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Hamilton De Tatham

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  • Hamilton De Tatham

    I've been chatting with a City of London "Legal Research Assistant" and we looked at two 19th century cases. The first one didn't involve the Old Bailey, but the second case eventually did make its way to that court. Here is the first case:

    On Friday night Sept 17, 1886 Henry Schroder was nabbed by the police for an assault in Uxbridge. Roger Palmer recently posted a Saturday Sept 18, 1886 newspaper article taken from the Uxbridge & W. Drayton Gazette that told of the story.

    Schroder was brought in by the cops and given police bail on that same Friday night of his arrest. The man in London told me that police bail could only be used for summary jurisdiction offences, i.e. those offences which could be dealt with summarily by a magistrate. "Assault" was such an offence, and that is why police bail was referred to in the article posted by Roger.

    As it turned out, Schroder got out of town and failed to appear in court the next day. As a result, the victim of the attack withdrew his assault charge because the affair was now taking too much of his time.

    I will show the second case on my next post.

  • #2
    Hamilton De Tatham was arrested on Tues April 21, 1891 for gross indecency. The crime allegedly occurred on Charles Street in the West End at the Junior United Service Club.

    De Tatham remained in police custody and on Wednesday April 22, 1891 he appeared before the magistrate at the Marlborough Street Police Court. (1)

    According to the Reynolds Newspaper, De Tatham was charged with acts of gross indecency and was remanded. A bail amount of 400 quid was accepted. This was not police bail.

    The man in London told me that a person charged with indecent assault or gross indecency could not be released on police bail. He had to be taken before a magistrate at the first opportunity and it would be up to the magistrate to decide whether the prisoner should be allowed bail.

    So in the De Tatham case, he was arrested for gross indecency and no police bail could be given due to the nature of the charge. He appeared before the magistrate the next day and it was then that the magistrate allowed bail.

    Then seven days later on Wednesday April 29, 1891, De Tatham returned to the Marlborough Street Police Court and "surrendered to his bail" according to The Times. (2) The magistrate was Mr. Hannay and he committed De Tatham to trial at the Old Bailey. This time the bail was increased to 1,000 quid.

    I wrote an article on the De Tatham case in the Ripperologist journal back in 2014. It's still a cool read. But in that article, I identified De Tatham's original 400 quid bail amount as having been "police bail". That has now been shown to be an error. Police bail, as I have been told, could not have been given for a gross indecency charge. The magistrate would have had to decide on his own whether bail should be allowed or not.

    De Tatham was acquitted at his Old Bailey trial during the first week of May 1891.

    1. Dundee Courier and Argus, April 23, 1891.

    2. The Times, April 30, 1891.


    • #3
      Thanks Joe....very interesting piece.
      The courts really took that sodomizing and buggery seriously !
      400 in 1891 is a little more than 49, 000 today.
      To Join JTR Forums :


      • #4
        Joe - For the sake of the more dense among us, if the motive is to compare this case to Tumilty's Nov 1888 case, one would want to take it a step further.

        1. How was De Thatham's case presented in the pre-trial calendar at Old Bailey? (I think this has been answered before, but it might be worth repeating). And how does that compare to Tumilty's?

        2. One assumes Marlborough Street Police Court was open for business between April 22 and April 29th (coincidentally Tumilty's two appearances also fell on two Wednesdays, 7 days apart), so was this 7 day span between the remand and the committal proceedings fairly standard for this type of offense? thanks.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Howard Brown View Post
          Thanks Joe....very interesting piece.
          The courts really took that sodomizing and buggery seriously
          Hi Howard. Technically, gross indecency, under the Crimes Against the Persons Act, wouldn't be sodomy; it would cover all homosexual acts other than sodomy. Still, stiff bail.


          • #6
            Hello Roger. I see a lot of similarities between how the De Tatham case was processed and how Tumblety's case was processed. The exact number of seven days between the remand and committal hearings is one example, as you mentioned. And of course, Hannay was the magistrate at the Marlborough Street Police Court both times. And the nature of the charges against the two men were similar.

            Allow me to clean up something...Howard, yes, the 400 bail amount set at the remand hearing on Apr 22nd was high. But as you see in my previous post, I've now corrected the amount for the bail that was set at the Apr 29th committal hearing. It actually jumped up to 1,000 quid this second time around. But De Tatham was a West End man and his estate was valued at 45,000 quid when he died.

            Here is one more quote from the man from London. He said that a thing to note about De Tatham is that despite being arrested on 21 April 1891, and then appearing at a remand hearing on 22 April, the Central Criminal Court Calendar says he was "received into custody' on 6 May 1891. This is because 6 May 1891 is the start of his trial when he would have had to surrender himself to Holloway Prison. Yet to this day, people still continue to say Tumblety was arrested on 7 Nov 1888 simply because the Central Criminal Court Calendar says that this was the day he was "received into custody."


            • #7
              He lodged at 8 Duke St, Westminster, in company with a Commander Royal Navy, an electrical engineer, a civil servant, another retired surgeon and a magistrate, so no rubbish!


              • #8
                Thanks Robert. While I was writing my article about De Tatham five years ago, I noticed what a distinguished career he had.

                Getting back to the similarities between the De Tatham and Tumblety cases, here are a few more. In both cases, the alleged victims of the crimes were teenagers or young adults. And both defendants used the "doctor" title, but of course De Tatham's title was legitimate while Tumblety's title wasn't.

                As for the Nov 7, 1888 date of being received into custody, it seems to me that this opens the possibility that Tumblety could have been arrested on the evening of Nov 6th after the magistrate stopped hearing cases on that day. Then Tumblety would have been held in police custody at Marlborough Street until he was brought before Hannay on Nov 7th. Then Hannay would have decided on the bail issue at that time.

                David Barrat once explained that Tumblety spent the night of Nov 7th in Holloway Prison. If Hannay chose not to allow bail, then Holloway Prison is where Tumblety would have stayed. If Hannay granted bail, and Tumblety's sureties were not in order, then Tumblety would have remained in Holloway Prison waiting for the sureties issue to be resolved. Once it was resolved, the governor of the prison or his authorized subordinates would have had the power to release Tumblety. The prisoner did not need to return Hannay for his release.