Offences: Theft > burglary; Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdicts: Guilty; Not Guilty; Not Guilty
107, 108, 109. (M.) William Moody , Charles Burkitt , and John Jones, otherwise Posnett , were indicted for breaking and entering the dwelling-house of John Wood , on the 2d of December, about the hour of three in the night, and stealing a pair of silver shoe-buckles, value 10 s. a pair of silver knee-buckles, value 5 s. a leather pocket-book, value 1 s. a canvas bag, value 1 d. 12 guineas, six crown pieces, and 3 l. 18 s. in money, numbered, the property of the said John, in his dwelling-house . *
At the request of the prisoner, the witnesses were examined apart.
John Wood . I live in Petty-France . My house has three how windows in the front. I had been spending the evening the 2d of December . I went home about one o'clock in the night. I having the key with me, I double-locked the door, and bolted it, and took the key up into my room, as I always do. The shutters to the windows were all made fast. Between four and five o'clock, the watchman knocked at my door; I lying backwards, did not hear him; but my apprentice heard, and came into my room and awaked me, and told me, the watchman said my house was broke open. I got up and went down stairs; the watchman stood at the door; I asked him, How this could happen, as his box was so near? (about 30 yards from my house.) He told me, it was done when he went his rounds. I ordered my apprentice to sit up till day-light, as no fastening could be done then. They had made an attempt at all the shutters of my fore-parlour; they got the middle shutter so far loose, as to turn it on one side, so as to get at the sash to fling it up. I found my bureau broke open, which was fastened over night; several drawers were taken out, in which were many papers, and turned bottom upwards. I missed 15 guineas in gold from one drawer, several crown and half-crown pieces, some little Spanish pieces of money, and a yellow canvas bag of halfpence, to the value of 5 s. 6 d. a pair of silver shoe and knee-buckles, and a large black leather pocket-book, with many notes in it. I saw my shoe and knee-buckles, and canvas bag at Sir John Fielding 's, about a fortnight after. I had wore the shoe-buckles many years; and the knee-buckles are of a different kind; my brother wore them many years, and when he died left them to me. I never saw the prisoners to my knowledge, till I saw them before Sir John Fielding .
Henry Wright . I am turn-key at Tothill-fields bridewell. There were informations brought to Sir John Fielding , of several robberies; upon which, six of us were ordered to patrole at Chelsea. We were out three nights: the third night I came from the road about half an hour after ten o'clock, which was the 15th of December, to bridewell. There was a person had been waiting for me two hours; he said, he could tell me where the people were that had committed robberies on Chelsea-road. I went as directed, with three or four people, to the Hole-in-the-wall, Bow-street, Westminster. There I apprehended Moody, Burkitt, and Settle: I searched them all, but found nothing particular on them, but a large knife. We tied their hands, and took them to Tothill-fields bridewell for thatEliz. Heydon , the woman of the house, took this yellow canvas bag out of her pocket, and delivered it to me. (Produced in court) Mr. Wood appeared at Sir John's and swore to it.
Mr. Wood. This is my property, which was taken out of my house, the night my house was broke.
Wright. On the Thursday following, I received a letter from the prisoner Jones, with a turkey. The letter appeared to have been sealed, and by breaking it open, he was discovered and taken.
Q. Who had been in that room?
E. Heydon. A hundred people, for what I know.
Q. Look upon the prisoner, and say if either of them were there.
E. Heydon. It is possible they might, I cannot say.
Q. Did they frequent your house?
E. Heydon. They did, they used to come every day.
Q. How long had you found it before you delivered it to the turnkey?
E. Heydon. I cannot tell; it might be within a week after I found it, that I gave it to him. There was a search-warrant, and I took it out, and they claimed it.
Mary Jesson . John Settle lodged at my house about twelve months. I never knew any harm of him. He said to me one day, Mother, will you take and pawn these knee and shoe-buckles for me? I can't tell justly how long that is ago. I asked if they were his own? He said they were. I went and pawned them, and brought him the money. I don't know the man's name, but he is here to be examined.
Prosecutor. These are my buckles, which I lost when my house was broke.
