CHARLES MESSENGER, TREADWAY POCOCK.
22nd October 1788
Reference Numbert17881022-24
VerdictGuilty
SentenceDeath

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630. CHARLES MESSENGER and TREADWAY POCOCK were indicted for burglariously and feloniously breaking and entering the dwelling-house of James Allman , about the hour of seven in the night on the 12th day of October , and burglariously stealing therein, thirty-four yards of wollen cloth, value 3 l. twenty-nine yards of ditto, value 7 l. twenty-five yards of other cloth, value 5 l. nineteen yards of velveteen, value 10 s. seventeen yards of ditto, value 10 s. thirty-seven yards of sattinet, value 5 l. twelve yards of velveret, value 32 s. eleven yards of ditto, value 36 s. one piece of silk and cotton, for a waistcoat, value 5 s. one piece of velveret ditto, value 5 s. another piece of silk and cotton, for a waistcoat, value 9 s. a piece of dimity, for ditto, value 5 s. eleven yards of velveret, value 34 s. fourteen yards of shalloon, value 20 s. five yards of velvet, value 3 l. twenty-five yards of other shalloon, value 48 s. fifty yards of ditto, value 3 l. eight yards of nankeen, value 28 s. fifty-four yards of sattin, value 5 l. twelve yards of ditto, value 3 l. thirty yards of silk serge, value 2 l. three yards of sattin, value 32 s. and divers other things, value 18 l. his property .

A second Count, for stealing the said goods, and breaking out of the same dwelling-house.

The indictment opened by Mr. Garrow; and the case by Mr. Silvester.

(The witnesses examined separate.)

GEORGE WILSON sworn.

I was shopman to Mr. James Allman in Jermyn-street.

Had he taken any house in New-street, Covent-Garden? - The corner of Rowe-street, and New-street, Covent-garden .

When did you, as his servant, take the possession of that house? - On the Tuesday before the 12th of October, that was Tuesday, the 7th of October; I kept there that night; I came on Saturday night, and slept there that night.

Were there any goods of Mr. Allman's brought into the house at that time? - Yes, there were to the amount of some hundred pounds; they were silk for waistcoats; and different kinds of men's mercery goods; I left it about nine on the Sunday morning; and I left nobody at home; I secured the house, by double locking the door that comes into the shop, and likewise the street-door, and the door that parts the shop from the passage; the street-door opens into a passage, but then there is a door out of the passage into the shop; I

spent my day from home; I returned to the house, as near as I can recollect, about ten minutes before seven in the evening; the shutters of the windows were all secure; when I returned to the house, I observed the windows safe; I had uneasiness in my mind, or I should have staid supper in the city; I found the windows were safe; I put my elbow against the street-door; it was safe, but I had an idea that I heard something of rustling in the passage of the house; I went on a few yards further, and I could not be satisfied but something was amiss; I returned again to the door.

Was it dark or light? - It was, to the best of my recollection, a fine night.

Was the evening so far advanced as to be dark? - Why, it was dark to be sure; on my return to the door, I stood opposite, and I felt in my pocket for my keys to open it; while I was feeling in my pockets, the door opened; the situation of our passage is such, that the great wide part of the stair-case comes immediately to the opening of the door; the door opens inside; the prisoner, Messenger, must have stept up in the situation we found the passage afterwards with bundles; he must have stept up the first or second stair to have got an opportunity of coming out; upon the door opening, I saw Messenger's face close at the door; he must have been on the first or second step of the stairs leading up stairs; I was so surprized at seeing a man genteely dressed coming out of the house that I had not the opportunity of seizing him; he passed me, and run across the street; I immediately called out stop thief; and immediately the other prisoner came out in the same manner that the other had; and in attempting to follow the other out of the house, I seized him by the collar; he struggled with me; and I still kept calling out stop thief; I said to him, what business have you in that house? he replied, he was not in that house; he was then off the pavement opposite the door; we were struggling in the street; after we had struggled some time, he then struck me violently on the face; there were a number of people standing by, and I begged of them, for God's sake, to assist me in taking him.

