9th January 1782
Reference Numbert17820109-19
VerdictGuilty > with recommendation

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95. MARY TAUNTON was indicted for stealing, on the 2d day of January , inst. thirty-nine yards of black silk lace, value forty shillings, the goods of John Barlow and George Coleman , privately in their shop .


I am a silk mercer, a shopman to Mr. John Barlow and George Coleman , at No. 2, Cranbourn-passage ; on the second of the month she came in to buy a petticoat; I came down from dinner, this was between two and three, I went into the back shop to serve her, there were three cards of lace lying upon the desk.

Did they lay there when you served her? - No; I had seen them when I went up to dinner; and there was no person came into the shop but her; there was no coat in the shop to please her; she bespoke one, and went away, leaving her directions; I missed a card of lace as soon as she was gone out; missing it I suspected her, and went after her a few doors, and I saw about half a yard hanging from her petticoat, dragging on the pavement; I went and laid hold of the lace, and desired her to step back; she came back and dropped the lace upon the shop floor, she dropped it from under her coats; she had a long cloak on; she begged for mercy.

What did she say besides? - She said she had a child of six weeks old, and begged for mercy for the infant's sake; it was the first offence; the child was not with her.

Did you see her take the lace? - No; I am certain I did not see her take it.

Where is the boy? - He is not present; he did not see her take it he says, he is sixteen.

You did not see this card of lace on the desk after you came down? - No.

Are you sure it dropped from her? - Yes; it has been in my custody ever since; I know it to be my master's, it has his shop-mark.

Might not a card of lace of that bulk stick to the lace of her cloak? - It was not near the desk; I saw her at the end of the counter; she had no occasion to pass by the desk to go to the back room.


I had some witnesses, but they are gone, they did not think my trial would come on; I am not guilty of the crime; I did not take it; I am eighteen next October.

Court By a particular act of parliament this offence, as laid in the indictment, against the prisoner is of a capital nature, and if you find her generally guilty, your verdict will affect her life for stealing privately in a shop to the value of five shillings

or upwards is a capital offence by act of parliament.


(Recommended by the Jury to mercy.)

The shopkeeper said his master desired the court to be as merciful as possible.

Tried by the First Middlesex Jury, before Mr. RECORDER.

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