Archive for the ‘Chief Inspector John George Littlechild’ Category

The Retirement Of Chief Inspector John Littlechild
from the detective service will be regretted not only by his colleagues but by the public generally. In this country the detective is hampered in comparison with his Continental confrere. The means that the latter often employs would but lead to censure from the English detective’s superiors, and he is often crippled by an insufficient allowance for expenses necessarily incurred in tracking criminals well supplied with money. Inspector Littlechild, who, in spite of these drawbacks, has achieved many successes, received his training from the late Chief Constable Williamson. He has shown special skill in tracing long firm and bogus bank swindlers, and he arrested Benson and Kerr, the famous Turf swindlers. Since the formation of the Criminal Investigation Department he has been mainly occupied with offences of a semi-political character, which have included the arrest of Irish M.P.s for breaches of the Crimes Act, and the tracking of dynamitards. In all the great dynamite trials his name has frequently appeared, and he is a great authority on explosives. He is only forty-eight, but the wear and tear of his duties have necessitated retirement.
Source: The Penny Illustrated Paper and Illustrated Times, Saturday May 6, 1893, Page 277, Issue 1666
Henry Llewellyn Winter, stage manager at the Garrick Theatre, was charged on remand, before Sir J. Bridge, Bow-street, on Friday, with wilful and corrupt perjury. Mr. Blanchard Wontner appeared for the prisoner, and Mr. Angus Lewis prosecuted for the Treasury. The perjury is alleged to have been committed in a petition by which prisoner obtained a divorce from his wife. Mrs. Winter was called, but Mr. Wontner objected that she could not legally give evidence against her husband. Sir John Bridge overruled the objection, inasmuch as she had been divorced, and the decree having been made absolute, was no longer the prisoner’s wife.
Mrs. Winter said that she was married to the prisoner in March, 1872, at Streatham, and lived with him at various places. A child was born in 1872, and another in 1875. In 1877 they went to live at Stanstead-road, Forest Hill. The prisoner did not live with her there, saying it was more convenient for him and his pupils, he being a teacher of music, to live at Blackheath.
He visited her, however, at frequent intervals, and in 1880 she gave birth to a child. About five weeks later she met her husband in London, and he told her to register the child in the name of Weston, as it would be a great benefit. She objected, but a few days afterwards consented, and registered the child as Edith Florence Weston, giving the name of the father as Henry Weston. Early in 1881 prisoner, who was still living at Blackheath, told her that she would receive some papers, and instructed her to forward them to him without looking at them. Soon afterwards some papers arrived, and she put them into an envelope and forwarded them to her husband without reading them. The furniture at Stanstead-road was seized and she went with her youngest child to live at Crofton-road, Camberwell. The prisoner visited her there on several occasions, but never stayed the night. On one occasion he made her copy and sign the statement he had written out to the effect that he was not the father of the third child. She remonstrated with him, saying it was untrue; but he told her the paper would do him a lot of good, and she consented, therefore, to sign it. Until today she had not seen the prisoner for twelve or thirteen years. He eventually went to America, but for some time sent her £5 a month, but the payments became irregular. and ceased in August, 1883. In August, 1884, she received a newspaper cutting stating that a man bearing her husband’s name had committed suicide. The address on the envelope was in a disguised handwriting, and she came to the conclusion that her husband wrote it. She afterwards wrote to him, but received no reply. Until Detective-inspector Littlechild called on her in 1886 she had not the slightest idea that she was divorced. In 1881 she had seen a paragraph in the newspapers as to a report of divorce proceedings in which her husband’s name was mentioned, and he told her it had nothing to do with him, but referred to a man of the same name. It was not true that in 1880 she committed adultery. It was not true that in 1876 she informed the prisoner that her child, Sidney Herbert, was not his child. It was not true that he did not cohabit nor reside with her after 1876. The third child died in 1882, and she registered the death in the name of Winter. Mr. Wontner reserved his cross-examination.
