Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 6.0, 19 December 2014), November 1845, trial of MARY CUMMINGS CAROLINE CUMMINGS (t18451124-168).

MARY CUMMINGS, CAROLINE CUMMINGS, Theft > theft from a specified place, 24th November 1845.

168. MARY CUMMINGS and CAROLINE CUMMINGS were indicted for stealing, on the 30tb of Oct., at St. Mary, Newington, 2 silver forks, value 2l.; 2 silver mugs, 6l.,; 17 silver spoons, 5l.; 1 pair of silvertongs, 1l.; 1 pair of silver candlesticks, 10l.; 1 silver tea pot, 5l.; 1 silver mustard pot, 1l.; 1 silver candlestick, 3l.; 1 silver basket, 2l.; 1 silver ladle, 1l.; two silver spoons, 1l.,; 5 silver dessert spoons, 3l.; 1 pair of silver candlesticks, 10l.; 1 silver mug, 6l.; 1 silver mug, 2l.; 1 silver milk-pot, 2l.; 2 silver soup ladles, 3l.; 9 silver spoons, 5l.; 1 silver watch, 4l.; and 1 silver mug, 3l.; the goods of Sarah Hunter Taylor Cathcart, in the dwelling-house of Charles Shaw.—2nd COUNT, stating them to be the goods of Charles Shaw.

MR. PARRY conducted the Prosecution,

CHARLES SHAW . I am a solicitor. My offices are on Fish-street-hill—I live at No. 11, Terrace, Walworth, in the parish of St. Mary, Newington—On Monday, the 20th of Oct., when I came home, a communication was made to me by Mrs. Shaw, who has been very ill for the last two years, and last night we did not expect she would survive the night—she placed nineteen duplicates in my hand—the prisoner Caroline was in my service at that time, and had been so nearly eleven years—next morning I called her into the breakfast room, put the duplicates before her, and asked her where she I obtained those duplicates from, which she had given to Mrs. Shaw last evening—she said she had received them from Mary—I asked her to look at them and I see if they were them—she said, "Yes"—I asked how Mary became possessed of them—she said she admitted Mary to the house at different times, and Mary had taken away the property and pawned it—I asked what business she had to let Mary into the house, as she had been forbidden when she I was dismissed the service—she said she would come in and bring a basket with her—I asked why she did not inform her mistress or me of it—she gave no answer—she was subsequently given into custody—I never persuaded her I to make a confession—I found there was property wanting, of which she had no duplicates, and asked her about them, and she afterwards gave me the duplicate of a pearl and diamond brooch—I have a list of the duplicates—I know Miss Cathcart—she placed in my custody in July, 1844, a box of plate—I did not see the contents of the box at that time—it was delivered to me locked and corded—I sealed the cord myself, and placed it for safety under my own bed—I never touched the box myself between that time and the 20th of Oct.—I saw it under the bed nearly every morning—I never authorized Caroline Cummings to open it—I examined the box after I received the duplicates and found the lock broken, and very few things in it—the prisoner Caroline was in bed then—it was at night—Mrs. Shaw gave me the duplicates—I communicated with Miss Cathcart on discovering the lost, and went with her to Mr. Turner's, a pawnbroker, No. 19, Pearl-row, about 100 yards from my house—I there found the property mentioned in the nineteen duplicates, and Mr. Turner showed me other property, which I identified as Miss Cathcart's—I discovered other property wanting in my house, and I asked Caroline respecting more articles—she produced the duplicate of a pearl brooch and a diamond brooch—I subsequently gave orders to have Mary apprehended—she was apprehended the following day, and brought to my house—I think I said to her, "How could you commit so great a robbery as this in my house?"—she begged I would have mercy upon her—that was her only answer—I had not given her authority to pledge property—I had not seen her since she had left my service, which is ten years ago.

Cross-examined. Q. Mary was in your service before Caroline? A. Yes, and must have left my house in 1834—she was pert and irritable—we dismissed her on that account, that was all—I have scarcely dined at home for the last two years, in consequence of the illness of my wife, and the domestic arrangements have been under the care of my wife—my wife

was not at the Police-office—I have not been out of town much for the last twelve months—I was once in Ireland, but only for four days—I always sleep at Walworth—I never sleep in town—I leave the money required to pay the bills of the house every Saturday—the day after the discovery of the robbery, Mr. Turner came to my house—some of the property was produced—Mrs. Shaw was present—Mr. Turner, on that occasion, mentioned the fact of a quantity of the property having been redeemed at one time, particularly on the day this was discovered—neither of the prisoners were present—Mr. Cummings, their mother, was.

Q. Was it not stated by Mrs. Shaw, that she had advanced 20l. to get the property out of pledge? A. She said she had; for, at the time Caroline gave the duplicates to her, she found some of them had their term run out, and she hastily sent 20l. down to the pawnbroker's, to redeem part of the property—nothing was said about 50l.—Mrs. Shaw did not say, if she had had 50l. she would have redeemed property to that extent—part of the money she did advance was not mine—it was stated that 20l., or thereabout, had been paid to redeem articles—something was said about redeeming property at a previous time—I have reason to believe that on one occasion she redeemed the whole of the property, and forgave the servant for pawning it, the mother and daughter having gone on their knees and begged forgiveness—the box was again locked, corded, and sealed, and it is for the second offence, in breaking it open again, that I bring her here—Mrs. Shaw has been in such a state of health as to make her, at intervals, unfit for bnsiness—she is subject to fits, and at times completely under the control of anybody, and this robbery has preyed upon her mind—I have seen both the prisoners since the discovery—they never once uttered a syllable about Mrs. Shaw having directed the pledging of this property, but asked me to have mercy on them, nor did they make any such defence before the magistrate.

NOT GUILTY .

(There are other indictments against the prisoners, remaining for trial at the next Sessions.)

Before Edward Bullock, Esq.