ALEXANDER WILSON, Theft > burglary, 26th October 1814.

Reference Number: t18141026-61
Offence: Theft > burglary
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

929. ALEXANDER WILSON was indicted for burglariously breaking and entering the dwelling house of George Welch , about the hour of twelve in the night, on the 11th of October , and burglariously stealing therein, two pair of boots value 50 s. a pair of boot legs value 13 s. an umbrella, value 7 s. two pieces of sheep skin, value 4 d. two pieces of leather, value 2 d. a petticoat, value 1 s. a shirt, value 4 s. a pair of sheets, value, 15 s. a pair of stockings, value 2 s. a curtain, value 6 d. six towels, value 4 s. a handkerchief, value 2 s. a night-cap, value 6 d. a canvas bag, value 2 d. a button-hook, value 6 d. a pair of trowsers, value 2 s. a shaving box, value 2 s. and one shilling, and four pence, in monies numbered , the property of George Welch .

GEORGE WELCH . I live at No. 5, Wilson Street Grays Inn-Lane, in the parish of St. Pancras ; I rent the whole house. My house was broken open on the 11th of October; I went to bed about a quarter before twelve; I was the last up in the house. When I went to bed the house was secured; I went into the kitchen the last thing, I have only my wife myself, and lodgers, in the house. I am sure all my lodgers were in the house when I went to bed. The next morning, I got up at half past seven; I was the first up in the house that came down stairs; as I went into the kitchen I saw the kitchen window wide open. I fastened it myself the night before, the last thing; that is the way the thieves got in. They got in at the kitchen window; there is an area at the kitchen window; they had put some instrument between the two sashes, and so opened the window; the window was not broken. I turned my head round, I missed my two pair of boots. I am a shoemaker; I missed my umbrella; a bag of dirty linen was hanging behind the door; they had removed them from their situation. The boots and the bag of linen that had been hanging behind the door were taken away; two shifts, two pillow-cases, a shirt, a pair of sheets, a pair of stockings, a curtain, six towels two napkins, a handkerchief, a night-cap, a canvas bag, a pair of trowsers, and a shaving-box; in one of my waistcoat pockets there were sixteen pennyworth of halfpence, these were all taken away. I saw some of my things the next day in the afternoon, about four o'clock, at Hatton Garden office. I knew them to be my property that had been stolen the night before. I arose about half after seven, it had been day-light then I suppose about an hour.

Q. Did you find any marks in your kitchen of any candle having been used - A. Yes, on the frame of the window; there was a place where a candle had been stuck there, and droppings of tallow all the way down. A candle must have been burning there some time by the appearance of the wood, the wood being all scotched. I found a piece of tallow candle on the ground the next morning, it had been placed on the seat of the window, and had tumbled down underneath it.

Q. You found a piece of candle underneath the window on the floor? - A. Yes; I went to Hatton-garden office, and gave information.

ELIZABETH MARIA WELCH . I am the wife of the last witness. I went to bed before my husband. I heard nothing of the robbery until my husband came up and told me of it. I can only say the same as my husband has said. The articles are his.

SOHHIA MARY LEE . I live at 26, Field-lane. My husband buys and sells old boots and shoes. On the 12th of this month, about half after eight in the morning, the prisoner brought a bag with boots and leather in it; he threw the things out altogether, he asked me if I would purchase them. The bag contained two pair of men's boots and some leather; the boots were almost new, they had not been much worn; a pair of boot legs and a number of women's clothes, and one shirt.

A. Did you know this man before - A. No, not till then. I found amongst them napkins, towels, and stockings. When he shot these things out on the ground, he asked me if I would purchase them, I said I would call my husband down stairs. Mr. Lee came down stairs; he being an officer, took the prisoner into custody. My husband asked him how he came by these things? he said he got them at Highgate. He said he would not tell where. Mr. Lee said, you have stolen them. He then went down on his knees, and said, if he would let him go he would leave them. He was taken to the Compter and afterwards to Hatton Garden office. My husband has kept the things ever since.

Q. Did you go to the office - A. Yes; I saw Mr. Welch claim the things.

WILLIAM LEE . I am a constable of St. Andrew's parish. I live at 26, Field-lane. My girl called me down stairs. I found the prisoner sitting on a chair, the boots and leather were on his right hand side. I asked him what he wanted for the boots and leather? He said a guinea. I looked at him in the face; I knew him. I said you are a thief. Where did you steal these things? He said he had stolen them, and instantly went on his knees, and begged me to let him go. I said I shall do my duty, you may depend upon it. He then said he found them in a yard at Highgate. He said he should not say any more as I was determined to keep him. I kept the articles, and took him to the Compter. First of all I took him as a city prisoner, afterwards I took him before a Middlesex magistrate. I removed him from the Compter; I searched him in the thigh of his pantaloons; between his pantaloons and breeches I found this tin tobacco-box, with fresh tinder and matches, this knife was in his pantaloons pocket; the back of the knife is jagged with striking a light. In his waistcoat pocket I found this button-hook, this is claimed by Mr. Welch. In his hat I found this silk handkerchief, it is marked with G. W. the initials of Mr. Welch's name. Mr. Welch claimed the things that he shot out of the bag. I then went to Mr. Welch's house, to ascertain how it had been entered. The earth outside of the house is tlay; the inside of the wall is about six feet high, and the garden mould fresh dug. I examined the footsteps with the prisoner's shoe. I found on the prisoner a thick pair of nailed shoes. Mr. Read and I applied the shoes to to the footsteps on the clay and on the mould; the shoes corresponded with marks of the footsteps. I found no other footsteps than his. It appeared to me it had only been done by one person. I afterwards examined the window; it has a hoop spring catch; it appeared to me to have been opened by pushing one sash up, and pulling the other down, and then sliding this knife between, up it opened the catch; there is the mark of a knife of this size on the window. These things have been in my possession ever since. I produce them.

Prosecutor. I have looked at these things, they are mine; I am quite sure of it.

Q. Look at that handkerchief found in the prisoner's hat. - A. There is my initials G W. upon it. I left it on the sofa the over night, and I missed it the next morning when I came down. The boot-legs

are mine, and all the rest of the property. This button hook was in my waistcoat pocket with the halfpence, I am quite sure of that.

Prosecutrix. I have looked at the linen, I know it to be my husband's linen. Some of them have our initials on them. Some I had before I married Mr. Welch, which has the initials of my maiden name.

WILLIAM READ , JUNIOR. I am an officer. I went to the prosecutor's house. I observed a piece of candle had been stuck on the lining of the sash; it had been burning there some time; it is a wonder it had not set fire to the lining of the window. I observed the footsteps; I compared the prisoner's shoe with the footsteps in the mould, and the clay. I could only see one footstep; the prisoner's shoe tallied with the mark of his footsteps.

Prisoner's Defence. I implore your Lordship's forgiveness in taking the liberty to address you I am evidently with a heart broken down with grief; yet I feel some commisseration that every justice will be done; and if I am correct in the pale of reason, when I say, the charge admits of much doubt. It was my misfortune to pass where the robbers had done the violence. I never committed the act I am charged with. Never in my life did I commit a felonious act that actually has not been proved; this ought to have been done. Am I to suffer for the violent act of others; I expect to meet with that compassion which justice so warmly demands.

GUILTY DEATH , aged 46.

First Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Common Serjeant.


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