Joseph Powis, Theft > burglary, 6th September 1732.

Reference Number: t17320906-15
Offence: Theft > burglary
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

16. Joseph Powis was indicted for breaking and entering the House of Joseph Brewer , in the Parish of St. Andrew Holbourn , with an Intent to steal his Goods, about the Hour of 2 in the Night , on the 3d of August last.

Joseph Brewer. I keep the Raven Alehouse in Fetter-Lane ; I have a Cellar Window next the Street, with two folding Doors and a Flap, I open those Doors and take up the Flap or Plank to let down my Drink; and at those Doors you may either go directly into the Cellar or the Ground-floor, and so all over the House. On the Ground-floor I have likewise a Back-door which goes into my Yard, which is parted by a low Wall from my Neighbour Mr. Ashley's [Astly] Yard. The Prisoner was drinking at my House between 11 and 12 on the Night before it was broke open. When he was gone I made fast all my Doors and went to bed, and between 2 and 3 next Morning, the Watch call'd me up, and told me my Cellar-door was broke open. We search'd my House without finding the Thief, but then seeing the Back-door open we went into Mr. Ashley's Yard, and found the Prisoner under a Dresser in a Shed. We examin'd his Pockets, and took out these 2 Spikes, all these Picklock-Keys, this Wax-Candle, this Lancet, which he said was to let People Blood, and this Iron-pin, which is the Pin of my Cellar-Window. He is a Locksmith by Trade, and was cast last March was a Twelvemonth for Transportation; but his Father who lives in good Credit, made Friends that he might have his Punishment here.

Prisoner. I have made several Pins; is there any Mark upon this Pin that you can swear it to be yours?

Brewer. I know it to be mine; it fits the Key and the Iron-bar of my Window; I am sure I put it in over-night and key'd it, and it was not there in the Morning, when I found my Cellar-door open.

Prisoner. But has it no particular Mark that you know it by? For one Pin may be like another.

Brewer. I know this, that after it was found upon you, you said, Now I am a dead Man. And when I came to look on my Till, I found by several Marks that there had been an Attempt to break it open.

John Graham . Hearing an Outcry of Thieves between 2 and 3 in the Morning, I got out of Bed and came down Stairs, and found the Prisoner in Mr. Ashley's Yard.

Court. Was it dark then? Graham. Yes. Court. Was there not Day-light enough to distinguish a Man's Countenance? Graham No . Court. How then do you know that the Prisoner is the Man who was taken in Ashley's Yard? Graham. The People brought Candles; some of them had got Spits, and run him into the Leg, upon which he cry'd out, For God's Sake don't use me thus, and I'll surrender myself. I told him I thought they had not hurt him much. Yes, but they have, says he, so much, that I believe I shall not be able to walk to the Watch-house; but I wish I may die of my Wounds before I come to be try'd, for my poor Father's Sake, because I have requited him so ill for his Kindness in getting me off from Transportion. I took these Scissars and this Pin of the Window out of his Pocket. Court. Did you hear him say any thing about that Pin when you took it from him? Graham. I don't remember that I did; but when he was before Sir William Billers , the Alderman ask'd him what was the Use of this Lancet? and he answer'd very audaciously, that it was to let People Blood in the Night. After he was sent to the Compter, I ask'd him if he had any Accomplices? and he said, No, I acted by my self, and I desire to suffer by my self.

Prisoner to the Prosecutor. Who was present when the Pin was found? Who heard me say that I was a dead Man?

Prosecutor. You did not say those Words the Minute the Pin was taken upon you, but it was when you was brought into Mr. Dighten's House, and he was present; but he is not here now.

Robert Lugg , Watchman. When I beat one a Clock all was safe at Mr. Brewer's House; but when I went past two, I preserv'd [observ'd] the Iron-bar of his Cellar-Window was down, and the Pin was out. I call'd Mr. Brewer up, and he bid me stand and watch at the Window till he came down. I suppose the Prisoner heard him, and so got out backwards in the mean time; but we found him in Mr. Ashley's Yard.

William T. I went to the Prisoner in Newgate, 3 Days after he was committed, and ask'd him how he could commit such erroneous Crimes, and he said that nothing vex'd him so much, as that he had not Presence of Mind to throw the Pin out of his Pocket before he was taken; for nothing had so great an Effect upon him as their finding that Pin. He felt such a sudden Damp, he said, that he thought he was struck with Death.

Charles Astly . I heard an Out-cry of Thieves, and looking out at the Window, I saw the Prisoner come along my Mother's Yard, and go to the Shed. I call'd out to my Neighbours, and said the Thief was in our Yard; and there I saw him taken, as he was under a Dresser with a Board put before him. I saw the Pin taken out of his Pocket.

Court. Did he say any thing upon finding the Pin? Astly. Not that I know of. Court. Could the Prisoner come any other Way into your Yard than over the Prosecutor's Wall? Astly. No, for none of our Doors were open.

Prisoner. I was drinking at the Prosecutor's House over Night, and going away about 12, very much fuddled, I met a Woman by Mr. Astley's Door, and somebody coming along while I was talking to her, she desir'd me to go backwards into the Yard. The Prosecutor is one of a spiteful, malicious Character, and he was said to be concern'd in concealing Mr. Hossel, who was try'd for stealing Bank Notes. As for the Things that were found upon me, they are all Materials that I use in my Trade as a Locksmith. Court. Did you use the Lancet in that way too? Prisoner. No, I used that as a Surgeon; for I studied Blooding, and some other Parts of Surgery, as well as making Locks. When I was carried before Sir William Billers , he ask'd me if I had not robb'd a Kinsman of his? I told him No; and then, says he, to the Prosecutor, if you can hang him, there's 40 l. for you. The Jury found him guilty . Death .


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