22nd February 1786
Reference Numbert17860222-5
VerdictGuilty > with recommendation

Related Material

ActionsCite this text | Print-friendly version | Report an error
Navigation< Previous text (trial account) | Next text (trial account) >

196. THOMAS COLBROOK was indicted for burglariously and feloniously breaking and entering the dwelling house of Catherine Haines , widow , about the hour of seven in the night, on the 10th day of February , and burglariously stealing therein, one gold watch, value 18 l. the property of Thomas Sutherland .


I keep a watch maker's and jeweller's shop in my mother's house, in Vigo-lane; I lost a horizontal watch, capped and jewelled, the case remarkably strong; I lost it from Vigo-lane, Sackville-street, Piccadilly , in the house of my mother Catherine Haines ; it was a little after ten, on Friday the 10th of this month, I was behind the counter, within a yard from whence the watch was taken.

In what manner was it taken? - By a violent blow made against the window, it hung up by a small brass hook, within an inch of the window, or thereabouts; I was writing behind the counter, I heard the window break, I immediately turned and missed the watch, I ran out as fast as I could, I did not see the watch taken from the hook, I missed it the instant it was taken; I run out and turned to my left-hand, and met my next door neighbour, who was coming out, I took him with me, there was a man standing by, whom I imagined to be an accomplice, who informed me wrong, and said the man was gone to the left; a witness that is here present, said, he has misinformed you, Sir, he has ran the other way, upon which I immediately turned round, and found the prisoner in custody, he had been knocked down on the fact being committed, I never recovered my watch again.


I was standing the corner of Swallow-street, about eighteen yards from this shop at the time this affair happened, I heard the window break, and I saw this prisoner's hand come from the window, he immediately ran across Vigo-lane, into Sackville-street, then John Lowe took him into custody, I never lost sight of him till he was knocked down.

Could you from the place where you stood, see into Sackville-street? - Very plain, as far as the watch-box, and there he was knocked down, I knew nothing of the prisoner before; I am a young fellow come out of the country, I keep a little shop at Swallow-field, near Reading, I was in town about a little business, I am sure it was the prisoner; the prisoner was taken into a public-house and searched, and nothing was found upon him, except a key, and a pair of scissars, there was no watch.

Did you see any suspicious persons lurking about the house? - There was another man standing by the prisoner within three yards of him, at the time the window was broke.

JOHN LOWE sworn.

On the 10th of this month, in the evening, I was going along Sackville-street, about seven, and I saw two men lurking about the prosecutor's shop window, when I had passed the prisoner I suspected them, I clapped my back at the corner of Sackville-street, and watched them five or six minutes, and I saw the prisoner put his left-hand in his right hand-pocket, and pull out a rag or handkerchief, and he lapped it round his left hand, and with his left hand I saw him break the window, I am sure of that, but what he took I do not know.

Did you see him take any thing? - I did not, I saw him break the window, and I saw him take his hand out of the window, and as soon as he took out his hand, he ran away to Sackville-street, and I knocked him down.

Did you see him put his right hand into that hole that he broke with his left hand? - No, I did not, I then took him into a public-house, the corner of Sackville-street, he was searched, and nothing was found upon him.

After he took away his hand from the window that you saw him break, did you see him hand over anything to the man that you saw lurking? - No, I did not, I knocked him down once, and picked him up, and he fell down again, then I picked him up again.

Prisoner. Was not I walking along with my hands in my pocket, and did not you come up to me, and strike me over the face, and did not I say, do you want to rob me; my Lord, he knocked me over the nose, and I put my hand into my pocket, and said, do you want to rob me, I had a few shillings in my pocket, they stripped me, and searched me, says I, gentlemen, this is not proper usage, and one struck me, and another struck me.

Lowe. His clothes were not pulled off at the public-house, they were at the Rotation-office, he did not say that I wanted to rob him.

Court to Prosecutor. You did not see this man break the window, or catch hold of him immediately on your coming out? - No, I did not.

What kind of man was that which put you upon a wrong scent? - He was much such a kind of man as the prisoner.

Court. In such a business as this, it seems to me to be very improper to put a watch of this value in a window.

Prosecutor. I have wires for that purpose, but they were not up that night, I am so fearful of being robbed, I generally shut my shop up at night, and leave my door open.


I am a broker and cabinet maker, I live in Little Earle-street, Seven-dials.

How long have you known the prisoner? - Between seven and eight years.

What way of life is he in? - I believe in the portering way.

Have you employed him in your business? - I have employed his mother, that is the way I have known him, no further; I always understood him to be an honest young fellow, I knew nothing of this before this very morning that she came to me, I was in bed when she came.

Jury to Mr. Sutherland. How long was it before the window was broke, that you saw the watch? - Not two minutes before.

When the window was broke, and you went out, did you miss the watch? - Yes, I did, as soon as I went from the door, I met my next door neighbour, and told him of my loss; it made a report equal to that of a gun, I turned round immediately, and saw a vacancy, there were three watches hung there, and this was the centre watch.

Court to Prisoner. Do you know either or both the witnesses? - I never saw either of them before.

Jury. Who is Lowe?

Lowe. I live at Kensington Gore, I am a hair-dresser by trade, I had been at Berwick-street, to my sister to tea, and that kept me late, I work for my brother-in-law.

GUILTY , Death .

Prosecutor. I humbly recommend the prisoner to mercy.

Tried by the second Middlesex Jury before Mr. Baron PERRYN .

View as XML