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HE WANTED TO MARRY. WIDOW'S ACTION FOR SLANDER.
An action with much amusing evi dence in it was heard by Mr Justice Coleridge on Wednesday (said 'Lloyd's Weekly' on April 4). The defendant was Francis Mills, of Forest Gate, an old man of eighty, described as a manu facturer of 'canine medicine,' and the plaintiff was Mrs Elizabeth Oourquin, a buxom widow, who claimed damages for
Both parties (counsel said) lived in Rutland road, Forest Gate, and had known each other for many years, .?de- fendant being a great friend of her de eeased husband. Since the death of her husband in 1907 plaintiff had made a U ing by taking in needlework and nursing. By her husband's will she had 10s a week until she remarried. A year after the death of Mr Courquin defendant got plaintiff to visit his house ever- Saturday to do washing and odd jobs, the remuneration being 2s for the day. In June, 1908, the old man suddenly s ggested to Mrs Courquin that she should marry him— 4hat they Should so into the country and be married secretly, so that she should continue to receive the 10s a week under her late husband's will. Mrs Courquin refused, and Mr Mills was very angry. He said he supposed Mrs Courquin wanted a younger man, and not one so old as he was. . He next suggested (said counsel), that she shoull live with him. Mrs Courquin indig nantly refused, and Mr Mills grew an grier than ever. One afternoon a youth named George Francis, a friend of Mrs Courquin's son, came to return a bicycle he had bor rowed. He was asked by Mrs Courquin, who had known him ever since he was nine years old, to take a rest in the kit chen, as he seemed tired from his ride. Mr Mills, it so happened, walked into the house to pay a visit at that moment. He gave the youth a stony stare, and then walked out. Afterwards, it was alleged, he made serious reflections on George's motives for being in the kitchen, speaking to George's mother and to two neighbors whom he met outside East Ham Station. These utterances constituted the slan der complained of. ?Mr Mills also made similar accusa tions to Mrs Courquin herself, and in 1 consequence of this she sent him the followiner letter: —
'After what you said to me on Satur j day I decline to work for you any longer, but as I am washing to-day I j will wash anything you ' like to give bearer.' Mrs Francis, the mother of George Francis, said that the canine specialist had told her that 'he had set a trap for George and caught him. Mrs Rice, who lived in the same street as Mrs Courquin, said that Mr Mills had remarked to her: 'I am not com ing down your street any more* I know
all I want to know. When George is at home I am not wanted.' Further evidence about Mr Mills's re marks was given by a Mrs Butc'her, who was asked what she gathered from them. The Witness: ? I didn't understand what he'''imeant. The Judge: Then you are a very in nocent-minded woman. The defendant was not called, and, after hearing counsel's statements, the jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff, awarding her L30. Judgment was entered accordingly, with costs, but a stay of execution was granted.