one in her social position, and of this number the majority were evidently more interested in the circumstances attending the election of the City Chamberlain than with the pale-faced, careworn-looking woman - the prisoner herself - who, in the absence of any "dock," took her seat at a table, where she was, dressed in black, with a heavy mourning veil of crape, the observed of all observers as she seated herself between Detective-sergeant Taylor and her husband, Captain Osborne, the latter of whom appeared to feel the awkwardness of the occasion as much as, if not more, than the woman who, but a few weeks ago, posed as an injured plaintiff in the Court of Queen's Bench. There were, as might be expected, various rumours as to the sequel of the extraordinary circumstances attending the case, and when Chief Inspector Donald Swanson, of Scotland-yard, entered the Court, and engaged in a whispered conversation with Mr. Superintendent Foster, it was hinted as possible that the accusation connected with the "Great Pearl Case," would lead to interesting developments. For fully half an hour the accused woman sat at the table before the presiding magistrate (Mr. Alderman David Evans, the Lord Mayor) entered. During the interval the prisoner at times hid her face completely in her hands.
Mr. Lewis Coward (instructed by Mr. St. John Wontner) defended.
Mr. Douglas (the Chief Clerk) asked if anyone represented the Treasury?
Chief Inspector Swanson replied that at present he appeared for the police and the Treasury. The Treasury had been communicated with.
The Lord Mayor said that until there was someone from the Treasury to conduct the case he could not proceed, and as the Lord Mayor left the Bench he directed that he might be acquainted when any legal representative from the Treasury arrived.
Mr. Lewis Coward said he appeared for Mrs. Osborne. It was possible to proceed without Treasury counsel. He desired to say that Mrs. Osborne had surrendered entirely of her own free will, and he thought the case should be proceeded with without delay.
The Lord Mayor - The Treasury have been communicated with, and I have decided to wait until 11 o'clock. I would suggest that Mrs. Osborne should now leave the Court, and go to Committee-room No.1.
Mr. Lewis Coward - Thank you, my Lord; the room is very hot and stifling.
Mrs. Osborne then rose to leave the room, led by her husband. She commenced to sob hysterically, and a scene of great excitement ensued. As the poor woman was being led towards the door, she suddenly cried out, "I can't see!" and staggered. She was saved from an actual fall by her husband and Colonel Smith, and half led half carried by them to the committee-room, where medical assistance was soon available.


At half-past 11 Mr. Cuffe, from the office of the Treasury Solicitor, made his appearance.
The Lord Mayor said that, having regard to the state of Mrs. Osborne's health, she need not be brought into Court.
Mr. Cuffe said he was exceedingly sorry being not present earlier, and that he had kept his lordship waiting. He now had an application to make. He asked for the withdrawal of the warrant obtained against Mrs. Osborne for obtaining money by false pretences. It was not necessary for him to say more than to make that formal application.
The Lord Mayor said the Court had been waiting over an hour.
Mr. Cuffe said he was exceedingly sorry, but he had told them that the Treasury were not responsible for the case. He had not thought the City police had charge of the case.
The Lord Mayor said at an earlier stage the Treasury were aware that they were the parties to the warrant.
Mr. Cuffe admitted that he was entirely in the wrong, and apologised. He had forgotten the matter.
The Lord Mayor accepted that explanation.
Mr. Lewis Coward asked whether he was to understand that the warrant was issued by the Treasury, and that now Mrs. Osborne had surrendered no evidence would be offered. Might he ask what was the course now to be taken by the Treasury?
The Lord Mayor said that had nothing to do with him. He was afraid he must limit proceedings to the stage at which they had arrived. No evidence had been offered, and therefore the case was withdrawn.
The proceedings therefore terminated.


