Offence: Theft > theft from a specified place
Robert Hunter and George Post , of St. Paul in Covent-Garden , were indicted for feloniously stealing a Silver Tankard, 2 Silver Cups, 1 Silver Salver, 2 Silver Castors, a Silver Salts, 7 Silver Spoons, a Silver Pepper Box, a Gold Watch and Chain, a Seal, &c. to the value of 60 l. a Worsted Purse, and 6 l. in Money on the 25th of May last, the Goods and Money of John Thomas , in the Dwelling House of the said John Thomas .
At the Request of the Prisoners, the Evidence were examined apart.
The Prosecutor deposed, that he was upon the Watch the 24th of May at Night (being Constable ) and when he went home to his House in Bedford Court in Covent-Garden between 4 and 5 the next Morning, the 25th. he found his Scrutore broke and his Goods and Money gone; that his Maid was in Bed but his Man gone out.
John Webb , deposed, that the prisoner Hunter on the 26th of May last askt him if he could help him to dispose of some Plate for a Friend of his: That he not knowing whether it was lawful to dispose of a Bankrupt's Goods sent his Wife to a Justice to enquire what he had best to do, who advised him to endeavour to get the Plate or as much of it as he could into his Hands. That he met Hunter afterwards, and they sat on the Bank of Rosamonds Pend in St. James's Park; where he told him that it was the Plate that was taken from Mr. Thomas's House, and said that they made Sarah Brotherton Drunk, broke open the Scrutore with a Chissel, and took the Goods. That he described the Watch, Seal, Chain and Plate, which agreed with that mentioned in the Indictment exactly; and said that post had the Watch in his Possession, but he had the plate himself, and would send it to him (this Evidence) but never did: that he afterwards told him that George was not willing he should have it. That he told him his Master and he were going out of Town, and bid him get a Chap for the Place, which he said weigh'd 28 Pound and a quarter, against he came to Town. And that they had several Conferences together.John Browne deposed; that between the 24th and 25th of May, about 1 a Clock he hearing Somebody Knock at the Door, went to it and let in George Post , who Courted Sarah Brotherton, and saw Hunter there; that he knew Post very well who came often to the House at unseasonable times; and had seen Hunter pass through the Court with Post, several times before: That after he had let them in he went down and fell asleep, leaving them together. This Evidence being askt whether he had not accused one Burdon nor no body else for the same Fact before, deposed, That his Master took him up and had him before a Justice; but he was then in an Agony, and did not remember what he did there. That he could not charge Burdon. And being asked how he could see them at that time of Night, answered, that there was a Candle set up for his Master in the Room where the Scrutore was, and he saw them by the Light of it.
Sarah Brotherton deposed, that George Post was her Sweetheart, That he and Hunter came about one in the Morning, and Browne let them in, That as she was going up to Bed, she met the Prisoners, at the Stairs Foot coming out of the Parlour going out with the Plate. That she askt them what they had, and they told her, the Plate. That she had a Candle in her Hand; that there was a Candle set up in the Parlour for her Master; and that they shewed her the Chissel which was produced in Court.
The Prisoners denied the Fact, endeavourd to invalidate the Evidence of Webb, Browne and Brotherton, and said they could prove that they were elsewhere that Night, and called the following Evidence.
John Bishop deposed, that he was sent to Colonel Pursor 's Lodging at 10 a Clock at Night the 24th of May, to fetch Hunter to Mrs. Beasely, that Hunter went along with him to her; that he went up to her without paying him, and he staid till he came down again for his Money. That when Hunter came down again, he bid him (this Evidence) stay, for be had something for him to do. That then he went up with him; that Mrs. Beasely was very ill, said, she was going into the Country, had no Friends but her Cousin Hunter so would have him take an Account of what there was. That he (this Evidence) wrote the Inventory; and Knew it was the same Night by the Date there of; that he went away after 12 a Clock, leaving Hunter behind.
Mary Johnson deposed, that she sent Bishop for Hunter corroborated his Evidence, and farther deposed, that when Bishop, was gone, Hunter was sitting by Mrs. Beasely's Bedside, bad her by the Hand, and staid there till between 6 and 7 a Clock in the Morning. And being askt where Mrs. Beasely is now, said she was very Ancient and ill in the Country, and not able to come.
Thomas Smith deposed, that he lay that Night with George Post . And being askt who he was, and how he remember'd the Day of the Month, said that he had been Servant to Sir Robert Dirvers 6 Months, and came away from him that Day, when Sir Robert gave him a Discharge; or Letter of Recommendation which he produced to the Court. That being askt where his Master was, he said at Froom in Somersetshire; but said he could not tell what place He was Member for; but there being Persons in Court Who knew Sir Robert (who is Knight of the Shire for Suffolk) better than this Evidence, he was soon detected; for upon perusing the Discharge, it was discover'd that it, was signed Da instead of Davers; and comparing it with Bishop's Inventory they were found to be both Writ by the same Hand. And Bishop and Smith were taken into Custody. Notwithstanding which, the Prisoners went on in calling others to invalidate the Evidence of Webb, Browne, and Brotherton. They also called a great many worthy Gentlemen to their Reputation, who gave them a very good Character. But the Jury considering the whole matter, found them Both Guilty . Death .
When the Prisoners came to the Bar to receive Sentence, they acknowledged the Forgery and Perjury of John Bishop and Thomas Smith ; said, they did not intend to have made use of any such Method: but that one Strickland came to them to Newgate, and told them that there was no other Way for them to come off; and accordingly procured the said Persons.