The remarkable story was told on Monday 12th March 1928 at Hamilton Sheriff Court, when Joseph Geoghegan (25) pleaded guilty to six charges of fraud in obtaining goods in Glasgow and Blantyre representing he was authorised to do so by Messrs. Fagan, pawnbrokers of Blantyre.
Accused obtained goods valued altogether at £74 7s. He wore one suit and other articles, such as jewellery, which he pawned for about £32.
The Fiscal stated that the charges were connected with a family affair. The accused’s grandfather built up Fagans business.
Joseph’s mother had died at his birth, and his father, an electrician, went abroad, leaving nothing for the support of accused. Josephs is pictured here in 1910, aged 7, a photo sent in by Dave Barry. His problems seem to have arisen through his father, a successful electrical contractor, remarrying, taking off for America and raising a family there, but leaving young Joseph to the care of his aunt Agnes Fegan in Blantyre.
Joseph’s relatives kept him, and when he was nine he went Tipperary, and subsequently entered Dublin University. Later he was sent to America to his father, but soon returned, and took a position as tutor at Fort Augustus before going Rome to study for the Church. He returned from Rome and was sent to Ireland to sit for examination for the teaching profession. Joseph did not sit for the examination, and instead of Dublin he went to Liverpool and was evidently interested in horseracing.
His relatives were annoyed at the deception, and told him they would have nothing more to do with him. The family rejected him and said Joseph seemed to think that he had been born ‘‘with a silver spoon in his mouth”. He had raised a civil action for £10,000 as share of his grandfather’s considerable estate.
When Joseph could find nobody to keep him, he was determined to wreak vengeance on the estate and his relatives by fraud.
It was said in court that the frauds were means adopted him to get money to feed and cloth himself. The cause of the trouble was that the relatives who had taken care of him were now dead. (1927)
The agent for the accused maintained that relatives had been determined get him into a religious life out the country, but Joseph had no vocation for the priesthood or teaching.
The difficulty would have been solved putting him into the business, which his grandfather had built up, but when the business passed to the present owners the trustees took no further interest in him. Joseph was determined to obtain his legal rights in the busmees, and had promisd to pay restitution to those persons whom he had defrauded.
Sheriff Brown sentenced accused to six months’ imprisonment. It is unknown what became of him.