John Booker, Theft > pocketpicking, 11th October 1732.

Reference Number: t17321011-31
Offence: Theft > pocketpicking
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death
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46. John Booker of St. Mary Matselon, alias White-Chapel , was indicted for privately stealing a Silver Snuff-box, value 12 s. the Goods of Samuel Collet , from the Person of his Wife Elizabeth Collet , Octob. 4.

Eliz. Collet. About 4 in the Afternoon, I was standing near the Nag's-Head-Inn-Gate, in White-Chapel , to see a Funeral pass by, when the Prisoner, and another Man came and stood close before me, so that. I look'd betwixt their Heads. Says the Prisoner to me, 'Tis a very hand on Burying. I wonder whether 'tis a Maid or a Batchelor. Those are fine Srutcheous ; do but look, Madam! I look'd as long as I car'd for, and then turning about to go away, I perceived that the Prisoner, with his Hands behind him, had got hold of my Pocket. He had a Penknife in his Hand, and my Pocket was cut; and with his Fingers in the Slit, he was pulling out my Snuff-box. I actually saw him take it. You Rogue, says I, you have got my Box! Damn your Eyes, you Bitch, says he, speak such another Word, and I'll sacrifice you? I took hold of his Arm; he struck me several Times on the Stomach. I still held him. He threw something over my Head, and said, Damn you, you Bitch, there's your Box, Some of the People cry'd, that's none of it. I look'd, and saw it still in his Hand. It was the Penknife that he threw away, for it self in a Puddle, and a little Girl pick'd it up. Then he let the Box fall,

and twisting himself about, he got from me, and ran cross the Way into a Court; telling the People he was pursu'd by the Bailiff's, and begging them to hide him. He was taken and carry'd into Mr. Cave's, the Constable's House; I follow'd, and sitting down at a Table opposite to him, he begun to use better Language. It was not Bitch now, but Madam; Madam, says he, I beg you would not take my Life away.

Court. Did any Body else hear him say these Words?

Mrs. Collet. I question whether they did or no, for when he said so, he leaned over the Table, and whisper'd to me.

Prisoner. When you first took hold of me, and looked in my Face, did you not say, that you was mistaken, and I was the wrong Person?

Mrs. Collet. No, I said no such thing. I charged you with it, and you damned my Eyes for a Bitch.

Mary Knight . As I was standing at the Nag's-Head Gate, to see a Funeral that was coming from Bromley; the Prisoner pass'd by me, and said, it's a very fine Burying, if you do but view it well. Mrs. Collet was standing against an Oyl-Shop, and he went and stood close before her. I saw him put his Left-hand into his Pocket, and take out this Clasp-pen-knife, and look on it thus; and then he put his Hands behind him. Mrs. Collet presently took hold of his Arm, and said, he had got her Snuff-Box. Damn your Eyes, you Bitch, says he, speak such a Word again, and I'll make a Sacrifice of you. Then he threw away the Knife; it fell in a Puddle of Water, and a Girl took it up. The People said, that's not the Box, and with that he threw the Box down, and as Mrs. Collet was stooping to take it up, he got from her, and went a-cross the Way, into a Court that had no Thorow-fare, and there he was stopt. I follow'd and heard him say to Mrs. Collet, You do it to take my Life away; but pray, Madam, don't say that I am the Man, for I live in repute.

John Cater . As the Prisoner stood before Mrs. Collet, I saw her fly at him, and catch hold of his Collar; he threw the Knife over her into a Puddle of Water 2 or 3 Yards off, and a Girl took it up. Mrs. Collet stoop'd to take up her Box, and he sprung away from her, and got into Elephant and Castle-Alley, which being no thorow-fare, he was taken and carry'd into Mr. Cave's House.

Court. Did you hear any thing that he said to the Prosecutrix in Cave's House'

Cater. No; but I know she sat over-against him.

Prisoner. If you saw me throw the Knife away, why did you not take me directly?

