Mary White, Sarah Matthews.
18th February 1767
Reference Numbert17670218-22
VerdictGuilty > theft under 5s

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152, 153. (L.) Mary White and Sarah Matthews , widows , were indicted for stealing two sattin cloaks, value 30 s. the property of Samuel Stansbury and Thomas Smith , privately in that shop , Jan. 19 . +

Samuel Spencer . I am shopman to Mess. Samuel Stansbury and Thomas Smith ; the two prisoner came to our shop on the 19th of last month, in the Long wall in the cloisters, near West Smithfield , they are there; the prisoner desired to see some do: they had each a young child in their arm, (as they have now;) they both sat down by the counter; I shewed them about half a dozen; after they desired to see one a little larger to the drawer, I missed a cloak which I had just before shewed to them, which I knew by a particular trimming and pattern, it was a flowered sattin; then I went up stairs to Mr. Smith, and told him; he came down; I had taken no notice to the prisoners about it; they then bid me money for one, which I think I asked 27 s. for; I not agreeing for price, they were going out of the shop; I asked Mr. Smith what I should do; we called them in, and said we would abate 2 s. one of them came in, and said we would leave 6 d earnest, as she had come out by mistake without money in her pocket; the other stood at the door; then my master desired them both to come in, saying, he had something to say to them; I think he partly pulled the other woman in; they answered, they knew what it was for; they both went on their knees, and begged he would forgive them; at the same time one cloak fell from one, and another from the other; I saw that fall which fell from White, and the other was lying at the place where Matthews was when she got from her knees; Mr. Smith ordered the constable to be called, he lives next door but one to us; they were taken before the Alderman; there they said they did not know that they had the cloaks; (the produced in court, with the tickets on them, and deposed to.) I imagine the other cloak was taken when I went up to Mr. Smith.

Joseph Andrews . I am a servant to Mess. Stansbury and Smith; I came into the shop while the two prisoners were sitting by the counter, looking at the cloaks; I was engaged with a lady, who bought a cloak of me; after the prisoners went out, I heard Mr. Smith say something to them; when they came in, they went on their knees; they seemed to shake themselves, and I saw a cloak drop from each of them; they were on their knees at the time; they begged forgiveness, and made a great noise, squalling out, while the hackney coach was getting ready to take them away.

Mr. Smith. When I came down, I found the two prisoners sitting by the counter; White had a long scarlet cardinal on, which covered her child's head; I examined the cloaks, and found a figured cloak, as my servant had told me, was missing; when Matthews was out of the shop, I stopped them, and desired her to come in again; at that time White had left 6 d. earnest, saying, she had but 18 d. in her pocket; I told them. I wanted to speak to them; they said, they knew what I wanted, and went both on their knees, and begged for mercy for the sake of their children, crying, Mercy, mercy, mercy, which raised the whole neighbourhood; when they got up, the two cloaks lay as it were behind them.

Q. Were any thing lying on the floor before there?

Smith. No, there were not; they were about six yards from the place where they had been shewed the cloaks.

The prisoners in their defence said, if there were any cloaks on the ground, they fell from the counter, and begged mercy on account of their children.

Both Guilty 2 s. each. T .

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