JANE HUTTON, MARY ASH, MARGARET ALFORD.
2nd December 1795
Reference Numbert17951202-46
VerdictsGuilty
SentencesDeath

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45. JANE HUTTON , MARY ASH , and MARGARET ALFORD , were indicted, the two first for that they, on the 2d of Nov . in the dwelling-house of Thomas Croker , did make an assault upon Henry Seymour , putting him in fear, and taking from his person a silver watch, value 42s. the property of the said Henry; and the other for feloniously receiving the said watch, well knowing it to have been stolen .

HENRY SEYMOUR sworn.

I keep the White-horse livery stables at Mile-end: On the 2d of November I was going home from Spitalfields; in the back part of Court-street , the two prisoners, Hutton and Ash, were standing at a door; they desired me to give them something to drink; finding I had got into such company, I desired them to go and get something; I did not go into the house.

Q. What did you mean, by saying, finding you had got into such company? - A. To get clear of them.

Q.Why, you were not in the house? - A. No; but it is a back way; it was the nighest way for me; I sent for some rum, across the way, to the public-house, and ordered them to bring change for half-a-guinea; when they brought it, I would not pay for it, and the landlady took it back again.

Q. How came you to refuse to pay for it? - A. I was doubtful of getting my change again; the prisoner Hutton then knocked me down into the entry; I was shoved right back wards against the stair-case, and Mary Ash took my watch from me; before I could get up, I felt my watch go from me; I immediately holloa'd out, watch, and they run off; we pursued them, and caught them in about ten minutes, or a quarter of an hour.

Q. This was a dark place? - A. Yes; it was about half past ten at night; I could swear to the prisoners by their voices; there was no chance of making their escape.

Q. Did you ever see them before? - A. Not to my knowledge.

Q. Did you lose any money? - A. I don't lay any money to them.

Q. Are you sure one of the women took your watch? - A. As I lay down in the entry I felt my watch go from me; I cried out as soon as I could.

Cross-examined by Mr. Ally. - Q. Where had you been spending the evening? - A. In Fleet-market.

Q. You had been drinking a good deal? - A. Not so much but I knew what I was about.

Q. Will you swear you were perfectly sober? - A. I will not; I was not so far intoxicated but I knew what was done.

Q. Do you mean, situated as you were, to swear to these girls? - A. I have swore to them.

Q. Did any thing pass between you and these girls in the entry? - A. No.

Q. Did you find the watch when the girls were taken? - A. No; I believe they confessed what they had done with it.

GEORGE ALLEN sworn.

I am a rope-maker: On Monday evening I was sitting drinking with a young man at the Court-house, in Court-street, Whitechapel; we heard a cry of watch; we ran out, and saw Henry Seymour standing up against the doorpost of the house where he was robbed; I believe it belonged to one Mr. Croker; but was lett out in tenements; there is one common passage to the tenements; when we came up to him, he said, he was robbed of his watch; the instant that he said so, out came two women, and one of them struck him on some part of the face or head; and, I believe, he fell down; but I cannot say whether he did or not, as I was looking another way at the time; I did not know whether we could take them into custody without a watchman, or an officer; they ran up the hill, and down Duke-street,

into Whitechapel; George Cox and I pursued them, and found the two prisoners drinking in the Queen's-head, the corner of Ducking-pond-lane; they asked us to come in, and said, never mind drawing a man out of four or five shillings; I went into the house, but did not drink any thing with them; and while I came out to get a watchman to charge with them, they ran out at the side door; we ran after them, and lost sight of them; during the time they ran the back way, we went into Mrs. Alford's house, that is the Court-house, to drink, and we heard Mrs. Alford speaking to the girls; we ran out to take them, and Mrs. Alford wanted to shove us back, and asked us what business we had with it, let the girls alone; we went out into Court-street, and met Jane Hutton and Mary Ash , and there we gave charge of them to the watch; we took them to Mrs. Alford's house, and there Jane Hutton ran away from us; the watchman and I and George Cox followed her and caught her just by her own door, and we took them to the watch-house, and had them searched; the property was not found about them; the next day we went to the justice's; he committed them, and bid us try to find where the watch was; I had a suspicion that Mrs. Alford had the watch in her possession; we took an officer down to Mrs. Alford's that night, and we talked to her a long while; at last she said, she had seen the girls put the watch in a place under the dust hole, in the yard; we said, we heard she had got it; she said, she had not got it, she knew nothing about it; I said, it was a pity, whoever had the watch, that they would not deliver it up; she said, she was sitting in the tap-room, and saw the girls put it under some stairs that goes up to the jury-room.

Q. How long after was it that she said that? - A. Not long; about an hour; we searched there for about an hour, and left the place with the brick bats and every thing out; we could not find it; an officer went with me again in the morning, and she said she was certain it was put there; we searched, and found it in the place where she said it was the evening before.

