Peter Robins, Charles Galliher, Jane Godfrey, Theft > burglary, 22nd February 1764.

Reference Number: t17640222-22
Offence: Theft > burglary
Verdict: Guilty; Not Guilty
Punishment: Death

150, 151, 152. (M.) Peter Robins , Charles Galliher , and Jane Godfrey , otherwise Simonds , spinster , were indicted, for that they, on the 16th of January , about the hour of one in the night, the dwelling house of Christian Watts , spinster, did break and enter, and steal one large silver salver, value 5 l. one silver apple scoop, value 2 s. two silver tea-spoons, value 2 s. one silver table spoon, value 6 s. two silver dessert forks, value 3 s. one pair of cotton stockings, value 2 s. one pair of worsted stockings, value 2 s. one canvas-bag, value 1 d. and 20 s. in money, numbered, the property of the said Christian, in her dwelling-house . +

Christain Watts. I live at Staines , in Middlesex. On the 16th of January last, my house was broke open in the night; I cannot tell the time, because I am very deaf. I apprehended I heard a noise, and imagined it to be a high wind had thrown down the bricks of my chimney: every thing was sufficiently fastened when I went tobed. I lie up one pair of stairs, and found in the morning the glass was broke of a window up one

pair of stairs, and the sash unscrewed; none of the doors below were open; my pockets were taken from under my head; my chamber door, which I had fastened with a lock and bar, was broke to pieces: I missed an apple-scoop out of my pocket, and found my pockets in the passage; half a guinea and some silver, to the amount in the whole, to 20 s. and upwards, was taken out of my pocket. I found five locks broke; I lost out of a closet a silver salver, two small silver dessert forks, a silver table spoon, two silver teaspoons, a pair of cotton stockings, and a pair of worsted stockings, and several things that I think trifling to mention; there was a feather-bed thrown out at a window into the garden. I sent for three of my neighbours to see what damage I had received: I got Mr. Bolt to advertise my plate, and offered a reward of five guineas for the things I lost. After that, I went before Sir John Fielding ; my silver salver was there produced, and I swore to it.

Richard Sheffield . I am one of the constables of St. Martin's in the Fields. (He produced a large silver salver.)

Prosecutrix. This is my property, and it was taken out of my house that night

Sheffield. On the 22d of last month, about 9 in the morning, I was sent for by my neighbour Mr. Hebbleswate, a watchmaker, in New-street: he stept out at the door, and told me, he had got a person in his shop that had brought a piece of plate, which he believed was not honestly come by; he gave me charge of him: it was the prisoner Peter Robins . I told him, I must search him; he said, he would strip, if I required it: he came very honestly by the plate, and that it was a family piece of plate of his mother's. I took him before Sir John Fielding ; he told Sir John that the plate was thrown at him, by a person that was riding by, full gallop, on the Tuesday night, as he stood by the house where he lodged, (some where at or near Stains) upon which he said, he took and buried the plate in the ground, and it lay there till the Saturday night; then one of his neighbours told him, he had read in the papers, that such a person's house had been broke open, and the plate was advertised, upon which he hired a horse, and came to town with the plate that night, or rather on the Sunday morning, saying, it was 12 o'clock when he came to town. I know nothing against the other two prisoners, but by Robin's confession.

Richard Peirce . The prosecutrix sent for me on the 17th of January, to mend her window; I am a glazier. I found a pane of glass broke on the stair-case, and one in the kitchen, and I put new glass in.

Thomas Hebbleswate . On Sunday morning, the 22d of January, the prisoner Robins, came to my house, and knocked me up: my wife went to the door: he said, he had a piece of plate to sell. I imagined he wanted to inform against me, in case I bought any thing on the Sunday: I sent the maid privately for a constable; she went, and brought one. The prisoner told me, he lived in Gray's-Inn-lane; I asked him if any body recommended him to me? he said no; but that he had bought a watch of me a while ago, and that I had used him very ill, it would not go, and he was forced to sell it to a Jew. I knew at the same time, I never sold him any: he told me, the salver was a family-piece of plate, the property of his mother. I gave the constable charge of him.

