Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 6.0, 23 October 2014), February 1827, trial of JOHN OLIVER JOHN HOWARD, alias JOHNSON EDWARD LAYCOCK (t18270215-49).

JOHN OLIVER, JOHN HOWARD, EDWARD LAYCOCK, Theft > animal theft, 15th February 1827.

Before Mr. Justice Gaselee.

542. JOHN OLIVER , JOHN HOWARD, alias JOHNSON , and EDWARD LAYCOCK were indicted for stealing, on the 9th of January , at St. Sepulchre, 1 mare, price 30l. , the property of William Maides .

MR. BOLLAND conducted the prosecution.

JAMES PORTEOUS . I am servant to William Maides, who keeps the Bell Inn, at Smithfield . On the 9th of January, he had a bay mare in the stable - I attended her - I shut her up about half-past eight o'clock that night - I locked both the door-lock and the padlock; I went next morning, between eight and nine o'clock, and found the door ajar - I looked in, and missed the mare - I saw her again on the 10th of February, when she was brought back - I am quite sure she is the same.

WILLIAM MAIDES . I keep the Bell, at Smithfield. On the 9th of January, I had a dark bay mare; I bought her the latter end of July, and lost her on the night of the 9th, or morning of the 10th of January - I found her on the 8th of February, at the Three Kings Inn yard, Thomas-street, Bristol - my stable is in the county of Middlesex; I was not present when the prisoners were apprehended; I have seen Howard before - he is a drover, and went by the name of Johnson.

Cross-examined by MR. ALLEY. Q. How can your stable be in Middlesex? A. My house is in the City, but the stable is in Brewer's-yard. I am certain it is in the County; I rent it of a person, named Wade; I rent the house of the Corporation.

Cross-examined by MR. ANDREWS. Q. Have you any specific knowledge of the City boundaries? A. I know it is in Middlesex - I do not pay any rates for the stable; the watchman of the County has the stable on his beat; my house is the boundary.

HENRY FOSTER . I am a marshalsman. I know Mr. Maides' stable is in Middlesex - I have been a City officer nearly ten years.

WILLIAM CROCOME . I am landlord of the Three Kings, Thomas-street, Bristol, and take in horses to bait. The prisoners, on several occasions, brought horses to my stables - the first time was about two months ago - I have my stable-book here (looking at it) - I find the mare claimed by Mr. Maides, was brought on the 17th of January - Oliver and Johnson came with her; they remained there till the 23d of January - Oliver then left the mare in my care, desiring me to take care of her till he came again, unless a person, whom he had been speaking to, came to purchase her; that I might sell her for 26l., but if I could not get more than 24l., to take it - while she was there Johnson rode her at times; I do not know that Oliver rode her - several people came to look at her; Johnson showed her in the yard, and Oliver attended also; they both left on the 23d of January, and both returned on the 1st of February - Laycock was with them then; Oliver came first, about eleven o'clock in the morning; the other two arrived about half-past five or six, and brought four more horses.

Cross-examined by MR. ALLEY. Q. Laycock was not with them at first? A. No; I considered Johnson as Oliver's servant.

Cross-examined by MR. ANDREWS. Q. You do not attend to the stable business? A. No; I leave it to the ostler, who is not here. I had seen Oliver twice before the 11th of January.

MR. BOLLAND. Q. What did Oliver say when he came about eleven o'clock? A. He said he expectedfour or five horses that day; I was to provide stabling for them. I frequently go into the stable-yard - Oliver always paid me.

DAVID MORGAN . I am an officer of Bristol. In consequence of information I took the prisoners into custody, on the 1st of February, about seven o'clock in the evening - Oliver was in the parlour at the Three Kings public-house; the other two were in the stable, feeding the horses, which appeared very much out of condition, as if they had been rode very hard. Mr. Maides claimed a bay mare that was there.

OLIVER's Defence. I bought the mare on the 13th of January, at the Wheat-sheaf public-house, kept by Mr. Noon, for eighteen guineas - Laycock can prove it; I slept in Noon's house on the night of the robbery.

JOHNSON's Defence. Oliver hired me to go to Bristol with him, to take these horses down - I took three and he one.

There being no evidence against Luycock, the Jury here found him Not Guilty.

THOMAS NOON . I keep the Wheatsheaf public-house-, at Rotherhithe. Oliver first came to lodge at my house about six months age; Laycock joined him three days before Christmas, and continued to lodge with him; they spent the Christmas week at my house; Oliver had stables at the top of the street, but lodged and boarded at my house, and the boy, Laycock, with him. I remember a man offering him a mare for sale - to the best of knowledge it was about the 13th of Jan. on a Saturday; I saw the mare in the street for half an hour before it was bought; it was a bay mare, about fifteen hands high; there was nothing remarkable about it, only I have one about the same sort, and they said it would match mine very well - it had a nagtail; it was rode up and down before my house for half an hour, and then they came to a bargain; he put her into his own stable, and went away the next day, leaving Laycock behind; I did not know that Oliver was going - Laycock continued to lodge with me, and left last Friday three weeks; I am sure that was the time he left - I did not see him go away. Oliver passed all his evenings at my house while he was in town; I never knew him miss one night; he went very regularly to his bed, about ten or eleven o'clock. I do not recollect his being absent one night or morning while he was with me.