Mary Ann Winter, prisoner’s sister, deposed, that prisoner’s brother George – with whom his wife was alleged to have committed adultery – died in Cursitor-street, Chancery lane, when six years old. Witness had seen a report of divorce proceedings in a weekly paper. Her brother told her that he had seen the report, and that someone had congratulated him upon being divorced. He added that it had nothing to do with him, but referred to someone of the same name. She had never heard the slightest whisper as to the chastity of her sister-in-law. – Rhoda Rose, formerly in the prisoner’s employ, was called to prove cohabitation with his wife at a period when he swore he was living apart from her. – Sir John Bridge remanded the prisoner, commenting on the laxity of the proceedings which had enabled him to obtain a divorce unknown to his wife, and said that it was such a strange and mysterious case that he must increase his sureties to two in £1,000.
Source: Hawke’s Bay Herald, Volume XXX, Issue 9946, 23 March 1895, Page 6
Chief Inspector Melville, who succeeded to the charge of the Special Department of the Criminal Investigation business at Scotland Yard, upon the retirement of Mr. Littlechild and who has lately been concerned in numerous raids upon Anarchist clubs in London, was for some time in constant attendance upon the Queen at Osborne and elsewhere, as one of the officers entrusted with the personal protection of her Majesty. His staff largely consists of Irishmen, most of whom have been trained in France.
Source: Otago Witness, Issue 2114, 30 August 1894, Page 48
Discovery of a Bomb.
A fully-charged bomb was discovered under a bush in Parliament hill fields, between Hampstead and Highgate. A constable in the employ of the London County Council, in perambulating the fields in the discharge of his duty, saw a peculiar looking object under a bush. On making a close examination of it he found that it was a fully charged bomb, with a fuse attached. Near the fuse were, it is said, fragments of a parrafin match, which appeared to have been lighted, but to have been extinguished, probably by the dampness of the soil, before the light reached the fuse. The police theory is that the bomb was placed under the bush where it was found – at a safe distance from any house – for testing purposes as an experiment, and any explosion therefrom would probably have been attributed to fog signals on the adjacent railway.
At the Marlborough street Police Court, Joseph Thomas Deakin, a clerk, single, of Stafford Street, Walsall, was charged, on remand, with having been unlawfully in the possession of a cigar-box containing a bottle of white fluid, and not being able to give a satisfactory account of how he had obtained it. When the prisoner was brought up, Inspector Quinn, of the Criminal Investigation Department, detailed the manner in which he had arrested the accused in the Tottenham court road. Prisoner was carrying a parcel which was found to be a cigar-box, in which was a bottle marked and containing chloroform, and covered with sawdust. He declined to say whence he got it, or where he was taking it. Inspector Quinn said that he had been directed by the Treasury not to produce any further evidence at that Court, as the Justices of Walsall had issued a warrant for the prisoner’s arrest, in connection with other men, for having explosive substances unlawfully in their possession. Chief-Inspector Littlechild from Scotland Yard, produced the warrant, and the prisoner was discharged. Immediatley afterwards Inspector Quinn re-arrested him under the warrant granted by the Magistrates of Walsall, and backed by Mr. Vaughan, at Bow street. The prisoner is described as the Secretary of the Socialist Club in Goodhall street, Walsall.
The six prisoners in custody in connection with the alleged Anarchist plot were brought up at Walsall. Their names are Victor Cailes, 33, engine-driver; Frederick Charles, alias Slaughter, 27, clerk; Joseph Thomas Deakin, clerk; John Westley, 32, brushmaker; William Ditchfield, 43, hame filer; and John Bartola, alias Devganavoff, 30, shoemaker. The charge against them was that they did unlawfully and knowingly have in their possession, or under their control, certain explosive substances, under such circumstances as to give rise to reasonable suspicion that they did not have them in their possession or under their control for a lawful purpose.
