CECIL PITT, Theft > burglary, 11th January 1804.

Reference Number: t18040111-66
Offence: Theft > burglary
Verdict: Guilty > with recommendation
Punishment: Death

126. CECIL PITT was indicted for breaking and entering the dwelling-house of William Page , about the hour of six in the night of the 9th of January , and burglariously stealing nine watches, value 12 l. four pair of spectacles, value 2 l. and a pair of shoe-buckles, value 15 s. the property of the said William .

(The case was opened by Mr. Gurney.)

WILLIAM PAGE sworn. - I am a pawnbroker and silversmith , in Liquorpond-street, in the parish of St. Andrew, Holborn .

Q. Last Monday evening were you in your shop? - A. Yes.

Q. At what time was it that any thing happened? - A. About a quarter after six; I was standing very near to the inside of the glass case in my shop-window, when three squares of glass were thrust in at once; I perceived several hands in the window with gloves on, scrambling at the property in the window.

Q. What articles were exposed there? - A. Watches, jewellery, and other articles.

Q. Were there any spectacles or silver buckles? - A. Yes; I observed the sleeve of a lightish coat in the window.

Q. Did you go out? - A. I ran out immediately, and three or four men ran from the window in different directions; I followed two of them up Leather-lane, four or five doors; I was nearly in the act of laying hold of them, when they took their hands out of their waistcoat-pockets, which alarmed me, and I drew back; I still kept crying stop thief, and returned to my shop.

Q. How soon afterwards was any person brought to your shop? - A. In the course of two or three minutes.

Q. When you went back to the shop and examined the window, what did you miss? - A. The next morning I missed nine watches, I only missed two that night; the things were all knocked about, and in the confused state in which I was, I could not tell.

Q. What was the value of these watches? - A. Twenty pounds.

Q. Did you lose any spectacles? - A. Yes, four pair; a part of the things were taken out of the area afterwards.

Q. Did you miss any thing else? - A. A pair of

silver shoe-buckles; in about two or three minutes the prisoner at the bar was brought into my shop.

Q. Was any thing said to him when he was brought in? - A. The person that brought him in desired him to pull his hands out of his breeches-pocket, his right-hand was in his pocket; he took his hand out.

Q. What appearance did it exhibit? - A. It was bloody.

Q. Did you examine to see whether it was cut or not? - A. I did not examine it myself, I did not look so close as to see the cut.

Q. Did you afterwards see his glove? - A. Yes, the glove of the right-hand was bloody.

Q. Did you see whether it was or was not cut? - A. It was cut.

Q. What part of it was cut? - A. About the first finger.

Q. What part of his hand was bloody? - A. All that part of his hand.

Q. Was it light or dark at this time? - A. It was dark.

Cross-examined by Mr. Knapp. Q. You are a pawnbroker? - A. Yes.

Q. Have you any partner? - A. No.

Q. Has any other person an interest in the business? - A. No.

WILLIAM FILP sworn. - Examined by Mr. Gurney. Q. Where do you live? - A. With Mr. Simmons, No. 1, Field-court, Gray's Inn.

Q. What is he? - A. He studies the law.

Q. You are his servant? - A. Yes.

Q. Last Monday evening were you in Chancery-lane? - A. Yes, I was going past Chancery-lane with a letter to the General Post-office.

Q. Did you see any persons? - A. Yes, I saw six young men.

Q. Were they in company? - A. They were all together; there was a little boy with a pair of leather breeches.

Q. In consequence of any thing that passed at that time, did you take notice of them? - A. Yes, I followed them; they went down Gray's-Inn-lane, then they came back again into Holborn, and went down Leather-lane.

Q. Did they keep company all the time? - A. Yes.

Q. Did you follow them all the way? - A. Yes.

Q. Where did you see them stop? - A. One stopped on each side of the way in Leather-lane, just by Mr. Page's; four of them went up to the window, and pushed their hands directly through the window, and they all ran away; two of them ran away across Leather-lane.

