The butler did it (and more than once)

A frenchman, with the colourful name of Emile Delessert, was a butler, but a disgraced one. In 1884 (two years before he appeared on a charge of theft and fraud at the Westminster Police Court) Delessert had been sacked by his then employer the Marquis of Clanricarde, for being drunk.

Being dismissed without a reference was serious because it was unlikely that anyone would employ him as a servant after that, but this did not stop Emile. He wrote his own letter of introduction and forged the Marquis’ signature. This he used to gain employment with an  officer in the British Army.

Major Sangster was taken in by Delessert’s ruse and he became a butler in his London home at 66 St George’s Road. However, he didn’t last long being dismissed a few days later  ‘for stealing liquor’. Delessert clearly had a drink problem.

He also had an issue with other people’s property because when his luggage was examined before he left the major’s house several items were found that did not belong to him, but instead to Sangster’s stepson, Captain Goldfrap of the 10th regiment of foot.

The police were called and a detective searched Delessert’s last known lodgings. Here he found pawn tickets that led him to a pawnshop where he discovered two gold rings (that were identified by the Marquis of Clanricarde as items he’d lost soon after he dismissed his butler) as well as a ‘yachting cap, a flannel jacket’ and other things believed stolen from persons unknown.

Emile Delessert was exposed as a serial thief and fraudster and now he confessed to the charges and Mr D’Eyncourt sentenced him to nine months at hard labour.

[from The Morning Post, Wednesday, November 03, 1886]

NB The 2nd Marquis of Clanricarde was Hubert George de Burgh-Canning, an anglo-irish politician who had a dreadful reputation in Ireland as an absentee landlord. The Chicago Tribune reported (in  1906) that: ‘Never had Clanicarde visited his estates, despite the many thousands of families that had been evicted from them during that time, resulting in mass destitution. “So universal is the execration in which this particular nobleman is held by people of every political party that when the question of this bill was put to the vote by the speaker, liberals, liberal unionists and conservatives all voted with the Irish party, only three of the nearly 700 members of the house of Commons opposing the vote, which would otherwise have been unanimous.”

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