Immediately after Mrs. Osborne had been discharged by the Lord Mayor she was re-arrested for perjury by Chief Inspector Swanson.
The prisoner was conveyed in a cab to Bow-street Police-station, where she was charged, before Sir John Bridge, with having committed wilful and corrupt perjury. Shortly after one o'clock, Mrs. Osborne, under the custody of Chief Inspector Swanson and Detective-Inspector Marshall, was placed in the dock. Pale and agitated, she seated herself and sobbed.
Mr. Cuffe said he appeared to prosecute. He detailed the circumstances connected with the prisoner's arrest and discharge at the Guildhall. He (Mr. Cuffe) only proposed now to offer sufficient evidence to justify a remand.
Detective-sergeant Taylor was called, and deposed: -
I was at Dover, last night, on the arrival of the Ostend boat, and arrested the defendant. Captain Osborne, her husband, was present. I said, "I am an inspector of police." I took her into custody. The prisoner made no answer to the charge. The warrant was read out to her.
In your presence? - No.
By Mr. Coward - Witness did not know whether the arrest was made in consequence of a communication made to the police by the husband.
Were you present at the Guildhall when the warrant was executed this morning? - Yes.
Was the warrant for perjury? - Yes.
The warrant you arrested the lady upon at Dover last night was a warrant for obtaining money under false pretences? - Yes.
By whom was that warrant issued? - By the Lord Mayor.
In answer to a further question, the witness was understood to say that he believed the warrant in the City was issued at the instigation of Messrs. Spink.
Chief Inspector Donald Swanson deposed: I took the prisoner into custody this morning at the Guildhall.
Did you read the warrant to her? - I did.
And she was then brought by you to this Court! - She was taken to the Bow-street Police-station, charged, and then brought to this Court.
Sir John Bridge then remanded the prisoner for a week, and refused bail.

Source: The Echo, Friday February 5, 1892, Page 2

Note: I will post the particulars of this crime tomorrow.

Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"

Posts : 4907

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Re: The Pearl Case

Post by Karen on Tue 26 Apr 2011 - 1:10



Mrs. Osborne last night returned to England, and by arrangement surrendered to the police authorities to answer a charge of fraud. She and Captain Osborne, who it appears, have been in Spain, made their home journey via Paris. Leaving the French capital by the 3:15 p.m. "club train" yesterday, and arriving at Calais shortly before half-past seven, they at once went on board the London, Chatham, and Dover Company's steamship Foam, which was lying alongside the quay at the Gare Maritime. They were among the first of the passengers to reach the deck of the ship, and as they passed down the gangway with brisk steps the few spectators could observe nothing to distinguish them from the every-day travellers who patronise the trains de luxe and the most rapid of the Channel services. Mrs. Osborne wore, over a black dress, a long travelling cloak of light grey material, which made her appear exceptionally tall. She looked pale and careworn in the extreme, and seems to have aged considerably since the recent trial. Captain Osborne's first thought for his wife was to secure her a private cabin, and one was speedily obtained on the weather side of the ship. Thither Mrs. Osborne promptly repaired, and their hand baggage, which had been brought from the train to the vessel by a porter, and placed upon a bench, was speedily transferred to the cabin by her husband. These few incidents, trivial and unimportant in their nature, attracted no observation, for the very good reason that there were as yet but half-a-dozen passengers on board, and these were occupied in making their own arrangements for what proved to be an uncomfortable, though a brief, voyage.


The eager police quest of weeks after Mrs. Ethel Florence Osborne was in reality terminated yesterday afternoon at the Gare du Nord, Paris. Acting on instructions received from London, Inspector Davidson, who, with Inspector Malone, of the City police, has been in France for over a month, left Gisors, and proceeded to meet the lady and her husband, who were then en route to London. As has been previously stated, various institutions at Gisors, Beauvais, Bordeaux, and elsewhere had been searched for the missing lady. Arriving at the Gare du Nord, Paris, Inspector Davidson saw Captain Osborne and Mrs. Osborne taking tickets by the 3:15 p.m. train for Cannon-street. Inspector Davidson, although making himself known, did not really arrest the lady, but contented himself with travelling with her and her husband to Dover. It may be mentioned that Captain Osborne left London last Saturday, starting from Cannon-street by the 11:50 a.m. train, to bring his wife back.


