18th April 1787
Reference Numbert17870418-19
VerdictGuilty > lesser offence

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348. HANNAH PLEASANT JONES was indicted for feloniously assaulting Charlotte Spencer , a woman child, on the King's highway, on the 5th day of March last, and putting her in fear, and feloniously taking from her person and against her will, one cotton frock, value 2 s. a pair of gold ear-wires, value 2 s. a wicker basket, value 6 d. six pounds weight of black puddings, value 2 s. two pounds weight of savilloys, value 10 d. the property of William Spencer .

(The case opened by Mr. Garrow.)

Court to Charlotte Spencer . How old are you? - Going of nine.

Do you go to church? - Yes.

What church do you go to? - It is in Smithfield.

How often do you go? - A good many times.

Can you say your catechism? - Yes.

Do you know what you are coming to do? - No Sir.

Do you know the consequence of swearing falsely? - No.

Mr. Garrow. Do you know what will happen to you when you are sworn? - No.

Do you know where naughty girls go to when they die? - Yes, to the naughty man.

Court. I think such a child cannot give evidence in a capital case.

Mr. Garrow. I shall confine myself to the proving, if I can, that this woman stole from the child these several articles which were found.


I am a butcher ; I live in Sharp's-alley, Cow-cross; I have dwelled there twenty years; I work in Newgate-market, the child Sarah, who is the elder of the two, returned home about one in the day, when she appeared to me to be very much intoxicated; we did not find Charlotte till eleven at night; we had her cried in several parishes, and in St. Giles's my son found her.


I am mother of this little girl; I sent her out the day she was missed, about ten, and they took some black pluddings and some sausages; they were in two baskets; they had each of them a basket, they would not go out without each other; Charlotte had

a dark cotton frock on, and a pair of gold ear-rings in her ears; Sarah returned about one in the day; she appeared to be rather stupid with liquor; we did not find the other till between eleven and twelve at night; I was at home; I have not seen that cotton frock since, but it is here.

Sarah Spencer . I was eleven last October; I can say my catechism; I go to church on a Sunday.

Do you know the nature of an oath? - No.

What becomes of people that tell lies? - They go to hell, Sir.

Then do you know that you are bound to tell the truth, and that you would go to hell if you did not? - Yes.

Have you ever heard of such a thing as the pillory? - Yes, I have seen it.

Do you know that people that swear false are put into the pillory? - No.


Did you go out with your sister on Monday? - Yes.

Where was she to go to? - To Fetter-lane.

Had you any where to go after that? - No.

Then you was to return home? - Yes.

Did you meet with any body? - Yes, with the prisoner at the bar.

Where did you meet with her? - In Fetter-lane.

What did she say to you? - She said to another, a strange woman, there go my two God-children; and she said it was a very cold morning, let us go in and have something to drink; she said so to my sister; then she went into a publick house and called for a pint of purl, and the gentleman gave her change; I said several times to my sister softly, let us go home; then I spoke loud, and the prisoner said, I am going home to your God-mama's, and I will go with you; then she took us all to Fetter-lane and Hatton-garden; we all drank of it, and because Charlotte did not like it, she poured a good deal down Charlotte's bosom, because she would not drink it; she said my mother had lent her a guinea when she lay in; she left my sister at an ale-house, in Turn-stile; I was with her; then she emptied all the things into a basket which was mine; then she took me up to Hatton-garden again, and to Fetter-lane again; she left the empty basket with Charlotte and her bundle; and she said, there was a muslin gown and a muslin apron, and told Charlotte not to open it; they were in a bit of flowered thing; when she got me into Hatton-garden, I asked her how much further; into Clare-market, she said; says I, I must not go all that way, my mother will be angry; then she came into Holborn and she fell down, and I took my basket away from her, and I fell crying, and she said, then if I cried, she would stamp my guts out; then she took my basket; I had turned back to go, as I supposed, to my sister; she told me her name was Cordick; I should know the piece of cotton that bundle was wrapped in.


I am son to the prosecutor; I went to look after my sister; I found her at last, at St. Giles's, at a lodging house, in bed with the prisoner; I found the basket and these rags, just as it is now.

How came you to go to that house? - I had her cried, and a girl told me; I was so frightened, I did not ask the woman how she came by my sister; she said she hoped I would not hurt her; the child had no earrings in her ears, and we could not find the frock; I was not present when it was found.


I went out on this search; I was present when the child was found in bed with the prisoner; I took her to the watch-house, and in the morning I went with Mr. Isaacs, and desired him to search her, and in her pockets were the child's earrings; I asked her where the frock was; then she said, I will tell you where the frock is; it is at the corner, at Mr. Lane's; I went there, and saw it.


I searched the prisoner, and found these two gold wires in her pocket; I asked her where the frock was; she said it was at the pawn-broker's in the corner; I went there immediately, and I asked for the frock; they brought it down, and I desired him to keep it.


I am servant to Mr. Lane a pawnbroker; I took in a cotton frock, I believe from the prisoner.

Have you any doubt about it? - Yes; I am not quite sure; I never saw her before, nor since.

Do you believe she is the person? - I believe her to be the person that left it.

When was it you took it from her? - The 5th of March.

Do you know what time of day? - I cannot positively say; I think it was the afternoon.

(The frock produced and deposed to.)

To Mrs. Spencer. Is that the frock your child had on that day? - Yes; I have brought the fellow of it; I have two or three of them; I have no doubt of it.

Sally Spencer . This is the frock my sister had on that day, and I have some more of it.

Mrs. Spencer. They were these, or like these, which my child wore.

Court to Sarah Spencer . Look at that cotton, and see if it was any thing like that which she had the things wrapped up in? - Yes, this is the piece.

MARY HILL sworn.

I am a poor woman; I saw the prisoner bring in the child to a lodging-house in St. Giles's, at one o'clock; I am a lodger there; she had a long cloak on; I could not see whether she had a frock on or not; she said, let my child sit down by the fire; and the people made room for her. She says to the child, shall I get any tea, my dear? the child replies, yes mammy; she said, get it out; I am sure this is the little child; I saw her taken out from the woman.

What time did she bring her in? - As well as I can recollect, between one and two; I did notice the child for the trifle of time she sat in the corner.

Court. How long has she lodged in this house with you? - I never saw her before in my life to my knowledge.


I met the prisoner and the two children in Fetter Lane; she had hold of them by the hand; she crossed over to me, and asked me if my name was Cimmerick; I said yes; she asked me if I knew Mr. Spencer; I said I did; she said Mrs. Spencer was her godmother, and she had borrowed a guinea of her, and had not seen her these four years, and was going to take the children home; she kissed the children, and seemed to be very fond of them.

Court to Mrs. Spencer. What is the value of the things? - The frock is worth 2 s. and the ear-rings 18 d.


I was very much in liquor when I met these children; we had a pint of purl; it was very cold; I asked the children if they would have a drop of purl; I knew them, and my parents lived close by them.

Jury to Mrs. Spencer. Is this woman your god-daughter? - I never saw her in my life.

GUILTY, Of stealing only .

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

[Transportation. See summary.]

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