The Chief Constable said he visited the Socialist Club, and found Charles and Cailes there. Charles had a loaded revolver in his possession, and at his residence was found a model of a bolt for the top of a bomb. In this box was a sketch of a bomb, with instructions (in French) how to make the bomb. Witness also found a manifesto in manuscript, evidently in Cailes’ writing, and signed "Victor Cailes, Walsall, 1st September." It was entitled, "The Means of Emancipation." In the MS. was a paragraph – "Let us occupy ourselves with chemistry, and let us manufacture promptly bombs, dynamite, and other explosive barricades to bring the revolution of the actual state of things, and, above all, to spare the precious blood of our comrades." Upstairs, at the Club, he found a large number of Anarchist papers and publications in French, and a length of fuse. These things were in the possession of Cailes. There was also a paper entitled, the International, No. 7. In French there were instructions how to manufacture bombs, and how to bring about the blowing up of public buildings by means of those bombs. Cailes, on this evidence being interpreted to him, said the things were not concealed in any way, and the fuse was not explosive.
The Chief Constable said he visited Ditchfield’s workshop and arrested Ditchfield. He there found a plaster cast of a bomb similar to the sketch produced. In the cellar at the Club was a quantity of clay mixed with hair, evidently for moulding purposes. The Mayor said that, on the sworn information of the Chief Constable (as stated in the charge), and on the evidence given, the accused would now be remanded, as the ends of justice might be frustrated if further evidence were given at this stage.
The accused were then remanded, the Chairman remarking that the Justices, having regard to the gravity of the charge, were compelled to refuse bail.
Source: Star, Issue 7232, 16 March 1892, Page 3

Inspector Littlechild was bringing from America a once well-known London merchant tailor charged with considerable frauds. The prisoner’s demeanour led Littlechild to the opinion that he might be allowed full freedom aboard. The prisoner had been possessed of but little money when apprehended, and when he stood by and watched the various card games being played by the saloon passengers his eyes glistened, and he seemed strangely excited. At length the prisoner confided to a gentleman aboard, a celebrated American railway magnate, that a loan of a few pounds would certainly be paid back by the prisoner’s relations at the end of the voyage, and would alleviate the man’s natural distress of mind. The money was lent, and the prisoner eagerly plunged into the card games, not a soul refusing to play with him. During four days he won, and won fairly, a little less than £200.
In another case the detective in charge of an absconding bankrupt from Manchester lent the latter a £10 note, which towards the end of the voyage had increased to £70 odd.
Inspector Swanston tells of a noble lord of high philanthropic repute who, during a voyage, played one of the most experts forgers ever known. The swindler was a handsome and accomplished man, and his yarns greatly amused the other passengers on board the vessel that was bringing him home for trial. One of the jokes of their frequent meetings was that the swindler always passed his solemn word of honour that, even if he wanted to cheat at cards, he should not know how. In this case, as in many others, the intercourse did real good. A Liverpool merchant and magistrate saw much of the prisoner during the voyage. He had, in the presence of the detective, a private interview with him. The kindly gentleman promised that when the prisoner, who is now in penal servitude, came out, he should enter into a good situation at once.
The humanity shown by fellow passengers has redeemed many a prisoner. In the case cited above, the noble lord and many another prosperous and happy passengers at parting shook hands kindly with the prisoner, and wished him good luck. Directly after that the prisoner not only burst into passionate, but continued to cry for some time. He gave such information to the officer as saved property worth hundreds of pounds to innocent people. On trial, he pleaded guilty, eminent counsel provided by the Liverpool merchant asking for a mitigated sentence.
The bringing over of a notorious absconder often causes more suffering and anxiety to the officer than it does to the prisoner. The death of one of the best officers that Scotland Yard has ever had for years was directly attributable to what he suffered in the Argentine Republic whilst waiting for months and months till a notorious absconder was handed over to him. The second officer employed on the same job had to be permanently invalided. Both men’s nerves were deeply affected by the worries and anxieties of eternal vigilance. Whilst his prisoner sleeps soundly, the detective is often lying wide awake for hours, racked by anxieties as to whether his charge will attempt suicide or will try to escape, or is in communication with some confederate on board.
