Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 6.0, 18 September 2014), May 1782, trial of ESTHER ALLINGHAM (t17820515-27).

ESTHER ALLINGHAM, Theft > pocketpicking, 15th May 1782.

371. ESTHER ALLINGHAM (a negro) was indicted for stealing nine guineas and two half-guineas, in monies numbered, the property of John Baptista , privily from his person , May the 10th .

(The prosecutor not understanding English, an interpreter was sworn.)

JOHN BAPTISTA sworn.

Last Friday I had been at the Orange Coffee-house, and was returning home about half past twelve. I met the prisoner: she came up to me, and appeared very fond of me, and desired me to go with her. I went with her, and by compulsion went to No. 2. in Gloucester-court . When we came there, they let us into the house; but she smelt so strong and disagreeable, I had nothing to do with her; she was enough to poison any body. My breeches-pocket was open. I put my hands in my coat-pocket, to take care of my pocket-book; (it was a very valuable pocketbook) but I did not button my pocket; it is a very shallow one: and I think I lost my money then; but I did not perceive her take the money. Afterwards she forced her way out, and there was a struggle between her and the maid of the house. In a few minutes afterwards, I perceived I was robbed. I had never seen the prisoner before; nor did I see her again till she was in prison, which was on the Monday following. We were five or six minutes together in the room.

SAMUEL HATTON sworn.

I am a constable of St. Ann's. On Sunday, near one o'clock, I had an information of a person being robbed by a black woman; and that she was concealed in Gloucester-court. I went there, and apprehended the prisoner. I found a purse with six guineas and a half in it. I asked her how she came by the money: she said she had saved it, a shilling at a time.

MARY BATEMAN sworn.

I am servant at No. 2. Gloucester-court. The prisoner had been once in our house before: she came in with a gentleman: They both went into the parlour. I stood in the passage seven or eight minutes. Then the woman opened the door, and called for some water. I went to get the water: she got to the door to go out. I went and said, Ma'am, you brought the gentleman in; take him out with you. She opened the door, and rushed out. He held up his finger, and put his hand in his pocket: he spoke; but I did not know what he said. He staid about ten minutes after the prisoner went away. Another young lady came in when he went out; she went into the parlour. He held up his finger, and talked something, and put his hand into his pocket.

PRISONER's DEFENCE.

This money they swear to, is my own, I have saved up at a shilling a time. When I met this gentleman first, he was with a black woman with a white gown and white coat on. What he had, was entirely unbuttoned. I was at a distance, against the rails. I went down towards Pall-Mall; I stood upon the stone of a door in Gloucester-court. He asked if there was any house he could go into; I said there was a house there. I knocked at No. 3, and went in. He said, My dear, I have no money; I have been with a black woman; my money is all gone. He pulled out his pocket, and said, I have got a snuff box, and a watch, and a pin valued at so much, and a pocket-book at so much, which he could not part with. I said, if he had no money, I would not go with him. I said, As you have no money, I do not chuse to give my carcase up to you for nothing; and I hope you will give me liberty to get some water, for I am dry. He said yes; but he would keep my cloak till I came back. What he offered to me, was what is not fit: he is a man neither fit for God nor the devil; he is neither fit for a black woman, nor a white woman. What he expressed to me, put a shock upon my spirits, and frightened me. I went to open the door. The maid said, Take this man with you. I said, No; I do not chuse to have any more to do with him. I ran out at the door: I heard no more of the gentleman till I went out; and then the constable took me; and said, I had robbed him of so much. It must be meer wickedness, because, when he took me into the house, he said, he had not any, and because I would not condescend to his will, he charges me with this. I did not come into close quarters; I was at arm's length from him.

For the Prisoner.

ANN GAGG sworn.

I keep a chandler's shop, close by Litchfield-street. The prisoner lived with me almost a twelvemonth: she has always behaved well in every respect.

Had she saved any money? - She lived upon bread and water, to go with good cloaths: I have had two or three guineas at a time of her.

What way of life was she in? - I cannot tell.

NOT GUILTY .

(Tried by the First Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Baron PERRYN .)