Cross-examined by Mr. Ally. - Q. You told Mrs. Alford, that the gentleman had lost his watch? - A. Yes; and she said, she stood in the tap-room, and saw the girls put it there.

Q. It was the next day that you found it; so that there was sufficient time, if Mrs. Alford had it, to have disposed of it? - A. Yes.

Q. How many times was Mrs. Alford before the magistrate? - A. Twice; there were three examinations.

Q. Mrs. Alford was not committed till the last examination? - A. No.

Q. Has she been admitted to bail? - A. I don't know she was on bail.

Court to Seymour. - Q. When you halloa'd out watch, did Allen and Cox come to you? - A. Yes; and one of the girls knocked me down just as they as they came up.

Q. Did they strike you a second time? - A. Yes; and they pursued the girl.

Q. Had they retired into the house when they took the watch? - A. Yes; they ran past me out of the house, as I was getting up.

Q. How long did they stay in the house? - A. There was hardly time enough for me to get up, before they went out.

GEORGE COX sworn.

I was in the Court-house, drinking: About half past ten, as nigh as I can recollect, the prosecutor, Seymour, holloa'd out watch; I said to the other young man, let us go and see what is the matter; Mrs. Alford said, you have no business to go out, keep within doors; I said, I would go out, the other young man followed me; we went up to Seymour, and I knew him directly, and said, what is the matter, Mr. Seymour, what do you do here; he said, I am robbed of my watch; and just as he spoke the words, the two girls came out; Jane Hutton made use of ill language, struck him in the face, and knocked him down; I took him up, and left him against the door-post, in the mean time they went down Court-street, and Allen and I followed them; they ran down the road, met two watchmen, and went into the Queen's-head, the corner of Ducking-pond-lane, to drink, and one of them came out again; we both stood at the door, and she said, young fellows, come in and have something to drink; hush it up, she said, to us, and never mind drawing a man out of four or five shillings.

Q. How came she to say that? - A. I don't know.

Q. Had there been any conversation about it? - A. I told them I knew the man, as they

came out of the house; when they found we would not go in to have any thing to drink, the one that came out to speak to us went in again, and they both went out at the side door, and went the back way to Mrs. Alford's house; we followed them, and as soon as they turned the corner, they both ran into Mrs. Alford's house, we went up to the house, and began to drink the beer we left behind; I said to Allan, we had better take them; he said, he did not know we could take them without the watch; we went up to them, and Mrs. Alford gave me a push, and told me I had no business to trouble my head with it; she pulled the women to try to get them away; we got them into the tap-room, and I went out to fetch the watchman.

Q. Had any thing passed before Mrs. Alford relating to this robbery? - A. No; nothing passed but her going with half a pint of rum, with the two girls, to Henry Seymour ; she came back in the course of two or three minutes, and brought the liquor back again.

Q. At the time you had got back into the house, and the women were there, was there any conversation about the man losing his watch? - A. No; but she was with them on the stairs; I fetched the watchman, and brought him to the public-house; Henry Seymour got to the house by that time, and gave charge of them; the girls wanted to get away, and the little one, Jane Hutton , made a great disturbance; she struck the man, and struck me, and told the watchman she would not go with us, and ran away; we went after her and brought her to the public-house again; we found the other standing there; she said she knew nothing of it, she would not run away; they were committed that night; the next day Allen and I came down to Mrs. Alford's.

Q. You were sitting in this house before Seymour cried out murder? - A. Yes; they came and ordered half a pint of rum and change for half-a-guinea; Mrs. Alford went out with them, and came back with the rum and change again; she said, the man had not got any money to pay for it.

Cross-examined by Mr. Ally. - Q. Mrs. Alford keeps a public-house? - A. Yes.

Q. Those girls came and ordered rum, and she went with it? - A. Yes.

FRANCIS FORDUM sworn.

On the 2d of November, the two prisoners, Hutton and Ash, were brought to me at the watch-house, and I was given charge of them; Seymour said, he had lost his watch; I searched the women, and found nothing on them, but two or three shillings; the next day, after the women were committed, I went to Mrs. Alford's, on the Tuesday afternoon; I told her I understood Mr. Seymour had lost his watch, and she knew something about it; she denied knowing any thing about it for a good while; at last she said, she had got the watch, and would deliver it to the man, if she should get into no trouble about it; she said, if I sent for the man it belonged to, she would give it him; I agreed to send for the man, and when he came, she said, she knew nothing at all of it, for a good while again; some time after, she said, if I would go and look in the dust-hole, under the stairs, I should find the watch under a flag-stone; Cox and Allen were with me; I pulled off my coat, got into the place, and pulled all the things and dirt out; for about an hour I could find nothing of it; I their went in and told her she was making a fool of me, it was not there; I went back again, after some persuasion, and dug the place, and there was no such thing as a watch there.

