8th December 1784
Reference Numbert17841208-4
VerdictNot Guilty

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6. THOMAS CHAPMAN was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 24th of September last, one weather sheep, price 20 s. the property of James Gomm .


I am a farmer at Shepherd's-bush, I lost the sheep on Monday night the 25th of September, I know no further, my bailiff told me so.


I manage Mr. Gomm's farm at Shepherd's-bush .

Does Mr. Gomm rent the farm, or is it his own? - Rents it, it is about a hundred acres; there were many weather sheep upon the farm, they were intended for the butcher; I lost one on the 24th of September, I missed it in the morning; the sheep were marked G. D. George Dolling is the name of the man they were bought of; they were bought about six weeks before, down in Berkshire; I searched after the sheep, and found the blood in the place where he was killed, in the same field where he had been; I looked after the skin and could not find it, and I was looking after the entrails, and the prisoner watched me about, that gave me a suspicion of him; the prisoner lived in a house adjoining to my master's field, near by the farm; we had two men threshing in the barn, near the house, about fifty yards distant; I went and told the men, and got a warrant and searched the out-building of the prisoner's house, and the house, and found this bag, which had a patch upon it, and the mutton was in it, cut into quarters.

Court. Was the mutton warm or cold? - It was cold, it appeared to be fresh cut; the head and skin my brother found; the prisoner was gone to London when his house was searched. It was a weather sheep.

How near was his house to this outhouse? - Adjoining, all under one roof.

What time of the morning did you find it there? - About eleven o'clock,


I am brother to the last witness, I was threshing with another man in the barn, on Saturday the 25th of September, I began work between five and six, and whilst I was working there, I saw the prisoner bring out a bag, that was between seven and eight, I saw him carry the bag out of his own house, into the stable, and put it down; I was between forty and fifty yards off; he carried the bag into the stable, the outhouse adjoining to the dwelling house, I saw a patch upon the bag.

Could you see whether the bag was empty, or full? - It appeared to have something in it.

Had you, before your brother came and told you the sheep was lost, any suspicion? - No.

How soon after you saw him come out of his house with a bag, was it that your brother came and told you that there was a sheep lost? - My brother came just after, and I told my brother, I suspected the sheep, was in the bag, my brother got a search warrant, and went into the out-house to search for it, in the course of the afternoon, I found this bag, and the flesh of a sheep, (the bag produced) there were four quarters of mutton, and some stakes cut off the loin, two loins were cut together, this is the bag, the prisoner was not at home when we searched; I found the skin directly behind his house, in a meadow of a Mr. Jones's premises, which the prisoner lived in, about a hundred yards from the prisoner's house or not so much, (the skin produced, marked G. D. and deposed to by the other witnesses) we tried the skin to the meat, and it all joined; the head was not stripped.

Thomas Goff . The head is not here, but it was ear marked, slit on the near ear.

Prisoner. George Goff swore they found the meat on my premises, which it was not, it was on Mr. Jones's premises; my wife lay-in, I just come out of the country from harvest, I staid at home two or three days, Mr. Jones was in the country, and Mrs.

Jones desired me to come a day or two to work; I have no stable, not a yard of ground but a little garden.

Court. In whose stable did you find it? - In Mr. Jones's stable, but the prisoner had the key of it for several days.

Court. Was it locked? - No.


I was with the last witness, I am a constable, the mutton was found in that bag.

Prisoner. I set off in the morning on the Friday.

Court to Thomas Goff . You say he was sauntering about, how long did you so observe him? - About two hours, from six to eight, he was not gone when I went to the barn, and when I came back from the barn the last time, he followed me down the lane, with the bag on his back; and I followed him up to Kensington Gravel-pits, and had him stopped and searched; and there was a double Gloucester cheese, and two mealman's sacks, which he said, he was going to town with.

Prisoner. My Lord, I went with the horse and cart on Friday morning, I went to fetch a load of tatoes, it was eleven at night, before I came home with them, Mrs. Jones sent me when I had done my business, I set off to come home directly, I did not get up till the next morning near eight, and I got water in for my wife from the ponds; I had to go to town next day for two sacks of tatoes and I had a cheese, it was sent me up out of the country; I thought I could sell it, as it was a fine cheese, and I wanted the money; and buy some broken cheese that would do for me; I followed the witness down with the bag, there was a sow suckling some little pigs; says I to my wife, my dear, if I am not home time enough, do put the sow to the pigs, and she hung the keys on the door she had not locked it, and when I came home, I did not go in to lock it that night, and I was never in the stable till the next morning, that I went to let the sow out; the keys hung upon the lock, the door had not been looked all that night, because I came home so late, I went to bed directly; he followed me to Kensington Gravel-pits, and asked me what I had in the bag; I turned round and laught, Mr. Goff said I, I will turn the cock out of the bag, if you think I have any thing of your's; I shot the bag on the ground, and went to town and did my business, and at night as I was coming home, they stopped me, and brought me in a coach to Hammersmith; I never saw any thing at all of the sheep, or any thing of the kind; I am as innocent of it as the child that is to be born.

Thomas Gomm . I saw the prisoner in the morning washing his house, which I never saw before.

Court. Did his wife lay in at the time? - Yes.

How many children has the man? - Three.

What has been his general character? - He had been at home three weeks, and had never done a day's work.


I have known the prisoner about three years, I am a gardener, and in the farming way; I never heard any harm of the prisoner, he lived by me two years and an half.

How old is the prisoner?

Prisoner. I am thirty six, I have worked hard.


I have known him three years, I never knew any misdemeanour of him, he was my near neighbour.


I have known him eight or nine years, I never heard any thing amiss of him before.


Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Mr. Justice WILLES.

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