Did you secure him? - Yes.

Did you at any time lose him from you? - No, never till he was secured; I have no sort of doubt but he was the man that came out of the house; the other man, I could not tell any thing concerning him, till they brought him up, that was, I suppose, seven or eight minutes after; I do not think it was more than that; he was brought back in the custody of Tucker and others; I knew him immediately.

Was you sure of him? - I was sure of him; I said, that is the man.

Are you now, upon your oath, sure that he was the man who passed out of the house? - Yes.

Have you any doubt upon it? - None.

What lamps are there at your door? - The lamp over the street-door comes exactly over the opening of it; and opposite, or nearly opposite is a tavern, which has two large lamps.

What distance is that from your door? - Why, it is a narrow street.

From the assistance of those lamps are you now able to swear positively that Messenger was the person that came out? - Yes, I am.

Were either of them searched in your presence? - No.

Where had you left the goods when you went out of the shop? - They were not packed in the situation I found them in.

What state did you find the inside? - On going into the house, or at least on opening the door of the house; when I found that Pocock was properly secured, I went and pulled the door to, and got some friends to assist me in searching the house.

Was there a spring lock? - There was a latch which this key opened, and by pulling it to, it becomes fast; we got lights, and went over immediately to the house,

and opened it with this key that opens the latch, and got admittance; but we found, in pushing the door open, it was incumbered; we could not enter but one at a time; when we entered the house, we found three parcels in the passage; and the shop door was quite open, and one parcel ready packed up, which was thrown on a bed in the shop; I immediately searched round the shop to see that nobody was concealed; I searched the cellar, and went up stairs, but we found nobody in the house.

What may be the value of those goods that were packed up in the different parcels? - I suppose upwards of a hundred pounds; they are here; they have been secured from that time to this; they are exactly in the same state they were found in; they were in four bags.

Whose property are those things that you so found packed up? - The property of Mr. James Allman .

Did you see the keys afterwards examined with the door? - No, I did not then, but I have afterwards; they opened the door; the bags were not Mr. Allman's property.

(Cross-examined by Mr. Sheppard.)

How long have you lived with Mr. Allman? - Since the Tuesday before this.

Where have you lived before? - I have lived in Milk-street, and in New-street, with Mr. Burnell, near a twelvemonth; he is in the hardware way; I lived before that, with Mr. Gray, in Milk-street; before that, I lived with Mr. Lane, in Leadenhall-street.

Have not you lived with Mr. Starkey? - Yes, near a twelvemonth; I quitted that six years ago.

How came you to quit his service? - I lived with him, as collecting clerk, near a twelmonth.

Then tell the gentlemen of the jury for what reason you quitted his service? - I went down into the country to my friends.

The reason of your quitting his service? - The reason was, that there was some little deficiency in the cash that was not made up; the cash accounts were not so correct.

There was a deficiency? - Yes, there was.

Then he turned you out of his service? - No, sir, he did not.

Did not he turn you out of his service, because there were deficiencies in your cash accounts? - No.

Upon your oath, did not Starkey turn you out of his service, because there were deficiencies? - I never saw Mr. Starkey but once after the time I left him.

Did not he turn you out of his service because you embezzled his cash? - I left his service, I imagine, for that reason, I suppose it was.

Will you swear it was? - It was the reason, no doubt.

After having been turned out of Starkey's, where did you go to live afterwards? - With Mr. Lane, at Leadenhall-street, near a twelvemonth; he was a bookseller; I was there as shopman.

Did you manage the till there? - No, I had no management at all there; I received the money sometimes; I quitted his service merely on disagreement.

About what? - Why, about coming home one night rather later than usual.

That was not the first time? - Yes, I believe it was the first time; I staid in his service for about a fortnight after.

