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23 April 2024
Mystery willl newspaper clip.

This story appeared in the Western Mail on November 8th 1923.

Mystery will newspaper clip.Mystery Will Trial.

The remarkable charge of alleged conspiracy against six Nantymoel persons, comprising father & mother & two sons, one grandson & also a servant, was resumed at the West Wales assizes at Carmarthen on Wednesday before Mr Commissioner ArthurJacob Ashton, K.C.

The prisoners, who were committed by the Troedyraur (Cardigan) magistrates, were: Daniel Morris (66), collier, 13 Waunllwyd, Nantymoel; Maria Morris (66) his wife of the same address; their sons, James Lewis Morris (21), collier, 13 Waunllwyd, Nantymoel, & Benjamin Morris (36), colliery repairer, 7 Cadwgan Terrace, Nantymoel; Daniel Thomas Rees (24), motor driver, 7 Cadwgan Terrace, Nantymoel, grandson, & Catherine Phillips (29), unmarried woman, of 17 Pembroke Terrace, Nantymoel, who was a servant with the Morris´s.

They were charged with having conspired by false pretences to obtain from Margaret Davies & her daughter & son, Elizabeth Ann Jones, & John Davies, all of Tremain Village, near Cardigan, certain sums of money, with intent to cheat & defraud.

Mr Trevor Hunter (instructed by Mr W.J. Williams, Cardigan) was for the prosecution, & Mr Joshua Davies (instructed by Mr Arthur Henton, Bridgend) defended all the prisoners, except Catherine Phillips, who pleaded guilty.

The prosecution alleged taht the six prisoners went down to Tremain on December 29 last year to see Mrs Margaret Davies, & remained there until February 26 of this year. During those two months the prisoners, it was alleged, obtained from the Davies family the total sum of £283 5s. in ten seperate accounts - three sums from Mrs Davies amounting to £91 5s., six sums from Mr Jones amounting to £182, & one sum of £10 from John Davies. They told a remarkable story that they had come down for a case which was to be tried at Cardigan in regard to the will of Catherine Phillips grandmother, under which Catherine Phillips was entitled to £1,500. The prisoners, it was alleged, said they wanted money to pay solicitors to fight the case, & in order to do so obtained the sum of £283 5s. The prisoners, it was stated, gave fictitious legal names. A week after the prisoners left in February Maria Morris, it was alleged, came down again & said it was all a fraud & that they had been deceived by Catherine Phillips.

Judge & Money Loans.

Margaret Davies & Elizabeth Ann Jones, recalled, stated in reply to the judge that they were to have the money back as soon as the case finished, with interest of 1s. in the £.

Questioned by the judge, John Davies, who was also recalled, said that what made him lend £10 was the fact that he was going to have 1s in the £ interest.

The Judge, addressing the jury, said if the witnesses advanced their money because they wanted good interest it was a very serious question whether the jury could convict. The second question was that it might be the prisoners were taken in by Catherine Phillips, exactly as the prosecutrix & her daughter were taken in.

Mr W.J. Williams solicitor, Cardigan, Registrar of the Cardigan County court said there was not at any time a case entered at the Cardigan County court relating to the will of Mrs Elizabeth Jones.

By Mr Joshua Davies: Have you ever heard of D.L. Hughes, head barrister of England & Wales or of Judge Golly? (Laughter.)

Witness: No.

The whole thing is preposterous? - Yes, absolutely.

If they had come to you for the loan of money on these representations, you would have told them they were fools to have lent the money.

After further evidence, the case for the prosecution was closed.

The Defence.

For the defence, Mr Joshua Davies called Daniel Morris, who said he was a native of Cardiganshire & had worked for the last 46 years as a collier at Nantymoel. In June last year, one of the witness´s daughters died, & in consequence, he had to engage Catherine Phillips as a servant at £1 a month. Catherine Phillips said there was a court case pending between her & her husband. The servant visited her solicitor frequently & said she required some money to carry on the case. Witness advanced money to the total of £127 15s., given from time to time. He went down with Catherine Phillips on one occasion to Ogmore Vale to see "David Llewelyn," a solicitor. he did not go to the solicitors' office with her, neither did his daughter, who also accompanied them. Catherine Phillips said there was from £400 to £1,500 coming to her from her grandmother.

