Offence: Theft > housebreaking
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Jane Frances . I live at Farnham-court, Pancrass . The prisoner was my weekly servant-man , but had been gone away a little time; he went away on the Saturday, and I was robb'd on the Wednesday following. I keep a farm and cows; they broke into my house between three and four in the morning; they went into the maid's room, and her screaming out awaken'd me; then I seream'd out at my window. There were three of them came into my room, and found me last of all . They pull'd me from the window and flung me down in another room and trod upon my neck, then their cancle went out. They had taken the opportunity to take my man's candle from him as he was going to seed the cattle. I had not sight of them to know any of them but by the prisoner's own confession. His confession was taken in writing, wherein he says he brought the others a night or two before, and they went round the house and could not get in; and at last he thought of this method, knowing the time that my servant man goes out to serve the cows, to be there ready, and by that means they could get into the house, and take my servant's lanthorn.
Court. Give us an account of what you know of it?
J. Edwards. I was lying in my bed, and there came four or five men into my room, one stood by my side with a candle in his hand: they ask'd for my mistress and her money; I was frighten'd and did not speak to them; then they broke my three boxes open.
Q. Did you know any of these men?
J. Edwards. Yes, my lord, it was Peter Murphy that stood with the candle in his hand by the bedside ; then they tied a handkerchief about my neck and drag'd me out of bed all over the rooms . I jump'd up to the window and cry'd out, thieves; then two or three of them took me from the window and abus'd me sadly; they beat and almost choak'd me: I have been under the Doctor's hands almost a fortnight. They found my mistress at last , and they left two men to guard me: I screamed , out all the time, and they serv'd me the worse for it; then their candle went out, the people at next door were getting up, so a man below whistled to them, and at last hallowed; then they went down, and so went away: I saw them drag my mistress out of her room, they had a candle lighted till then, and likewise I saw them put her down and tread upon her. When they were with me in my room they prevented my seeing as much as they could. They put a petticoat about my head to hinder me from seeing.
Q. What did they take of yours?
J. Edwards. They took out of my box 9 s. in silver, four caps, three handkerchiefs and a cotton gown. I do not know I saw the prisoner, but by his own confession.
Thomas Stevens . I was going out of my mistress's house, as usual betwixt three and four o'clock on Ash-wednesday morning going to serve the cattle, these men took the lanthorn from me, and clap'd a pistol to me, and desir'd me not to speak a word. This was in the yard, they desir'd me to open the spring-lock, but I could not; then they threatned to cut my throat if I did not.
Q. How many was there of them?
Stevens. I do not know; there were a good many of them.
Q. Did you see the prisoner there?
Stevens . Not to know him; I did not know any of them, it was very dark, they tied me to a post at the door, and last two men to guard me; they opened the window-shutter with an iron paddle, and went in at it, and took the lanthorn in.
Q. How long was you tied to the post?
Stevens . About half an hour. When they came out again, they came to the best of my knowledge, some out at the window and some out at the door. They opened the door when they got in.
Justice Fielding's clerk deposed he saw the prisoner sign his own confession, and he did it freely. It was read in court , and the contents of it was, that he, in company with Peter Murphy , John Clark , Luke Welch , and another, who went by the name of Lame Anthony , went, and broke open the dwelling house of Mrs. Frances, Feb. 8. in the morning between two and three o'clock; that Luke Welch and Lame Anthony stood at the door while the rest went in at the window, and that they took fourteen shillings in silver, and some other things; and that he was as sober as he now is.
Prisoner's Defence . I am a poor innocent young fellow; they took me up and persuaded me to sign that paper when they had made me stupified .
Guilty Death .