But were you not turned away? - I went away not disgracefully.

Was you turned away? - I was: I was in Milk-street with Mr. Gray for three years.

How came you to quit him? - Why, upon a disagreement.

On which side did it begin; was not you turned out of his service? - I was.

What was the cause of being turned out of his service? - Why, I had rather drank too much.

Was there no other reason assigned, upon your oath? - No.

Was there no other reason assigned? - No.

Was there no dispute about cash accounts there? - No.

Do you mean to swear that? - Yes.

Then getting drunk was the only reason? - The only reason.

Did you never live with any body in St. Martin's-street? - I never did live with any body in St. Martin's-street; I lived in St. Martin's-lane, with one Mr. Hall; I lived there eight years.

How came you to quit that service before you went to Starkey's? - It is so long time ago I cannot recollect.

Why, I believe, it is a circumstance which you cannot easily forget; was it not about a money account there? - No, it was a disagreement between Mr. Hall and me.

What was the cause of this? - Through words.

Did not you quarrel with him on account of monies that you had received? - No, sir.

On account of any effects then? - No.

Not in consequence of a dispute relative to some of his goods? - I swear not; after that I went to live with Mr. Grosvenor, in Foster-lane; I quitted him on the failure of business; after that, I went to live with Mr. Lockwood, in St. Martin's-lane; I was not turned away by him; I quitted him to take Mr. Starkey's place; I had no dispute with him at all.

Did you know Mr. Allman before? - Some years.

Who lived with him in the capacity you afterwards did? - He had only opened the shop on the Monday preceding; there was a young man that he had there; his name is Urry.

Do you know a Mr. Lee? - Yes.

Has he any concern with Mr. Allman in business? - None that I know of, nor Urry.

Are you sure neither of those gentlemen are concerned with Mr. Allman in business? - I do not know that they are.

You were put into this house to superintend and take care of those goods, and to manage the business? - Yes.

Nobody lived there but yourself? - None, excepting Mr. Urry; he attends as shopman; he is to receive wages; I had the custody of the goods; I went out at nine in the morning, to Mr. Gray's, in Milk-street; I set off from there about six.

This was an odd sort of prepossession of yours; you say, your mind was uneasy? - It was.

Are you subject to those prepossessions? - I do not know; I was then; I mentioned it at the place where I was at.

When you went out in the morning, did you lock the door, or only shut the door after you? - Yes, I locked them both.

I think the first thing that occurred to you, was, you thought you heard a rustling in the passage? - Yes.

Did you knock at the door? - No.

Did you walk away? - I walked away five or six yards, with an intention to go to my brother in the neighbourhood; but I immediately had an idea that I was not sufficiently easy in my mind, which made me return; my intention to go to my brother continued but very little time; then I saw the door open; I was on the same side of the way.

What way did the person you took for Messenger go? - Across the street, towards Bedfordbury; I saw nobody else near the door.

Did nobody pass you but Messenger? - No, sir.

I think you say, you was surprized to find a person of so decent an appearance? - Yes.

When Messenger went out, and Pocock came out you collared him directly? - Yes.

Had you any conversation with him? - No further than after I had laid hold of him, I asked him what business he had in the house; he said, he was not in the house.

Upon your oath, did not he tell you, he would go where you pleased, but that he would not be dragged and pulled about in this way; and before he struck you, he said, I will not be dragged? - I do not recollect ever hearing any such word mentioned; with my endeavouring to secure him, I might not pay attention to every thing he might say.

Then you do not mean to deny that he did say so? - I cannot.

Messenger, in a little while was brought back? - Yes.

What time did you return? - It was six o'clock when I set out; I drank coffee at Mr. Gray's; and staid from two till six; I had occasion to call to deliver a message for Mrs. Gray, and I called there; Mr. Gray wanted particularly to go out; he was going out of town; he drank tea rather sooner than usual.