On the Wednesday after Christmas witness took out from a cupboard an envelope containing money which Catherine Phillips had handed to his wife. Catherine Phillips had just returned from the country & asked witness to go to Cardigan & bring the money with him as it would be required for the case. She said it contained £450 & had been given her by Stephen her brother. The envelops was not to be opened until the case was over. witnesses wife & two sons accompanied Catherine Phillips to Cardigan in a hired motor car & Catherine Phillips went herself to fetch him. she told him if he did not go down with her he would lose the money he had advanced.

Witneess, proceeding, said he spent the first night with his brother at Rocklands, near Cardigan, & Catherine Phillips said she was going to Cardigan, the following day "to see Judge Golly & D.L. Hughes, a London barrister." (Laughter.) He spent the Friday in Cardigan waiting for news of the case. In the evening he went to Penrhiw, Tremain, where Mrs Margaret Davies lived. When he got to the house his wife was there with Catherine Phillips. He remained there until February.

Spending Our Time.

The Judge: "What were you, your wife & two sons doing in Cardigan? - Spending our time whilst Catherine Phillips was going to & from her solicitors, so she said.

Continuing, witness said he had never asked Mrs Margaret Davies for money, neither had he received any money from her. There was no truth in the suggestions that he intended to defraud Mrs Davies. He believed what Catherine Phillips had told him. He thought she was as truthful as himself.

Cross examined, witness said he had not applied for a warrant against Catherine Phillips & had taken no proceedings against her because she had taken his money.

Did you ever come across this mysterious uncle of Catherine Phillips in Cardigan - No.

The envelope you showed Mrs Davies that was supposed to contain £450 simply had sheets of paper inside? - I didn't know it contained sheets of paper only until I opened it afterwards.

All of you agreed to make up this story about the envelope containing the treasury notes? - There was no story.

Was it just to bleed Mrs Davies? - That is wrong.

Sir Abe Jones.

Further questioned, Daniel Morris said Catherine Phillips had stayed in his house once one night after the affair as "he did not like to throw her out into the streets." she was kept by his daughters dor a few days in order to try & get the truth out of her.

Mr Trevor Hunter: Did you & your party enjoy your little two-month holiday? I did not have any.

Somebody of your party had it, who was it? - Catherine Phillips had the money from her uncle." Sir Abe Jones from South Africa." (Laughter.)

Where did this "Sir Abe" stay? - In Carmarthern, so I was told.

Maria Morris, wife of Daniel Morris, said that Catherine Phillips took her to various towns, including Cardiff, Ogmore, Bridgend, Porthcawl, Carmarthen & Cardigan. Catherine Phillips said she had to see the solicitors at each of these places, but she never took witness to any of the solicitors' offices. It was not true that witness & Catherine Phillips concocted a story to bleed Mrs Margaret Davies.

Mr Trevor Hunter: Did you return from Cardigan to Nantymoel all the better for your two months holiday? - No, I was worse in health; I nearly lost my life.

What had upset you, travelling in motor cars? - Yes, I nearly froze waiting in cars hanging about the streets.

Benjamin Morris & John Morris also gave evidence for the defence, but James Lewis Morris & Daniel Thomas Rees were not called.

Mr Joshua Davies, addressing the jury for the defence, said his clients believed Catherine Phillips story of the will, & that they were her dupes exactly as Mrs Margaret Davies & her son & daughter were.

The Jury, after a quarter of an hour's retirement, returned a verdict of "Guilty" against each of the prisoners.

The Judge said he would pass sentence this (Thursday) morning.

Upon hearing the verdict the two women fainted in court. 


These are links to people in my family tree that this story relates to.