A curious experience with an absconder was that of Inspector Gillespie, of Manchester. A certain solicitor, after committing vast frauds, absconded. A year and a half passed, and he had in no way been traced. One day a young Englishman of means, and on his wedding-tour, sat down to dine at an hotel in a large Australian town. At the next table, one of a merry party, was the absconding solicitor, though much altered in appearance. The absconder had never in his life seen the young Englishman; but the latter, whose uncle was one of the persons defrauded of thousands, knew him. Inquiry showed that the absconder, under a false character altogether, was cutting a great figure in the neighbourhood. The young man quietly telegraphed Home. Inspector Gillespie went out, and under his warrant arrested the absconder, who then, and every hour of the day afterwards, denied that he was the man wanted.
This sort of denial, accompanied by threats of what the prisoner will do when his real identity is declared, is usually one of the marks of the criminal. But in this case the officer suffered desperate anxiety, for of a truth the prisoner bore but little resemblance to the photographs in the officer’s possession. But two or three nights on the liner brought a welcome relief. The prisoner muttered in his sleep continually, referred to his old offices, to people who had been defrauded, and so on. He was the right man beyond all doubt.
Here is another real-life romance. Inspector B——, of Scotland Yard, went over to America to arrest a man of handsome presence who was wanted for certain notorious bogus cheque and letter-of-credit frauds. The prisoner was a most accomplished man, speaking five or six languages, and he had lived in Paris mostly, directing swindles all over Europe. For certain powerful reasons connected with property and with confederates, B—– kept his man strictly under lock and key in one part of the great liner that was bringing the two home. On the same boat was a very celebrated theatrical company, connected with one of the most popular houses in the Strand. Many of the young ladies showed much curiosity to see the handsome prisoner – they had seen so much about him in the American papers. One day the chief officers of the liner allowed half-a-dozen of the young ladies to stroll into the office cabin where the prisoner and the detective were sitting.
One of the youngest and prettiest of the girls, a lady who has since attained some celebrity, gave a scream and fainted away when she saw the prisoner. The man was her own brother. Much older than she was, he had lived continuously abroad, but she had several times seen him when he had made flying visits to the house of their parents at Dalston. The man was deeply affected after the girl and her friends had been removed, but he would not consent to see his sister again.
Source: Otago Witness, Issue 2443, 9 January 1901, Page 63

£200 Reward. – Wanted, on a Warrant for Forgery, Mark Merton, late of etc., etc.
Mark Merton was a clerk employed by a very large firm, and he had embezzled about £10,000 upon a highly ingenious plan.
In connection with the business a savings bank had been instituted, and Mark Merton was its secretary, doing the work after office hours. He was a sober, quiet, highly respectable man to all appearances, but he had been unable to resist temptation. During five years he had "cooked" the accounts of the savings bank in a systematic way. To each depositor was issued a pass book, which had to be sent periodically to the auditors. The fraudulent secretary kept a double set of leaves to these books, and when the audit was due he would unstitch the deposit books and remove the leaves, replacing them with others which agreed with his ledgers. When such manipulated books were returned to Merton duly initialled, he would take out the substituted leaves and return to their place the pages which were originally in the covers and which recorded correctly the transactions of each depositor. He would cast up the totals, calculate the interest due, and forge the auditors’ initials.
In this manner Merton was able to deceive the depositors on one hand and the auditors on the other, with a double set of books, having a single set of covers. It must have involved a great deal of trouble, and sooner or later there was bound to be a crash. One day it came.
A depositor happening to be at the auditor’s office when the audit was in progress inquired in mere curiosity the amount of his savings. The total which the clerk named was so much less than the sum he had actually lodged with the bank that his astonishment was great. Inquiry was set on foot. Bank Holiday intervening nothing could be done until Tuesday; but on Wednesday morning the secretary wrote to his firm: –
I have no wish to escape the punishment of my offence, and I simply go away because I dare not face you, or anyone else, to explain; nor can I ask for pity.