Then what makes you so sure that you got home between six and seven, that it might not be earlier; how are you sure that you left his house at six? - It was a fine evening.

Do you mean to swear it was in the twilight, that the sun had actually set, and that the darkness of the night had came on? - Yes, I look upon it it was; it wanted about ten minutes to seven; the lamps were all alight.

How long had you staid it the place, at which you had called for Mrs. Gray? - Not, I suppose, above five or six minutes; it was about six when I left Mrs. Gray.

Having this strange prepossession that all was not right, when you got home, how came you to be satisfied with barely pushing your elbow against the door; why did not you go into the house? - I thought it was safe then, but hearing the rustling in the passage made me return.

Did you push against the door so as to make a noise? - I pushed it with my elbow.

Could any body hear you on the inside? - Yes, I suppose they could.

Still this door opened almost immediately, and these people went out? - No, sir, it was by my going.

Mr. Garrow. Every thing appeared to be right when you came back? - Yes.

You left one place because you drank too much? - Yes.

And another because you kept too late hours; and a third, because having a great deal of money to collect, at a brewer's, there was a deficiency? - Yes.

You say, that was afterwards made up to Mr. Starkey? - It was.

What might be the amount of it? - I cannot rightly tell; my father settled the deficiency; and so far from any differences, my father dealt with him for twenty years, and my brother deals with him now.

Did you apply to Mr. Starkey for a character? - I did not.

JAMES DONALD sworn.

I was coming up the street on Sunday night, between six and seven, it wanted twenty minutes of seven; I heard the cry of stop thief; I believe three times; so I came to the top of Bedfordbury; and I saw Mr. Wilson, and knowing him before, he called to me for assistance; I took hold of the prisoner, Pocock; Wilson was struggling with Pocock; I assisted him, and took hold of the man; he asked me to go for a constable; I desired him to go himself; and I kept him secure till I delivered him over to the constable.

Mr. Knowlys, another of the Prisoners Counsel. You did not see this till after Pocock and the other had been some little while engaged? - No.

You will not be sure that it was not earlier than that? - I cannot be sure, but it was not much later than that.

What sort of a night was it? - Darkish, the lamps were lighted.

Court. If there had been no lamps could you have distinguished the features of a man's face? - If I had known him before I might.

GEORGE WALKER sworn.

I was in New-street at the time of this transaction; I got past the shop, I suppose, eight roods at least; and I heard the

cry of stop thief, several times; upon this, I immediately returned, and found two men had fast hold of the prisoner Pocock, Wilson and another, and he said, for God's sake, help, they have been robbing the corner shop; upon this, I immediately laid hold of the prisoner's left side of his coat by the collar with my right hand, and we had some struggles with him; Wilson went for a constable, and left him in the care of three; I was one of the three; he attempted to get away from us; and in one of his struggles this lanthorn dropped from his right hand side under his coat.

Are you sure that the lanthorn dropped from under Pocock's coat? - I am sure, I picked it up; and it was very warm; I felt it through my gloves; I supposed it had been lighted; it might be a light then for aught I knew; Pocock was secured then; I did not go home to the house at all; there was a crowd; I never saw the other prisoner till I saw him at Bow-street office; I am a shoe-manufacterer; I live in Cheshire; I was a stranger, accidentally passing by; I should have been at home but for this business.

Mr. Sheppard. How many men were struggling together? - There were but two when I came up besides Pocock; they had hold of him, and they said, for God's sake, help; there were several people standing by when I came up to them; when the lanthorn fell numbers interfered.

There must have been a great confusion? - No, there was nobody near, they stood at a distance, except these two that had hold of him; I went to Bow-street office next morning, to know what was become of the prisoner.

You have been promised of course, a part of the reward? - I have not, and I declare to God, I would not take any reward if it was offered to me.

There has been no offer of that sort? - There has not, I declare to God, nor I would not accept of it, if it was offered to me.