Cater. I had a Child in my Arms, but I gave it to my Wife, and then follow'd you.

Prisoner. Did I run?

Cater. Yes, when you first got from her, but you walk'd slower afterwards.

Prisoner. I had been at New-Fair, at Mile-End, and coming back thro' White-Chapel, I bought a ha'porth of Walnuts, and eating them as I went along, the Prosecutor, all on a sudden, seiz'd me by my Coat; I ask'd her, what was the Matter? She look'd in my Face, and said, I beg your Pardon ; you are the wrong Person. Being seiz'd in such a manner, it put me into such a fright, that I occasion to ease my self, upon which I went over the Way into a Yard, and ask'd a Woman, who was standing there with a Child in her Arms, if she knew of any necessary House thereabouts? Before she had answer'd me, the Prosecutor, and a Mob with her, came up and seiz'd me; and they said, I belong'd to the Bailiffs, and they would make me kiss the Shitten Brick-bat in Harrow-Alley.

Miles Rivet . Near Catherine-Wheel-Alley, in White-Chapel, a Woman seiz'd the Prisoner, and charged him with something about a Snuff-Box, and she said, as how she mought be mistaken, and so he walk'd away, and I thought, he dud not go off much like a Thief nother; I knew his Father

and he too, and I never knew no Harm of 'em. And there was two Men stood before the Woman, and I believe she dud not know to which on 'em had the Box, and that one of 'em is no more to me than the t'other.

Thomas Williams . I saw the Woman catch his Arm. and say, Ye Rogue, I am robb'd. Hussy, says he, what do you mean? And with that she look'd in his Face, and said, I beg your Pardon, I believe you are not the Man. So he went away. and some butcherly Fellows follow'd, and brought him into an Alehouse. And a Man in a Livery called her out, and said, Why do you let this Man go? If you prosecute him, you'll have the Reward.

Court. That Man was mistaken ; there's no Reward for taking Pickpockets.

Mary Matthe ws. I and Margaret Creed were a going to Rag-Fair, for you must know we buy and sell Things, and go Partners together; and so there was a Mob at the Justice's Door, and this John Cater was among 'em: And so seeing this Mob, we stood to argue, as others may do, for we was willing to know how and about it. And so as I was a saying, says this John Cater , I believe it was he that took the Box, or others that belong'd to him; but I don't know him certainly ; but it's all one for that; there's 140 l. to be got by the Bargain.

John Cater . I never said any such thing, nor ever saw this Woman before, to my Knowledge.

Margaret Creed . I see a Croud of People about the Justice's Door, and so says I to Cater, What's the Matter? Why, says he, here's a Woman has had her Pocket cut, and this Man (the Prisoner) and another were standing close by her when it was done. We are not sure that this Man did it, but the other is got away. And the Woman said she could not swear it was the Prisoner, because there was another with him. And Cater said, they should have 140 l. if they hang'd him. And ar'n't you a parjur'd Rogue, says I, to go to swear away a Man's Life for the Reward? Go along, Hussy, says he, or I'll kick your Arse for ye.

Sarah Webster . I was at the Swan Alehouse by Hicks's Hall, with the Prisoner's Mother, and the Prosecutor. We said, Are you sure he's the Man? And the Prosecutor answer'd, I am as sure as can be, but I would not have sworn it, if my Evidences had not prest me to it, and told me it would be my Ruin if I did not.

Robert Gilman . The Constable not being in the Way, Mrs. Collet charged me with the Prisoner, and the Prisoner's Wife and Mother wanted me to go out of the Way, because I had the Knife, and the Pocket, and the Snuff-box. Here they are.

Pris. One Mr. Kenter heard Gilman say, if they would give 5 or 6 Guineas, the Prosecutor would go into the Country, and not appear.

Gilman. 'Tis no such Thing; but on the contrary, they offer'd me Money.

William Hewit . The Prisoner is a Weaver: I have known him several Years, and never knew any Harm of him before.

The Jury found him guilty of the Indictment. Death .


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