John Harris, Philip Wilson, Theft > burglary, 6th September 1753.

Reference Number: t17530906-34
Offence: Theft > burglary
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

410, 411. (M.) John Harris and Philip Wilson , were indicted for that they, on the 25th of July , about the hour of twelve in the night, the dwelling-house of the said James did break and enter, and steal out thence one blanket, val. 12 d. the property of John Holmes , twenty-three pounds weight of sugar and one tin cannister, one hat, val. 2 s. one pint of rum, and one glass bottle, the goods of Nicholas Peterson . *

Jane Holmes . I am wife to James , we keep a publick-house in New-street, Shadwell , on the twenty-fifth of July I got up about seven in the morning, and found the window had a pane of glass taken out of it, and the casement was open, and the yard door also: they were all safe when we went to bed, which was about eleven o'clock. The first thing I missed was the sugar from off the table, which our lodger Peterson had brought home from abroad, there was a hat also of his missing, which was taken from off the table.

Q. What is the value of the sugar?

Holmes. It is worth about 3 d. per pound, it was in a tin cannister, there was missing about a pint of rum in a quart bottle taken from off the table. About seven or eight days after a man came to me, and asked if I had been robb'd; I said I had. Then he said he could tell who had robbed me, so I went with him and he shewed me the tin cannister and the hat. The two prisoners were carried before justice Richards, but I did not hear them confess any thing.

Nicholas Peterson. I lodge with Mr. Holmes, the cannister, sugar, hat and rum were all my property, we went to bed about eleven that night, and all were safe ; but when I went down the next morning about seven, I saw the pane of glass broke.

and the casement open and back door also, and my things missing; I know nothing against the prisoners.

John Brian . The two prisoners and I went a thieving together, we all broke the prosecutors house on the 25th of July; Philip Wilson lifted me over the wall, and I opened the back yard door and let them in; after that I took out a pane of glass and opened the casement and got in and handed them out the sugar in a tin cannister, a hat, and some rum; then I got out at the casement again, and we went away and carried them to Caherine Murphy, she gave us 5 s. and 9 d. for the sugar, we sold the hat in Rag-fair for 2 s. I cannot swear to whom; we divided the money betwixt us, and drank the rum out.

Q. What time did you begin to break the house ?

Brian. It was about half an hour after eleven o'clock.

C. Murphy. There were three lads came to my house with twenty-three pounds weight of sugar, and about half a quartern of rum; they asked me if I would buy them, I gave them three pence a pound for the sugar, which was 5 s. 9 d in the whole, I never saw them before; the two prisoners may be two of them for what I know, but I am not positive.

Q. What did they bring the sugar in?

C. Murphy. They brought it in a coarse cloth, (She produced some of the sugar.)

Q. to the Prosecutor. Is this like that sugar you lost?

Prosecutor. I think it is none of mine, it is too dark colour'd for that.

James Brebrook . On the second or third of August, the turnkey of Bridewell came to me and told me, he had an evidence with him, one Brian, that had inform'd against two fellows for a robbery in Shadwell, and that Brian told him, they were to be taken in an empty house in Sun-Tavern-Fields ; and that if we looked about we should find a tin cannister ; I went with James Elwall to the house, and got in, there we found the two prisoners at the bar in a lower room, and this tin cannister near them; we brought them to Bridewell, Brian told us where he had sold the hat that they took out of the house, we went to the man in Rosemary-lane with Brian, and Mr. Peterson; Brian said to the man, you bought a hat of me, the man said he did, Peterson look'd over several hats, and took up this, (holding one in his hand,) and said it was the hat he lost; we would have subpaened the man, but don't know his name.

Q. to Peterson. Is this your cannister?

Peterson. It is the same I lost.

Q. Is this your hat.

Peterson. To the best of my knowledge it is.

Q. Did the prisoners ever confess any thing ?

Brebrook. No, they have not.

Elwall I went to this empty house along with Brebrook; he exactly confirmed the testimony of Brebrook, with this addition; that when they were before the justice, they confessed nothing, only said, Brian brought the tin cannister into that house.

The prisoners had nothing to say.

Both Guilty , Death .


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