14th September 1785
Reference Numbert17850914-21
VerdictGuilty > theft under 1s
SentenceCorporal > whipping

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745. WILLIAM HANDS was indicted for feloniously stealing on the 18th day of August , one linen handkerchief, value 2 s. the property of Edward Trelawney , Esq ; privately from his person .


On Thursday afternoon, the 18th of August last, as I was passing down the back lane leading towards Stepney-fields , I put my hand into my pocket to feel for my handkerchief, I missed it, I immediately turned round to take notice if any person was near me, I did not observe any but a gentleman on the opposite side of the way, and I thought by his holding his fingers up to his nose, he knew something of it, I was going to cross the way to him, and I observed the prisoner at the bar run out of an alley, I pursued him through several alleys, through two houses, and several turnings, during the pursuit he dropped my handkerchief in the kennel, I picked it up and followed him till he took shelter in a house.

What do you suppose it to be worth at the time it was taken? - I do not know, it cost me three shillings, I am not acquainted with the value of old handkerchiefs, I suppose it is not material.

But it is material? - Then if it is material, I wish to value it as low as possible; I only come here to do justice to my country; I wish to exercise the feelings of humanity at the same time.

Prisoner. The gentleman cannot swear I picked his pocket, I was playing with some other boys.

Prosecutor. He said before the Justice he lived at Brentford, he was playing at hoop; he appeared in a very indifferent situation, I gave him six-pence at the time, and I gave him six-pence after he was committed.

Court. Gentlemen of the Jury, If the indictment had been proved as laid, it would have been a capital offence, for if you find him guilty of privately stealing from the person to the amount of more than a shilling, it would exclude the benefit of clergy.

GUILTY, 10 d.

Whipped .

Tried by the second Middlesex Jury before Mr. Justice ASHURST.

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