14th February 1798
Reference Numbert17980214-34
VerdictsGuilty; Guilty; Not Guilty; Not Guilty
SentencesDeath; Death

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177. CHARLES FREWIN , GEORGE BOWERS , WILLIAM EATON , and CATHERINE PHILLIPS , were indicted, the first three for breaking and entering the dwelling-house of John Burford , about the hour of one in the night of the 17th of December , the said John, and others of his family, being therein, with intent the goods of the said John burglariously to steal, and stealing five cloth coats, value 5l. a cloth great coat, value 40s. a man's hat, value 10s. six muslin neck handkerchiefs, value 12s. six pair of silk stockings, value 12s. two calico pocket-handkerchiefs, value 4s. two pair of silver spurs, value 21s. two volumes, bound, in octavo, of Smollett's works, value 2s. a muslin neck-handkerchief, value 1s. 6d. a silk handkerchief, value 2s. a calico pocket-handkerchief, value 14d. and a pair of steel scissars, value 6d. the property of the said John Burford ; and Catherine Phillips, for receiving part of the same goods knowing them to have been stolen .

The case was opened by Mr. Gurney.

JOHN BURFORD sworn. - Examined by Mr. Gurney. I am a clerk in the India-House , I live at No. 2, Artillery-place , there is a garden at the back of my house which is separated from the Artillery-ground by a wall: On the 17th of December, I went to bed about twelve o'clock; about eight in the morning I got up, and found the kitchen window-shutters had been cut by a centre-bit, and the bell broke.

Q. Was the shutter sufficiently broke to admit any person in? - A. Yes, after the bar was removed; the bolts of the kitchen door were forced, and the door opened.

Q.Have you lost the property that you have laid in this indictment? - A. I certainly have.

Q.Do you remember to have lost a blue coat? - A. Yes, it was taken out of my wardrobe; two volumes of Smollett's works, and a silk handkerchief.

Q. Have you seen any of your property since? - A. Yes, at Bow-street.

Cross-examined by Mr. Alley. Q. On the morning of the 18th, you discovered the robbery about eight o'clock? - A. Yes.

Q.You know nothing, of your own knowledge, of what passed in the night? - A. No.

Q.Does any body live in the house with you? - A. Yes, my own family.

Q. Did your servants sleep there that night? - A. Yes.

Q. The bell was broke, I take it for granted; there would have been some alarm if any degree of violence had been used? - A. I did not hear any alarm.

ALEXANDER WIFFIN sworn. - I am footman to Mr. Burford: I fastened the back kitchen window the night of the robbery, it was fastened by a bar and a bell, I fastened it between the hours of twelve and one; I went to bed as soon as I had fastened it up.

Q.What time did you come down in the morning? - A. Not till eight o'clock in the morning; it was then day-light.

ELIZABETH TRUMAN sworn. - Examined by Mr. Gurney. I am cook to Mr. Burford: On the morning of the 18th, I got up between seven and eight -

Q. Was it day-light? - A. It was a little daylight.

Q. Was there light sufficient to see the countenance of a man? - A. Yes; when I came down, I found all the doors open, and then I went and called my fellow servants.

Q.How long had it been day-light before you came down stairs? - A. I think about a quarter of an hour.

Q.Tell us if there was any extraordinary appearance that struck you? - A. I found all the drawers open, and all the things lying about the floor; I found a piece of candle wrapped up in an apron, and a great many drops of candle in the drawing-room, and in different rooms, and all the way up stairs.

Q. In what room? - A. The drawing-room, and the two parlours; and the dressing-room, and the bed-room where two children slept.

JOHN COCKAYNE sworn. - Examined by Mr. Gurney. I belong to the Public-office, Bow-street: I went along with John Gibbs and Peter Perry to the Tower, on the 1st of January, where we apprehended George Bowers and Charles Frewin; we then went to Saltpetre-bank, where they live, and there we found the property now produced; there are three rooms in the house, one upon a floor; on the ground-floor we found a bundle containing two counterpanes, three cloaks, and other articles now in Court. (Produces them).

JOHN HEARNE sworn. - Examined by Mr. Gurney. I live at Saltpetre-bank, I am a bricklayer: I know the two prisoners, Frewin and Bowers: I let George Bowers a whole house, at three shillings and three-pence a week, and Frewin lived with him, Bowers paid me the rent; Frewin had the one pair of stairs, and Bowers told me that he lived in the first floor, and slept in the garret.

Q. Was Frewin ever with Bowers when he told you which rooms they separately occupied? - A. Yes, he was, more than once or twice; there is no number to the house, it is at the corner of a court.

Cross-examined by Mr. Alley. Q. How long is it since you let this house to this man? - A. It might be four months back.

