John Lancaster, Theft > burglary, 7th September 1748.

Reference Number: t17480907-5
Offence: Theft > burglary
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

386 + John Lancaster , of Christchurch Spittle-fields , was indicted for breaking and entering the dwelling-house of William Austin about the hour of 2 in the night, and stealing 19 yards of velvet , value 8 l. the property of John Powell , in the dwelling-house of William Austin , the 30th of August .

William Austin. On the 30th of August last, between 1 and 2 in the morning, I heard a noise, and it being moon-light, I went to sleep again, and slept about an hour and an half, and then I got up, and found my house was broke open, and the chamber-window up one pair of stairs open, and this knife lying by it, and a pane of glass was taken out.

Q. Are there shutters to this window?

Austin. No; and the next day there was 19 yards of velvet missing; there was more than 19 yards.

Q. Who does it belong to?

Austin. To my master John Powell .

Q. Did you know the prisoner?

Austin. He had worked for me some months, but having a very bad character, I discharged him.

Q. How do you know it was the prisoner that did this?

Austin . I know no-body, but him, could do it: it was done on the 30th of August in the morning, and I took him up the same day.

Thomas Relph . I work for Mr. Austin. I went away about 7 o'clock at night, and shut the window close, and there was about 20 yards of ashcolour'd velvet missing. The prisoner came on the 29th, and treated me with a pot of beer, and asked to see my work, and I shewed it him, and I put the velvet into my box when I came away, and the next morning he cut it off.

John Lewis . Last Monday was sevennight, about 1 o'clock in the morning, the prisoner called me up, and asked me if I would take a walk along with him; and we went to Mr. Austin's house in Vine-court Spittle Fields. He said he had given a man a pot of beer, but he could pay himself for it; so I agreed to go along with him.

Q. Did he tell you what he was to do?

Lewis. Yes; and he said he could not do without a ladder; but I lent him a hand, and helped him up, and he took a knife out of his pocket, and took out a pane of glass, and went in at the window. This is the knife.

Q. How long did he stay there?

Lewis. About 10 minutes, and brought a bundle to the window, and threw it into my hands.

Q. What was it?

Lewis. It was rolled up; I felt of it, and found it to be velvet, and then he jumped down, and we both went away to a young woman's house in Golden-lane and about 9 o'clock we carried it to the house of one Life Chitty, a Jew.

Q. Did you leave it there?

Lewis. Yes; he laid it upon the bed, and asked him 7 s. a yard for it; and the Jew told him he asked too much money for it; and a person came and took the velvet before the money was brought.

Q. Where does this Jew live?

Lewis. He lives in Gravel-lane in Houndsditch. A person came into a house there, and asked whether John Lancaster was there; and the woman of the house denied him, and the person that came said, this is the man I want, and seized John Lancaster .

Lawrence Doyle . I am a velvet-weaver, and work for Mr. Powell: I heard Mr. Powell was robbed, and his work cut out of the loom; and I thought it to be John Lancaster , and we heard that Lancaster was in Bishopsgate-street, and Lewis with him: and we went to Mr. Dorman and Mr. Pratt, and went to the King's-arms in Gravel-lane ('tis a very bad house) and I asked the landlady whether the prisoner's name was not John Lancaster; she said, it is not John Lancaster. And I said, if his name is not John Lancaster, he is the man I want; and I took him by the collar, but he would not go without a coach.

Lewis. The prisoner told me all was safe, and bid me not squeak .

Guilty , Death .


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