James Reding, Owen Cheslyn, John Merchant, Edward Hull.
9th April 1766
Reference Numbert17660409-40
VerdictsGuilty > lesser offence; Not Guilty

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247, 248, 249, 250. (M.) James Reding , Owen Cheslyn , and John Merchant , were indicted for stealing a silver watch, value 3 l. one chrystal stone stock-buckle, set in silver, value 10 s. one chrystal stone knee-buckle, set in silver, value 4 s. the property of Christian Daniel Henricks , in his dwelling-house ; and Edward Hull for receiving the said watch, well knowing it to have been stolen , March 21 . ++

Christian Daniel Henricks . I am a goldsmith , and live in Hemmings's-row . On the 21st of March I was obliged to go out; the shop was left open, my spouse was in the shop. I had not been gone five minutes before I had word brought me that my shop was robbed; I went home directly, and found my wife had two boys in the shop, Jones, the evidence, and Merchant. My wife sent for a constable: I looked and missed a silver watch, a stock-buckle and knee-buckle from the inside of the window; there were found two shoes in Merchant's pockets. I took them both to the round-house: my window was broke all to pieces. The next morning another boy was apprehended in Covent-garden; they were all three taken before Sir John Fielding . The constable found the shoemaker in Round-court that owned the shoes; he prosecuted Merchant last week at New Guildhall, Westminster, for them; the other two remained in the gatehouse till the Saturday following; then Justice Fielding sent me word to come; I went,

and told him I had found nothing: then the other two were discharged, On the Monday after the evidence was taken up on another robbery, then he was admitted King's evidence, and confessed to their robbing me; then I was sent for again; Jones told me he had given the watch to a woman in the Gatehouse, and she gave it to a man in order to bring 16 s. for it to Jones. I went with the officer by Jones's direction where the stock-buckle was pawned, (produced, with another of the same pattern to compare) this I verily believe to be my property. The prisoners were all taken up upon the evidence's information. I heard Hull say he had not the watch then, but he had sold it to a Jew.

Thomas Jones . I was an apprentice to a turner; I have left my master two years, and have been at sea. I have been acquainted with the prisoners three months, except Cheslyn, and him I have been acquainted with three weeks, (See Cheslyn, No 120, in last Sessions Paper.) There were John Merchant , ( William Warwick , not taken,) and Owen Cheslyn together; we saw this gentleman go out, and only a woman in the shop, we took the opportunity; Warwick broke the window with his elbow, the others were standing at a little distance.

Q. Where did you go out from, and at what time?

Jones. We went out from St. Giles's about six in the evening. Warwick took the watch, and, I think, Owen Cheslyn took the buckles out, there were two stock-buckles and one knee-buckle; this was what they told me since I was taken up. As soon as the woman came out of the shop, I and Merchant walked towards her, and asked her what was the matter; she said the window was broke; she sent for a constable, and stopped me and Merchant, and searched us; we were sent to St. Martin's round-house, and the next morning we were taken before Sir John Fielding ; this was after Warwick had delivered the watch to me: I put it into the toe of my shoe, and had it there when before Sir John Fielding . I sent for Elizabeth Hackett to the goal, and delivered it to her wrapped up in a piece of cheque, and desired her to deliver it to Hull, the prisoner, to see if he could sell it for me, (he lives in St. Giles's) this was on a Sunday morning, and on the Monday morning she brought me 16 s.

Q. What sort of a watch was it?

Jones. It was a small silver watch. When Warwick gave it me in the Gatehouse it had no ribbon nor key to it.

Prosecutor. Mine was a small silver watch.

Jones. Reding was in the street when this was done, and the next day he insisted on part of the things, and Cheslyn told me since he had part of the things, and Reding was not originally one of our party, I had never been concerned with him.

Elizabeth Hackett . I live in St. Giles's: I have seen the evidence and prisoners together at an alehouse; Jones lived next door but one to me last summer. I went to see him in the Gatehouse, and he delivered something to me tied up in a cheque handkerchief, and desired me to give it to Edward Hull .

Q. Did he tell you what Hull was to do with it?

E. Hackett. No, he did not.

Q. Did he tell you what it was?

E. Hackett. No, he did not.

Q. Did you take notice of it, to see what it was?

E. Hackett. No, I did not.

Hull. There was a bit of paper, a note in the handkerchief.

Q. to Hackett. What time did you carry it to Hull?

E. Hackett. I carried it to him about 10 o'clock on the Sunday morning, and he gave me the money about 11 on the Monday, in Church-lane, at his own house; he was sick in bed, and was not able to carry the money himself.

Q. What money did he send by you?

E. Hackett. He delivered half a guinea in gold, and 5 s. 6 d. in silver, which I carried to Jones.

Anthony Simpson . I am servant to Mr. Bland, a pawnbroker in Shepherd-street: this chrystal stone stock-buckle, (producing one) James Reding pledged with me the 22d of last month, about six in the evening; he wanted 8 s. on it; my master would not lend him so much; he went out, and came in again and took 4 s.

Q. Did you know him before?

Simpson. We did.

Q. What is he?

Simpson. His father is a chairman.

Court. You pawnbrokers act very carefuly: this buckle is not likely to belong to the son of a chairman. This must be some way or other controuled, or we shall be over-run with thieves.

Reding's defence.

I met Tom Jones , Jack Merchant , Owen Cheslyn , and the other not taken; I went one way and they the other: I went and lay in Maynard-street. The next morning Owen Cheslyn

gave me that stock-buckle; I was not in the street when the fact was done.

Cheslyn's defence.

Warwick gave me two stock-buckles and a knee-buckle; he had a watch in his breeches pocket: Reding snatched a knee-buckle out of my hand, and said he would keep it.

Merchant's defence.

We did not come out together, for Warwick and I were walking together; Owen Cheslyn and Jones met us; we walked together, and as we were coming down St. Martin's-lane Cheslyn and Warwick left us; said Jones stop a bit, and I'll go it; we soon heard a window break; said Jones let's go and see; a woman was at the door; Jones said to her what is the matter; I have lost a watch, said she, and I believe you are the lad that took it. He said to me, Jack, don't be afraid, come in; so I went in, I never saw the watch nor had any of the money.

Hull's defence.

I was sent for to the Gatehouse to Tom Jones ; I was very bad with the ague and fever, I got that woman to go for me; she brought up something in a rag and bid me sell it for a guinea, there was a note in it. The spring of the watch was broke, and I could get no more than 16 s. for it. I kept no part of the money, but sent it all to him. I was afraid to go to pawn it, for fear I should be stopped: I sold it in the street, but do not know the man again.

Cheslyn and Merchant guilty of stealing, but not in the dwelling-house . T .

Reding and Hull acquitted .

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