Dominick White, William Horner, Theft > housebreaking, 5th April 1749.

Reference Number: t17490405-12
Offence: Theft > housebreaking
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

252, 253. Dominick White and William Horner , late of St. George's, Middlesex , were indicted for breaking and entering the dwelling-house of John Rogers with an intent to steal , March 16 .

John Rogers . I am a cheesemonger , I live in Virginia-street, Ratcliff High-way , when I shut up shop between ten and eleven o'clock I saw the cellar-door safe bolted on the 16th of March. I was in a found sleep when on a sudden I was awaked by the Gentlemen that are here to give their evidence, who told me my cellar was broke open.

Q. Describe the situation of your cellar .

Rogers. It is under my dwelling-house, there is a door opens into a court, and a door and stairs up into my kitchen, there is a bulk or place for headroom made rising up, done with boards, which was beat all to pieces, so that a little child might creep in, the hooks of the door were wrenched out of the posts; there are goods in the cellar for sale , when I came down they had taken Horner out of the cellar .

Q. Who took him?

Rogers. Mr. Thomas Shrumsher and Mr. Benjamin Motes ; here is a piece of crape my wife found afterwards to tie over a face with strings to it.

Thomas Shrumsher . I am an officer of the Excise, on Tuesday the 16th of March between one and two in the morning, Mr. Motes and I was going down Virginia-street, at the corner o Trott's court , Mr. Motes saw a stick lie with the and under the

slap of the cellar-window, he said to me, here is somebody here; he went and pull'd open the cellar-door and call'd out, I see a man. We had cutlasses and lanthorns in our hands: I said to him, they shall not come up, so we clap'd the door down and I stood upon it; my friend stood close by me, and we call'd out, thieves! thieves! some time: I apprehend they made a push to get out, but I kept beating with the stick, and they went back farther into the cellar: then Mr Fontoloroy , who lives just by, handed me a musket out at his window; I took it, and said I valu'd no body: ( fearing thieves without before) By this time we had alarm'd Mr. Wilson, another neighbour, who with Mr. Fontoloroy came to us; when they came they ask'd where the thieves were, I said in the cellar; then the door was pull'd open. I and Mr. Fontoloroy went down into the cellar; the first that I saw was the prisoner Horner; I took hold of him, saying, Come along. As I pull'd him there was assistance on the stairs that took hold of him and led him up. I went farther back in the cellar , then I saw White with a Pistol in his hand, who held it right against me.

Q. Did you find it charg'd?

Shrumsher . It was drawn before the Justice; it was loaded four fingers deep; there was in it a large slug, and above twenty shot.

Q. How did you seize him?

Shrumsher . I told him, I did not care for his pistol; and Mr. Fontoloroy , who was by my side with his musket charg'd in his hand, told him, if he did not drop his pistol, he would shoot him; then he lowered the muzzel of his pistol, but did not drop it: We took hold of him, and brought him up. When he was up in the court, I saw a great clasp-knife lying by his foot, but did not see it fall. Then I saw something in his hand; said I, what have you got here? He held it fast; says I, I will have it, which was a bottle with gunpowder in it; then we tied them, and took them to the Watch-house, and sent for an officer.

Mr. Fontoloroy . I was alarmed this Night between 1 and 2 o'clock by the cry, Thieves , &c. I step'd out of my bed, and took a gun, that I keep loaded by me for my safety. I threw up my sash , and said, I would shoot him dead, thinking some honest body had been overpower'd, by hearing the noise of sticks: said I, Where are they? One of these Gentlemen of the Excise said, Here are thieves in this cellar; when I found they were in the court, I went to the stair-case window, and put up the sash, and said, who are you? They said, we belong to the Excise , &c. I gave them my gun ready cock'd and prim'd: said I, keep them in, I will be with you presently ; then I ran up, put my cloaths on, and brought a bayonet and a sword with me ; when I came to Mr. Rogers's cellar , there were there two gentlemen belonging to the Excise: said I, here is a sword for one, and a bayonet for the other: said I, give me the gun , and I'll warrant you we'll secure them. So the last witness and I went down both together ; the first we saw was Horner , I kept my gun presented towards him: said I, Surrender, which he did without any great trouble. We took him up stairs , and the persons there secured him; then we went down again, and we look'd in the first cellar ( for it is a double cellar under the whole house) then we turned on the left hand, and went into the other cellar, and on the right hand side in the farther corner stood White; we had lights with us , I could see, by the light of my lanthorn , his pistol directed to us; as we came in at the door I sprung myself forward, that he should not take hold of the muzzle of my gun; he seem'd hesitating ; I threw my piece back with my right hand, and, with my left, took hold of his pistol, and took it out of his hand; it was loaded as before described ; in his other hand he had this piece of a sword or tuck. It is a dangerous weapon, I know not what to call it. The bolt of the door was found in the morning in the cellar; there was another piece of iron found, it is an instrument made use of to splice roaps with, and with which, it is very probable, the door was wrenched open.

Mr. Wilson. I was one of the persons that followed these two last witnesses into the cellar, I saw all their instruments after taken, and found they had been poysing to coleway open the door with the instrument last mentioned .

Benj Motes , the other officer of Excise, confirmed what was said before by Thomas Shrumsher .

Prisoners defence. White . I was fuddled, and I fell down the steps, and I found myself and these things on the steps.

Horner. I had been drinking, and, going by , saw this cellar open, I went down, and I saw this other man, pointing to the other prisoner, saying, he never saw him in his life before. I turned about to come up again, and heard the cry of Thieves thieves, in the cellar . So I surrendered directly.

Both guilty .

Death .

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