Offence: Theft > burglary
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187. (M.) Charles Sebrey was indicted, for that he, on the 4th of February , about the hour of nine in the night of the same day, the dwelling-house of William Compton did break and enter, and stealing two pair of silver shoe-buckles, value 10 s. one 36 s. piece of gold, two crown pieces, one piece of foreign silver, called a French crown, and 17 l. in money, numbered, and one Bank note, value 10 l. bearing date January 19, 1765, payable to the Earl of Middlesex, or bearer, the property of the said William, in his dwelling house . *
William Compton . I keep the Crown and Feathers, in High-holbourn , and deal in horses . The prisoner was a porter to a neighbour of mine, and used my house, My wife had spilt some water in the kitchen, and sent the boy out for a mop: he came in, and said he had run his head against a ladder: I went out, and found a ladder standing against a window, up one pair of stairs, and the window open; this was a little before ten at night, on the 4th of this instant February; we were all up at that time. Nathan Spencer , my servant, and I went up into the bedchamber; we found all my drawers pulled out, my writings had been examined, and my money gone: the solding leaf of my bureau was unlocked, and down, and a chissel, that I imagine it was broke open with, was lying on the leaf: I missed a 10 l. Bank note that I had received the day before, and cash to the amount of near 20 l. and two pair of silver buckles. I was up in the room about half an hour after seven that night, to change a six-and-nine-pence, and all was right then: there was a pane of glass taken out, so that they could get at the hook that fastens the sash down. I suspected the prisoner, by the character I heard of him, and his manner of living: I took him on the 6th of this instant, at a breeches-makers, at the Seven-dials; I found one pair of my silver buckles upon him; there was a woman and a man with him, in his room, which was up one pair of stairs backwards. I found also eleven guineas and a half, a 36 s. piece, a shilling, and three crown pieces; two of King Charles's, and a French crown: the two English ones I had marked with a scratch on the King's head; one was marked about four years ago, and the other about fourteen months: I saw them taken out of his left side breeches pocket. (Produced and deposed to).
Q. What was your design in making these scratches on them?
Compton. They were my wife's money, and she fancied them, and I marked them, fearing they should be lost. I gave 4 s. 6 d. for the French piece, in the tap room, and have had it about a year and a half; these always lay by, as medals, The prisoner had made a present of the other pair of buckles, to the man that was in the room with him (Both pairs produced and deposed to): the buckles and money were all in my bureau. The prisoner said, before Justice Welch, that man was not concerned with him in the robbery, but that he gave him the buckles. I lost one 36 s. among my money; the rest was silver, small gold, and guineas.
Q. Did you lose eleven guineas?
Compton. I can take upon me to say there were above fourteen guineas in my bureau.
Q. Did you find your Bank note again?
Compton. Yes, but I did not see it found.
Compton. He said, I was the person that did the robbery, and nobody else. Mr. Clay, the high constable, was by at the searching him.
Samuel Clay . I am constable of the hundred of Holbourn division. On the 5th of this instant, hearing Mr. Compton had been robbed, I went to his house, and in the afternoon on the same day we met with a young man, who was an intimate acquaintance of the prisoner's, who led us to the prisoner's lodgings, in Earl-street, Seven-Dials, at a breeches-maker's. We had a warrant to apprehend his body, and another to search; but the latter being made general, and not confined to any house. I made application to Justice Welch, for a warrant to search his lodgings. I sent two officers, Langridge and Sowery; they returned, and said, there was nothing there. I applied to the man where the prisoner lodged, told him our suspicion, and asked his assistance. He promised all in his power. I got a grant for the two constables to sit up in his shop all night, to wait his coming in; and the next morning, being Wednesday the 6th, between eight and ten, the officers informed me the prisoner was within the house. I went with them up stairs, and rushed into the room, and took him. Seeing a man and woman with him, I desired the prosecutor to come forward, and give charge, which he did. While one of the constables was hand-cussing him, I searched him; in his breeches pocket I found eleven guineas and a half in gold, and a 36 s. piece. When I pulled the money out, I said, Compton, I fancy you cannot charge your memory with any of these: he said he knew there was a 36 s. piece among his money. I put that money in my pocket, and searched his waistcoat pockets; there I found these three crown pieces, one was a French crown, and a pair of silver buckles: Mr. Compton immediately said, I'll swear they are my property. I asked the prisoner how he could be so wicked to rob the poor man of all this? his answer was, I did do it, and I cannot deny it. I asked him if he had got any accomplice, and begged he would discover them for the good of the public; he said, he had none, for he did the robbery, and no man else. I asked him what he had done with the rest of the money? he said he had disposed of it: I asked him if it was anywhere where it might be recovered; he said, No, he had paid some debts with part of it, and he had fetched some cloaths out of pawn, and he had paid a chandler's shop bill, and his rent. I asked him to tell me where the 10 l. bank note was, which then I had not found; he said it was disposed of. I pray'd him to tell me; he would not discover it. I ordered the constable to search the woman and the room; the prisoner immediately said it was not in the room. I asked him again to tell me where it was, and said I would endeavour to prevail with the prosecutor to allow him something to keep him while in gaol; he said, then if I would give him a guinea and a half to keep him while in gaol, he would tell me where it was. I told him I would, when the note was produced: he would not trust me; I gave him a guinea and a half, and he told me to search a private place in his breeches; we did, and there it was found. We hand-cuffed the other man that was with him, and took them both to Justice Welch. The woman was searched by a constable afterwards, and brought likewise. When we came there, the Justice asked the prisoner what he had got to say for himself; he confessed the same to the Justice as I have here related.