In a word the bird had flown. I was summoned, and the bill offering £200 reward for the capture of Mark Merton was put into my hands. But where in all London – nay, in all England, with more than 58,000 square miles to hide in – was I to find my man. He had simply walked away from his home; but whither? There was no clue beyond the end of the street. Mark Merton, I discovered, had been living handsomely, and had become very popular in his neighborhood, for he always figured at the head of subscriptions for church and charitable purposes. Occasionally he would ask leave of absence for a few days and go away. On his return to the office he would appear in mourning and a hat band, and very confidently he would say: "Ah! poor Uncle John has gone at last. A good fellow – a good fellow – he did not forget his pet nephew." Thus most people thought Merton was able to live so well, because of these periodical legacies; for when it was not Uncle John it was Aunt Mary, or some other rich relation, who had bequeathed him money.
And it was by this fiction that Merton accounted for his comparative wealth. Now in working out this case I reflected that Mark Merton would probably keep in touch with some relation or intimate friend, and that it occured to me that in most families there is usually a member who is generally looked to for advice, or gives it without asking, upon all matters of small moment or of difficulty. In an emergency the aid of such a person is summoned. I therefore kept my eye open to discover the existence of the family oracle – aunt or uncle, or oldest friend as the case might be. We found such a gentleman – for he was a man and not a woman; and we – my colleague and I, as there were two of us in the case – watched him narrowly. I must say this "shadowing" gives us an infinitude of trouble.
A detective does not often have to employ horses in carrying on "observation," but our friend – the oracle – had an awkward habit of trotting off in a pony trap, and if he were not followed on those occasions he might have taken any step to deceive us. At last, however, by a variety of ways – by way-laying servants, by sly inspection of post marks on letters which were delivered at the house, and by taking advantage of every small scrap of information – we believed ourselves to be in possession of knowledge pointing to the ultimate intentions of the man whom we were systematically following.
We therefore relaxed the "shadow," and then, apparently, dropped it, for it soon became clear to us that our quarry believed that the chase had been abandoned. Of course this delusion exactly suited our purpose. Our pursuit led us up and down the country, and finally to Liverpool, where one day the gentleman whose movements had interested us so greatly walked into a shipping office and took certain tickets for America. It was sufficient for us; and very soon two more tickets were obtained for my colleague and myself. My companion it was necessary should accompany me, as he was able to identify the man we hoped to make our prisoner – the missing Mark Merton. Mark Merton’s friend – the family oracle, whose movements to this stage we had successfully traced – had booked his berth by a slower liner than the one we had selected. His ship was a four-wheeler; ours was a hansom, and we calculated we should arrive at our destination three or four days ahead of him. Fortunately, I was able to catch a mail which was in front of us, by which I wrote to my friend, Mr. T. Golden, of New York. We were old chums, for he had spent with me three months in England, in connection with a heavy case of forgery, involving a sum of 325,000 dollars, and I had had the satisfaction of seeing him off at Liverpool, with his prisoner and much of the money.
Great was my disappointment upon landing not to meet Golden, but just as I was beginning to despair I recognised him bearing down upon us under the shadow of a great green umbrella – for it was a very hot day. I felt that success was assured, but having seen the chief of police and the British consul I was a little damped. The latter informed me that my case would be taken up by the United States marshal, to whom all extradition matters are transferred. Golden had tried to discourage me from calling upon the consul, and I understood his reason when I found that I was handed over to a young gentleman who came into the marshal’s office in his shirt sleeves, with hair dishevelled, and a cigar between his teeth. He sat himself familiarly down, crossed his legs, exposing the frayed ends of his trousers and his well "ventilated" boots, and my heart sank within me as I looked at him.
"What," thought I, "is my case to end in failure after all these weary months?" I bewailed my bad luck to Golden when we left the office together. "Never mind," said he cheerily. "We’ll pull the wool over his eyes. I will look after this case." Tim Golden was as good as his word, and he never deserted me. On the day that the vessel which was to bring the family oracle and friend of Mark Merton into port we were ready to take up the shadowing again; but we had to be very careful, as my London colleague and myself were both known by sight to this gentleman. It was arranged that Golden should alone appear. His appearance was that of a fine-looking man, somewhat over middle age, wearing gold-rimmed glasses and carrying a green umbrella. He walked slightly lame, and this limp, with his military moustache, suggested that he had fought and bled in the Civil War. I may say we had sent the marshal’s man home to his mother – or dinner.
