James Williams, Theft > theft from a specified place, 18th July 1753.

Reference Number: t17530718-31
Offence: Theft > theft from a specified place
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

346. (M.) James Williams was indicted for stealing one gold watch, val. 10 l. one steel watch chain, one seal set in gold, one cloth coat, one pair of shag breeches, the goods of James Cope , in the dwelling house of the said James , June 13 +.

James Cope . On the 13th of June I missed the things mentioned in the indictment.

Q. From what part of your house?

Cope. The coat and breeches were in a closet joining to my bedchamber; the gold watch, chain, and seal, hung up altogether by the chimney in my bed chamber.

Q. What time did you miss them?

Cope. I missed them about 5 o'clock in the morning.

Q. When did you see them last?

Cope. I can't remember that I saw them since the day before I missed them, I saw them about twelve at noon.

Q. What did you do upon missing them?

Cope. I went to goldsmith's hall, and had papers dispersed to goldsmiths and pawnbrokers, with five guineas reward on the conviction of the person, in order to their stopping them, if brought by any body.

Q. Did you know the prisoner before?

Cope. No, I never saw him before he was taken up to my knowledge. I had my watch brought to the bar of Slaughter's coffee-house, as I had directed in the papers, by a pawnbroker that had taken it in. We concluded that as the person that brought it to him had had but little money on it, in proportion to the value of it, if we kept ourselves close he might come for more, and so be taken. It happened to be the case, and proved to be the prisoner at the bar, who was taken before Alderman Alsop. There I saw him, he had my coat on his back at the time. The coat and watch produced in court and depos'd to.

Q. from the prisoner. Was not there two men in your neighbourhood went off about that time?

Cope. I know nothing of that, I heard there was a man went away about that time, but knew nothing of him.

James Styles . The prisoner brought this watch to me the 13th of June, ( holding the watch in his hand ) the seal and chain were to it; he asked me two guineas and a half upon it, which I lent him, as I went to open it, to look at it, he said, you need not examine it any farther, you had it in March last. The next morning I had a warning brought me from goldsmiths-hall, upon which I carried the watch to Slaughter's coffee-house, and delivered it to Mr. Cope. We concluded to let it remain a secret; and on the Monday morning the prisoner came again, and ask'd me if I could not lend him a guinea more: I told him, I believ'd I could, if he'd stay till the boy came down, thinking to take him, but looking out at my window, I happen'd to see a neighbour, whom I beckon'd to; he came over, and when he was in the shop I jumped over the counter, and told the prisoner he must give an account how he came by that watch; which, he said, he could do very well. I sent for a constable, and after that for Mr. Cope. I had him in the shop I believe an hour; at last he drew out a clasp knife, (produced in court) and of a sudden said, he'd stay no longer; the constable took hold on the lappet of his coat, and I by the collar, and we took the knife out of his hand.

Q. Was it open in his hand?

Styles. It was open, and he said the first man that went to meddle with him he'd stab, or some such words, he was carried to Bridewell, and the next morning before the sitting alderman who committed him to Newgate.

Q. What coat had the prisoner on when you took him?

Styles. He had this coat produced here by Mr. Cope.

Q. Had he it on the first time he came?

Styles. No, he had not; he had then a blue one on.

Q. What time of the day was it that he was with you on the 13th of June?

Styles. I believe it was betwixt four and five in the afternoon.

Prisoner's Defence.

These things (the coat, and the gold watch tied up in it) I found in Queen-street, below the White Bear, at almost nine at night. There were two young men with me at the time, they are at Hampton-Court, I expect them every minute.

Guilty , Death .


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