Q. Did the two that stood still run away too? - A. Yes; when the smash was in the window, Mr. Page ran out, and the two that were in Leather-lane Mr. Page ran after, and I ran after them too; the prisoner at the bar, when he got a little up Leather-lane, holloaed out stop thief.

Q. Was the prisoner one of the six? - A. He was one of the six that I saw in Chancery-lane, and one of the four that smashed their hands through the window.

Q. Did you follow him? - A. Yes.

Q. Did any body stop him? - A. Yes, there was a man coming up Back-hill.

Q. Did you see the prisoner stopped, or had you lost sight of him? - A. No, I saw him till he was taken.

Q. How near were you to him when he was taken? - A. I was pretty close to him, as close as I am to you.

Q. When he was taken, what was done with him? - A. They took him to Mr. Page's shop.

Q. Do you remember what kind of a coat he had on? - A. A kind of white with black spots, what they call pepper and salt.

Q. Are you quite sure you never lost sight of him from the time he left Mr. Page's window till he was stopped? - A. Yes.

Q. Did you see any thing of any gloves? - A. Yes, all the four who put their hands in the window, had gloves on.

Q. Did you see whether he had gloves on when he was taken? - A. No, I was pushed so at the door, I was not able to get into the shop.

Cross-examined by Mr. Knapp. Q. How old are you? - A. Fourteen, the 3d of next April.

Q. You were going to take a letter to the General Post-office? - A. Yes, it had just struck six o'clock.

Q. Where is the General Post situated? - A. In Lombard-street; I saw at the corner of Gray's-Inn gate the postman who always comes into the Inn, and I gave him a penny, and the letter.

Q. Where did you see him? - A. At the corner of Gray's-Inn gate; he knew me, and took the letter.

Q. Then you went back into Gray's-Inn, did not you? - A. No, I did not.

Q. You were always behind these persons? - A. I was sometimes behind, and sometimes at the side of them; I was on the contrary side of the way in Holborn; they were upon the side next Gray's-Inn gate, and I was on the contrary side.

Q. Very near Mr. Flight's shop? - A. Yes, the corner of Southampton-buildings.

Q. That is a pretty wide part? - A. Yes.

Q. There it was you saw them in Holborn? - A. Yes.

Q. A great many carriages were passing? - A. Yes, but I kept my eye upon them all the way.

Q. There were foot-passengers on both sides the way? - A. Yes.

Q. You never had an opportunity of seeing the prisoner's face till he was taken back to Mr. Page's? - A. Yes, I had, by Chancery-lane.

Q. Was it dark or light at this time? - A. It was a moon-light night.

Q. That you are quite sure of? - A. It was not very dark.

Q. Are you quite sure it was a moon-light night? - A. I will not be certain, but I think it was.

Q. Now was it moon-light or not? - A. It was not dark.

Q. Was it moon-light or not? - A. I will not say positively whether it was or not.

Q. Then it was dark? - A. It was not very dark.

Q. The evening was shut in? - A. Yes.

Q. All you could observe were from the lamps? - A. Yes, and from the shop-windows.

Q. Did it rain? - A. It did not just at that time.

Q. Not at what time? - A. Not at a little after six.

Q. How soon did it rain? - A. It rained about half past six.

Q. It was not the lighter for that you know - now you say you saw six persons; some were very short persons, I suppose? - A. No, they were all pretty well of a size.

Q. Had you ever seen this prisoner before? - A. No.

Q. Do you know how any of the others were dressed? - A. Yes, I do; one had a light-coloured coat on; there was another had a blue coat on; another had a great coat on, I think of a brownish colour, but I cannot be sure.

Q. They were all differently dressed, but two had light coats on? - A. No, only one had a pepper and salt coloured coat.

Q. Did you ever see the face of the person you supposed to be the prisoner till you got into Mr. Page's shop? - A. Yes, I did.