My London colleague and I were both stowed away in a small wooden shed, on the quay, which was stored with old rope, tar and barrels. There was one window, which gave a view of the road which the passengers who were to disembark from the steamer must take; but we could not see the ship itself. There were the hope and chance that Merton the forger would meet his friend on the quay. The risk and danger of our being seen through the window were very great. The sun was pouring upon the roof of the shed, and we were nearly suffocated with heat and blinded with perspiration. Whilst we were thus cooped up, intent upon watching every person who passed from the ship, Golden meantime waiting for the signal to take up the following, a hat-box was suddenly placed on the sill outside our window, right in front of my eyes. At once I saw that the man who had put it there was our friend the oracle, the very individual we were expected to point out to Golden. There he stood just outside our window, but unfortunately with his back to it. Down we dodged amongst the ropes, the tar, and kerosene, but we were not seen. We squeezed out of the back and succeeded in giving Golden the signal. Another curious thing happened. For a very long time we waited for Golden, who was following the oracle, to return. When he rejoined us he told us that this gentleman had selected our hotel at which to stop. Of course we could not go back to our rooms, and our mysterious disappearance was never explained. Golden, however, paid our bill for us, sent us our luggage, and remained in the hotel to watch.
On the following day another narrow squeak of recognition occurred. The luggage belonging to the oracle was that afternoon to be fetched from the ship. I had seen it myself in the early morning on the quay. As I was walking with the British Consul – on my way to get it, if we could, the contents of a telegram which we had ascertained had been despatched by the oracle on the previous day upon landing, probably to Merton himself – I noticed a cart. I saw the hinder part only, but recognised one of the trunks I had inspected that morning. Looking round to discover whether the cart was being followed in our interests, and seeing no one, I grew alarmed, and ran after the vehicle to make sure of the trunk.
But whew! On the front of cart sat the gentleman who had blocked my vision with hsi hat-box on the previous day. I was nonplussed. It was madness to run after a trotting horse in a broiling sun to an unknown destination, and if it happened that the man in front of the cart should turn and see me all would be discovered. It would be equally absurd to allow the cart to go without tracing it. In this dilemma I looked around, when, in a vehicle which was following I saw the beaming face of Golden.
"Bravo Tim," I cried.
"All right, my boy!" he replied; "just you become invisible right away." I lost no time in putting as many "blocks" of houses as I could between myself and the cart, which Golden meanwhile followed. Golden tracked the luggage to its destination, and next morning we all three were up early, Tim going ahead to "spy out the land." In less than two hours Tim returned, his face beaming like the setting sun, and with something in his gait which told of success. As Pat would put it: "The first thing he said was to shake hands."
"You have good news! Out with it, old man."
"You are right, my dear boy," Golden replied. "Our fish is landed, and I don’t think he is at all sorry for it, as he looks as though he had had enough of hiding."
As Merton told me himself, he really did experience relief when he was arrested, for the suspense had been torture, and many times he had been put on the point of surrendering himself, but he had been unable to muster up sufficient courage. Without a character he had been unable to find employment, and he had walked about the streets frequently hungry. He had contemplated turning organ grinder, and a piano organ had actually been purchased in England for him. After the usual extradition proceedings had been observed my prisoner was committed to take his trial in this country, and the usual seventeen days’ interval having elapsed – which I much enjoyed as a rest – Merton was handed over to me.
Some people say a detective can always be told by his looks. I do not believe it. On the return voyage I obtained permission for my prisoner to accompany me into the saloon for meals, enjoining the captain and purser – who alone knew who he was – to strict secrecy, as I did not desire to have attention called to myself.
However, it became bruited abroad – perhaps because one of the passengers recognised me – that there was a Scotland Yard detective with a prisoner on board. Oddly enough, as we sat in the saloon with my prisoner on my right, on my left was a gentleman whose father had been brutally murdered some few months previously. An ugly rumor spread – for which there was no foundation – that this young fellow had been guilty of his father’s death. Opposite to me sat an Englishman with whom I had become acquainted. We often paced the deck together, and he said to me one night:
"Halloa! have you heard who the man on your left at table is?" I told him that I had, and he continued:
"I hear, too, there’s an inspector from Scotland Yard on board."
