The Braintree Cinema Theft





On Friday, Braintree, G. T. Bartram, Esq., presiding, Fredk. Harold Williamson, formerly employed as an operator at the Central Cinema, Braintree, was charged with stealing 8/- from the Cinema, the property of Messrs. Shipman and King, on June 12.

Mr. E. W. Brooker, manager of the Central Cinema, stated that he left 8/- in his office, and on returning found the cupboard forced and the money gone. Prisoner had been employed at the Cinema, and would know that money would be placed in the cupboard.

P.s. Neach said prisoner told him he took the money on the spur the moment to give to his wife, so that she should not be worried, as he was out of work. He handed witness 8/-, saying he had changed the coppers into silver.

Williamson was further charged with fraudulently converting to his own use 5/9 belonging to Messrs. Shipman and King, on March 9.—Claude Jaques, Harrogate, said he was formerly manager of the Braintree Picture House for Messrs. Shipman and King, and prisoner was then chief operator there. Witness gave him money to pay small accounts. On March 5 witness received a bill for 5/9 from Mr.A. F. Nicholls, ironmonger, and on March 9 handed the bill and cash to prisoner to pay the account. Prisoner returned with the bill, which purported to be receipted.—Aubrey Frank Nicholls, ironmonger, said he supplied two gallons of paraffin to the Cinema, and sent bill for 1/11, but the bill as now produced had been altered to six gallons, and the price to 5/9. He had not been paid for the two gallons. The words written on the bill, "Paid A. F. N.," were not in his handwriting. -- P.s. Neach stated that when charged with converting 5/9 to his own use prisoner replied, "l am sorry; I did take it; I took it owing to a predicament I was in with a woman London." — Prisoner : That is correct.

Williamson was further charged with converting to his own use 15/9, the money of Shipman and King, March 16. —Mr.Jaques said gave Mr. Nicholls an order to supply goods to the cinema to the value of 15/9, and handed prisoner the bill and 15/9 to pay it. He returned with the bill which purported to be receipted. --Mr. Nicholls said the 15/9 had not been paid; the words on the bill, " Paid, A. F. Nicholls," were not in his handwriting.—P.s. Neach said prisoner admitted converting the 15/9 to his own use, saying was sorry he took the money.

Prisoner gave evidence, and stated that the cupboard door in the office at the Cinema was not locked, only fastened with a button, and he took the 8/-, using no force or instrument. The marks on the door had been made on previous occasions, when he had seen the cupboard forced. On the charges of converting 15/9 prisoner said he took these amounts under pressure for money from a woman in London whom at the time he believed to be his wife. He sent the money in order to avoid a scene outside the Cinema, which might have lost him his job.

Prisoner was committed for trial at the Essex Assize, and was offered bail. It was explained that he was in custody on a charge of bigamy, for which had been committed for trial.