Offence: Theft > burglary
Verdict: Guilty; Not Guilty; Not Guilty
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Before Mr. Justice Burrough.
388. WILLIAM WALKER , MICHAEL HOLLAND , and JEMIMA, HIS WIFE, were indicted for burglariously breaking and entering the dwelling-house of Thomas Downes , about six o'clock in the night of 2d of January , at St. Andrew, Holborn , with intent to steal, and burglariously stealing therein a ring, value 10 l., his property .
MESSRS. ALLEY and ANDREWS conducted the prosecution.
ELIZABETH BURTLES . I am housemaid to Mr. Downes - Frances White is the cook. I lived seven months with Mr. Downes; the prisoner, Michael Holland, was in Mr. Downes's service, as footman , for nearly two months, and left in December last, and after that came occasionally to the house. While he was in the service the female prisoner visited him; he called her his sister: she used to go up to his bed-room, which was at the top of the house, and the first time she came we shewed her all over the house - she was in my mistresses bed-room, and staid there a very few minutes. She was up stairs once all the afternoon, and I was in the kitchen - I do not know what room she was in: the footman was with her part of the time, but she was up stairs alone for about two hours; I cannot say when that was. On the Saturday before the robbery the prisoner, Michael Holland, called at master's house - I and the cook where in the kitchen; it was agreed that he should come to tea on the Sunday evening: nothing was said about where master and mistress were going to my recollection. He came about five o'clock on Sunday afternoon; before that I had turned down the beds, and done every thing up stairs, and the lamps were lighted - he came into the kitchen: the cook was there with me. About half an hour or an hour after he came, he went out to get something to drink, and took a bottle with him - he was absent about five minutes, and returned with a violent knocking and ringing at the door - the cook let him in. When he went out he took a candle up stairs with him, and put it in the hall; he brought it down stairs with him when he returned. We sat down to drink the gin and water, and is about a quarter of an hour I heard a noise like the drawing back of the bolt of the street door; I said there was a noise, and I thought the street door was open - the cook took a candle, went up stairs, and called out that the street door was open. I then went up - Holland was in the kitchen; we went to the parlour, drawing-room, and up stairs, and seeing the bed-room doors open we returned down - Holland came to the foot of the kitchen stairs, and asked what was the matter; we said we thought somebody was in the house, for the bed room doors were open - I had found master's bed-room door open; he then took the poker, and went up stairs of his own accord, alone, then came down, and said he did not see any thing or anybody there - he must have seen mistress's bedroom door open; I asked if he had been up higher than mistress's room - he said, No; I asked him to go up - he was going, when a ring came at the bell, and he came down stairs again, and when the door was opened it was the female prisoner; she asked if Holland was there - we said, Yes; she asked what he did there, and if he did not know that he was keeping her waiting. I told her I thought somebody was in the house, for mistress's door was open, which I had shut when I turned down the bed - she said she would go up stairs with us: she went up with me and Holland, and then I found one of the chairs was moved into the middle of the room, (it should have been against the window) I discovered that a drawer was open, and the jewel cases taken out, and put on the top of the drawers - one jewel case was broken open, but the other had no lock to it - the jewels were all taken. I said mistress's jewels were gone, and that she had a great many; Michael Holland said he did not think that she had many. We came down stairs - he went and called the patrol, who searched about the house, but could not discover any thing, and went away; he searched all the rooms. It happened about six o'clock. Holland went away after that - he said he should go home and tell the people he was not coming home that night, as he was to come back and stop till Mr. Downes came home. Master returned at half-past ten o'clock; Holland returned in about an hour, and one of the officers who were there took him into custody.
Q. Before Holland came back had anybody else been at the house? A. No; but after tea there was a violent knocking and ringing at the door - I went up - there was a man with a blue coat and blue trowsers; he asked if Mr. Taylor lived there: I said, No, it was a few doors further on. Holland was then in the kitchen. The prisoner Walker is like that man, but I do not mean to be positive to him. (Looking at a jewel case,) this is the one which was not locked - nothing valuable was kept in that.
