Here’s a remarkable story of a registered letter arriving in Blantyre in 1924, containing an inheritance legacy which fell into the wrong hands.
It came up in Glasgow Sheriff Court on Monday 22nd September 1924 when a young married Blantyre woman named Elizabeth McPike or Stewart was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment.
Prior to September 1922, the person who should have inherited the money was a lady living at Hall Street, at Dixon’s Rows, Blantyre. Seeking a better life, she moved to Glasgow and had informed the postal authorities of her change of address.
Now, the lady’s brother who lived in Johannesburg, South Africa died in August, 1921, and early in 1922, when she was living at the Blantyre addess, she received word that she was to get a share of her brother’s estate. Whilst in Glasgow, she received letters from two of her sisters informing her that each of them had received £110 as their share. She looked forward to the day to receive her share. However, time passed and she received nothing. So worried about the change of address, she inquired at the Post Office, and was shortly after astonished to discover that this other woman, Elizabeth Stewart, unknown to her but now living at her old Blantyre home, had received a registered letter in which was enclosed bank draft for £110.
Incredibly, Elizabeth and signed for it, and after opening it, temptation had kicked in and she cashed it at a bank in Glasgow. On being instructed by the bank officials, she endorsed the draft the name of the woman for whom it had been intended. She had committed fraud.
£110 in 1924 was worth about £7,000 in today’s money.
Elizabeth had spent all the money believing she had committed an undetectable crime. Mrs Stewart had even bought fancy clothes to pull off the crime, dressed as best as she could possibly be, in order to go the bank so that she could appear like a person who would be used to cashing such a draft.
Elizabeth Stewart was jailed for 8 months.
From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2018