"You don’t say so," said I. "I wish you would point him out to me. I should like to see one of these Scotland Yard fellows."
"Oh," he replied, "I don’t quite know him yet, but I think I have found him out. I’ll show him to you soon."
"Do," said I, and shortly afterwards, meeting a man on deck I imagined would realise his idea of a detective, I asked, "Is that the inspector?"
"No," said my friend; "he is not the man I take to be him."
Next day I was watching the porpoises gamboling when my friend leaned over my shoulder and said, in a very cautious and comically confidential way: "I say, Mr. Littlechild, you have been given away on this ship!"
"What do you mean?" said I, hardly able to refrain from laughter; but he was so serious.
"Oh, it’s no use now," he replied. "I know who you are. Your name is too well known."
And we both had a hearty laugh.
Source: Tuapeka Times, Volume XXVI, Issue 4071, 31 January 1894, Page 6

It may be thought incredible that a detective officer could make such a succession of mistakes, but nevertheless I admit that it was I who made them. It only proves how very careful a policeman should be in all matters of identification.
One day I was engaged in the neigbourhood of Islington, and jumped into a tram-car to return to the city, when I observed, as I supposed, seated on the top of an omnibus, journeying in the same direction, a man for whose arrest I held a warrant on a charge of fraud. I knew this man well, so I was careful to appear not to take the least notice of him, and as the omnibus and tramcar kept pretty close together, I was able to follow him unobserved until we came to the end of the tramline. I then took another omnibus and pursued my man until he got off at the bank.
I did not arrest him out of hand, because it was one of those cases in which it was necessary to find out where he lived or where he would meet his confederates, for I believed he was working in partnership with another man. Through the city, along Queen Victoria street, as far as Blackfriar’s Bridge the man went, and I followed; but suddenly I lost him. He seemed to have dropped through the ground, and I could not account for his disappearance; and although I remained in the neighbourhood some time and searched a publichouse close by, I could not find him.
Three weeks later I was walking along Queen Victoria street, when in precisely the same spot where I had lost my man he reappeared. A colleague was with me, and I said to him: "There is X, and I hold a warrant for his arrest." I turned to the man and said: "Well, X, you know who I am. I am going to arrest you upon a warrant." Frightfully scared, the man cried: "You know who I am? I don’t know you!" and then began to run.
Immediately I seized him, and he cried out, "Police!" which I considered an extraordinary proceeding on his part. The prisoner offered no explanation as to himself, but behaved as a guilty man. In fact, I believed that he was the man "wanted." He was taken to the nearest city police station, and there I ascertained in what way he had given me the slip three weeks before. The fact was, he had entered his father’s place of business, and this gentlemen came to the police station and satisfactorily identified his son, who, I need hardly say, was not the man I wanted.
There could be no mistake – I had fallen into an error, and for that I was very much bullied, and my apologies were not regarded as sufficient. A voluminous official correspondence ensued, and although the man obtained no redress, as there was no malice on my part and the case was purely a question of mistaken identity, one would have thought that all the bother would have riveted the man’s personal appearance upon my mind. He did, indeed, haunt me as a nightmare. Nevertheless, a little time afterwards I was again in Islington, looking for the man I wanted, when I saw him looking into a shop window. I was sure that he was the very man for whose arrest I held the warrant. Yet before making him a prisoner, to be quite sure, I said to him, by way of precaution:
"How do you do?" He turned and replied curtly:
"I don’t wish to have anything to say to you." It was my friend the wrong man once more!
To complete this experience I may state that eventually the right man was arrested, in consequence of his portrait having been inserted in the police "informations" which are circulated to all divisions of the Metropolitan Police District. This portrait was recognised by a detective, who was able to give me the clue to the man’s whereabouts.
Ex-chief Inspector J.G. Littlechild in Cassell’s Saturday Journal
Source: Otago Witness, Issue 2079, 28 December 1893, Page 42

The Threats against the Prince of Wales.