Cross-examined by MR. BRODRICK. Q. Had you and the cook often friends coming to see you? A. No; none came to see me but my mother and sister; one old woman used to come to see the cook - my brother came once to see me, when mistress was out - he did not come to see the cook - it was one Sunday, a long time ago, when mistress was in the country - he only came once. I have lived there seven months; the cook came about a month before the robbery. I do not know of any body named Allen visiting her - I never saw any body come to see her but a woman; and there were two young women came; I never
FRANCES WHITE. I am cook to Mr. Downes, and was there for a fortnight while Holland was footman there - I was there five weeks before the robbery, no other manservant was in the house while I was there. Master had a tool basket, I never saw it any where but in the prisoner's pantry. Holland called the day before the robbery, and came to tea on Sunday, at a quarter past five o'clock - he came into the kitchen, and after tea went out for some liquor, and returned in six or seven minutes - he took a light with him, and when I went up to let him in I found the light on the slab in the passage - we went into the kitchen, the gin and water was drank; my fellow servant said she thought that somebody had opened a door; I went up, and found the street-door open - I called her up - we went up stairs, searched the parlours, drawing-room, and afterwards the bed-rooms, and finding the doors open, would not go further, but came down. Holland came out of the kitchen, and asked what was the matter; and she told him that she had closed all the doors in the evening, and now they were open, and somebody must have been in the house. I wished to call the watchman, but he said No, I had better not proceed till we saw if anything was missing up stairs, and said there would be no watchman on for two hours to come. I said we must have some one in, for I did not think we were safe in the house. He went to go up stairs with the poker, the house-maid followed him, but she did not like to go, and both ran back, he threw the poker down, and said we had him there to make ridicule of him - he only went to the first landing-place, half-way to the drawing-room. I understand he went up stairs afterwards, but that I do not recollect - he then went to call a watchman - the patrol came - we told him something had happened up stairs; he drew his sword, and went up stairs directly, but I did not go with him. After he came down I went into mistress's bed-room - several drawers were open; the patrol said he had opened them - I saw a chisel in the patrol's hand, after he came down. I saw the jewel-boxes, one was broken open, a few trinkets, of small value, were left in one box, and on the drawers, I had not been into mistress's room that evening before: Holland had called about half-past eleven o'clock in the morning, and I told him I did not think master and mistress would dine at home, but I was not sure. I do not recollect whether he asked me about it, or whether I told him without being asked.
Cross-examined. Q. Holland and you were good friends, and he came to drink tea with you? A. Yes; he had drank tea there two or three times before - mistress does not allow people to come of an afternoon - if they had dined at home he could not have come without their knowledge. I have no other acquaintance - an old woman called on me one evening; we were not forbidden to have followers - I only had this old woman to drink tea with me - I have no acquaintance named Allen, nor Stevens - I never saw the housemaid's brother - I never saw the cook, who lived there before me, visiting the house. Master and mistress knew that Holland and I were good friends, but we were forbidden to let him come - I did not know that he was married. There was no light in the hall, it was not unnatural for him to take a candle, as the staircase was dark - there is no key-hole outside the door. When my fellow-servant heard the noise, I went up, and called her - we went up, and saw the doors open, came down and told Holland - he and she went up, she ran back, and he threw down the poker.
COURT. Q. When you let Holland in did you shut the door? A. Yes, my Lord; and found it open a quarter of an hour afterward. Holland went for the patrol nearly an hour after - the patrol looked over the house, and went away, leaving Holland there - he afterward went away, and when he returned was apprehended. I was taken into custody - I never was charged with any thing else. A young woman owed me money, I had a shawl of her's, which I pawned, and when she came to pay me I gave her the shawl, it was taken out of pawn a fortnight before the robbery.
WILLIAM BANTING . I am a patrol. I was called into the prosecutor's house about a quarter past seven o'clock, and searched it minutely from top to bottom, but found nobody; I searched the lady's bed-room, found the chest of drawers broken open, and some cases on the top, and by the side of the cases I found a chisel, with a piece broken aslant at the corner. Lee has the chisel, I locked it up at the watch-house, and next day found it in Read's hands at Hatton-garden. I pulled two or three drawers open, which were not locked, and found the clothes undisturbed - nothing was disturbed but one drawer.