JOHN KING sworn.

I am clerk to Sir Robert Herries, and Co. I live opposite this house of Mr. Allman's; I was at home at this time about seven.

Was it dark? - It was darkish; I was in the back parlour with some other gentlemen; and I heard the cry of stop thief; I went out, and saw a bustle a few doors from me; and Mr. Allman's young man had hold of a person by the back part of the collar, and another or two had hold at the time; he made a little struggle; and he fell down; and I went into my own house, and afterwards went into the shop; Wilson came, and desired me to go over to the house; there were three bundles; large packages, in the passage; packed up, and one package laying on the bureau bed; we went all over the house; we found nobody in the house; there were a great many things laying on the counter; the counter was half full.

ISAAC TUCKER sworn.

I am a lamp-lighter.

Did you happen to be in New-street on Sunday, the 12th of October? - No, I was not; all that I know about it, is this, I was in Bedfordbury lighting my lamps; as nigh as I can tell, it was about twenty minutes, or a quarter before seven; I had only one lamp to light.

Was it dark? - It was just to say dark; Oh, no! it was moon-light; the first thing that I heard as I was going out of Bedfordbury, was, I heard the cry of stop thief; that appeared to come from New-street then; I looked up Bedfordbury, and I saw a gentleman running down Bedfordbury; I was on my ladder with a light in my hand; I saw Mr. Messenger running down New-street, on the opposite side of the way to that I was upon.

Was there any body else running at that time, in that direction? - Not a soul; I crossed over the way, and caught Messenger by the arm; and I said, sir, I hear stop thief, and I do insist on your stopping;

Mr. Messenger made me answer, that he was the person that called stop thief.

Were you able to tell whether that was true or not? - I am very sure it was not.

Did he cry stop thief? - I do not know that he did; I said, I did not know that, but I wished to detain him; Messenger, as I had him by the arms, he threw him- himself from me, and gave me a blow on the side, and knocked me down backwards; I got up again as fast as I could, and called, stop thief, stop thief, and I ran after him; there was a young man that was in a public-house, about three or four doors down, and he ran after him; I never lost sight of him till he turned the corner to go up Chandos-street; he was not a minute, nor half a minute out of my sight, only till I turned the corner; the taylor, this man that is a witness, Ross, was close by him; I saw him turning towards Round-court, in the passage that goes to Round-court; I ran immediately up to him; when I came up to him, Ross had got Messenger by the collar; and an iron crow Ross had in his hand; says Ross, I have the bird in my hand; either d - n him, or something, I said, well, let us bring him up Bedfordbury; we shall soon find what he has done; coming up Bedfordbury, we met Wilson and a number more, and the other man; and he, asked if we had got the other; we said, yes; and as soon as Wilson saw him, he said, aye, that is the man, I will swear to him; he was taken to the watch-house; I saw him searched, and there three pick-lock keys, which are to be produced, and some silver and halfpence were found upon him.

Is the man you saw Ross pursuing in Chandos-street the same man that gave you the blow? - Yes, I am very sure of it; he was not out of my sight half a minute.

Mr. Knowlys. It was some time before you got him to the watch house? - Yes, the clock struck seven when we were in the watch-house; he was searched immediately.

He was some little time out of your sight, and out of the sight of every body? - No, for Ross, who stopped him, was close to him.

JAMES ROSS sworn.

I am a taylor; I was standing at the Scotch-arms door, on Sunday night; I heard the cry of stop thief at the top of Bedfordbury; I saw a multitude of people standing there; the Scotch arms is the second door from May's-buildings, which goes through from Bedfordbury into St. Martin's-lane; presently I saw Mr. Tucker get up, and cry stop thief; then I pursued Messenger down Bedfordbury and along Chandos-street towards Covent-garden; he then knocked down a man just at the broad part of Chandos-street, and turned down Round-court.