Before Mr. Vaughan, at Bow street police court, John Magee, of 9, Austral street, St. George’s road, Southwark, described as a photographer, and Sarah Mary Frances Magee, of the same address, and wife of the male prisoner, were brought up in custody of Chief Inspector Littlechild charged with attempting to extort money from the Prince of Wales by menaces.
produced two letters received by the Prince of Wales, but did not read them. He said: – In consequence of these letters having been received, certain steps were taken by the police. The date of the first letter is Dec. 5, and the second Dec. 13, 1885. An appointment made in one of those letters was kept by a woman. The statement in one letter was that she would be accosted by another woman, who would give a password. The password was "God save the Prince." The time was six o’clock last evening, and the place Brook Street, Kennington. The person keeping the appointment was to bring 750 pounds. A woman connected with the police kept the appointment. No woman came to her at six o’clock, but subsequently I saw both the prisoners at the appointed place, but at the opposite side of the roadway.
They came on the spot two or three times in succession within a quarter of an hour. The man next appeared alone with a different hat. Owing to these suspicious movements he was arrested. He gave the name of John Magee, of 9, Austral street, West square, Southwark. I told him he would be detained on account of his suspicious movements. He told me he had only taken his wife out, as she was ill. He was taken to Kennington road station. After he was arrested I went to the address he gave. I saw the female prisoner there. She said she was Mrs. Magee. I asked to speak privately with her. I went to her room, a back one on the third floor. I told her I was an officer of police, and asked her what she had been doing that night in Kennington road. She said her husband had taken her out to walk, as she had not been very well, and that she had no other object in being there. I said, "I think you were there last Thursday night about the same time, and received a parcel from a female." She said, "No, I was not. I believe on that evening I was at home ill in bed." She said, "Why do you want to know all this? Wait till my husband comes home." I said, "At present your husband is detained, and I will see what you have in the room here. It will save you trouble if you show me your husband’s handwriting." She said, "There is none in the room." I searched the room, and among other documents I found this pocket-book (produced), two Standard newspapers, and a letter. I have
in the pocket-book with the letters. There was an entry headed "Final Instructions," dated October, 1885, in the pocket-book. The handwriting corresponds with that of the writer of the letters to the Prince of Wales. Having found these things I said to the female prisoner, "You know all about what I am here for," and pointed to an advertisement which appeared in The Standard of Dec. 10. She put her hands to her head, and said, "Oh, what shall I do?" I said, "I think you had better tell me what you know." She said, "Oh, let my husband tell you." I said I thought it would be better for her to tell me. She said, "I can’t. If I do he will kill me." In a moment she said, "If I tell you all, will you lock me up?" I said, "I can’t say that. I’ll leave it to your own judgment what you should do." She then made a statement, and I took down what she said. It was to the effect that on the evening of the 10th inst. she went to Kennington road. Her husband had told her to fetch a bag from the "agent," who would be at the corner of Brook street, and received a parcel from her. This parcel she gave to her husband, who threw it into the river. She knew the bag contained farthings. Yesterday morning her husband told her to fetch the Standard, and she did so. He told her also to be ready by six o’clock that evening. They went out and walked about the Kennington road. He then told her to go home, as he wanted to watch somebody. He did not say who. She was to meet the "agent" that evening. The bag she got on Thursday week was opened in their room, and she saw some farthings in it. She did not see them again. Evidence was then given as to the arrest of the male prisoner, who said he was a photographer, and had recently come from Scotland.
addressing the prisoners, said: I have read the letters in this case. It is not necessary for me to read them just now. There is a double case against you. I shall remand you till Wednesday next on the double charge of attempting to extort money from the Prince of Wales by menaces, and also of attempting to obtain money by fraud. You are remanded until Wednesday next. The Central News learns that
menacing the Prince of Wales stated that the writer was a member of a secret society, that he had been told off to assassinate the Prince of Wales, and that he wanted 750 pounds, so that he could leave this country for America, and be quit of treasonable conspiracies for ever. When the police made the first appointment with the prisoners, they handed them a packet containing farthings.
Source: Star, Issue 5548, 20 February 1886, Page 3