SARAH WILLIS, ANN SYDNEY, Royal Offences > coining offences, 12th September 1798.

Reference Number: t17980912-18
Offence: Royal Offences > coining offences
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death
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483. SARAH WILLIS and ANN SYDNEY were indicted for that they, on the 4th of July , a piece of base coin resembling a shilling, falsely, deceitfully, feloniously and traitorously did colour, with material producing the colour of silver .

Second Count. For that they, a round blank of base metal of a fit size and figure to be coined to the resemblance of a shilling, did colour, with materials producing the colour of silver.

And, in two other Counts, for colouring, with materials producing the colour of silver, a piece of base metal resembling a sixpence.(The indictment was stated by Mr. Cullen, and the case opened by Mr. Fielding).

JOHN ARMSTRONG sworn. - Examined by Mr. Cullen. I am an officer: In consequence of a warrant, on Wednesday, the 24th of July, between ten and eleven o'clock in the morning, I went to No. 21, New Compton-street , in company with Wray, Harper and Peach; I went into the house by a passage door, and there was a woman who screamed, murder, and stamped; I then went through the parlour into the kitchen; when I got near the bottom of the stairs, the prisoner, Sydney, passed me without a bed-gown; there is a back kitchen and a fore one; I went into the back kitchen, being dark, and said, holloa, who is here; the prisoner, Willis, said, I am here, or something to that effect; I brought her out; when she came up stairs in the light, we found her without a bed-gown, the same as Sydney, in her hand was one shilling, which appeared to be good, and two others in her pocket, which are good, (produces them); she being secured, we got a candle; I then, with her, went into the front kitchen, this bason was turned topsey-turvey, and the liquid that was in it was all run on the floor; in the front kitchen, the sash was thrown up that went under the area in the front of the street, but that window was bolted, that, without a light, we could not have seen; I observed something white against the brick wall; I and Wray went and picked up this bason, which has the remains of some cream of tartar in it; this sixpence being on the frame of the window, I believe that is a good one; in the same area, these counterfeit sixpences lay among some saw-dust, and this tea-pot, with some salt, and this broken bason; Wray has the money that was found in the front kitchen, except this sixpence where the bason was. This box was with this rag, and this woman's dirty cap, and a pair of scissars; there was a candlestick with a piece of candle lying on the floor, but not so that we could tell that it had been lighted lately; in the back kitchen, where Willis was taken from, were these two basons, in one of which there appears a settlement of cream of tartar. Both the prisoners fingers and thumbs were as if they had been using these kind of ingredients. Wray searched the place afterwards.

JOHN WRAY sworn. - Examined by Mr. Fielding. I went with Armstrong to this house; Armstrong went in first; and in the first room there was a woman stamped, and cried out, murder; then we went down into the kitchen; just as we got to the bottom of the stairs, Sydney passed us, I caught her, and delivered her to Harper, who then went and got a light, and went into the front kitchen; a large bason was the first thing I perceived, it had been kicked up, and there was a great deal of liquid upon the floor, I cannot say what that liquid was; there was a fire place, but no grate in it, there I found a great quantity of base money, some on the hearth, and some in the fire-place, (produces it); there are very near a hundred sixpences, and about thirty-five shillings, they were all over wet, some of them stuck against the back of the chimney, and the wet was dripping down; I picked off, I think, four. There was only one chair there, and this box turned down; there was no furniture there at all. After making a further search, I found some in the back kitchen, that was bad money too, wrapped up in a paper, five shillings and seven sixpences. There was a candlestick and a piece of candle lying upon the floor, which appeared to me to have been very recently put out, the snuff was not stiff; and I found this blacking-pot.

SAMUEL HARPER sworn. - Examined by Mr. Fielding. I was with the rest of the officers, on the 4th of July: I went into the parlour, there was a woman crying out, murder, and stamping on the floor, I secured her, and took her into the back room; then the two prisoners were brought to me without gowns or stays, and I secured them; their hands were very black, as if they had been at work at that sort of business. I afterwards went down and saw the liquid spread about, and I saw the things that Mr. Wray had found.

Mr. Fielding. (To Armstrong). Q. Explain the use of these things? - A. That liquid is used to bring the silver to the surface; after that it is dipped in water, and wiped it with a rag, they rub it between their fingers, and wipe it with a rag, and then the blacking is the last thing that is used, to take off the appearance of newness, and make them fit for circulation.

HENRY-WILLIAM ATKINSON sworn. - Two of these sixpences are very good, all the rest are base; two of the shillings are good.

Willis's defence. The apartment did not belong to me, I only rent the parlour and the shop; I went down into the back kitchen to get a basket, to divide some strawberries; the officers saw the strawberries.

Q. (To Armstrong.) Did you see any strawberries in the house? - A. Yes, they were claimed by a woman who was discharged; we took five women to the magistrates; there was no basket in the house; they were claimed by the same woman that made the stamping.

Willis. As to the dirt upon my hands it was copperas and logwood that I had been dying a gown with, it came off directly with a little warm water and some soap.

Sydney's defence. I know nothing at all about the place; I was benighted, and had gone there to shift as well as I could for the night.

Jury. (To Armstrong.) Q. How were their nails? - A. They were quite yellow, and their fingers black almost all the way up with rubbing.

Q. (To Wray.) Did you observe their nails? - A. Yes; they were very yellow, and the fingers black.

Q. (To Harper.) Did you observe them? - A. Yes; they were exactly as they have been described, and they were so for two or three days.

Willis, GUILTY Death . (Aged 40.)

Sydney, GUILTY Death. (Aged 27.)

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


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