Was there any body before Messenger, running? - No, sir, not one; he was the first man I saw run; I saw him knocked down by this man; I pursued him down the court, and took him at the end of Vine-street, which is in the court; I threw him down, and when he fell down the crow was thrown from him; (A crow produced.) I have had it ever since; I never parted with him till I got him to the watch-house; going along we met Wilson at the top of Bedfordbury; I recollect somebody saying, that was the man.

Mr. Sheppard. How far was the man off, that Messenger knocked down, when you came up to him? - As nigh as I can recollect, about twenty or thirty yards.

How far had you pursued him; how long might you be? - I cannot justly say to the time.

Who do you work with? - I cannot rightly say at present; the last master I worked with, was one Mr. Williams, in Featherstone-buildings; I only worked two days with him this last time.

How many different masters have you worked with this last twelvemonth? - That I cannot tell you; consider this is a dead time of year; may be twenty in the last year.

Did you go with them to the watch-house? - Yes, the last that I saw of them,

was, they was put down in the black hole after the charge was given.

JOHN ATKINSON sworn.

I am beadle of St. Martin's in the fields; I was at the watch-house at the time the prisoners were brought there; I searched Messenger, and found these three keys upon him; this turn-screw was not found upon him, but it was picked up in a part of the watch-house where the other prisoner had been in; nothing was found on the other prisoner but two small keys, and a shilling, and some halfpence; I was present when these pick-lock keys were tried; and I tried them at the passage door; I tried the short key, and the picklock key; it opens it as well as I can open my own door with my own key.

JOHN TOWNSEND sworn.

(Looks at the pick-lock keys.)

This is a false key; the misfortunate men term them dubbs; on Monday, the 13th, I went to Mr. Allman's house in order to take an inventory of all the property that was in the bags; seeing much such a key as this hang up in the shop, it struck me; there was much such a one produced before Sir Sampson; and I sent to the beadle to have them tried at the door; I took the two keys; I first tried this backwards and forwards, before I put the other in at all, and it opened the street-door exceedingly well; then I tried them both together; they both belonged to one door; I desired the door to be locked just as it was when Wilson left the house; and I went in exceedingly well; one is a pipe key that opens the latch inwardly; and the other is the key of the main lock of the door. (Wilson produced the true key to it) The bags are all sealed up, with the initials of my name upon them.

(Mr. Allman called in to depose to the property, and deposed to also by Mr. Wilson.)

Mr. Allman. They were in that house; I have the bills of parcels of every one.

Mr. Knowlys. You have not any person concerned in the trade with you? - I have not, nor ever had.

Do you know Lee? - Yes.

He has no interest as being clerk; he is not paid by a proportion of the profits? - He is just paid so much a week.

PRISONER MESSENGER's DEFENCE.

I leave it to my counsel; coming up New-street, between the hours of six and seven, a man run violently down Bedfordbury; I pursued him; he threw a crow and two keys away; the other is the key of my own street door; I picked them up; Tucker stopped me; I considered him as an accomplice with the man; I went on in pursuit of the man that was running; I had these things in my pocket for a quarter of an hour in the watch-house; likewise the distance I was, I could have got rid of them.

PRISONER POCOCK's DEFENCE.

As I was going promiscuously by, and promiscuously it was, I saw an alarm; I turned my self about, and was looking round; and I was suddenly seized by Wilson; I asked him the reason; he gave me no answer; I told him, I would not be torn about by him; I had done nothing; he gave no reply; but insisted on laying hold of me, and called out, stop thief; then there was a scuffle ensued; I got from that door to the end of Bedfordbury in a great crowd; whenhe crowd was very thick there was a dark lanthorn produced, which the witness declares, he saw drop from me in the middle of a great crowd.

The prisoner Pocock called nine witnesses; who had known him a great many years, and gave him a very good character.

The prisoner Messenger called five witnesses, who gave him a very good character.

BOTH GUILTY Death .

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


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