John Meredith . On the 21st of December, in the morning, between five and six o'clock, some people came to my house for some purl. It was reported, that the Fulham coach had been robbed by three or four men. A coachman hearing this discourse, that drove the ten o'clock stage, called a little after ten, and told me, there are two men at Mrs. Trevet's, at the Six-bells, over against the church in Hammersmith, which she does not like; and they have sent me with this turkey, and a letter. He shewed me the letter, and I read it: it was directed to Henry Wright , keeper of Tothill-fields bridewell. The contents were, to let him know he had been seeking them in town and country, but without success; and they had sent him a turkey for him and his wife, for Christmas-day's dinner, which they hoped he would accept; and that they were going out of town, and hoped things would in a little time be quiet, &c. Signed John Jones , and John Bromley . I went to the Six bells. and saw John Jones , and John Bromley, sitting in the Chimney-corner. I asked Mrs. Trever, How long them men had been there? She said from about eight o'clock in the morning. She said they had a turkey; first of all, they were going to have it dressed there; then they were for sending it to town. I went to the headborough to bring up his staff, and get another man or two; and went to them, and told them they were both my prisoners. After Bromley's hands were secured, I told Jones I must search him. He said he would not be searched, without it was done by force, or before a magistrate. I told him I was mayor there, and I would search him. In the mean time, I heard Bromley desire to be let go. I took this pistol from Jones, loaded with a brace of balls, and primed, (produced in court) and some loose powder, and about 4 s. 6 d. in his pocket. Then I called for a cord, and pinioned him. Then I searched Bromley, and took this pistol from him, primed, and loaded with a brace of balls; (produced in court) Out of his other pocket, I took three chissels, an iron tobacco-box, with tinder, flint, and steel in it; (produced in court) and a pair of plated spurs, which Jones said were his. (I returnedJohn Fielding , or Mr. Welch? They said, they did not chuse to go before Sir John. I took them before Mr. Welsh. They both said, going along, they would not answer the justice; they would sham drunk, and so they did. When I came to bridewell, Mr. Wright was at the hatch, with the letter, reading it. I heard him say, This is very high to send me a turkey. I said, Mr. Wright, can't I have a glass of wine with you? He said, How do you do, Mr. Meredith? Going by some of the prisoners, he said to one of the prisoners, Here is Jones and Bromley have sent me a turkey, and service to you. Said the other. I wish they don't come to eat a leg of it. Said Mr. Wright, they are gone to the west of England. I went to the bar, and got a jill of wine, and said to him, What are these two men? He said he had been several times after them, but could not meet with them. I said, I am told they are taken at Hammersmith to day, and if you go along with me, you may see them. They are now at Justice Welch's office. Said he, Then I'll go along with you, and fetch them home. As soon as she came into the office, he said. They are the two men that we want, and mentioned their names. Then Mr. Welch desired his compliments to Sir John Fielding , and desired he would take them to examiner, as there were informations against them with Sir John.
Q. When you took them at Hammersmith, did you mention any thing about the letter to them?
Meredith. No, I did not.
' This comes with our kind respects to you, ' hoping these few lines will find you well, as ' we are at present. We have heard of all your ' schemes in town and country after us; but, ' thank God, it has been of no use, nor I hope ' it never will, until after all is over; and if nothing ' happens before, you will see us in town ' about five or six weeks, and then we shall be in ' hopes, all will be quiet. We have taken this ' opportunity of sending a turkey to you and ' your spouse, for dinner on Christmas-day, and ' we hope it will be agreeable; and so to conclude ' the whole at once, we have set off into ' the west of England, and there were intend to ' remain, until all is quiet. If you please to ' remember us to William Moody , and Charles ' Macey, and all acquaintance. So no more at ' present.
John Settle . I have been acquainted with Burkitt and Moody about six months; and have been very well acquainted with Jones. I cannot justly tell the time, we all four went out together, to take a walk, with no intent to rob any body, or to break houses.
Q. Was it before or after Christmas?
Settle. It was before Christmas, I believe three weeks or a month. We went from the Hole-in-the-wall, in Bow-street, towards Chelsea, in the evening; we drank some beer, and spent all our money. Coming home, we did not know what to do for more; we made an attempt to break a house; I don't know whose house it was.
Q. What time of the night was it?
Settle. I cannot justly say; I believe there was somebody sick opposite the house, and they heard us, and we were disturbed. We went away through some courts. Then I staid at a distance, and they all three went away by themselves; I might be an hundred or two hundred yards distance from them, for fear any body should come by. When they came to me again, hey never said a word to me; but we went down to the Hole-in-the-wall again, and had a pot of beer at coming in.
Q. How long had they been gone from you?
Settle. About ten minutes.
Q. Where is the house you made an attempt on?
Settle. It is in Petty-France.
Q. What time was it when you got to the Hole-in-the-wall?
Settle. I cannot say what time, I believe it was morning. I went to bed there.
Q. Did you receive any money of either of them?
Settle. I received none, nor saw none.
Q. Did they go to bed there?
Settle. I do not know; nor do I know where they went.
Q. Did you leave them there when you went to bed?
Settle. I do not know.
Q. When did you see them again?
Settle. I saw them the next morning.
Q. Did you see any buckles then?
Settle. Then Moody said he had bought a
Q. Did you know that young fellow?
Settle. I do not know that I saw him ever before or since.
