JOSEPH BOWMAN, Theft > burglary, 19th February 1772.

Reference Number: t17720219-53
Offence: Theft > burglary
Verdict: Guilty > with recommendation
Punishment: Death

299. (M.) JOSEPH BOWMAN was indicted for breaking and entering the dwelling-house of Thomas Bellinger , on the 20th of November , about the hour of three in the night, and stealing seven silver table-spoons, value 3 l. 10 s. one silver soup-spoon, value 3 l. two silver tea spoons, value 3 s. and 120 copper half-pence, the property of the said Thomas Bellinger , in his dwelling-house . ||

Mary Bellinger . I am wife to Thomas Bellinger , we keep a public-house at the corner of Crown-court, St. James's . I was up last in the house, and fastened the doors and windows myself on the 19th of November. I was alarmed at five o'clock the next morning by a lodger in the house; I ran down stairs almost naked. When I saw the situation of things I judged that a servant had done it, and I suspected a servant that had left me a short time before that. I found the bar open, and a hole was cut in the bar big enough to put a hand in to pull back the spring-lock and the bolt, and then they could get the shutters down.

Q. Were they down?

Bellinger. Yes, it was all thrown open, and there were seven table-spoons, a large soupspoon, and two tea-spoons. The drawer in which they were was shut in with a cupboard; the drawer of the till was cut open; a piece of wood was cut off, and so the till was got out: there was about a crown's-worth of half-pence taken out of the till. I found a tool that is used by bricklayers labourers, that I shewed in court, upon the trial of two of the men, I have not got it now. I can say nothing of my own knowledge against the prisoner. Joseph Eldridge , the accomplice, says he let him in along with the other men.

Joseph Eldridge . I served my time to a vintner. I cannot take my oath that the prisoner was in the prosecutor's house. I lodged there.

Q. Who desired you to let them in?

Eldridge. Samuel Higbed and William Monk .

Q. Who did you let in?

Eldridge. Samuel Higbed and another man, I don't know his name. This was about two o'clock at night, some time in December; the prisoner was not there.

Q. from the Jury. Did you say so before Sir John Fielding ?

Eldridge. The prisoner was a party concerned; he knew of the robbery.

Court. For God's sake take care what you say! - What did you say at Sir John Fielding 's? Did you say then that you let this man in or not?

Eldridge. I swore he was a party concerned. I swore that I let four in.

Q. Did you not swear that you let in Samuel Higbed and Joseph Bowman , who broke open the bar?

Eldridge. I swore that Samuel Higbed broke open the bar; I did not see Bowman break it open.

Q. Did you swear that you did?

Eldridge. I never swore that Joseph Bowman broke upon the bar.

Court. The words of your information are:

"That the said Monk then desired this informant

"to go down, and let the persons in;

"and this informant accordingly went down,

"and let in the two persons now present, who

"called themselves Peter Farrel and William

"Nichollay, with the said Samuel Higbed

"and Joseph Bowman , who broke open the

"bar in the said house, and stole a quantity of

"silver plate." What do you say now, Sir?

Eldridge. I say that Samuel Higbed broke open the bar.

Q. And do you now positively swear, that you did not swear before the justice that Bowman was let in with the other two. - Will you swear that he was not there?

Eldridge. I can't swear that he was particularly concerned in breaking open the place.

Q. How do you know that he was concerned?

Eldridge. He knew of the robbery, and was to be a party concerned in it. We were to meet at the Ship in St. James's-street.

Q. Did you meet them there?

Eldridge. No, I did not.

Q. Was you present at any time when it was settled between them, that they were to break open this house when the prisoner at the bar was present?

Eldridge. Yes.

Q. At what house?

Eldridge. At a house by Carnaby-alley. There were only the prisoner and Higbed there, and there I left them.

Q. What time was this?

Eldridge. About a day before the robbery.

Q. Who was at the house that you are sure of?

Eldridge. Samuel Higbed , William Nichollay , and Peter Farrel .

Q. You knew him as well as the rest?

Eldridge. Yes. The prisoner appointed to be there; they took out the spoons.