Cross-examined. Q. You searched the house minutely? A. Yes; I might he a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes about it - Holland was with me, and Elizabeth the servant - I left Holland in the house - the chisel was on the top of the drawers, by the jewel-case, I put it into my pocket, and delivered it to Hatton, the watch-house keeper to lock up - I put no mark on it. I came on duty about five o'clock - I rather think that I found the prosecutor's door ajar once before, it might be about four weeks before the robbery, but never more than once. I rang the bell, somebody came and said somebody was gone to fetch something. The chisel produced is the one I found.
WILLIAM LEE . I am an officer of Hatton-garden. On the night in question I was sent for to Mr. Downes's - I got there about half-past nine o'clock, and about twenty minutes past ten Holland came in - I took him into custody; he stated that he had been to his lodgings, in Hackney-road, to inform his landlord that it was not likely he should be home that night, as Mr. Downes's house had been robbed, he thought that Mr. Downes would like to have him in the house all night to protect it - he said he lodged at Ivy's, No. 25, Hackney-road. I went there next morning, and found Ivy and Ivy's wife - Holland told me
JAMES LEA . I am an officer of Whitechapel. On the 26th Jan., about half-past eight o'clock in the morning, I went with Fortune to New-court, George-yard, Whitechapel, and found the prisoner Walker there; he had his hat on, and said he was just going out; I apprehended him on another charge, he had a flannel jacket on and blue trowsers, and inside his trowsers I found a blue bag, and a smaller bag in the blue one, containing nine skeleton and one picklock key. He said, "Recollect you find them on my person in my room, and not abroad!" I saw one of these skeleton keys applied to a drawer in Mr. Downes's room, five or six days ago, it opened the drawer from which the jewel-cases were taken. I found in his room a dark lantern, with a candle in it, which had been lighted, a vice and file, which would be useful in altering keys. After taking him into custody, I returned in half an hour to search his lodging again, and found the duplicate of a diamond ring, pawned, on the 3d Jan. 1825, at Anderton's, No. 15, Commercial-road, for 6 l. in the name of William Walker, Commercial-road; the duplicate was in a small hole in a cupboard where coals are kept, wrapped in a piece of paper; he wore blue trowsers, and there was a blue coat in his room, which he has on now. On the Friday after I found the duplicate I went to the pawnbroker's and saw the ring; I looked over a number of bills which we have at our Office, and traced the ring to Mr. Downes. I afterwards went to the pawnbroker's with Mr. and Mrs. Downes, and Mrs. Downes immediately claimed it. On the 29th of January I went to No. 25, Hackney-road, and apprehended Holland and his wife: I said I had come to apprehend him about Mr. Downes's robbery. He said he supposed Mr. Downes never meant to let him rest, but give him all the trouble he could.
Cross-examined. Q. You took him on the 29th of January, at the same lodging as had been visited at the time of the robbery? A. Yes. The skeleton key would open a good many locks. I understand that Walker has been a pawnbroker. A reward of 50 l. had been offered for the discovery of this robbery, but I did not particularly notice the bill till I found the ring - it might have been at our office for a fortnight.
WILLIAM ANDERTON . I am a pawnbroker, and live in the Commercial-road. I have a diamond ring, and the counterpart of the duplicate - it was pawned on the 3d of January; I took it in myself. I am not prepared to speak positively to the man who pawned it, but I have a strong belief that Walker is the man; I believe him to be the man - he told me his name was Walker - that the ring belonged to his father, who had occasion for 6 l., and had sent him with it - that his father had bought it six months ago, and had given twelve guineas for it, and that his father was a dyer, living in the Commercial-road. I knew there was a dyer of that name there, which induced me to take it in. He wore a blue coat, blue trowsers, and a waistcoat, which is here - (looking at it) - I am sure the man who pawned the ring wore that waistcoat, or one of that pattern. The duplicate is written by me.
