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1886: Serial swindler taken to court by Talbot Landlord

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 01 June 1886


The Rev. Robert Thomas Le Ban Auketell (40), no place of abode, was charged with obtaining a quantity of food and lodgings, of the value of 17s. 6d., with intent to cheat and defraud Thomas T. Riches of the same, at Cuckfield, on the 31st May, 1886.

—Thomas Thoroton Riches, proprietor of the Talbot Hotel, Cuckfield, deposed that the prisoner took a room at the Hotel last Saturday, and remained there till Monday morning, meantime receiving food and lodging. Hearing on Saturday that prisoner had no luggage, witness sent his account on Sunday morning, upon which prisoner told him he had no money. He said he expected some friends that evening, and that if they did not appear he expected a letter with some money on Monday morning and if that did not turn up he would see the Rev. F. J. Mount (vicar of Cuckfield), whom he knew, and get some money.

Talbot c1880s colourised

Relying upon those statements witness let prisoner remain. On witness applying to him again that (Monday) morning prisoner went to Mr. Mount’s, and remained about ten minutes. Witness went towards the Church, thinking prisoner had gone there. Witness then called on Supt. Denman, and afterwards saw the Rev. F. J. Mount. He then overtook prisoner near the Sergison’s Arms Inn, Haywards Heath.

On asking prisoner what he was going to do, he replied that he could not pay his account, that he had plenty of friends round there, and he did not intend to run away. Witness brought prisoner back, and gave him into custody.

—Supt. Denman, in applying for remand, stated that there were several unpaid bills found on the prisoner, and he had a letter from the Deputy Chief Constable of West Sussex stating that prisoner had been round to hotels and doing the same thing elsewhere.

One of the letters found on prisoner was from the Brighton Grand Hotel Company, dated February 18th, 1886, and applying tor the payment of £4 16s. 7d. Mr. L. B. Henderson, the Deputy Chief Constable tor West Sussex, wrote the 20th ult., inquiring if anything was known at Staplefield of an Irish clergyman (the defendant). He said “He told me he had been doing duty at Staplefield, and that had many friends around Haywards Heath. He has been at two hotels in my Division, and left without paying his bills.”

Among the hotels visited by defendant were the Golden Cross Hotel, Charing Cross; Great Western Royal Hotel, London Terminus; Jury’s Hotel, Derry, besides others. The amounts claimed from prisoner varied from £3 6s. 1d. to 6s 9d.

—The articles found on defendant were 3s. money, a purse, pawn ticket, bunch of keys, knife, pencil, pipe and tobacco.

— Prisoner was remanded tor week, being offered bail—himself in £40 and two sureties in each.

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