Q. Did you see it when it was found? - A. Yes; the next day, Wednesday.

Q. Did you look for the watch in the place where it was afterwards found? - A. Yes; and I am consident it was not there any of the times that I searched the place.

Cross-examined by Mr. Ally. - Q. This was a pretty large place? - A. Yes.

Q. And there was a great deal of dirt? - A. I threw out two or three bushels; I am sure the watch was not there.

JOHN GRIFFITHS sworn.

I went in company with Fordum, on Wednesday, November 4, to Mrs. Alford's house; I called her on one side, and asked her, if she knew any thing of the watch that had been stole; she said, no, she had not got it; but if they looked under the place that she told them before, she believed they would find the watch; upon that, we all went out into the yard, and underneath the stairs of the Court-room, she

desired them to search; Fordum pulled off his coat, and went in and searched, but could not find it; Mrs. Alford pulled down two or three of the stairs, to give them light, and desired them to get a sieve and sift the mould; I said, there was no occasion for that; if the watch was there, it would soon be found; I turned up some of the mould with a shovel, and there the watch appeared.

(The watch was produced in court, and deposed to by the prosecutor).

Griffiths. - I took Mrs. Alford into custody, and the next day she was admitted to bail.

Mr. Ally. - How many days was it from the time of the robbery, that she was admitted to bail? - A. She was admitted to bail on the Thurday.

MARY KIRBY sworn.

My mother and I lodge in Mrs. Alford's house; she keeps a public-house; she came up to our room, on Tuesday morning, for her pots; my mother and I had been discoursing about the women being taken up; when she came up stairs, I said, it was a pity, if the poor girls had got the watch, that they did not give it up, and then they would get clear; Mrs. Alford told me to hold my tongue, for she had got the watch, and she would not give it up.

Q. What time in the morning was this? - A. Between ten and eleven.

Q. Was this before they came and searched under the stairs? - A. I cannot say.

Cross-examined by Mr. Aelly. Q. Do you mean to swear that Mrs. Alford said she had got the watch, and would not give it up? - A. Yes.

Q. What are you? - A. I take in needlework.

Q. Is that the only way you live? - A. It is.

Q. (To Francis Fordum .) Do you remember searching on the Tuesday? - A. Yes, between four and five o'clock.

Q. You did not search in the morning? - A. No; I took a candle with me every time I searched.

Q. Was it Tuesday afternoon that Mrs. Alford told you she knew nothing of the watch? - A. Yes.

ISABELLA PAUL sworn.

I am a mother of the last witness: Mrs. Alford came up to my room, on Tuesday morning, for the pots; I said, what was the matter among you last night, there was such a noise? she said something about a watch; I said, if they had got it, they had better give it up, and they would get clear of trouble; she stood and paused, and then I said, God bless us, it is a bad thing to be in trouble about a watch; Mrs. Alford said, I have got the watch, and I will take care of it; I said, Mrs. Alford, you have nothing to do with the watch, don't keep it within doors in your place at all; she said I have taken care of it; it is safe enough, I have got it out of doors under a flag-stone.

Cross-examined by Mr. Ally. Q. You are not on very good terms with Mrs. Alford? - A. I always wished her well.

Q. Have you never said you would transport Mrs. Alford for fourteen years? - A. No.

Q. If any body says you did, they will say that which is false? - A. Yes, to be sure.

Q. You have left the lodging? - A. Yes, immediately after.

Q. Do you know the prisoners? - A. No, I have seen them.

Jane Hutton 's defence. On Monday evening we were coming along Whitechapel; about half-past ten o'clock, we met Mr. Seymour; he was coming out of the Children-in-the-Wood; he stopped us, and said to a coachman who came along, I want to be drove to Drury-lane; he took the coachman to the Queen's-head, and called for a quartern of rum, and said he would have a quartern for himself; he afterwads insisted on going home with us, which he did; he was very much in liquor; he took his watch out of his pocket and bid me take care of it, which I did; I went over to this good woman's house, and taking out some money, I took out the watch; she said, what have you got there? I said, a watch that a young man gave me to take care of; she snatched it out of my hand, and put it in her pocket, and wanted me to hide myself among the butts.

Mary Alb's defence. I was left in the room; Jenny staid some time, and I went to see after her; she came out, and said, she would not be hid among the butts any longer.

Margaret Alford's defence. I never saw the

watch, and never had it in my possession; I know nothing of it, but seeing one of the women, after she had made her escape, come from the dust hole, but I cannot say whether she hid the watch there or not.

The prisoner, Alford, called four witnesses, who gave her a good character.

Hutton, GUILTY . Death . (Aged 33.)

Ash, GUILTY. Death. (Aged 42.)

Alford, GUILTY. (Aged 37.)

Tried by the second Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Justice GROSE.


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