Q. They are both soldiers you know? - A. Yes.

Q. You know they were on duty at the Tower, when they were taken into custody? - A. Yes.

Q. You do not mean to say, of your own knowledge, that they have occupied that house lately, before that time? - A. I saw him knock at the door about five in the morning, and saw him go in.

Q. Do you mean to say that Frewin was with Bowers, when he told you? - A. Yes; I told him he had better not have the house, as he would have to pay something more than he had done before, and he told me he had got a comrade that would have his first floor; Frewin was with him at that time, and he has said that several times in the presence of Frewin; Frewin desired, after he was in custody, that I would let his brother-in-law have his things, I went to the house, and I found in a box, in Frewin's apartment, this horse-pistol, (producing it;) afterwards, Bowers's wife wished to have her property; I took a stove out of the fire-place, but did not pull down the hob; I went to let the house a few days after, and in pulling down the hob, I found these keys all pushed underneath, (producing a parcel of picklock keys;) this was in Bowers's apartment.

Mr. Alley. Q. This was some time after the prisoners had left the house? - A. Yes; some days after they were taken.

Cockayne called again. - Examined by Mr. Gurney. Q. Can you tell us, first of all, what you found on the ground-floor? - A. The first thing was a bundle, tied up in a black apron, it contained two counterpanes, three cloaks, and other articles now in Court, (produces them;) I found this dark-lanthorn

in the cupboard, a tinder-box, a centre-bit, and the stock; I found the bit in the lower-room, and the stock in the garret; this cutlass I found in Bowers's room, and three hats, there is only one of them here; Gibbs and Perry searched Frewin's room, on the 1st of February; I apprehended Eaton and Phillips, at No. 4, White-street, Little Moorfields, in the front parlour, they were both in bed; the first thing I found in his room was a pair of boots, and in one of the boots was a crow about twelve inches long; I likewise found this waistcoat, with a knife, and some matches, and in the other pocket, a gimblet; I found there also, a white pocket handkerchief, a silk handkerchief, a neck handkerchief, and a pair of scissars, and in Eaton's drawers, which he said he had given four guineas for, I found this duplicate of a table-cloth, and a neck handkerchief, the pawnbroker is here.

Cross-examined by Mr. Alley. Q. It was a month after the apprehension of Bowers and Frewin, before you apprehended the other two prisoners? - A. Yes.

Q.They had two or three examinations, had not they? - A. Yes.

Q. And it was a matter very public? - A. Yes, it was.

JOHN GIBBS sworn. - Examined by Mr. Gurney. I am an officer of Bow-street; I was with the last witness at Bowers and Frewin's.

Q. Did you search the first-floor? - A. Yes; I found two books, two volumes of Smollett's works, a blue coat, two pair of stockings, and a silk handkerchief.

Q.(To Mrs. Burford.) Look at these two books? - A. These are the first and sixth volumes; I have brought the second with me, they correspond exactly in the binding, they are the two volumes that I lost.

Q. Look at that blue coat? - A. I believe this to be mine; the lining of the right-hand pocket is wore more than the other, by the wearing of a snuff-box, the linings have been taken out of the sleeves, or I could have proved it with more certainty, because I always have, to all my coats, a piece of silk at the bottom of the sleeve; I lost stockings of this pattern, but the mark is taken out, this pocket handkerchief I cannot swear positively to.

Mrs. LUCY BURFORD sworn. - Examined by Mr. Gurney. I am the wife of Mr. Burford.

Q.Observe the corner of that handkerchief where there has been a mark, and see if there is sufficient remaining for you to speak to it? - A. I am not certain, I lost two such handkerchiefs.

Q. Look at the stockings? - A. I lost several pair of stockings, here is upon one of these a letter B, from which I believe them to be my husband's.

Q. Have you, in your pocket, a fellow stocking to that? - A. I have, (produces it;) they correspond.

Q. Be so good as look at that neck handkerchief that was found in Frewin's room? - A. I will not pretend to swear to it, but I verily believe that to be Mr. Burford's.

Mr. Gurney. Now we will go to Bowers's room.

Q.(To Mr. Burford.) Did you lose a hat? - A. Yes.

Q. The hat you lost had a lining to it? - A. Yes.

Q. This has not, see if there is any name in it? - A. There is my name in the side of the crown; I bought it of Mr. Settree, in the Strand.

JOHN GENT sworn. - Examined by Mr. Gurney. I live with Mr. Settree.

Q. Look at that hat, do you know it? - A. Yes; there is my private mark in it; I saw Mr. Settree write Mr. Burford's name in it, I carried it home myself to Mr. Burford's last June.

