James Smith, Theft > burglary, 23rd February 1743.

Reference Number: t17430223-10
Offence: Theft > burglary
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

145. + James Smith , of St James, Clerkenwell , was indicted for breaking and entering the Dwelling-House of Ann Dobney about the Hour of Seven in the Night, and stealing 1 Silk Gown, Value 20s. 1 Cloth Mantelet Value 5 s. 1 Piece of Linnen Cloth, Value 1 l. the Goods of Ann Dobney ; 2 Red Damask Skirts, Value 12 s. 2 Quilted Coats, Value 8 s. and other Things, the Goods of John Knell , February 1 .

Ann Dobney . 1st of February, the Window-Shutters of my House were broke open, and the Windows broke, and the Goods taken away: This Gown is my own, it was in the House when I went out, and before I came home it was stolen. - The Girl found this Gown and the other Things in this Bag - I found them at home; they were brought back, as was the Prisoner.

John Knell was called but did not readily answer.

Prisoner. He is here but he is ashamed to look up.

John Knell . These Things are mine. These are my Children's; they were in my Mother's House when she was robbed.

Q. Where were they found? Where had them you again?

Knell. They were had again - the Constable had them - the Constable sent for me between Seven and Eight o'Clock, and when I came to the House, that Man (the Prisoner) was in the House; I search'd him and found a Chissel upon him, but did not find any of the Goods upon him.

Ann Dobney . This is my Gown and Mantelet - he took these Goods out of the House and dropped them - he was taken about ten Doors off.

John Knell . The Goods were dropped and my Sister cried out, There were Thieves, and I ran out and took the Prisoner; the Goods were dropped at the Door.

Q. What did he say when he came before the justice ?

Knell. He denied the Fact.

Ann Dobney , jun. On the 1st of February about Six o'Clock. I shut up all the Windows and made them very fast, and between Seven and Eight they were broke open; the Goods were in my Mother's House; I heard a Noise in the House and I went to open the Parlour-Door, and the Prisoner at the Bar was half in the Window and half out; he was getting away, and just as he got out of the Window, he turned about and looked at me; I cried out to my Brother, and he came and took him directly - he never was out of my Sight 'till he was taken; I saw nothing upon him - a little Boy happened to be playing at the Door and saw him drop the Bag - it was Candle Light - between Seven and Eight o'Clock, in the Evening - there was a Lamp at the Door - I am very sure he is the Person.

Q. Did you ever see the Prisoner before?

Ann Dobney . Not before six o'Clock that Evening when I was shutting up my Windows, and then he came and spoke to me, and asked me, if there was not a Midwife lived there? and I said, Yes: He said, he should want her by-and-by for his Sister. I am sure the Prisoner is the Man I saw get out at the Window.

A Girl. I am 13 Years of Age the 9th of April - I am not afraid to take an Oath, for I will speak nothing but the Truth - I saw that Man threw a Bag out of the Window, and take the Bag up, and he afterwards dropped it; he could not easily get the Things out at the Window.

Q Did you see John Knell apprehend him?

Girl. Yes, I did. he was never out of my Sight 'till he had taken him.

Prisoner. This John Knell is an Acquaintance of and he said, he would hang me right or wrong, for the Sake of the Reward; he put his Knee against that Boy before Justice Wroth, and bid him say every Thing he said; he has bought the Boy that Coat to swear against me

( The Boy was not examined. )

Constable. I heard the Prisoner say to Justice Wroth, that Knell had tutored the Boy, and that he had been putting Words in his Mouth; but I really believe he did not want it.

Penelope Sussaker . I was coming by and saw a great Number of People by the Justice's Door; I stood to hear, and I heard the Prosecutor say, he would hang the Prisoner if it was possible - if it was in his Power.

Elizabeth White . I was coming by, and seeing a Crowd I desired to know what was the Matter; I followed them to the Justice, and I heard Smith ask Knell, if he had not a Brother named James; and said, he was another Rogue like himself; and Knell said, he would hang him if it cost him all he had, and James Smith said, he must bear it with Patience.

- Marriot. I have known the Prisoner 10 or 12 Years; he is a Needlemaker ; I have known him to be as hard a working Man as any in the Kingdom, and have kept him Company; 'till this Affair, I never heard any Ill of him, but that he always had a good Character.

Richard Badcock . I have known James Smith 18 or 19 Years; I never knew any Ill by him in my Life, I have seen him frequently at the Red-Cross, in Red-Cross-street; he came frequently with his Bread and Cheese in his Hand; he has an universal good Character.

Mary Oakley . I have known him about 10 Years together, and lived almost next Door to him; he worked with his Brother, and bore a pretty good Character; I only became acquainted with him by living in the Neighbourhood.

William Bailey . I live at the Red-Cross, in Red-Cross-street - I rent a Room there; I have known the Prisoner 20 Years, and he always had a good Character; I have delivered him many a Tankard with Beer, and he always took Care to bring the Tankard to the Bar; I never heard any Harm of him in my Life.

Theop. Thorp. I have known the Prisoner the best Part of 30 Years: He has worked Journey-Work with me 5 or 6 Years. I was a Master, but by Casualties in the World, I am off it now: I never heard any Harm of him, I have known him 'till lately, I work for his Brother now, and he works for him sometimes.

Rebecca Green. I have known James Smith 14 Years. I never knew any Dishonesty by him in my Life: He was a very honest young Fellow; I kept a House on Snow-Hill, and he might have robbed me of Plate, and other Things; and Money, if he wou'd: I never knew him charged with any thing before.

Mary Wilson . I have known him between 3 and 4 Years last past, and believe him to be a very honest Man: When he lived at my House, he used to go out in a Morning, and come home at Night in good Time; I never knew him pilfer, or do any Thing.

Prisoner, to John Knell . Was I going to the House, or from the House, when I was taken?

Knell. He was going from my House.

Ann Dobney , junior (called again).

Q. Are you sure that the Prisoner was in the House?

Ann Dobney . I saw the Prisoner, get out of the Window. I saw no Body else then: - The two Keys of the Window were found broke in the Room.

Prisoner. She said she was in a great Surprise, when the Man jumped out of the Room; if she was, how can she be sure I am the Person?

Dobney. I was frightened, but I was very sensible.

The Girl called again. - I am sure, I saw that Man (the Prisoner) throw the Bag out of the Window. Guilty , Death .


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