Last night Dover Pier was almost deserted, for the cold wintry wind swept and stormed around it. It was low tide, and the little steamer Foam, which arrived about 9:30 p.m., was made fast on the north side of the pier. Most of the passengers had made their way along the swaying gangway and had clambered up the dank wooden stairs on to the pier before Captain and Mrs. Osborne made their appearance. Colonel Smith, the Commissioner of the City police, stood at the shore end of the gangway, together with Inspector Taylor, awaiting the fugitive's arrival. Inspector Davidson, who had accompanied Captain Osborne and Mrs. Osborne, came ashore, and explained to the Commissioner that the lady and her husband had suffered greatly from seasickness, but that they were then preparing to leave the steamer. A minute afterwards Captain Osborne, carrying a few wraps, preceded his wife along the gangway. Both looked ill, but the lady appeared pale and faint, and had to be assisted to land by one of the quartermasters. Colonel Smith bowed to Captain Osborne, and saluted Mrs. Osborne, to whom he was hurriedly introduced by her husband. Evidently it was a trying moment, and it seemed as though the lady would fall, for she appeared to sway in a helpless manner. The two or three who were present and knew what was transpiring stood back, checking any disposition to manifest an idle curiosity. Colonel Smith, seeing the situation, at once proffered his arm to Mrs. Osborne, and, helped by him and the sailor, she was enabled to mount the stairs and walk along the platform to the South-Eastern train, her husband following.


The party entered one of the waggonlits, or palace cars, Commissioner Smith conducting them to a reserved compartment which he entered with them, Inspectors Taylor and Davidson coming next. They conversed about the possible fate in store for Mrs. Osborne, the Captain saying she was full of courage, and would endure her punishment without flinching or murmuring. It was her duty, he said, to do so. There would be no talk of shirking. If she got off with a year, he would be content; if with less he would regard it as a great mercy. Acting on instructions received from the general manager, the train was stopped for a moment at London-bridge, and the party alighted. Chief Detective M'William and one or two officers from the City police were in attendance. A cab was also in waiting, into which Mrs. Osborne was conducted by Colonel Smith and Mr. M'William, Captain Osborne following. It was at once driven to Cloak-lane Police-station. Mrs. Osborne was conducted into the inspector's room, when, after resting for a few minutes, she was formally charged before the acting night inspector, Hosking, with fraud, "in that she did on Feb. 19th, 1891, obtain a cheque of the value of 550 pounds from Messrs. Spink and Sons." No attempt was made, although the contrary was anticipated, to offer bail, and Mrs. Osborne was left for the night in the inspector's room in the custody of one of the women attendants.


Captain and Mrs. Osborne, as already stated, have been in Spain, though the precise locality is not indicated. They are, it appears, anxious to conceal the names of those who have been kind to them in their exile. They were aware that a warrant had been issued, and the journey to Spain was undertaken principally that time might be secured for a careful consideration of the whole position. It has been suggested that detectives were acquainted with Mrs. Osborne's whereabouts, and that her return has been largely influenced by that fact. This, however, is denied, and it is alleged that whereas Mrs. Osborne got safely across the Pyrenees, the officers entrusted with the search went no further than Normandy. At any rate, so satisfied was Captain Osborne of the ability of his wife to leave Europe that he offered to take her to Buenos Ayres if she so desired. She refused this offer, however, and expressed her determination (so the Telegraph says) to return to England and take her trial, in order that she might put an end to her husband's exile. Captain Osborne was perfectly willing to sacrifice his military career to what his wife might regard as her own interests, but Mrs. Osborne would not hear of it.


At the trial it will be pointed out that just before going down to Torquay Mrs. Osborne was suffering from hysteria, and that her general condition of health was such that she had been continually attended by a medical man. Physically and mentally weakened, she yielded to temptation; and, having allowed the opportunity of confession to go by, she preferred to brave anything sooner than break that confidence in her innocence which her husband and her friends entertained. On these grounds, as well as upon the fact that reparation has been made, and that Mrs. Osborne is likely soon to become a mother, the clemency of the law is hopefully anticipated. Mrs. Osborne is utterly broken down in health, and shows in her features traces of the severest mental suffering. With regard to Captain Osborne, he is bearing up manfully. His position in the Army is not altered, and (adds the Telegraph) he sees no reason why it should be, though it need scarcely be added that the future has for him considerable uncertainty.

Source: The Echo, Friday February 5, 1892, Page 2

Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"

Posts : 4907

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