1895 12 08 Bigamy

1895 December 18th         Strange Bigamy Case

Ten Wives and 23 Children

At the Old Bailey, London, on Wednesday, before the Recorder, William H Cadman, 54, was indicted for unlawfully marrying Beatrice Hodgetts, his wife being then alive. Mr Charles Matthews, for the prosecution, said the prisoner married his lawful wife in Manchester in 1873, and had nine children. He afterwards deserted her, and in 1886 made the acquaintance of a Miss Smith, whom, under the promise of marriage, he seduced and lived with in Manchester.

While this intimacy was going on he came to London and met with Miss Hodgetts, describing himself as a bachelor, and a marriage was fixed to take place in July, 1888. After making this arrangement he went back to Miss Smith, and on pretence of fulfilling his promise to marry her, took her to Brussels and deserted her. He then returned to London and renewed acquaintance with Miss Hodgetts, whom he also induced to accompany him to Brussels, where he went through a form of marriage before the Mayor. Between 1889 and 1891 prisoner lived a double existence as husband of Miss Hodgetts, with whom he spent most of his time in Paris, and as the reputed husband of Miss Smith in Manchester, Miss Smith having had two children by him. The prisoner succeeded in obtaining between $6000 and $7000 from Miss Hodgetts, now deceased, and shortly afterwards he left Miss Hodgetts in Paris, giving her only $15. Subsequently , however, she met him in London and he induced her to again live with him, but he deserted her a second time three days later.

A warrant was afterwards issued, and the prisoner was arrested in Manchester, the police finding in his box a large number of letters from women and two bogus certificates of marriage. While under detention the prisoner wrote to his lawful wife begging her to assist him. Evidence was then called, and the jury, without hesitation, found the prisoner guilty. Mr Matthews said with reference to the marriage certificates found in the prisoners box, one had reference to a Miss Sherrard, school mistress, of Manchester, and the other was in respect of a Miss Brown, with whom prisoner was living when arrested. In addition the correspondence seized showed that the prisoner was writing to five other women all of whom he was addressing at one time as his wife, and 23 children he had by various women, 13 were illegitimate.

The Recorder, in sentencing the prisoner to seven years’ penal servitude, said the case was the very worst of the kind ever before him. The prisoner who sunk down in the dock on hearing the sentence had to be assisted to the cells.

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