Q. Full face? - A. Yes.

Q. As plain as you see mine? - A. Yes.

Q. Where was that? - A. By Chancery-lane.

Q. Did you say so before the Magistrate? - A. Yes.

Q. Have you ever heard there is a reward of forty pounds upon conviction of a person for burglary? - A. I was told so.

Q. When were you told so - before you saw this man or since? - A. Since.

Q. Who told you since? - A. Different people.

Q. Any body at Hatton-garden belonging to the Office? - A. No.

Q. Who then told you so? - A. Different people.

Q. You were told you would get a part of the forty pounds, were not you? - A. Yes.

Q. I take it, at the time these persons put their hands in the windows, their backs were towards you? - A. Yes.

Q. Tell the Jury how you could see that they had gloves on at that time - how near to them were you standing? - A. I was standing right facing them in Liquorpond-street.

Q. Their backs were towards you? - A. Yes.

Q. Now how can you tell that they had gloves on? - A. I saw some of them put on their gloves just before they went up to the window.

Q. Did you actually see them put their hands in the window with gloves on? - A. I cannot say I did.

Q. This shop is near Meux's brewhouse, and very dark? - A. No, there were a great many lights in the window; it was very light just there.

Q. And you never saw either of these persons in your life before? - A. No.

Q. Every one of them were nearly of the same size? - A. Yes.

Q. Have you been in custody yourself? - A. No, never.

Q. Never? - A. No, never.

Q. But you have heard of the forty pounds reward? - A. Yes, I have.

JOHN RAYMENT sworn. - Examined by Mr. Gurney. Q. What are you? - A. A labourer.

Q. Where do you live? - A. No. 2, Tash-street, Gray's-Inn-lane.

Q. On Monday evening last, tell us what you observed? - A. On Monday evening last, I was going home up Back-hill from my labour, about a quarter past six o'clock, I heard a great crash of glass windows break.

Q. Where was that? - A. At Mr. Page's shop.

Q. How far were you from his shop at that time? - A. I suppose it might be a dozen or fifteen yards.

Q. What did you see? - A. I saw the prisoner at the bar, and two or three more, run away from the window; the prisoner was eight or ten yards from the shop; he went some little way across Leather-lane, and then made a cross double towards Back-hill, where I was crossing, about the middle of the street, he called out stop thief, stop thief, running as hard as he could.

Q. Did you pursue him? - A. He was close to where I was; he was coming right to me, and I laid fast hold of him.

Q. Did you ever lose sight of him from the time of his quitting the window till you seized him? - A. No, it was not much further than from my Lord to the window that I took him.

Q. How long after the crash at the window was it that you saw him leave the window? - A. Directly.

Q. Did you take him to Mr. Page's shop? - A. Me, with another gentleman; he at first said, when I laid hold of him, don't stop me, I know nothing of the affair, I am a respectable tradesman in the Old Jewry; then came up another gentleman, whom I have not seen since, a Mr. Rusby, a corn-chandler, who took him into Mr. Page's shop.

Q. Did you observe any thing with respect to either of his hands? - A. Both his hands were in his breeches-pocket when he came into the shop.

Q. Did he take either of them out? - A. He seemed very much confused and frightened; he begged not to be exposed, but to be taken into a back room, that he might not be seen by so many people.

Q. Was he taken into a back room? - A. No.

Q. When his hands were taken out of his pockets, did you observe any thing? - A. When he was desired to pull them out, he was very loth to pull his right-hand out of his breeches-pocket; in pulling it out, it was very bloody.

Q. Did you see whether it was cut? - A. I did not see whether it was cut then.

Q. Did you afterwards? - A. I cannot say exactly; it was somewhere about the finger and thumb.

Q. Did you see the right-hand glove? - A. Yes, I asked him the reason of his hand being bloody; he said, it was owing to his putting his hand in his pocket against a piece of silver solder, which they used in their line of business; he said, he was a working jeweller; he then pulled out eighteen pence, a pen-knife, a comb, and two or three halfpence.

Q. He did not pull out any solder? - A. Yes, he pulled out a piece of solder.

Q. Were they in his waistcoat or breeches pocket? - A. In his breeches pocket.

Q. Did you ask to see his glove? - A. Out of his left-hand pocket he pulled a small neat hook, such as are used for buck-skin breeches, but it has been lost since; he took his right-hand glove out of his right-hand coat-pocket; his right-hand glove appeared very bloody; I asked him the reason of its being bloody; he said, by putting his hand in his pocket upon it, his hand being bloody; I then turned the glove inside out, and the inside was bloody as well.

