Edward Johnson, Theft > burglary, 6th September 1753.

Reference Number: t17530906-49
Offence: Theft > burglary
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

429 (L.) Edward Johnson was indicted for that he, together with John Wood , not yet taken, on the 5th of September , about the hour of two in the night on the same day, the dwelling-house> of Lydia Cole , widow , did break and enter, with intent the goods of the said Lydia to steal, and taking three silver tea spoons, val. 3 s. one copper tea kettle, val. 5 s. one copper saucepan, val. 3 s. the property of the said Lydia . ++

Richard Cole . I live in Seething lane, my mother went out of town, and desir'd that I'd lie at her house on Tower-hill ; on Wednesday night, Sept. the 4th, my wife and I went there between eleven and twelve o'clock, I took a watchman, whose stand is near, to the door with me to light a candle. I opened the door, got a candle lighted, then shut the door and double lock'd it, and we went to bed. I took the key in my hand. After I was in bed and asleep I was awaked with a sort of a noise that I thought to be the creaking of the hatch at the door; I was in a very great fright, having heard it several times, and once I determined if I heard it any more to get up; but presently I saw a light come into the room, and a man with it.

Q. Do you know that man ?

Cole. I can't swear to the prisoner's face, he had a whitish coat on such as the prisoner has on now,

Q. What time of the night was this ?

Cole. This was between two and three in the morning. I made a motion to arise, but my sear overcame me, so I lay in a violent fright till I saw that the man was going to reach a dish off the table in the room, upon that I jumped out of bed, the man ran down stairs immediately, and I after him; I had an opportunity to have taken him, but I did not care for that, fearing he had got a knife, so I let him get out of the house; he ran down Tower-hill way, and I call'd out, Stop thief! stop thief in a white coat! I went near the ern, where the watchman was, who told me he saw him, so he and another watchman followed him; they secured and brought the prisoner to the watchhouse. I had word brought me they had got him there, so I went, and to the best of my memory he is the man that was in the room, for I lay in bed and look'd at him some time ; he had a blue apron on, which he said belong'd to his wife, and upon observing it, it appeared to be double and was a bag. (produc'd in court. )

Q. Did you miss any thing about the house?

Cole. I missed three silver spoons.

Q. When did you see them last?

Cole. I lay there by myself on Tuesday night; they were there then, and nobody had been there between that time and this night. There was a tea kettle and saucepan before standing on the cistern, which I afterwards found at the street door, in the inside the house. I carried the prisoner the next day before justice Richards, and he was committed.

Q. Had there been any voilence done to the key hole or lock of the door?

Cole. No, there were none, the door was opened either by a key or picklock.

Q. Did you bolt the door ?

Cole. No, I did not.

Thomas Scruce . I am a watchman, it was my hour to stand at Postern Row, till three o'clock; while I was there in my stand I heard the cry, Stop thief! I went out of my stand without my lanthorn, and heard a foot come padding in the dark quick towards me, I said, Stop, whoever you be. Then I took the lanthorn out of my box, after which I heard the cry, Stop thief! a man in a white coat. I said I saw such a man running. so I run round the hill after him, he turn'd towards my box again, and I took him near it and secur'd him; he put his hands in his pockets: I said keep your hands out of your pockets, or I'll knock you down, perhaps you have a knife. I call'd to another watchman, there came two, so we carried him to the warehouse. I went to Mr. Cole's house to bring him to give charge of the prisoner to the officer of the night; he told me at his house that the man which was in his room had a white cape coat on. When he saw him in the watch-house he said, that is the man, I'll swear to his coat. He looks on the blue bag, this was found on the prisoner, and a knife we took out of his pocket. Note, the knife was ground at the point, like that of a glazier's, fit to take out a pane of glass. We carried him before justice Ricards, and he committed him. As Mr. Cole said he had had a light, we went to look about where the prisoner had ran for a dark lanthorn, my partner found a bunch of picklock keys, and a wrenching iron, near Mr. Cole's house.

John Jones . I am a watchman, facing alderman Bethell's house, on Great Tower-hill, Mr. Cole and his wife came to his mother's house between eleven and twelve o'clock at night, I was sitting in my box, he borrowed my lanthorn, and I went with him to the door, he opened it with a key, and took a candle and lighted it at mine; he went in and shut the door, I heard it lock, then went to my stand again. When the clock went twelve I went my round, and knock'd at the door, which was fast as usual; a little after two I heard the cry, Stop thief! I went out of my box with my lanthorn and staff, and said, Where! Mr. Cole said, he is just gone out of my house, and gone down the hill in a white coat and coloured handkerchief, I ran directly that way; said another watchman, here he is coming this way: then I saw the glimpse of him running towards the watchman ; I run, and we got him between the watchman and I, with his back towards me. I saw him putting his hand towards his pocket; the other watchman said, if you have got a knife, or offer to draw it, I'll knock you down: then we both secured him, and carried him to the round-house. The watchman said to me, where is the gentleman that call'd out, I said it was Mr. Cole; we went for him, there was a kettle and things standing on the inside the door, he came to the watch-house and said the prisoner at the bar was the man that had been in his room, and said he could swear to his coat.

Q. Did you see Mr. Cole's door open when you was with him there to light his candle?

Jones. I did, there was no kettle there then.

- Morris. I am a watchman, on that morning after we broke up the watch, I was told this man had a light in the room, so I said, let us look about for a dark lanthorn where he ran, we went and look'd about till day light, we found the picklock keys here produced, and a wrenching iron lying with them.

Mary Cole . I am wife to Richard Cole ; I was asleep when the prisoner came into the room, Mr. Cole jumping out of bed, and calling out stop thief, awakened me, I saw a light go down stairs which Mr. Cole followed, but I saw no man; I was most terribly affrighted.

Q. Do you know any thing of the tea spoons being missing?

Cole. I put three silver tea spoons on the mantle-piece

on the Tuesday morning before, and never saw them afterwards.

Q. Where was the tea-kettle and saucepan standing before this ?

Cole. They were standing on the cistern, and when I got up, after the man had been there, I saw them standing at the house door within side.

Q. to Richard Cole . Are you certain as to the prisoner ?

Cole. I am satisfied he is the man by his wig and coat, and a coloured handkerchief which he had on.

Q. How far did you see him running after he was out of the house ?

Cole. I saw him run down the hill and then lost sight of him.

The watchmen Scruce and Jones being asked, if they saw any other man come by that way about that time besides the prisoner, answered they did not.

Q. to Cole. Could you see the watchman's stand from the house you was at.

Cole. I could, and the prisoner must go by it.

Prisoner's Defence.

I had been at Bartholomew fair, and happened to meet a small acquaintance, one John Wood , with whom I went and drank a pint of beer; he invited me home to his house, and we went to an alehouse near where he liv'd, at the bottom of Tower-hill, where we stay'd till between 12 and 1 o'clock; he struck a light and went home, and said to me do you intend to go home to-night, I said yes. He said, I believe I can put some money in your pocket; said I how? He said there is a house just by where the people are gone out of town; I said I don't care to be concerned, but he over perswaded me. I said, which way can you open the door; he said he had keys that would open; but I never saw the keys till I was carried before the Justice. Wood went and opened the door, and was gone in some time, he had struck a light. came out again, and said he in bed and desired man's room. which, I got out of bed and Guilty , Death .

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