12th July 1797
Reference Numbert17970712-6
VerdictGuilty > lesser offence

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414. JOHN HOLMES was indicted for breaking and entering the dwelling-house of Richard Ellison , Esq. about the hour of three in the night of the 19th of May , with intent the goods of the said Richard, to steal, take, and carry away, and burglariously stealing a tinder-box candlestick, value 6d. the property of the said Richard; the said Richard, and others of his family being in the said dwelling house.(The indictment was stated by Mr. Gurney, and the case opened by Mr. Const.)

MATTHEW COURT sworn. - Examined by Mr. Gurney. I am butler to Mr. Ellison: On the evening of the 19th of May, between twelve and one at night; I secured the front door, I locked and bolted it, and put the chain across; I also bolted the lower door, which opens from the area, with four bolts and a cross iron bar; I also bolted the kitchen door on the passage side with one bolt.

Q. How did you find them in the morning? - A. About four o'clock in the morning I got up, and found the inner door forced open, the kitchen window forced from the lower hinges, and the outer doors were open also.

ELIZABETH KEMP sworn. - Examined by Mr. Const. I am servant to Mr. Ellison: On the night of the 19th of May, I fastened the kitchen shutters about eight o'clock at night; I went to bed about half past twelve, and left them fast then.

Q. What have you got in your hand? - A. A tinder-box candlestick that I left upon the shelf when I went to bed; when I came down the next morning, it was found in the passage.

Cross-examined by Mr. Knowlys. Q. You were not the last person up in the house? - A. No.

Q. Any other person might have carried that candle and tinder-box about? - A. I do not know.

Q. The shutters were closed? - A. Yes.

Q. So that of course, though it might be light out of doors, persons in the inside might be obliged to use a bit of candle? - A. I cannot say.

Mr. Gurney. (To Court.) Q. Did you do any thing with that tinder-box before you went to bed? - A. No.

WILLIAM BARFOOT sworn. - Examined by Mr. Gurney. I am under butler to Mr. Ellison: On Saturday the 20th of May, about three in the morning, I was awoke by a noise in the house; I had to call up a gentleman of the name of Cookson, who was to go by the coach to Stamford, it was then light; I heard a noise and dressed myself, and I went to the servant's hall, and took two pair of shoes to go into Mr. Cookson's room, when I saw three men come out of the parlour, and I heard one of them say, d-n them, here they are coming; I saw the prisoner turn his head two or three times to call his dog, the door was unbarred, and every thing ready for them to get out; I followed them, I was never more than thirty yards off them; I followed them into Vigo-lane.

Q. How far is that from your master's? - A. I do not know; they crossed a great many streets.

Q. Did any body join you in the pursuit? - A. The watchman sprung his rattle; when I caught the prisoner the dog came and jumped up upon the prisoner.

Q. Did you lose sight of him at all? - A. Only when he turned the corners.

Q. Did you see any thing of the candlestick? - A. I saw one of the three, I cannot say which, set it down upon the bench in the passage; they left the candle smoking.

Cross-examined by Mr. Knapp. Q. Was it perfectly light when you got up? - A. Yes.

Q. Light enough to distinguish the countenance of any man? - A. I could.

Q. The candle they might have taken away if they had been so disposed, but they did not do it? - A. No.

Mr. Gurney. Q. They did not set it down till after they saw you? - A. No.

Mr. Gurney. Q. What is the value of the tinderbox? - A. I cannot say.

Jury. It is not worth sixpence.

Mr. Knapp. Q. They have taken nothing away at all? - A. No, they had moved some things; they had moved a large kitchen poker.

Q. They had not taken any thing away? - A. Not that I know of.

PATRICK CONWAY sworn. - Examined by Mr. Const. I am a watchman in St. James's parish: On the 20th of May, in the morning, I joined in the pursuit after three men, they passed my box; I saw Barfoot in pursuit of them, and he held up his hand, and said, three robbers, and I sprung my rattle, and ran down Sackville-street, and there the prisoner made a sort of a seint, as much as to say he was not in company; Mr. Barfoot said he was one of them; I said, I would take him if he would swear that he was one of them; he said he would swear to him, he was the last of the three; he had a small spaniel dog that followed him as far as Vigo-lane, and there we left him; the other two made their escape.

Cross-examined by Mr. Knowlys. Q. It had been day-light an hour before this happened? - A. No; about three quarters of an hour before.

Q. At the time you laid hold of the prisoner, did not he walk up to you? - A. No; I laid hold of him.

Q. Did not he hold some conversation with you, and the footman, before he charged him? - A. No; he kept on the other side of the street, at a distance from us.

Q. Did he not walk back to you? - A. Yes; he made a sort of seint as if he had not belonged to their company.

Q. He went very readily to the watch-house? - A. He was obliged.

Q. You know there is a reward of forty pounds in this case? - A. I do not know.

Q. You, being a watchman, do not know that there is a reward of forty pounds for apprehending a person guilty of a burglary? - A. Not that I know of.

Q. You never heard of it? - A. No.

Q. How long have you been a watchman? - A. One year.

Prisoner's defence. I was coming from St. James's church to the Green-man and Still in Oxford-road, to go out of town to Uxbridge; I heard a noise in the street, I walked up Sackville-street, and saw a watchman and some people talking together; I asked what was the matter, and they said there were thieves, and asked me if I had met any men; I told them I had, and described them; I asked them what it was o'clock, and then the young man came, and said I was one of the robbers; I told him he was taking my character away; he said, if he was doing wrong his master would stand by him; I told him to take care of what he said; they searched me and found nothing but my watch.

The prisoner called five witnesses who gave a good character.

GUILTY (Aged 23.)

Of stealing the tinder-box, but not of the burglary.

Transported for seven years .

Tried by the first Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Justice BULLER.

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