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21 April 2024
Mystery Will in Tremain.

This story appeared in the Western Mail on November 7th 1923.

Mystery Will in Tremain newspaper clip.Mystery Will of Tremain.

Remarkable allegations were made in a conspiracy charge against six Nantymoel people, who surrendered to their bail at the West Wales Assizes at Carmarthen on Tuesday.

The prisoners were Daniel Morris (65), collier; Maria Morris (66), his wife; James Lewis Morris (21), collier, all three of 13 Waunlwyd, Nantymoel; Benjamin Morris (36) colliery repairer, & Daniel Thomas Rees (24), motor driver, both of 7 Cardigan Terrace; & Catherine Phillips (29), married woman, 17, Pembrokeshire Terrace, all of Nantymoel. They were charged with having conspired by false pretences to obtain from Margaret Davies, Elizabeth Ann Jones & John Davies, all of Tremain Village, certain sums of money, with intent to cheat & defraud.

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

Opening the case, Mr. Trevor Hunter said that all prisoners went down to Tremain on Friday, December 29 last year to see Margaret Davies & remained there until February 26 of this year. Some actually stayed at Mrs Davies' house, & others at the local hotel.  During the the two months the prisoners obtained from the Davies family a total sum of £283 5s. - in ten separate amounts - three sums from Mrs Jones (a daughter of Mrs Davies), amounting to £182, & one sum from John Davies (son of Mrs Davies) amounting to £10. The money was all drawn from the bank in instalments.

A wonderful story.

"They told Mrs Davies a wonderful story." continued counsel, "& I suggest you will come to the conclusion that it is untrue. They told Mrs Davies they had come down for a case which was to be tried at Cardigan the following day, December 30, referring to the will of Catherine Phillips grandmother. Under that will Catherine Phillips was entitled to £1500.  On December 30 the prisoners went to Cardigan, & on their return to Tremain they told Mrs Davies the case had been adjourned."

Mr Hunter went on to say that the only courts held at Cardigan were two police courts & a county court. The hearing of a case regarding a will could only be tried at a county court, & only certain will cases at that. Neither a police court nor a county court was held at Cardigan on December 30, & neither then nor at any other time had a case been entered at the Cardigan County court concerning a will of Catherine Phillips grandmother. The prisoners told Mrs Davies that Catherine Phillips had various wills. They also said that a solicitor, with an old established practice, said counsel, who had never been consulted about any will of Catherine Phillips grandmother.

"Mr Llewelyn has never been in gaol for that or any other reason," said counsel amid laughter. Mrs Davies was also said that Stephen Jones, her stepbrother, was then in Cardigan & was very ill & that Catherine Phillips solicitors were at Cardigan. The latter were supposed to have had a private motor car outside a local bank & also private rooms at Cardigan. Those stories were all untrue. There was no solicitor at Cardigan; neither had private rooms been hired at either of the places mentioned.

The Catch.

 Then came the catch, said counsel. The prisoners said they wanted money to pay those soilcitors, & in order to do so the prisoners obtained the sum of £283 5s. When Mrs Davies asked if the loan was safe it was said that Stephen Jones (her stepbrother) had drawn a sum of £420 from the bank & had given it to Daniel Morris, who was supposed to have got it in an envelope. The envelope was shown to Mrs Davies but not the contents. She was told that Daniel Morris had got the money on condition that he was not to part with it until the will case was over. Among other statements made was one that Daniel Morris was a trustee for Catherine Phillips under the will.

A week after the prisoners left in February, proceeded counsel, Maria Morris came down again, & said it was all a fraud, & that they had been decieved by Catherine Phillips. They said they were innocent, & that Catherine Phillips (who had pleaded guilty) was the guilty person, & that no guilt was attached to them. Counsel added that during the time the prisoners stayed in Tremain they went about in motor cars, spending money & buying various articles of wearing apparel. Parcels were sent, not to Mrs Davies house (where the money came from), but to another house.

Not on the West Wales Circuit.

Margaret Davies, Penrhiw, Tremain, bore out counsels statement, & added that Maria Morris was her sister-in-law. When told by Catherine Phillips that the will case was on at Cardigan on December 30 she was also told there were two cases on that day, the other being a divorce case, (laughter). On Sunday, December 31, Maria Morris told her that Catherine Phillips had to show herself to her solicitors every day. The solicitors were Mr D.L. Hughes "head barrister of England & Wales," & Judge Golly, who had a private room at the London Joint City& Midland Bank.

The Judge (Mr Commissioner Ashton, K.C.): Is Judge Golly an eminent judge? (Laughter.)

Mr Trevor Hunter: Not on this circuit. (More laughter.)

Woman Jurror Questioned.

When the case was resumed after the luncheon adjournment counsel for the defence informed the judge that a witness for the prosecution had been seen in conversation during the luncheon hour.

The woman juror, questioned by the judge, said that the witness spoke to her casually when passing on the road.

The Judge (to the woman juror): You must kindly tell me the truth. Has anything that has passed between you & her affected your mind as to how you were going to try this case?

The Woman Juror: No, sir.

The Judge warned the jury that they must not allow anybody outside themselves to talk to them about the case until it was finished.

Mr David Llewelyn, solicitor in practice at Bridgend & Ogmore, said that he had never been consulted in regard to a will of the grandmother of Catherine Phillips.

The commissioner: And you have never been in gaol? (Laughter.) - Winess: No, my Lord.

After further evidence, the court adjourned till this Wednesday morning.


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