William Stevens, Francis Hill, Theft > burglary, 24th February 1748.

Reference Number: t17480224-4
Offence: Theft > burglary
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

121. + 122. + William Stevens , and Francis Hill , of St. Giles's in the Fields , were indicted for breaking and entering the dwelling-house of John Burnell in the night time, and stealing six gallons of brandy, value 3 l. one gallon of usquebaugh , value 4 s. and half a pound of tobacco, value 16 d. the property of the said John Burnell , Dec. 27 .

John Burnell sworn .

Q. Do you know the Prisoners?

Burnell. Very well, Sir.

Q. What have you to say against them?

Burnell. I know no more than of the losing between five and six gallons of brandy, one gallon of usquebaugh, and half a pound of tobacco . They broke open my cellar on the twenty-seventh of December, the Sunday morning after Christmas day .

Q. Did they confess the breaking open the cellar?

Burnell. The accomplice, Robert Wilson , did.

Q. Did the Prisoners confess this?

Burnell. William Stevens did, at Covent-Garden Round-house, and that he assisted the others in doing it.

Q. What time was this done?

Burnell . Between two and five in the morning.

Q. Does this cellar belong to your dwelling-house?

Burnell. Yes. There are two doors; one comes into the street and the other into the shop.

Q. What door was broke open?

Burnell. That which comes into the street. The cellar door is made of inch and half deal?

Q. In what condition did you find your cellar door?

Burnell. One of the boards was broke off it on top, and the top staple drawn.

Q. Do you know that it was fastened?

Burnell. I know very well that it was fastened, because I fastened it myself.

Q. When did you first observe that it was broke open?

Burnell. On Sunday morning when I first got up.

Q. How long was it before you suspected the Prisoners to be concerned in it?

Burnell. I could not suspect any body; but one of them being taken, he impeached the Prisoners.

Robert Wilson, the accomplice, sworn.

Q. Do you know the Prisoner at the bar?

Wilson. Yes; and I have this to say, Stevens got a knife from his father's. in order to break open the shop, and he attempted to break open the groove, and broke the knife in three pieces; when he found he could not do that, he took a board off the cellar door, went down into the cellar, and brought up two gallons of brandy, a gallon of usquebaugh, and sixteen papers of tobacco.

Q. Who broke open the cellar door?

Wilson. Stevens did.

Q. Where was you?

Wilson. I was at the corner of the street.

Q. What did you do there?

Wilson. Hill and Stevens bid me stand there.

Q. Did you know what they were going to do?

Wilson. Not till I saw what they were doing of.

Q. What time of the night was this done?

Wilson. We began to endeavour to get into the shop about two o'clock, and we got into the cellar about four o'clock.

Q. When did you discover this?

Wilson. Last Saturday was sevennight; I was taken up, and then I discovered it.

Q. When were the Prisoners taken up?

Wilson. Last Saturday night was fortnight.

Q. When was you taken up?

Wilson. Last Saturday morning was fortnight.

Pris. Stevens. I know nothing of the robbery no more than the child unborn.

Hill. I was hired to carry it, and I carried it, not knowing that it was stolen. It is as false as God is true.

Thomas Ind. I am a chairman. When the witness was taken, he told me where to go to the gentleman who bought the brandy.

Paul Gossett. The Prisoner, Hill, came to my house one night when I was very busy, and desired me to take a little brandy of him; I told him I would not take any, and turned him out of doors; (I have known Hill a great while, for he was a customer to me, and paid me very well) he came within doors again, and importuned me to take it: I asked him the price, he said he would have 6s. 6d. a gallon; there was a gallon and half a pint, and I gave him 6s. 9d. for it: He drank a pint or two of beer and went out of my house, and I never saw him since that I know of. I always found Hill to be a very civil fellow, and always thought that he worked hard for his bread.

Pris. Hill. My Lord. I always worked hard for my bread, and never did any such thing in my life.

Richard Mascall. I am the constable who took the Prisoners. I took all three, two on the Saturday and one on the Sunday morning, and both Stevens and Wilson confessed the breaking open of Mr. Burnell's cellar, and taking out the brandy and usquebaugh.

William Smith. This Robert Wilson confessed, that he in conjunction with Stevens and Hill broke open a cellar of Burnell's and company, the corner of Newtoner's-Street , and took out about five gallons of brandy; that they drew it out with a pipe, and put it into two little casks, and took sixteen papers of tobacco.

Q. Did Stevens confess any thing of that to you?

Smith. He did not confess any thing of this; the Prisoners have confessed other robberies to me.

Pris. Hill. Wilson brought the brandy to me; there was one gallon and a half pint, and he promised me two shillings for selling it. Both Guilty

Death .

There were three more indictments against Stevens, which he was not tried upon.


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