Mr. Bolt. I know all the prisoners. I was sent for by the prosecutrix, on Tuesday the 17th of January, about 2 o'clock, in order to see in what condition every thing was. When I came there, the glazier was just putting in a quarey; (that is the reason he is produced here as an evidence, I not seeing the window in the condition he found them) we found her chest of drawers broke open, in the passage leading to the room, the door of her chamber broke all to pieces, and a large kitchen poker broke in two pieces, lying near it. In her room, several of the drawers were open, and the things had been rumaged. Several boxes were broke in another room, and the locks lying by them; there was never a bed on a bedstead; the bed was thrown out at a window; we found several cupboards broke open. I came to town, and having a great deal of business, did not go to Sir John Fielding till the Thursday morning. I got the things advertised, and put out some hand-bills; and on Monday night, I had a letter by Sir John's order, to let me know a man was taken up on suspicion of stealing plate, and that he owned he had buried a silver salver behind a hay-rick, in Mr. Bannister's ground; he keeps an inn at Stains, near where Robins lives. The Justice advised us to go and search the ricks, and the house where Robins lived, for the rest of the plate. I went there, and found a hole that had been fresh dug, we could find nothing; we searched the rick, then we searched the prisoner's lodgings. The next morning, Madam Watts came to town, and swore to her salver; then Robins declared before Sir John, that he and the other two prisoners were concerned in the robbery; he said, the first made an attempt on the cellar-door, and broke it open, but the water was so deep

in it, they could not go in that way; then they got a ladder, from between the cherry-nursery and the barn, and set it against the window; that there was a round or two out of the ladder, and Galliher had like to have fell down; that they could not lift up the sash, so they broke the glass, and put a hand in, and unscrewed it, and got in there; and that Godfrey, in attempting to go up the ladder, fell down. He farther said that Galliher and Godfrey both went in, and down into the kitchen, and found the fire was not out; then there was such a noise of thumping in the house, in breaking the door and things, that it might be heard as far as the Turk's-Head, (that is 200 yards distance); that they brought the plate out at the window to him. Then they consulted who should sell the plate; he said, he himself was not in the house, but stood all the time at the bottom of the ladder, and walking backwards and forwards; that he himself was pitched upon to sell the plate, being the cleanest dressed. That he came up on the Friday morning, and sold the small plate. We took a coach, and went to the place where he mentioned, a silver-smith, Mr. Masters, in Coventry-street, and found the applescoop, table-spoons, and the forks; we took him in the coach with us; I had a warrant from Sir John, and took up the other two prisoners. I met the woman in the street first, and gave her in charge of a constable; she said Charles Galliher and Robins offered her the plate, at the prosecutrix's gate, to bring it up to one Frances Davis 's, to sell, or leave it there, but she would not take it. The prosecutrix's house stands upon Hamptoncourt road, some distance from any other; that Davis lives in the town, and they used to meet at her house. After I had taken Galliher, and delivered him into the custody of the constable, Godfrey sent for me, and said, if I would let her out of the round-house, she would confess all to me. I had her brought to my house; she said no more to me, than she had said before; but when she came before Sir John Fielding , there she charged the other two. I took Galliher in bed, at Egham: I charged him with having been guilty of this fact, but he would not own to any thing; I found nothing upon him; nor in his custody. Before Sir John, Godfrey said, another person was concerned; upon her swearing to that, he was taken up, and appeared innocent, and Sir John set him at liberty Sir John would have admitted her an evidence, but I begg'd he would not. I thought her evidence not fit to be taken.

Robin's Defence

I was in company with Jane Godfrey , at Fanny Davis 's. On the 16th of January, Charles Galliher came to the door; she said, How are you, Charles? he said, poor and pert. I said, then you are like me: we are all alike, said she. Let's go and rob somebody, said I: Who, said she? that old D - l, Madam Watts. So we went.

Q. to Prosecutrix. Had you any body in your house that night besides yourself?

Prosecutrix. No, I had nobody in the house but myself.

Robins, Guilty . Death .

Galliher and Godfrey Acquitted .


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