Q.(To Mrs. Burford.) Are there any of these handkerchiefs that you can speak to? - A. I can speak to all of them; I am certain they are mine, the silk handkerchief, a white handkerchief with a red border, the neck handkerchief, the names have been picked out; this silk handkerchief I believe to me mine, I have others of the same sort; the neck handkerchief I can swear to, it has a darn of my own.

Q. The pocket handkerchief with a red border? - A. I have one in my pocket exactly the same,(produces it;) which has the mark of J B upon it, and it corresponds exactly with this handkerchief.

Q. Look at the scissars? - A. They have been in use a great length of time, in constant use for ten years, and I firmly believe them to be mine.

WILLIAM SMITH sworn. - Examined by Mr. Gurney. I am servant to Mr. Parker, a pawnbroker, the corner of Wood-street.

Q.Look at that duplicate? - A.It is my writing, I took in a table cloth and a silk handkerchief, to the best of my knowledge, from the prisoner Phillips, on the 26th of January, I had seen her several times before, (produces a table-cloth;) I delivered the silk handkerchief to Cockayne.

Q. Have you any doubt that it was the prisoner? - A. I have none.

Q. In what name did she pawn them? - A. In the name of Phillips, the table-cloth is not claimed.

Cockayne. This is the handkerchief that I received from Smith.

Mr. Gurney. (To Cockayne.) Q. Do you know what these keys are? - A. They are false keys, to get into people's apartments.

Mrs. Burford. - Cross-examined by Mr. Alley. Q. On these handkerchiefs there are no marks, except one darn? - A.There are not.

Q. Ladies darn very much alike, do they not? - A.Not always.

Q. Will you, knowing that the life of one of these men depends upon your swearing to that darn, will you swear to its being your darning? - A. I would not swear to a thing that I was not certain of.

Q. But knowing the possibility of being mistaken in so trifling a circumstance, will you undertake to swear that this is your darn? - A. I have no doubt of it.

Q. As to these scissars, they are such as may be bought in any shop in London? - A. I have had them in constant use for ten years.

Q. Will you swear that that handkerchief with the darn in it is worth one shilling? - A.It is not worth a great deal.

Mr. Gurney. Q.What do you think it is worth? - A. I think it is worth 1s. 6d. or 2s.

The prisoner Frewin left his defence to his Counsel.

Bowers's defence. On New-Year's day, about six o'clock in the morning, as we were going to our duty, we picked up a large bundle by the Towerditch, and we had not time to look to see what was in it, we took it home, and went back to our duty at the Tower, and when we came to the Tower, we were apprehended and taken to Bow-street.

Ealon's defence. I am quite innocent of the charge that is laid against me, I was taken out of bed, and carried to prison, and from there to Bow-street.

Phillips's defence. Eaton had had these things before I went to live with him, and I pawned them as his property.

For Eaton.

JOSEPH DEAVES sworn. - Examined by Mr. Alley. I am a carpenter, No. 4, White-street.

Q. Do you know the prisoner Eaton? - A. Yes; he lodged with me when he was apprehended; the woman prisoner lived with him as his wife.

Q. Do you recollect how long he has lodged in your house? - A. Some time in the month of December.

Q. What time do you generally shut your doors at night? - A.About ten at night; I never knew him to my knowledge out of my house but once, after ten o'clock at night.

Q. When was that time? - A. Some time in the Christmas time, I cannot recollect exactly, I know him to be a very honest man, and Catherine Phillips is very honest too.

Cross-examined by Mr. Gurney. Q. What part of December did he come to lodge with you? - A. The beginning.

Q. Where did Eaton and Phillips sleep? - A. In the front parlour.

Q. Where did you sleep? - A. In the back parlour.

Q. I need not ask which is the nighest to the front door? - A. The front parlour; if any body was to open the door I should hear it; I generally wake if a noise is made.

Q. But if the door was opened without making a noise, it would not wake you? - A. If it was a very little noise, I should hear it.

Q. Do you mean to swear, that in no night in December, your door was opened after ten o'clock, but that one? - A. Yes.

Q.Was that night before or after Christmas? - A.After.

Q. Are you sure of that? - A. Yes.

Q.How far is Mr. Burford's house from your's? - A. About four hundred yards.

Court. Q. What is Eaton? - A. A smith.

Q. What time did he usually go out? - A. I go out generally about six o'clock, and I find the door open generally.

Q.Did you hear the door open? - A. Yes.

Q. Where did he work? - A. I heard that he had a shop in Wyeh-street.

Q.How far is that from you? - A. A long way, I suppose it is a mile from me.

The prisoner, Eaton, called three other witnesses, and Frewin three witnesses, who gave them a good character.

Frewin, GUILTY Death . (Aged 26.)

Bowers, GUILTY Death . (Aged 23.)


Phillips, NOT GUILTY .

Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Mr. Justice ROOKE.

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