1934 April – Source Unknown

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Edward Alexander Crowley, 58, described in the calendar as an explorer, but better known as Aleister Crowley, an author, pleaded guilty at the old bailey yesterday to receiving four original letters and one copy of a letter, said to have been stolen from Mrs Betty Sedgewick.

Mr. Milford Stevenson , prosecuting , said it was alleged that Crowley received the letters between June21, 1933, and April 10, 1934.

In 1932 he was plaintiff in a libel action against Messrs. Constable, the publishers in respect of a passage in a book in which, he alleged, certain reflections were made upon him in the name Aleister Crowley. Council continued:

“Mrs Sedgewick, who is also known as ‘Betty May;’ and has earned her living as an artist model, gave to the solicitors for the defence in that action a certain amount of information about Crowley, and in June , 1933, she was expecting to be called as a witness.

“In April 1934, she gave that evidence, and was cross-examined on it.


“In June, 1933, Mrs Sedgewick was living in Seymore street. There was also living there a man named Cruze, and you will hear that in her possession at Seymore street we re four letters which had passed between her and the solicitors who where arranging for her to be called as a witness. They disclosed that she had been receiving money in respect of expenses.

These letters, together with other personal documents, were put by her in an attaché case. Towards the end of June she went to a cottage in the country and had occasion to open the attaché case. She found the documents which it formally contain had disappeared. Those letters were never seen by her from the end of June 1933, until April, 1934, when they were produced in court by council for Crowley.

Mr. Stevenson said it was not known who stole the letters. The only person who was likely to have any interest in their possession was Aleister Crowley, and it was for him to give an explanation of his possession of them.


Mrs. Betty Sedgewick , who said her address was Southill Park gardens, Hampstead, then gave evidence.

Mr. Gallop (for the defence) Do you recognise this book, “Tiger Women My Story, by Betty May”? Yes

Was it issued as your autobiography ? Yes

With the intention that the public should believe it was the story of your life? Yes

Whereas I gather you now say you had not written the story? No

Do you regard that as fraudulent ? I didn’t think about it.

Mrs Sedgewick said part of the book was written from articles she had supplied to the press.

Judge Whitely: Some of it is true then? yes.

Mr Gallop But a deal of the book is utter fabrication? A lot of it .

Mrs. Sedgewick said, in reply to another question, that she was divorced

Who is Captain Eddie Cruze ? A friend of mine . I think he stole those papers. I know he did.

The Judge : Where is he now We cannot find him.

Mr Gallop: Would you surprised to hear that somebody calling himself Captain Cruze had been telephoning Crowley’s solicitors in the last two or three days? I do not know.


Mrs. Sedgewick, said that she stayed with Cruze in Seymore street. He had a little money at the beginning.

Was he taking drugs? He was taking Alonal as a sleeping draught.

Was he drunk? Moderately.

Mrs Sedgewick denied that Cruze was drinking a bottle or two of whisky a day, or that she was drinking.

What was wrong with Cruze’s mind? He talked so much about millions and millions of pounds that he tired me out.

Mrs. Sedgewick, said the last time she was with Cruze was in a public house off Tottenham Court Road in March. She then accused him of stealing the letters, as she had heard he was showing them around saying he could get £100 for them.

Mrs. Sedgewick agreed that she had stayed in the cottage at Maidenhead in the name of Mrs. Rickworth.

I am suggesting that you are inventing answers as you go along? Oh no, I am not .

Did you let Cruze have those letters as some security that you would pay him some money? Certainly not, I had paid him so much money. He had very little money himself.

The Judge: What possible value can these letters have?

Mr. Gallop: I cannot see the slightest. I am suggesting the most unfathomable folly on the part of Mr. Cruze and his lady. Mr. Gallop added that his defence was that Cruze had the letters as security for money owed him, as they were his letters he could hand them over to Crowley.

The Judge (to Mrs. Sedgewick): You don’t agree you let him have them at all? Never


Mr. Gallop: This book supposed to be of your life, and it is of the most appalling depravity whether it is true or false? Well, that is all puff.

It describes how you accost young men on the boulevards of Paris? Completely untrue.

And then you take them to a gang of thieves? Completely untrue.

Was there a man called “White Panther” among this gang? Fictitious; you know it is.

Is the man, the Cambridge undergraduate, a figment of your imagination? – I told you a journalist wrote it.

Mrs. Sedgewick agreed that she took drugs when she was young.

And you wrote that story of disgusting and revolting life with the intention of getting money from the public? – Not at all.

The Judge : You wanted the book to sell? – I did not. Parts of the book are completely true, but a lot is quite untrue.

Mr. Gallop : The book describes life of the utmost shameful depravity; this story of your drinking and taking drugs and stealing and all your promiscuous associations with young men? – It is not true. The parts that are true deal with Mr. Crowley.

Walter William Hunt, solicitors clerk, said Mr. Crowley handed him the letters about a month or six weeks before the action in the High Court.

Detective-sergeant Davidson said that there was a summons against Cruze charging the alleged larceny of two envelopes, one addressed to Betty May and the other to Mrs. Ricksworth, but it had not yet been served.

The first witness for the defence, George Mather, a merchant, of Cambridge-terrace, W., said he told Crowley that Capt Cruze told him he (Cruze) had quarrelled with Miss May and was anxious for Crowley to have the use of the letters.

Cruze told him (witness) that he was advancing money to Miss May, and the letters were part of the security.

The trial was adjourned until today, Crowley being allowed bail.

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