John Watkins, Theft > burglary, 12th December 1764.

Reference Number: t17641212-64
Offence: Theft > burglary
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

70. (L.) John Watkins was indicted, for that he, together with William Nesbit (not taken) on the 19th of October , about the hour of two in the night of the same day, the dwelling-house of Charles Warner did break and enter, and stealing one brass pottage-pot, value 6 s. one copper-tea-kettle, value 2 s. one brass water-cock, value 6 d. two pewter dishes, value 1 s. and two pewter plates, value 12 d. the property of the said Charles, in his dwelling-house . +

Charles Warner . I did live in Beech-lane , when my house was robbed; I don't now. I am a brass-turner by trade. I went to bed last, on the 18th of October, and fastened the door to the street, the back door, and made all fast, and went to bed about eleven.

Q. What family have you?

Warner. I have a wife, a maid-servant, and two children. On the 19th, I found my house broke open; they came over the water-tub, and then to the kitchen door, in the yard; that I fastened myself, with a padlock; I found the farther yard door open, and I found this knife (producing a case knife) It is not mine, and a large sauce-pan, on the outside of the yard door; the sauce-pan is my property (I did not lay that in the indictment): I then found my kitchen door open, and missed several things; the padlock was gone: I missed two large pewter dishes, several pewter plates, a pottage-pot, a tea-kettle, and a brass cock: I immediately suspected the prisoner; I have known him two years; he had worked with me as a journeyman; he worked with me the week before; we had had some words, and we parted: I did my best to find him out, and found him in Playhouse-yard, White-cross-street, that afternoon: he was within a few yards of Nesbit's mother's (that is an accomplice we have not taken): I followed the prisoner into 'Nesbit's mother's house; there was the prisoner's mother, who was telling him I had been after him three or four times that morning: he said, he could not think what I wanted with him (this I heard as I was at his back): I told him, if he would go along with me, I would tell him, for I had something particular to say to him, and to Nesbit too (they were both together). Nesbit said, he could not think what I wanted with him; they said they would go with me any where, where I chose: I said, to my own house: the prisoner and his mother went with me very quietly; Nesbit said he would follow, but did not. When I came home, I said, Watkins, I have great reason to believe you have robbed my house; I shall send for a constable and take you up on suspicion, for none but you could do it: he said, if I would go into a private room, he would tell me what was done with the things; that he had neither sold nor pawned them, and that they were lodged in the second or third alley beyond the Roebuck, in Turnmill-street, Cow-cross. I charged a constable with him, and sent him to the Compter; he owned to the taking the things; he said he took the brass cock out of the water-tub, and stuffed a bit of paper in, that the water should not run out: he said the knife was Nesbit's, and that he (Nesbit) broke the padlock of the kitchen-door. I said it must be somebody that knew the door, that could do it; that part of the latch was off, and by putting his finger into a hole, he might lift it up, which people could not know but such as were in the house. I went immediately to search for my goods in that lost; there I found nothing but a flat tin candlestick, and the iron bail of the pot, with which it is lifted on and off the fire: the room below, was a lodging-room, where Nesbit lodged with a woman: while I was looking about the lost, the people below fastened the door, and went out; I came away. When we came before my Lord Mayor, on the Saturday morning, the prisoner told me he had sold the pot, tea-kettle, and brass cock, to Mr. Andrews, in Long-lane: my Lord put it off for that night, and ordered me to come again on the Monday. On the Monday morning, I got a search-warrant, and went to Nesbit's room, where I found two pewter dishes, and two plates (produced and deposed to); they were brought before my Lord Mayor, and he bound me over to prosecute. I went to Mr. Andrews, and he told me he had bought the pot, tea-kettle, and cock of the prisoner at the bar; the pot and kettle were knocked to pieces; there were no marks upon them; the brass cock I can swear to; I had bought it but a few days before, and put it in the tub: (produced and deposed to).

Mr. Andrews. I live in Long-lane, and keep a founder's shop; I buy old brass and copper; the prisoner's father did keep the same sort of a shop as I do, in Barbican: he brought the pottage-pot, tea-kettle, and brass cock to me, about 10 or 11 o'clock on the Friday; the other man came with him, but I did not know him.

Q. Was there a handle to the pot?

Andrews. No, there was not: the pot and tea-kettle were knocked and bruised about, and broke in several pieces; the cock was as it is now. I asked the prisoner how he came by them? he said

his mother gave him them to sell, to buy some tools; that he and another had taken a shop, in Playhouse-yard, Whitecross-street, and this man that came with him, was his partner: I gave him 8 d. a pound for the brass, 9 d. for the copper, and 6 d. for the cock: the pot weighed 6 pounds, the tea-kettle two pounds, and the cock weighed just a pound: the prisoner bought a file of me.

Q. from Prisoner. Which brought it in?

Andrews. I can't say which did; they came both together: I was in the kitchen, and they laid it down on the counter.

Prisoner's Defence.

I paid Nesbit's mother half a crown for tools; I had some work that was in a hurry, and was going to Mr. Andrews's house, to buy a file. I met with Nesbit, and asked him where he was going? he said, to sell this old metal at Andrews's; we went together, and sold it: coming along, he said, I have got some other things; I said, where did you get them? said he, what is that to you. When the prosecutor challenged me with the things, I gave him the best information I could, where they were, and where Nesbit might be found. I never was with him in the house, nor no way concerned with him whatsoever.

Guilty . Death .


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