Victorian London - Crime - Con-men - Fare-dodging

AN ACTOR’S LEADING PART. J.H.Clayton, an actor, of Kynaston-road, Hackney, appeared to a summons charging him with having travelled in a superior class of carriage, on the Great Eastern Railway, to that for which he had taken a ticket. A solicitor appeared to prosecute on behalf of the company, and Mr. J.B.Abbott defended. The defendant, it was stated, was in the habit of travelling every evening from the Rectory-road Station to Bethnal-green on his way to the theatre at which he was engaged. The solicitor remarked that the defendant, as a leading actor and a popular man, was well known by the officials. Mr. Abbott objected to the statement. Mr. Hannay said that he could stop the prosecution stating anything to the prejudice of the defendant until they had proved their case, but could not prevent the solicitor praising the defendant (Laughter.) Evidence was then given showing that on the 4th of May the defendant at 6.16 in the evening arrived at the station about a minute before the train. The station-master, who said that he had previously had reason to suspect him, ascertained that the defendant had taken a third-class ticket, but he saw him pass carriages of that description and enter a second-class carriage. A porter being sent to watch him the defendant was seen to leave at Bethnal-green, and on passing out to give up a third-class ticket and go away without offering any excess or mentioning that he had ridden in a superior class of carriage. He was then stopped and his name and address taken. At first he said he had not so ridden, and then he admitted it, and offered to pay the excess, and it was said he had since made a written apology and offered a guinea to the Railway Porters’ Benevolent Fund. Mr. Abbott pleaded that the defendant had no intention to defraud. What he had done was in forgetfulness, he being in the habit of riding sometimes second-class. Mr. Hannay said that the defendant might have entered the carriage in a moment of abstraction, particularly as being engaged on the stage, he might have been repeating the words of his part; but the fit of abstraction, he thought, would scarcely have lasted throughout the journey, and still less likely was it that he would not have been cognisant of his mistake when giving up the ticket. It was a bad kind of offence, the difference between it and steading 2d. out of the company’s till being merely technical. He fined the defendant 40s. and costs.

Daily News, June 2, 1880