6th April 1785
Reference Numbert17850406-12
VerdictNot Guilty

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426. HENRY SNELLING was indicted for feloniously stealing on the 20th day of October last, one surtoot coat, value 12 s. the property of Henry Cowley .


I lost a great coat about a year and a half ago, at one Mr. James Wetherby 's house; I lodged in the same house; the prisoner and I lodged in the same room about eight weeks; he went away from his lodgings, and the people of the house did not know; the coat was never found; it was upon the bed when I went out; the prisoner was a day-labouring man; he was taken in Tottenham-court-road; he said he had got nothing to pay me.

What did he say? - I said I should be glad to be satisfied for the great coat that he stole away; he said he could not make me amends for it, for he had sold the coat.

This is a very odd conversation you relate; had you lent him the great coat now upon your oath? - No, I did lend it him one day before.

Have not you lent it him at different times; - No, only one day or two.

Upon your oath would you have prosecuted him if he had paid you for the great coat, or returned it to you? - No.


I found the prisoner in Tottenham-court road: I took him to Paddington, to my brother; the prisoner said, I know what you are come after, your brother's great coat; when we came to Paddington he was detained all night, and on the Monday morning he owned to me that he had sold the coat in Rosemary-lane for nine shillings and sixpence.


I met the prisoner with the coat on his back, between eleven and twelve, between Paddington and Kilbourn, near a year and a half ago; I knew the great coat, I have often seen the prosecutor wear it.

Had you ever seen the prisoner wear it before? - No, I saw it on his back the day he went away with it.

Did you say anything to him then? - I only asked him how he did.

Did he tell you where he was going to? - No.

Did you ask him? - No.


The prisoner and the prosecutor lodged in my house; the man always paid me very honestly for my lodgings; but he was taken bad, and in the day time he took this coat away.

Did he quit the lodgings with your knowledge? - No, I did not know he was going.

Had he paid you? - There was a trifle he owed me, about a week or so.

Did you hear the prosecutor make any complaint about this great coat immediately after he went away? - He made a great fuss, he said he would prosecute him, if he could find him.

How long after was that? - It might be a fortnight.

When did he first complain of the loss? - He complained of it immediately.


I worked for that man, in the parish of Welsden, and I was taken very bad with the ague and fever, and many people recommended me to get into the hospital; my master that stands there said I was very welcome to wear his coat till I got the better of my illness; I desired my landlord's daughter when I came down, to tell my master I was going to the hospital; and told another person to tell my master I was in the hospital; I was in the hospital a month and two days; after I was ordered out, I met my master, Henry Cowley , in the Hay-market; I asked him to employ me; he said he was afraid he could not; but says he, Harry, I hope you will return me the coat; I said I would; I was taken ill again, and was bad fifteen weeks, and being poverty struck, I was obliged to pawn the coat; my master gave me a glass of liquor, there he is to witness it.

Court to Henry Cowley . Is this true? - No.

Will you swear that you did not know he was gone to the hospital? - Yes.

Did you never see him after he left Wetherby's? - I did see him, with the coat upon his back, and I thought I could have got it again.

How long after? - I suppose in the course of a week or ten days; I told him I wanted my coat; and he said he could not spare it.

Court to Jury. Gentlemen, you must acquit the prisoner.

Court to Prosecutor. How did you dare, upon your oath, before to tell me, that from the time he went away from Wetherby's you never saw him till a fortnight ago? - I said a fortnight afterwards.

Court. Did not you apply to a magistrate for a warrant, and he refused it? - Yes.


Tried by the second Middlesex Jury before Mr. RECORDER.

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