Q. Did you examine the glove besides? - A. No further than there was a cut in the glove corresponding with the place in his hand; two officers were sent for to take him to Hatton-garden, and I saw no more of him that night.

Cross-examined by Mr. Knapp. Q. When you came up, there was a considerable noise in the street? - A. The breaking of glass, nothing more.

Q. Did it not occasion a great alarm, and a cry of stop thief? - A. It created an alarm about Mr. Page's door.

Q. Mr. Page's is quite the corner, is it not? - A. The corner of Eyre-street-hill and Liquorpond-street.

Q. The prisoner desired not to be exposed, for he was a respectable tradesman? - A. Yes; he said, pray don't stop me, I am a respectable tradesman in the Old Jewry; he said, he would give me his address; I told him I should certainly stop him.

Q. Did he give you his direction? - A. No.

Q. Have you not since heard that he does live in the Old Jewry, and is a jeweller? - A. I have heard so from other people; in Mr. Page's shop, he said he lived four doors from the Poultry Compter.

Q. In point of fact, there was a piece of solder found in his breeches-pocket? - A. Yes.

Q. Was it sharp? - A. Not very sharp; not sharp enough to cut any body's hand.

Q. Did he pull his hand out himself, or did Rice Jones take it out? - A. Himself; he was very loth to pull it out.

Q. Did not Rice Jones pull it out, and did he not, upon that, complain that his finger was cut? - A. No.

Q. Is Rice Jones here? - A. I don't know.

JANE RAMSAY sworn. - Examined by Mr. Gurney. Q. You are niece to the prosecutor? - A. Yes; the morning after the robbery I found a silver watch in the area.

(Mr. Page produces it.)

Q. From whom did you receive it? - A. My neice gave it to her aunt in my presence, and I received it from her.

Miss Ramsay. This is the same watch that I picked up, and gave to my aunt.

Q. Did you find any thing else? - A. No.

Q. (To the Prosecutor.) Look at that watch? - A. It is mine.

Q. Is that one of the watches that was hanging in the window? - A. Yes, it is.

Court. Q. How lately had you seen it before you heard the crash of the window? - A. A few days.

Mr. Knapp. Q. Are your shew-glasses outside the window? - A. No, it is an upright sash with inside sashes.

GEORGE WOOD sworn. - Examined by Mr. Gurney. Q. What are you? - A. An officer belonging to Hatton-garden; I was sent for to Mr. Page's to take charge of the prisoner; I searched him, and took out of his coat-pocket a glove, (producing it;) it has been in my possession ever since; I found this piece of solder lying upon the counter. (Produces it.)

Q. (To Rayment.) Was the piece of solder that laid upon the counter the same that was taken out of the prisoner's pocket? - A. Yes.

Mr. Gurney. I am just informed, and I wish it to be understood, that the prisoner did give a true account of his residence.

Prisoner's defence. I live in Dove-court, in the Old Jewry; I left home between three and four o'clock in the afternoon to meet my father, who was gone to Hampstead; when I got to North End, I found he was gone; I came to town again down Gray's-Inn-lane and down Liquorpond-street; I crossed over at the end of Liquorpond-street, when I saw three fellows running away; there was a cry

of stop thief, and that man immediately laid hold of me, and took me to Mr. Page's; it was a wet afternoon, and one of my gloves were wet; I have a habit of walking with one hand in my breeches-pocket; I put my hand into my pocket with my glove on, and my glove being wet, and the breeches having leather linings, it stuck; and, when I got my hand out, it was bleeding.

The prisoner called eleven witnesses, who gave him a good character.

GUILTY, Death , aged 20.

The prisoner was recommended to mercy by the Jury, on account of his youth and good character. The Prosecutor also joined in the recommendation, on the same grounds .

Second Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Common Serjeant.


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