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Daniel John Drew Codner

Newspaper Reports

Uxbridge & W. Drayton Gazette
Tuesday 30 March 1869

A painful rumour has been current for the last few days of the sudden disappearance from Liverpool of a merchant's clerk with a very large sum of money belonging to his employers in his possession.
It seems that a young man, 18 years of age, named Daniel John Drewe Codner, was employed as a clerk by Messrs. Pim, Cherry and Co. cotton brokers. Tithebarn Street.
On Tuesday he went with upwards of £1000 to pay an account, but instead of paying over the money, he decamped with the amount, and has not been seen since.
Codner is most respectably connected, his father being a clergyman, and his uncle as ecclesiastical dignitary holding an exalted position in Australia.
The affair is at present in the hands of the police.

Maryport Advertiser
Friday 16 April 1869

HUNTING A DEFAULTER. About a fortnight ago, a young man named Codner suddenly disappeared from Liverpool, having, it was said, embezzled about £1,000, the property et Messrs. Pim, Cherry, and Co., cotton brokers.
The affair was placed in the hands of the police, and the detective department ascertained that Codner had changed five £100 notes at a Liverpool bank, and left town for London.
Inspector Carlisle and a member of the firm followed the supposed delinquent. They soon got upon his tract, and found that he broke the journey at several places. He seemed to have a decided taste for church architecture, for he visited Ely, Canterbury, and other places famous for their ecclesiastical structures. His stoppages, however, were brief.
His pursuers traced him to London, and thence to Dover. At Dover the trace was lost, but Mr. Carlisle had reason to believe his man bad gone to Paris. Thither they also went, and from Paris to Brussels and Cologne, but could not hear any of the person who was wanted.
The officer, after a most exciting and arduous journey and search-in which he was greatly assisted by the efficient services rendered by the French, Belgian, and Prussian police was compelled to return to Liverpool without the fugitive.
When it became known on 'Change that the police were after the supposed delinquent there was considerable interest manifested in the result or the chase, but the general belief was that it would end as it did.
Within the last few days it has been rumoured that a person answering Codner's description has recently left Marseilles for Australia, via the Suez route, and thence the hunt will be renewed.
Note. Pim Cherry went bankrupt in 1871.

Cardiff Times
Saturday 16 July 1898

Daniel John Drew Codner (46), Musician, was indicted on a charge of unlawfully committing acts of gross indecency with another male person named James Jones at Pembroke Dock, on 1st April. Mr. H.A. Jones, solicitor, Pembroke Dock, and the Rev. W.G. Spurrell, Coalesheath, were defendants surotiem. Defendant not appearing, the recognisances were forfeited.

Police Gazette
29th July 1898

PEMBROKESHIRE. 47.- Haverfordwest Castle (County).-For failing to appear at Haverfordwest Assizes, 12th inst., for committing acts of gross indecency (See Case No. 62. 22nd April last)- DANIEL JOHN DREW CODNER, age 46, height 6 ft. 1 in., complexion fair, hair dark brown, eyes hazel, stoops slightly. Warrant issued. Information to the Chief Constable, Haverford west Castle.

Evening Star
Wednesday 29 January 1902


Daniel John Drew Codner (50), an organist, who was described as of superior education, was charged with an abominable offence, on November 25th, 1901. Mr W. P. Eversley prosecuted, and Mr. E. W, Wild and Mr. Mabon defended.
The evidence was of a loathsome nature, and it appeared at the time of the offence prisoner had been drinking heavily.
Mr. Wild argued that the crime had not been committed, although he said he should have no answer to a second indictment of gross indecency. But prisoner was a man who merited more their pity than their blame, as he should prove that he suffered from hereditary and contracted insanity, Ninety nine days out of 100 he was possessed as other men, and then came intervals when the hereditary taint of his fathers madness would show itself uppermost. Prisoner had been organist at St. David's Cathedral at Wales, and had held other high appointments.
Mrs. Elizabeth Codner, mother of prisoner, said in 1849 she married prisoners father, who was a clergyman of the Church of England. Her husband had a violent and uncontrollable excitement directly after marriage; this was in the nature of sudden outbreaks. When her daughter was born he behaved pecullarly, and said he would manage the infant and not her.
He took even a greater dislike to the boy, and later she had to consult a doctor as to the state of her husbands mind. His brain broke down in 1855, when he was decidedly insane. He ordered her to take the bible out of the room, and said he would pray to the devil. Once he read the marriage service at a funeral, and at last he went away with the wife of a friend.
He went to Italy, came back, and alternated to the Church of Rome and back to the Church of England.
Prisoner had a restless brain, and great weakness of will; he had what she called a wandering mania, and she had to consult the late Sir Russel Reynolds about him. He said he suffered from irritation at the base of the brain, and he prescribed music for him. He was a very cultured musician.
An engagement of marriage was broken off in 1897 and had a bad effect upon him. Once he swept some candles off a Communion table through some uncontrollable impulse. For this he was convicted and fined. About this time he told her he felt as one possessed, and then she saw the father repeated in the son. Other relatives on the fathers side were mentally affected.
Cross-examined; A deed of separation was drawn up between her and her husband, but not on the ground of insanity. Prisoner did not really leave her till five years ago, and she had not taken steps to have him put away as a lunatic. He took to drink occasionally, and then he would break out. She knew he was in trouble in 1868 for a similar case to this, and then she did not set up a defence of insanity.
Mr. John Chapman, a Birkenhead merchant, who had known prisoner when at business, said the latteroften had a strange look, and took to wandering churches and cathedrals, in a solitary state. He had formed the opinion that his brain was affected.
Rev. Canon Aitken said, from his visit to prisoner in prison, he formed the opinion that his mind lacked concentration.
Dr. D.G. Thompson, superintendent of the Norwich County Asylum, said he had examined prisoner, and came to the conclusion that he was somewhat weak-minded. He did not seem to realise the enormity of the offence beyond saying that he felt he was not like other people. Witness considered that he was not fully aware of the act he committed at the time, and that he did not know the difference of right from wrong.
Cross-examined: He was free from delusions and hallucinations.
Dr, Robinson, the prison doctor, was called, but was not present, and the case was adjourned till today.

Diss Express
Friday 31 January 1902

Daniel John Drew Codner (50), described as an organist, was charged with committing an abominable offence at Norwich, on November 25th. Dr. Mills stated that when he saw the prisoner at the Police-station he appeared to be recovering from an attack oi delirium tremers, and Detective-sergeant Slaughter, who proved the arrest, also said the prisoner appeared to have been drinking heavily. The defence that the charge was not made out. Moreover, it was contended that the prisoner suffered from inherited insanity, and was not responsible for bis actions. Prisoner had been organist at St. David s Cathedral, Wales, and had held high musical appointments. The case was adjourned till Wednesday, when prisoner was found guilty and sentenced to ten years' penal servitude.