N. B. The LAST PART of these PROCEEDINGS will be published in a few Days.
NUMBER III. PART II. for the YEAR 1765.
Sold by W. NICOLL, in St. Paul's Church-yard.
Q. WAS any thing said, as to the manner of the robbery?
Clay. I asked him how he could go to do such a daring robbery, at that time of the night, alone? he said, he did do it, but was in great confusion. Mr. Welch permitted me to ask him, where the other pair of buckles were: he said, he had hid them in Marybone-fields: I said, if I took him there, could he find the place? he said, no: immediately upon that, the young man, who was hand-cuffed, said, I have them in my pocket. Then Mr. Welch said to him, You have been concerned with this man: the prisoner generously cleared him, and said he gave him the buckles, as he sat in the bed, and that he knew nothing how he came by them: there was a chissel found on or by the prosecutor's bureau. Mr. Welch permitted me to ask the prisoner what sort of a handle the chissel had; whether made of wood, or what kind of one it was? he answered, it had no wood handle to it; he said it was an iron chissel, with a square sort of a socket, (the chissel produced, and corresponded with the account the prisoner gave). I saw the window where the ladder was set; he might get from the ladder upon some tyles, and open the window: I found a pane of glass lying on the tyles, on the shed.
They asked me, if I knew any thing of the breaking open this house, or if I knew the back-door? I said I knew the back-door; he said, I suppose you know my back-window: I said, I believed I had seen it: he asked me if I took the ladder up, after I had opened the window? I said I had not done it, and that I knew nothing of its he asked me what sort of a chissel it was that I broke open the drawers with: I said I did not know: he said, has it a wooden handle? I said, it might be without a handle, for what I know I know nothing at all of the fact, any farther than what they forced me to say: I believe I have sufficient evidence to prove I was at the sign of the Crown, in West-Smithfield, at the time they say the window was broke. I parted with a man at Upper. Turnstile, Holbourn, and called at my wife's
For the Prisoner.
Q. What day was that?
Edwards. It was on a Monday; I have forgot the day of the month: he was at my house that night, between the hours of seven and nine.
Q. How long is it ago?
Edwards. As near as I can guess, it is about three weeks ago: I heard of the robbery on the Wednesday, and know it was on that night: Roger Meredith drank with him at my house, that night: the prisoner did lodge at my house a week, about three months before; he has used my house since, and behaved himself like a man, in every respect.
Q. What time did he go from your house that night?
Edwards. As near as I can guess he went away about eight o'clock.
Roger Meredith . I happened to call at Mr. Edwards's, at the Crown, at Smithfield-bars, on a Monday night: I believe it was last Monday was a fortnight: it was that night this fact was committed. After we had drank two pints of beer, I went up with him as far as Turnstile, Holbourn, between eight and nine o'clock, as near as I can guess; then I went home, to my master's house, named Gumbey; he is a distiller in High Holbourn. I saw nothing of the prisoner afterwards.
Q. Did you know him before?
Meredith. I have drank with him at the Crown, three times before that.
Guilty . Death .
NUMBER III. PART II. for the YEAR 1765.
Sold by W. NICOLL, in St. Paul's Church-yard.