Q. Was Jones in the house at that time?
Settle. He was. I told Moody they were very cheap; and asked him if he would sell them again. He said yes, I should have them for a shilling advance. I said I had no money. In the winter time I shall go to Billingsgate and buy fish, and in the summer time I go a fishing; when I got money I would pay him. He told me I should have them, and pay him when I could. He let me have them. We drank together, and then went to Mrs. Jesson's in Blackfriars.
Q. Who went with you?
Settle. Moody and Burkett went with me. I had the buckles in my pocket, and desired Mrs. Jesson would go and pawn them for me. She asked me if they were my own? I told her yes. She went and pawned them for seven shillings.
Here it was observed by the court and the jury, that in the course of his giving his evidence, he had his eye constantly looking at the prisoners; and that from his first coming into court, there had been winking and motions made to each other. He was ordered not to look towards them.
Q. What was done with that money?
Settle. We spent about a shilling of it in liquors. She drank some of it.
Q. Did Moody and Burkett hear what past between her and you?
Settle. They did.
Q. What was done with the rest?
Settle. They had no money, and I gave them some of it when we came out.
Q. Look at this yellow canvas bag. Do you know it?
Settle. I have seen such a bag like this, at the Hole-in-the-wall. I cannot saw that this is it.
Q. When did you first see it?
Settle. I do not know that I saw it, till I saw Mrs. Heydon have it.
Q. Did you see these pistols or chisels that night you were out together?
Settle. No, I did not.
Q. to Mr. Jesson. Were Moody and Burkett present at that time the evidence brought the buckles?
M. Jesson. Not as I saw. He came alone.
Q. Did you drink some beer with them that night.
M. Jesson. I did not.
Q. to prosecutor. Do you remember any opposite neighbour being sick at the time your house was broke open?
Prosecutor. No, I do not.
Thomas Wood . I live with my uncle, the prosecutor. He gave the same account of the house being broke, and the things missing, as the prosecutor had done before, with this addition; that when the watchman called them up, it was as he was calling the hour four; and that he went to Covent-Garden round-house to Settle, who told him he was one at the breaking the prosecutor's house in Petty-France, and that there were somebody sick in the opposite house, as he thought; and that it wanted a quarter of one; and on hearing the watchman coming, they ran down a little alley, called Horshoe-alley, till he was gone by; then they came to the house, and forced the shutter; and Burkett was the first person that went into the house, and Jones followed him, and came out again, and said he could do nothing with the bureau; and then Moody went in and broke the bureau.
Q. Have you inquired whether any body was sick opposite your house?
Q. to Heydon. Had Settle laid often at your house?
M. Heydon. He lay at my house a great many times.
Q. Do you remember any thing of a lusty man selling a pair of buckles at your house?
M. Heydon. No, I do not.
Q. Do you remember Moody having a pair of buckles like these?
M. Heydon. He had a pair very much like these.
Q. Did you ever wear them?
M. Heydon. I did wear them about an hour.
Q. Did you ever see these chisels in Bromley's possession?
M. Heydon. No.
Q. Were these four men often at your house together?
M. Heydon. They were very often, separate and together.
Q. from Jones. Was I not ill at your house?
M. Heydon. He lodged at my house. He said he had a bad disorder upon him; and I said I would write to an acquaintance in Guy's hospital to get him cured.
I bought these buckles of a young man at Mrs. Heydon's house for seven shillings; and Settle seeing them, he asked me what I would have for them? I bought them for eight, and paid him five, and was to pay him the rest.
I was along with Moody and Jones at the Hole-in-the-wall. A tall young man came in with a pair of silver shoe and knee buckles. Moody bought them of him: I cannot say how much he gave for them. Soon after Settle came in, he desired to see them. He asked Moody if he would sell them. He said yes. Settle said, I have not money about me, but if you will trust me, as soon as I have it, I will pay you. He sold them to him. Said Settle, I am going down to Mrs. Jesson's, will you go along with me? They went together. When they came back, Moody said, he gave him five shillings in part. I asked Moody to lend me a shilling.
I am a coachman . I drove lord Harrington, and several gentlemen. I was out of place at that time, and my mother allowed me eight shillings a week till I got a place. I went to my aunt for the money allowed me, and returned to the Hole-in-the-wall, and lay with a soldier that was quartered there.
Moody and Jones guilty Death .
Burkett acquitted .
M. They were all three a second time indicted, for making an assault on Francis Lucas , Esq . on the king's highway, putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and stealing from his person a gold watch, val. 15 l. one gold chain, val. 20 s. and two cornelian seals set in gold, val. 20 s. each, his property , Dec. 10 . +.
The prosecutor deposed, that he was stopped and robbed in his carriage, coming from Chelsea , about seven in the evening, on the 10th of Dec. of his gold watch, chain, and seals, as in the indictment; but it being dark, could only say there were more than one or two; but could not swear to either of the prisoners. The only evidence that could say any thing to the fact was Settle. There being no evidence of credit to corrobarate his testimony, he was not examined.
All three acquitted .