It's strange how these things go.... a few weeks ago I had just finished my last little piece on William Wheeler Yelf and was thinking of the next Yelf item to post about when something popped up on ebay. It was a copy of the Illustrated London News dated Saturday April 23rd 1853 an although its lead story was Mr Gladstone's budget (an increase in the duty on Scotch and Irish whiskies was in the offing), what caught my eye was a story from the provinces entitled Defalcations at a Savings Bank, Newport. It was, of course about poor old William Wheeler Yelf whose crimes had hit the big time of the London weeklies!
It took a while but following a frantic bid I obtained the newspaper for a total of £14.99 and I was happy to find that it had arrived today. It was quite strange to think that I was reading a paper produced at the same time as William Yelf's trial - a real piece of Yelf history and an incredible co-incidence that it should appear for sale when it did. Anyway, the piece itself is scanned in below but for those that can't be bothered clicking on the picture for a closer look I have transcribed the full text.
DEFALCATIONS AT A SAVINGS BANK, NEWPORT - On Tuesday week an inquiry was instituted respecting the deficiencies at the savings-bank. It appears that the accounts at the bank had been kept in the most careless manner and that the accused (Yelf) who is the actuary, must have commenced his dishonest practices as early as 1839. It was then that he first presented a false cheque for £150 and since that period many such-like memoranda have been used by him. Large sums of money must have been extracted from the deposits by Yelf as there is a deficiency existing of £8276 16s 3d. On Monday he made a full confession of his guilt, and has expressed a desire to render every assistance in making the necessary inquiries. One great source of regret is, that, from the great loss of which stock of not more than £60,000 has experienced, a reduction of nearly 25 per cent will take place in the value of each person's investment.