Q. What became of them?

Eldridge. I don't know.

Q. Did you never see them afterwards?

Eldridge. I went up to bed afterwards. I was taken into custody the next day.

Q. Were none of the goods found any where?

Eldridge. No.

Q. What cloaths had they on that night you met?

Eldridge. We went and took two the first night, the rest I gave a description of.

Q. Did you describe this man as well as the rest?

Eldridge. Yes.

Q. How did you describe him?

Eldridge. That he had white cloaths.

Q. What cloaths had he on the night the robbery was committed?

Eldridge. He was dressed in white. - I never saw him in any other colour.

Christopher Moxen . As I was going into Crown-court, on the 19th of November, I met one John Shepperd , a baker; I met Higbed, Farrel and Nichollay in the court (the two last were cast for transportation last sessions or the sessions before) and Joseph Bowman ; it was about twelve o'clock the night of the robbery; they were close by the prosecutor's house; they were standing together. Samuel Higbed asked me to lend him six pence. I asked them where they were going; they said they were going about their business. I lent Higbed six-pence. I had known Higbed, Monk, and Nichollay about three years. I had known the prisoner about six months, but had never spoke to him; he is a bricklayer or plaisterer. I was going to lie at Mrs. Bellinger's.

Q. Are you sure you saw the prisoner there?

Moxen. Yes; he had a white suit of cloaths on, and he had the same hat on as he had before Sir John Fielding ; it was bound round with black.

Q. to the Prosecutrix. Did the accomplice sware to the prisoner before the justice?

Prosecutrix. He did before the justices at the Rotation. As we were coming back from Sir John Fielding , I said I thought I knew his face; he said he had drank at my house, but never since that affair.

Q. to Eldridge. What cloaths had the other people on that you let in? Can you tell if any of them had white?

Eldridge. One of them had a kind of snuffcoloured cloaths. Higbed was in brown. I did not see these wear any other cloaths.

Court. It was a light night; the full moon was the twenty-second.

Peregrine Weatherby . I was a supernumerary watchman that night. I went round at ten o'clock and twelve. At half after twelve o'clock the prisoner came and whistled through his

fingers three times; he was dressed in light cloaths; I am sure he is the man; the moon shone as bright as day. After he had whistled, the sash was thrown up, and one looked out at the window up two pair of stairs in the prosecutrix's house, and they discoursed together for a considerable time. The prisoner stood upon the ground by me when the accomplice talked to him out at the window. I thought they were both lodgers in the house. At last the accomplice asked where they were; the prisoner said, all together. The prisoner asked him whether he would come down or no; he said he would not. Then the clock struck one; I took my candle and lanthorn and called the hour.

Q. What did you think the three whistles were for?

Weatherby. To call his comrade; I thought he was a lodger and wanted to get in. When I came back he was gone.

Q. How far is your box from the house?

Weatherby. About ten yards.

Q. How far do you go when you cry the hour?

Weatherby. It takes me up very near a quarter of an hour.

Q. How long did you stay upon the stand?

Weatherby. Till almost six in the morning. About half after two o'clock Samuel Higbed, who had been a waiter in the house, came by himself. I thought he had lived in the house. Then he threw something up to the window; I went to him, and told him he should not throw any thing up at the window, for if he broke the window I should be answerable for it. He flung something out of his hand; I heard it. rattle against the window. I saw the sash move up, and somebody put out a hand and wagged it. I could see nothing but the hand. I went to the door, and found it unshut; two men came out, and after that two more; I thought they were lodgers, and were going to their work.

Q. Was the prisoner one of them?

Weatherby. He that had white cloaths on was one of them.

Q. Was the prisoner one of the first two or last?

Weatherby. He was the third, I believe. I walked backwards and forwards all the time, to prevent any disturbance, because the door was a-jar. When the man came up to light the fire, I told him the people they kept in the house were very irregular.

Prisoner's Defence.

I was not there at the time.

Guilty . Death .

Recommended on account of his youth.

See the trial of Peter Farrel and William Nichollay , otherwise Nicholas, No 23, 24. in this Mayoralty.


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