JAMES LEA. I found that waistcoat in the prisoner's room.
WILLIAM PERRY. I am servant to Mr. Anderton, and was present on the 3d of January, when this ring was pawned, and am certain that Walker is the man who pawned it.
Cross-examined. Q. Did you know him before? A. No. I had not seen a bill offering a reward before I swore to him, nor had I heard of it till Lea brought the duplicate - I did not see Lea myself. I did not see Walker in custody till last Friday; I heard of the reward when Lea brought the ticket, but never saw the bill. A great many people come to our shop.
MR. ANDREWS. Q. Have you any expectation of a reward? A. No. The moment I saw him I was certain of him. I should have known him among other people.
MOSES FORTUNE. I saw that waistcoat found in the prisoner's room - Lea was with me.
Cross-examined. Q. Did other people lodge in the room? A. I enquired, and understood that only him and a woman lived there. I believe a list of articles bought at a sale were found on him by Lea. Walker said nothing about that.
MRS. MARY CATHERINE DOWNES . I am the wife of Mr. Thomas Downes - we live at No. 31, Great James-street, Bedford-row, in the parish of St. Andrew, Holborn. On the 1st of January I was in possession of the jewels which these caskets contained - the ring produced is one of the rings stolen from this one, which was broken open; and four days after the robbery I found part of the broken chisel in that box. The ring had been in my possession nine years - I wore it on the 1st of January, and put it into that box on the morning of the 2d. I found this piece of the chisel in the jewel-case four days after (producing it.) The chisel was shewn to me on the evening of the robbery, when I returned home; I knew it to be one used by the servants, to take up the carpets. I have often seen it in the housemaid's hands, for that purpose, when I have been on the stairs, and seen her taking up the carpets.
Cross-examined. Q. Where did you find the piece of chisel? A. Between the edge of the box and the lock. I happened to take the box up to shew a friend - I had not opened it before. Sarah Rouse was the last cook I had - I never knew her to have followers. I know the ring by the pattern and workmanship, and it fits me; I am convinced that it is mine: I swear to it. I never saw another of the same pattern; I have no mark on it.
MR. THOMAS DOWNES. I am a solicitor , and live in Great James-street . Holland came into my service on the 10th of October; I discharged him on the 7th of December - he did not come afterwards by my permission. On Sunday, the 2d of January. I and Mrs. Downes went out - we returned about half-past ten o'clock at night, and soon afterwards went into the bed-room, having received information of what had happened - I found Mrs. Downes's jewel cases on a chest of drawers; they were kept in one of the drawers of that chest - one box laid open, and the contents were gone, except a few beads - a tray belonging
Cross-examined. Q. It was occasionally used by the housemaid - have you ever seen it used by the cook? A. Never. Holland came to me from Bath, with a good character; he did not give me warning: I discharged him on the 7th of December. He might have expressed a wish to leave - his conduct was good for the first month. I do not know that my former cook had followers. I always said I had no doubt about the ring.
Prisoner HOLLAND. Q. Did I ever have friends to see me without your leave? A. The female prisoner (your sister as you called her.) came at times with my leave, but often without our knowledge.
SARAH ROUSE . I was cook at Mr. Downes's part of the time that Holland lived there. I know this chisel; I used to take up carpets with it - it was usually kept in the tool basket, which was kept in the back office, but when Holland came it was moved into the pantry.
Cross-examined. Q. Had you visitors come to take tea with you? A. Yes; not many - the housemaid had friends occasionally - no man came to see her. The female prisoner has slept in the house, but no other woman, nor man ever did.
EDWARD BOWEN M'INTIRE . I was confined in New Prison, Clerkenwell, about a sheet; I saw Walker during my confinement. I received this letter, marked No. 1, from him, on Tuesday, the 8th of February, to deliver to Haydon, according to the direction - he gave it into my hands himself. I received this one (No. 2,) the day before yesterday, and this (No. 3,) yesterday, both from his own hands.
