Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 6.0, 21 April 2014), January 1861, trial of EDWIN BUTLER (29) JAMES SMITH (30) (t18610107-156).

EDWIN BUTLER, JAMES SMITH, Theft > burglary, 7th January 1861.

156. EDWIN BUTLER (29), a marine, and JAMES SMITH (30), an artilleryman , Burglariously breaking and entering the dwelling-house of our Lady the Queen, on 4th December, and stealing therein 1 pair of pistols, 1 clock, and other goods, value 15l., the property of Anthony Blasland Strancham. Other Counts, for receiving the same.

BUTLER PLEADED GUILTY .— Confined Eighteen Months.

ANTHONY BLASLAND STRANCHAM , I am a colonel in the Royal Marines, at Woolwich—on 4th Dec. I was in residence at the Royal Marine Barracks, Woolwich—I went to bed that night about half past 12 o'clock—the house was all safe, and closed in the usual way, but, I apprehend, the bolt of the window was not properly shut, owing to some rust—that was a French window in the dining-room—about half-past 1 o'clock I was disturbed by hearing a noise below—I immediately rose, and, procuring a light, I proceeded below to examine the house—I passed through the large dining-room into a small dining-room, and there found the place in confusion—the window was open—I closed it immediately, and went up stairs—there were no marks, of violence on the window—I have not the slightest doubt that it was shut when I went to bed, and fastened by the usual hasp handle; but the bolt above I do not think was fastened—I saw no one—at the first examination of the room I did not miss anything particular—afterwards I missed the dining-room clock, a tea-caddy, a pair of pistols from another room, and various small articles—I subsequently examined a chair which was lying down, and on it I found the print of a man's feet—I knew immediately from the peculiar pattern that those prints could only belong to the regimental boots of my corps—I did not find any footsteps outside—there were marks of blood on the railing by which the man, whoever he was, must have entered, and also on the drugget covering the carpet, and on the white holland blind—there was no glass broken—I have since seen, in the custody of the police, one pistol that I missed, and also the clock, tea-caddy, and certain small articles, and a portion of a gilt flower vase—they were all safe when I went to bed the night before—the house is not the public barrack; it is my official residence, it belongs to the nation—it is separated from the barracks, but is within the barrack boundary—it is in the parish of St. Mary, Woolwich—I know the prisoner Butler—I had not known Smith till I saw him before the Magistrate—I had seen Butler before, officially.

JOHN HOWARD . I am a sergeant in the Royal Marines, stationed at Woolwich—I heard of this housebreaking between 3 and 4 o'clock on the morning of 5th Dec.—I went with a policeman, named Price, into High-street, opposite the Crown and Anchor public-house—I saw the prisoners and two others—I asked Butler if he had a pass—he said he had—I saw a

pen in his hand of a very peculiar kind, one that is used in general by the last witness—I had never seen a pen of that description before—the policeman questioned him as to where he had been all night, and while doing so Butler ran away a few yards—I ran after him, and caught him by the collar—I saw him throw the pen away out of his hand—two of the fingers on his right hand were bleeding—I and the policeman then conveyed him to the police-station—we took off his boots, and took them to the colonel's residence—I saw them compared with a footmark on a chair belonging to Colonel Strancham—in my judgment, the mark was made by the boot—I believe the police apprehended Smith afterwards—we did not take him then—the others did not stand still while the policeman and I were questioning Butler—Smith and the civilian walked away round the corner.

DANIEL RICKARDS . I am a sergeant of the Royal Horse Artillery, at Woolwich—I was in charge of the north arch grounds on 4th December—I know Smith—he was absent from the barracks that night—he came in about a quarter before 6 on the morning of the 5th—I had received his name the night before, as being absent—I made him a prisoner for absence without leave—during the time I had him in the guard-room he said, "Me and a marine has broken into the commandant's house, and stole several things from the president, and I did not intend coming in any more, only the marine was apprehended the morning, and I made my escape and came in; we were going to London to get rid of the things"—he stated that he had a pistol in his possession, and a lump of gold also, as he called it; but apparently it was this brass chain, that he had—he gave this chain to me in the guard-room; it is only a portion of the chain—he told me that he threw the pistol away—I gave information to the police.

Smith. Q. Did not I say that I had received the things from a marine in the street? A. You distinctly stated that you and a marine had broken into the house—a gunner was present when this conversation took place—he went before the Magistrate, but his evidence was not thought necessary.

JOHN PRICE . I was on duty at Woolwich on the morning of 5th December—I heard of the burglary at the commandant's—I went with Sergeant Howard to the commandant's house, and from there to High-street, where I saw Butler in company with Smith, a civilian, and a military private—that which Howard has stated is correct—that was what passed—I had seen the prisoners together at half-past 12 that night, in the High-street—I saw them go into a coffee-house—afterwards, when I saw them, I said, "Where have you been since I saw you last night?"—Butler made no reply, but immediately turned round and tried to make his escape—I took him into custody, and took him to the station—Smith made his escape then, and I did not find him till the 12th—I took the boot from Butler's foot, and took it to Colonel Strancham's house—in my judgment that boot made the mark; there was the regimental pattern, and where the nails are worn out in the boot, there were the marks missing on the chair—in my judgment it was a mark made by that particular regimental boot—I found the time-piece at the back of the house, 75, High-street, concealed—I did not find anything upon either prisoner—Butler had marks of blood on his fingers, and there were also marks of blood on the time-piece—I asked him what he had to say about the charge—he said he had the pistol from the marine, but he threw it away in Wellington-street—there was the same print outside the window, as on the chair—there appeared to be the prints of two personal—one footmark was shorter than the other—the short one appeared to have walked all round the house—I feel satisfied there were the footmarks of two persons.

COURT. Q. Did you take him to the guard-room? A. Yes—the sergeant of marines picked him out—I was there at the time.

ANTHONY BLASLAND STRANCHAM (re-examined). These things are mine—this chain is part of a flower-stand—the chain in itself is not worth much, but the stand to which it belongs cost 28s.

SMITH GUILTY of receiving.— Confined Eighteen Months.