Sunday, February 17, 2013

Criminals Long Career of Fraud and Deception - 4 May 1901

A most extraordinary criminal record is held by Percy Ross, who at the Staffordshire Assizes has been sentenced to his second term of five years penal servitude for fraud.

His correct name is Percy Roskham. His father was a solicitor, and he himself is an upholsterer by trade. After being employed in London he enlisted in the Royal Engineers, but was discharged after trial by court-martial.

In 1885 he was sentenced to twelve months imprisonment at the Surrey Sessions for fraud, and soon, after his liberation he was convicted of a similar offence. From that time until 1895 he practised a peculiar speries of fraud, at which, he made himself an adept. He noted the names and addresses of people convicted at different Police Courts, and then visited their friends and represented himself to be a prison warder and in a position to procure extra food for the prisoners or to smuggle money or clothing for them.

 On several occasions this trick cost him his liberty. A most peculiar circumstance that whenever he appeared at the Police Court he successfully hoodwinked the medical men into believing that he was insane, and again and again, he was sent to a lunatic asylum. Altogether he has been medically certified insane eleven times. Of course, as a rule he rapidly recovered, and was discharged. Twice he escaped from a Hatch, and committed about twenty frauds on the friends of convicted prisoners.

He was recaptured and sent back to Colney was recaptured and sent back to Colney Hatch. The medical authorities then came to the conclusion that he had been sane all the time. He was prosecuted and sent to penal servitude for five years. Four months after his release an 1899 he was appointed attendant at Parkside Asylum, and in the same year the married a young woman who had been in the service of the medical superintendent.

Once more he committed a series of frauds, and once more he was certified as a lunatic. He was sent to Cheddleton Asylum, where he remained three months before his malingering was discovered.


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