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Please note that text in red denotes my comments

How Charles Gilpin Did Things.

This statement was written by my brother, Billy.

This was how the scene was set when Gilpin walked into Smithfield waving my Father's will in his hand, he said, "Your Father has given you a very raw deal but don't worry I'll help you all I can and treat you like a son".

Now Gilpin had known my Father all his life and his Father before that, so I never for one moment questioned his integrity and his so-called "kindness" towards me. I knew he had a son, a missionary, and he made it known that he was a Christian and he gave great support to the Plymouth Brethren Church in Bangor.

I was looking for someone for the office and although I had put and advertisement in the paper I had received no reasonable replies.
Gilpin quickly recommended Donald Patterson saying he was an honest "Christian Boy" and he could get him, as a great favour, but the firm who he would be taking him from (Crawford & Lockard) would be very annoyed if they knew. I thought this was a "generous suggestion" and agreed to give him a try. I didn't realise at that time that he was also a Plymouth Brethren and his loyalties were with Gilpin.

Unfortunately, although the set up is obvious now, I never in my wildest dreams thought that this would be used as a lever in order to take not only one share of the business but my Mother's and brother Freddie's interests as well.

Donald Patterson started playing me up at this time. He was unpunctual in the mornings and he had constant excuses. He started to take his lunch in the office and go out round the town for over an hour. He was not attending to the office properly and I got a letter from the V.A.T. to say they had never seen books kept in such a deplorable manner (a copy could be obtained of this letter). I telephoned Burnside and told him to show Patterson how these should be done (I believe he is now a Managing Director.)

Gilpin was going into the shopping complex in Bangor and met my wife, He told her I was not treating Patterson very well and my wife said he had left accounts unpaid which normally would have been settled on the spot. He was neglecting all his duties.

It was just previous to this that I had heard Gilpin in Patterson's office telling him to run up debts, they did not hear me coming up as the floor was carpeted.

Charlie Gilpin again had me round at his office and informed me that my sister Betty owned a piece of ground in my brother Freddie's area in front of the entrance. He produced a map of this ground and I said I would purchase if from her, but for some reason or other the matter was never mentioned again either to me or to Betty.

Gilpin still kept calling into Smithfield and said he would like a Wolsley six, blue in colour. He said he wanted it at cost price because he had been so "good" to me, giving me information about the Will etc. Then he said he would like a B.M.W. could I get one for him. He arranged this with Patterson and this was charged out to him in the usual way. Gilpin was to collect the car himself at Isaac Agnews.

Later I got a telephone call from McConnell & Martin to say that Freddie's showroom was built on the wrong site. I insisted that my Father had more sense than that but McConnell & Martin said that this was true (they are the main agents for Gilpin acting on his behalf). Then I started to get frequent telephone calls asking about when I was going to auction out my cars. When I asked who was speaking the caller hung up. I said I had no intention of auctioning any cars but if they had any to sell I would gladly buy them to maintain my stock.

I received two letters from Tughan & Company, one increasing the rent on my brother Freddie's showroom. I cannot now remember what the other was.

I was given to understand that I would lose the BMC Franchise. Gilpin appeared one day and said the place would be no good without this Franchise. Miss Sullivan had corresponded with BMC and found that we already had an agreement with Hilman Roots Limited. This I was not aware of. How this came about I do not know but I do know that Mrs. Gray, who was the Wholesale Manager of BMC cars for Northern Ireland was a close friend of Gilpins and had previously been his private secretary. I am now inclined to think that this information was got from this source and that it may not have been true.

We then had a correspondence with the Toyota of England regarding the Franchise. We got a favourable reply but a few days later Gilpin telephoned informing me that I in no way would get this Franchise (he was the owner of Neville Johnstons who was the distributor of Toyota cars). He threatened me as to what he would do to me and said you don't know what's in front of you Billy Andrews and then the telephone went down.

I left after that but I was in no way interested in selling Smithfield I was in a state of depression and nervous tension, this man whom I believed to be honest and a friend of my Fathers was beginning to show his real face.

I had collapsed twice in the office with all the harassment and had to have six stitches in my head. Mr. Gilpin burst into this office knocking me almost off my feet and started to shout that he was taking this place over. He asked where Donald was and kept shouting that he was taking the place over. Under this severe pressure I was taken round to a solicitor's office. It was late in the evening, everything to me was hazy, I could not even concentrate. I asked for Miss Sullivan but was told I did not need her. A telephone call came through as I was sitting in this office. I could hear Donald Patterson's voice say, "we've got him, we've got him." I was told to sign something but I honestly do not remember or did I know what I was signing, I was in such a state. I was like some zombie taken round to the Northern Bank in High Street. The bank appeared to be closed. I was brought into an office with about three of four people in it. I was again asked to sign something which I now know was a cheque, already made payable to Mr. C. Gilpin for 26,183. I had never been in this bank before, I had never asked anyone to open an account for me, I was not even allowed the services of my own solicitor. The solicitor I later learned was Bertie Wright, I now know the man in the bank was a Mr. McGahon. I never at any time requested an account to be opened. None of these arrangements were made by me or any prices agreed by me. After this I had to attend a doctor for over a year and he told me that if I had come to him sooner I would have still had my business and that I was in no fit state to sign anything.

Burnside of course was most uncooperative and I got no assistance from him, in fact, I was left to the wolves. Gilpin was able, without my knowledge, to have a Statement of Affairs made out for him in Jackson & Andrews office. He, in fact, got all the information he required. When I saw it I asked Burnside who made it out, where had he got his figures from because I knew that they were incorrect. He could not produce any property valuations, which is the normal procedure in this case. I got on the telephone to the agent who had valued Smithfield in 1975 and handed the telephone to Burnside to hear for himself the value that was put on this property at that time. It was actually valued at twice what was shown on the Statement. I asked Burnside to give a reason for this. All he could say was that it had ruined the Statement of Affairs. I told him that I at no time requested this Statement of Affairs to be made out and it certainly looked like as if Burnside was complying with Gilpin's wishes and not myself who employed him.

Everything now was against me and I do believe that Gilpin would have stooped to the lowest deeds in order to get his prized possession, Smithfield. He had tried to buy it from my Father some time before he died. He offered him 315,000 which my Father refused, but he obviously did not mean to give up.

It was by his lies and pressures that I was ill for a year. Dr. Kerr, my consultant, said I should never have been forced to sign anything, in the state I now found myself.

I can remember a few days after my Father died Charlie got in touch with Burnside and he asked Burnside what about these shares of Andrews and Company. Burnside will be able to repeat what took place.

W. Andrews.

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