29th June 1785
Reference Numbert17850629-69

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676. JAMES COTTA was indicted for feloniously stealing on the 26th of June two linen shirts, value 2 s. seventeen guineas and one half guinea, the property of William Ellard , in the dwelling house of William Birchall .

(The witnesses examined apart at the request of the prisoner.)


I live in Church-street, Bethnal-green , in the house of William Birchall , last Sunday, between three and seven, I lost seventeen guineas and an half, and two shirts, I was out at three, and back again at ten; I am sure they were there when I went out, and the box was broke open; it was kept behind the room where I used to work, I found one of the shirts at the prisoner's daughter's house, in King Edward's street, Mile-end New Town: the reason I had for accusing the prisoner was , he returned some of the money back again the next morning, he said he had been in fault, and was sorry for it, and I told him if he would return the money I would not trouble him; upon my telling him that, he returned me a part of the money, I only found one shirt, the other he had on, as he said himself, I did not examine it, he told me he had the shirt on before I promised not to trouble him.


The father of the prosecutor came to me, for he said his son had been robbed, and he had hanged himself ; I went up with as much expedition as I could, and I and another cut him down, when we cut him down and brought him to life, for he seemed to be dead; he looked to see whether he was robbed, and he found his box broke open; on the Monday morning they brought this prisoner, and he said he was sorry for what he had done, and he would give me what money he had; William Ellard the prosecutor was present; then he gave me five guineas in gold, twenty-four shillings and six-pence in silver, and six half-pence in copper; when we came before Mr. Wilmot, Mr. Wilmot asked him if he did not

know of any more money, he said at first, he was sorry for what he had done.

Do you remember William Ellard telling him that if he would return the money, he would not trouble him? - I did not hear any such thing.


I know the prisoner, when I took him, he owned he had taken the money, and he gave part of the money back again; that was when I first carried him up in the shop, I found him at his daughter's about nine in the morning; I supposed he had taken the two shirts to be washed, I found the two shirts there, one he had on; he came to his daughter's after I came there; the first time nobody was at home, the second time he came, I told him he must go with me, and he said he would, I think as soon as ever he came into my brother's shop he said he had done a bad thing, we did not say anything about it coming along.

Did he say he had done a bad thing before your brother spoke to him, or afterwards? - I believe it was before, as soon as he came into the shop, I saw him return part of the money back again.


Last Monday morning , John Ellard , the younger, came to my house, and told me there was a melancholy circumstance happened, that his brother was robbed and had hung himself , and he suspected the prisoner, and he asked me where his daughter lived; I saw John Ellard the younger and the prisoner come past my door, and in following them, I saw the prisoner try to throw some money out of his hand, and in going from my door to the prosecutor's house, I said to the prisoner, what a shocking thing this had like to have been Jemmy, how could you be guilty of such a thing as this, says I you had better let us see what money you have, I believe this was before William Ellard spoke to him, with that he put down five guineas and twenty-four shillings and six-pence in silver, and six half-pence in copper, I said that never can be all, shew us the rest; says he I have no more; says I you could not spend it in such a short time as this, what have you done with the shirts, he said he had one on his back, and the other he left at his daughter's; I went to the daughter's, and she gave it me.

The shirts deposed to, the shirts were in the same room as the money, hanging on a line.


Are you related to William Ellard ? - I am his sister in law. (Looks at the shirt.) I know this shirt, it is William Ellard 's, I know it by a particular mark with a bit of yellow worsted which is put there.


They went out last Sunday between two and three, I was laying on the bed, about four I got up and washed myself and went out, I had a pint of beer, they came back again and found the door open, by reason of my leaving the key on one side of the door, I went into the garret and found nobody, I found this money just at the foot of my bed in a paper.


I have known the prisoner fifteen or sixteen years, he has worked for a house I have been foreman to almost all the time; I always found him a very honest diligent man, never heard any syllable against his character till this present occasion.


I have known the prisoner these twenty-five or twenty-six years, and I never heard anything of him dishonest before I assure you.


I have known him twenty-five years, always thought him to be a very honest man.


I have known him between nineteen and twenty years, I never heard any harm or misdemeanor of him, but always a hard working man.


I have known him ten years, he was a very industrious, hard working man.


I have known him eight years, never knew him to be anything else but a hard working honest man.


I have known the prisoner ten years, never knew anything amiss of him in all my life, but a hard working honest man.


Though I was a witness against him, I have known the prosecutor and prisoner, I never knew anything against him in my life.


I have known him a year and half, he has followed his work for that time regularly and constantly.

GUILTY , Death .

Court to Samuel King . Suppose this man was to get at large soon, who would employ him? - I am almost sure the person who has employed him these twelve years would.

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

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