These letters were here read, as follows: -
"Friend Jack - I this morning have seen Mr. M'Intire, that person that messed with us this day before you went out; he came down to see you, but Poll could not find you. He as promised me to come forward himself, and another gentleman, on my trial, to prove a alibi, provising I can get a friend that is a housekeeper to come up with them - you will consult with him on the business, which, if we can get a friend, will be all right. When you see him do not let him pay any thing for drink; tell Tom about it, and that there is a letter left for him at H's. I hope you will do all that lays in your power for me. I wish you would come and see me.
I remain yours &c. W."
"Sir - I am sorry that my friends as deceived you, but you may depend that I will not deceive you; I will, if you come to me in the bail-dock on the day of trial, give 5 l. in ready money, and a bill, drawn and accepted by my father, for 5 l. My father lives at No. 1, Colet-place, Commercial-road, St. George's East, and is a respectable tradesman. I hope you will do all that lays in your power, as I have only got you to depend on.
I remain yours, &c. Wm. W."
"Sir - Mr. M'Intire and his friend will wait on you, to consult with you on my business.
I remain yours, &c, Wm. WALKER."
To Mr. Humphries, Broadway, Blackfriars.
M'INTIRE (in continuation.) I received the letter, No. 2, from him in Newgate, and waited while he wrote it. I merely wanted it as a document to shew to a supposed person, who was to come forward with me to prove an alibi. After I was discharged from the charge against me I went to Mr. Downes, to tell him what I knew - I thought it my duty so to do, and it was arranged that I should go on, and have interviews with him.
Q. What passed between you and Walker when you were in the New Prison? A. Walker said he was confined on suspicion of robbery, and that he had acted a foolish part in one respect, by detaining the duplicate of a ring, which he had pawned for six guineas - that he thought it was made away with, but, still it was all right, for he having been in a pawnbroker's employ for above five years, must be supposed to know how to act differently, and consequently had the ring come wrong to his hands he would not have put it in his own name; that he should represent himself as a general dealer, and having been apprehended with a catalogue in his pocket it would carry great weight - therefore all he wanted was to prove an alibi, and as I was sure of being discharged if I would procure another friend with myself to prove an alibi, they would find a third person, and then there was no doubt of they being turned up - this was on the Saturday. On Monday, the 8th of February, I felt it my duty to go to Mr. Downes, and acquaint him of what Walker had said to me - he desired me to carry the business on, and he found a second person, named Carter, who came to me on Tuesday, and I introduced him to Walker, through the bars of the prison; he said, "I hope you are well?" Walker said, "Stop a minute;" he went to a room, and came out with 5 s. in a piece of paper, with, "You and your friend will accept this for a bottle of wine," written in pencil. I said to him, "I cannot be introduced to your friend without a letter;" he said, "Be quiet - drink your wine and return to me, and I will have the letter ready for you." Carter and I went to the nearest house to the prison; returned, and received the letter marked No. 1, from his own hand - I took it to Mr. Downes, without breaking the seal, and after that went to enquire after Haydon, as the note was addressed to him - I went to him that night (Tuesday,) at New-court, George yard, Wentworth-street, but did not find him; I went home. I saw Walker next day, and told him I could not find Haydon - I had seen a woman, who gave me a note for Walker; I delivered it to him, and Walker gave me an answer; it was not sealed: I read it, and delivered the reply to Haydon himself, that night, Wednesday, as I found him then; he read it, but not loud, and burnt it in my presence. It was from Walker to Haydon, complaining of their not giving him the necessary support to bring him through this trial, and
Q. Did you hear Walker say how this robbery was done? mention no names if you can avoid it? A. While I was in prison with him he told me, among other things that he had been a depredator for a considerable time, and had been very successful, and had gained more than 2000 l. in two years.
