10th January 1781
Reference Numbert17810110-20
VerdictGuilty > lesser offence
SentenceImprisonment > hard labour

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93. HUGH HUGHES was indicted for burglariously breaking the dwelling-house of Frederick William Sporman , on the 3d of January , about the hour of eleven in the night, and stealing two wooden casks, value 2 s. seven quarts of brandy, value 14 s. and seven quarts of bitters, value 7 s. the property of the said Frederick .


I live in the parish of St. George, Ratcliff Highway . The prisoner was quartered at my house. On the 3d of July he staid out all night. I went to bed at eleven o'clock; the cellar door was locked, and I left all the doors fast. I got up about six in the morning. I did not know that my house had been robbed. A porter came in and said, a man was in the cage; that man was the prisoner. Between ten and eleven o'clock the officers were bringing the prisoner by my door to the justice's. I asked where he had been all night? They said in the cage. The officers had found him with two casks of liquor upon his back, going along Cabel-street. I desired to look at the casks; I found them to be my property. I unlocked my cellar and found these casks were missing. I cannot positively say that the bars of the window were fast at night, as I had not particularly seen them, but I believe I might have seen them secure a day or two before, but I cannot be positive that they were secure when I went to bed that night.


I am a watchman. On the 3d instant I met the prisoner with these casks; I asked what he had got? He said it was no business of mine. I asked him if he had got a permit? He used ill language. I swung my rattle and another person came to my assistance. I took the prisoner; he was taken to the cage. He said another man gave him a shilling to carry them.

(The casks were produced in court, and deposed to by the prosecutor.)


About twelve o'clock I heard a rattle go. I went to the assistance of the last witness. We took the prisoner to the cage. He would not tell where he was quartered; the next day he was carried before the justice. He passed by the prosecutor's door. The prosecutor came out and owned the tubs.


About four o'clock that evening I went into a publick-house, the Kettle Drum. I staid there till past eleven o'clock; when I went to go home the door was shut. I turned from thence up Catherine-street; going along Rosemary-lane, I wanted some house to drink in; I could find none open. I went home thinking to knock my landlord up, to be let in. I met a man with these casks; he asked me to carry them to the Strand, and offered me a shilling for it. I said I would; I carried them along; he followed me. The watchman held up his lantern and asked me what I had there? I said I did not know. I laid them down and turned round to look for the man, but could not see him. The watchman laid hold of my collar, and said I must go along with him. I said I would go without his holding my collar. They took me next morning to the justice. I told them where I was quartered. They took me to the house of the landlord, and he owned the cask.

NOT GUILTY of the burglary but guilty of stealing the goods .

Tried by the Second Middlesex Jury before Mr. Justice HEATH.

[Imprisonment. See summary.]

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