MR. BOLLAND. Q. Did you go to Oliver's stable at the top of the street? A. I went twice - he had no horses there then. Laycock came three days before Christmas; that would be twenty days before the mare was bought - the stable is better than one hundred yards from my house. Nineteen sovereigns were given for the mare, and 2s. returned; Oliver went away next day - I did not see him go, and cannot say whether he rode the mare away; it was not left in the stable. I never saw any other horses there - Laycock was there when the mare was bought, and rode her about, to show it, while Oliver stood and looked at her - it was between eleven and twelve o'clock, before twelve, I think; it was before dinner - I never saw the man before who sold it; I have seen him once since - he called at my house last Thursday three weeks.

Q. When did you hear of Oliver being taken? A. Mrs. Hall came down and informed me of it - I think it was the week before last. The person who sold the horse came last Thursday three weeks, to inquire for Oliver - he did not leave any address.

Q. Why, last Thursday three weeks was the day before Laycock went away? A. Yes - the man saw Oliver; he had come back again, and was at my house - he slept at my house last Thursday three weeks, and went away on Friday, with Laycock.

Q. What time on the Thursday did Oliver come? A. Between six and seven o'clock; the man who sold him the mare called to see Oliver on the Friday.

Q. You said before it was Thursday three weeks? A. It was Friday three weeks, about eleven o'clock, the day Oliver went away - Oliver had come the night before, about seven o'clock - they might be together for an hour; Oliver and Laycock went away in the afternoon - I understand they both left together, but I did not see them go.

Q. Then they might have gone earlier - how late did you see them? A. About two o'clock.

EDWARD LAYCOCK (the prisoner). I was Oliver's servant. I went to live with him at Noon's, on the Sunday as Christmas came on the Monday. I was present when Oliver saw a mare at Mr. Noon's; I tried her - Noon was present; it was brought between eleven and twelve o'clock, I think, by a tail fresh-looking man; I knew him by sight, but cannot say whether my master knew him; I came by, and saw my master paying some money for the mare, but do not know how much. I took her into master's stable - she remained there till Sunday afternoon, when Howard took her away, as I was not well, and could not take her; while I was at Noon's with my master he regularly slept at home every night - we did not sleep in the same bed - he always passed his evenings there. I never knew him out after six o'clock.

MR. BOLLAND. Q, You went on the Sunday before Christmas day, which was Monday, now understand my question before you answer - how soon after you had been at Noon's, with your master, did the man come and sell the mare? A. I cannot say - I suppose it might be a fortnight; my master was in the house when the gentleman brought it - it was shown out before the house; I rode her: the man stood by the side - it was about an hour before master bargained for her. The man went away soon after he was paid. I think she staid in the stable nearly a week - I think it was a week after she was brought; Howard took her away because I was not well, and could not ride; master went away at the same time, leaving me - I do not know what day of the week this was. I staid until my master returned - I do not know what day that was.

Q. How long did you stay after your master returned? A. Several days, before we went into the country; my master staid several days, and we went away together, on a Monday morning, about nine o'clock. I did not see Howard when my master returned at all.

Q. Before you went away, on your master's second return, did any one call on your master? A. Not that I saw.

Q. Did you see the man who sold the mare afterwards? A. Yes - nearly a week afterwards he came to Mr. Noon's house one morning - my master was there then; he staid with him an hour or so - the man did not come again atany time - the man came on Friday morning, and we went away on the Monday following - I had seen him two or three times before he brought the mare, but have not seen him since the Friday he called on my master at Noon's - I do not know his name - I did not hear him give master any name.

MR. ANDREWS. Q. Did you and your master continue to lodge at Noon's every night till you went away? A. Yes.

HARMAN CUTHBERT . I am a butcher; I live three or four doors from Noon's. Between eleven and twelve o'clock, or about twelve one day, I saw Oliver looking at a mare, which was shown backwards and forwards by my house for half an hour; there was a man on it - Oliver had a boy with him as a servant - whether the boy was there then I do not recollect - this was about the 13th of January - Oliver went into the house with the man, and I saw him paying some money - I never saw the man before nor since.

MR. BOLLAND. Q. When were you applied to about this? A. Last Wednesday, I think - it was a bay mare; I have not seen the one which Mr. Maides claims, and cannot say whether it is the same - I should know it if I saw it - it might be another.

MR. ANDREWS to E. LAYCOCK. A. Is the mare which was brought from Bristol the one which your master bought? A. Yes.

COURT to T. NOON. Q. On what day did Oliver leave your house, after he bought the mare? A. On the Sunday - I saw him again last Thursday three weeks.

OLIVER - GUILTY - DEATH . Aged 31.

HOWARD - NOT GUILTY .