Q. Confine yourself to this charge? A. He said he knew of this robbery, and it was a put up thing for some time before - that a certain person told him how it was to be done; that they could know nothing of the crib (by which I understood the house) without that person's assistance, and two or three days before the robbery they were warned by that person, that on a certain day they would be there, and would take an opportunity at the appointed time to give them admittance. Walker further observed that they, one or other, were continually to walk before the house, and whoever should be nearest to the door when it was opened (by that certain person) he was to go in - that the case occured, and the lot fell upon Jonah; I understood him to mean himself, for his next expression was, "It being a put up job, I knew where to go to - it was all right, and it was done in a few minutes. I went out, and the produce was all done away with on the morrow;" he particularly lamented about a set of pearls - he said he had been five years with a pawnbroker, and knew a little about those things, and said, "If I had had to pledge them on the square, I could have got 80 l. on them" - he explained that if he was honestly authorized to sell them he could have got that, and very much lamented being obliged to break them up, and sell them under 20 l. He said nothing further then, but a prisoner, named John Haydon, came in, who I believe was implicated with him; I was introduced to him. Haydon said to Walker, "If I am discharged you will be all right." Walker had various conversations with me; he said it was a very clever job, very easily done - that when he got into the house he merely went to work, and was but a few minutes in the house; he said that the person who planned the robbery, naming him, was the person who opened the door to him. He said, "We were directed by that person to walk up and down, and whoever was nearest to the door when it was opened, by that person, was to go in, and the lot fell upon Jonah," and that the person shut the door with great violence, to prevent the servants from supposing that it was not closed.
Cross-examined. Q. What countryman are you? A. A Londoner. I was never in a Court of Justice before, either as principal, accessory, or defendant. I have been a printer from my childhood.
Q. When he spoke of an alibi did you say to him, how can you think of such a thing when it is not true? A. No; I was incarcerated in a place full of rogues, and found that a man who was not as big a rogue as themselves was treated shamefully, and they knew I had been to Botany Bay - I went in the Royal Admiral, which took out convicts and Missionaries; I was only there six weeks. I returned with the vessel. I was an officer of the ship, not a convict. I was afraid of being ill used in the prison.
Q. Did your fear take you to Mr. Downes? A. No; common Justice. I had never heard of a reward till within the last two days - I swear that. I went to Mr. Downes on Monday, the 8th - I had been liberated on the preceeding Saturday. Mr. Downes, at my request, found a man who was to prove the alibi with me - the prisoner having desired me to procure a person. Mr. Downes said if I went forward I should do justice to the public, and bring a set of villians to justice. Carter is not here. It was at my suggestion that Walker wrote a letter to his friend, to introduce us to him, and I believe the second letter was written by my desiring him to give me a confirmation, in writing, of his former proposals.
Q. Was it at your suggestion that you went to the prisoner's attorney, and stated all this, that you might be examined in Court? A. I went to his solicitor, and saw my evidence in your brief. Carter did not do so. I saw Carter yesterday week.
Q. Was anybody present when Walker made a communication to you about the alibi? A. Plenty; but none of them attended to our conversation - nobody was with me. I made no communication to the gaoler about what was going on.
MR. ANDREWS. Q. You went to Botany Bay, as an officer of the ship? A. Yes - I was not a transport. I did not tell Walker why I wanted his letters. I said it was for my own satisfaction, but did not tell him the use I put them to. I desired Mr. Downes to get some person, as I did not wish to be considered as acting in collusion.
MRS. DOWNES re-examined. I lost a complete set of pearls, three rows for the neck, drop ear-rings, a brooch, a handsome head ornament, and other things - they were very valueable.
Prisoner HOLLAND. Q. Had I an opportunity of knowing where your trinkets were? A. I cannot say - you once went into my bed-room with the plate: I desired the servant not to let you go in again.
WALKER'S Defence. I am altogether innocent. Mrs. Downes cannot swear to the ring; I could go round the City and get four hundred of the same description - I will find several in every jeweller's shop, and cannot think you will allow such a ring to be sworn to. As to that man - he makes himself out a complete villian: I gave him no letter, He has done this to get the reward.
HOLLAND, in his Defence, denied the charge, and complained of being uncomfortable in the prosecutor's service.
WALKER - GUILTY - DEATH . Aged 19.
M. HOLLAND - NOT GUILTY .
J. HOLLAND - NOT GUILTY .