27th February 1788
Reference Numbert17880227-10
VerdictGuilty > theft under 5s

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163. MICHAEL HIGGINS was indicted for burglariously breaking and entering the dwelling-house of Samuel Keep , on the 13th of January , between the hours of one and two in the afternoon, and stealing a cocoa-nut goblet tipped with silver, value 21 s. a silver punch-ladle, value 10 s. a sugar bason, value 15 s. a milk-pot, tipped with silver, value 10 s. three teaspoons, value 3 s. two salt shovels, value 2 s. a greensilk gown, value 15 s. a brown sattin gown, value 15 s. a blue damask gown unmade, value 15 s. a black silk cloak, value 10 s. six linen shifts, value 2 s. six pair of cotton stockings, value 4 s. an ivory memorandum book, value 2 s. a dimity petticoat, value 5 s. a dimity table-cloth, value 3 s. and a handkerchief pin, value 2 s. the property of Elizabeth Rugg , in the said dwelling-house .


I live with my sister, but at the time I was robbed, I lodged at Samuel Keep 's; I went out about eleven o'clock on Saturday the 13th of January, and came home on the Tuesday following, between eight and nine in the evening; I left the key of the room with Mrs. Keep the landlady of the house; when I returned, I wanted something out of my box, I put the key in, and the lock fell into the box; I opened the box, and missed the things mentioned in the indictment; (repeating them); the prisoner was taken upon the Thursday following, at the King's Arms, Sydney's-alley, by Pentecost; a few of my things were found upon him, I saw them and a ladle at the Justice's.

MARY KEEP sworn.

Mrs. Rugg left the key of the room with me when she went away; I had a little boy slept in the room every night; he slept with her when she was at home; the prisoner came every day for a week together, to a lodger in the adjoining room, he passed for his brother, they had been but a week in the lodging; he came about one o'clock on the 13th of January, I told him the people were not at home; he said that did not signify, he had got the key of the room; about two o'clock, or a little after,

I saw him go out with a large bundle done up in something like a table-cloth; the other man came in about half an hour before he went out; I told him his brother was above, and he went up stairs; as soon as the prisoner was gone, I went up, but did not miss any thing, 'till Mrs. Rugg came home; upon missing the things I had the lodgers taken into custody, the prisoner was taken on the Thursday; he acknowledged he had done it, and cleared them by saying, they were not concerned with him; there was some of my property taken upon him.

Did you see the property taken from him? - No, but my husband did; he is not here.


About the 17th of January I was called upon to apprehend Higgins, the corner of Sydney's-alley; when I came there he was gone to the watch-house; I followed him and searched him, and found these things in the hind part of his breeches; (producing an ivory pocket-book, an housewife, an handkerchief, and a pin); after that I went to a silversmith's in St. Martin's-lane, where I heard some of the things were sold; there I found a ladle, which the man will produce.

To the Prosecutrix. Do you know those things that are produced? - Yes, I do; the memorandum-book and housewife were in the pockets that were taken out of the box; I cannot swear to the handkerchief and pin, they are like mine, but I should not chuse to swear to them, others may be like them; the ladle is found, the silversmith said the other things were melted down.

Butcher. I found a duplicate upon him, with the prosecutrix's name in it.

(It was produced and deposed to by the prosecutrix.)

JOHN HILL sworn.

I was servant to Mr. Price, silversmith in St. Martin's Church-yard, I left him this week; I have a punch-ladle I bought of the prisoner, about six or seven weeks ago, I believe on a Monday, between the hours of eight and eleven; I bought the mounting of two cocoa cups; he said he sold them for an old lady; he desired me to take care not to spoil the cups in taking the silver off; I did, and as I was taking the pins out one by one, he seemed in a hurry, and told me then not to mind breaking the cup; I bought them together, but reckoned four shillings and six-pence, or five shillings and six-pence, I can't say which, for the lady; I sent it to a workman to take the bruises out, it was in his hand eight or ten days, till the Justice sent down to me; I am certain I received it of the prisoner.

(It was produced in Court, and deposed to by the Prosecutrix.)

To the Prosecutrix. What is the value of the things that are found? - About seven or eight shillings.

Prisoner. I leave my defence to my Counsel.

The prisoner called three witnesses who gave him a very good character.

GUILTY Of stealing the goods, to the value of 5 s.

Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Mr. RECORDER.

[Transportation. See summary.]

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