12th September 1798
Reference Numbert17980912-5
VerdictGuilty > lesser offence
SentenceImprisonment > house of correction; Miscellaneous > fine

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471. JANE CURTIS was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 3d of August , a silk cloak, value 3l. the property of John Richardson , privately in his shop .

(The case was opened by Mr. Const.)

JOHN RICHARDSON sworn. - Examined by Mr. Const. I am a silk-mercer , No. 112, Oxford-road : Mrs. Curtis, with another woman, came to my shop, and asked to look at some cloaks; I asked her the price, and she said about three pounds; I shewed her a good many, she at last fixed on one for which she was to pay four pounds five shillings; I then put it up in a piece of paper, and asked her if she wanted any thing else; and she had enough for a petticoat, cut off a piece of callimanco, that was put into a paper; I then asked her if she would pay for them, she gave me her address, and desired me to send them home, and she would pay for them in the morning; she said she was not sure whether she would have that at four pounds five shillings, or one at four pounds, but she would say in the morning; when the things were put up I thought she looked confused; I asked her again for the money, and Mrs. Hutchinson, who was with her, said, to be sure she would pay for them; I began to suspect them, but being genteelly dressed I did not like to speak to her; I went after them, and said it was a very delicate thing, but I was afraid she had something more than she ought to have; I then saw, under her cloak, my cloak, I took it from her and brought her back, and sent for a constable; she said, she hoped I would not send her to prison, and begged I would consider her situation.

Q. What is the value of your cloak? - A. It cost me three guineas and sixpence. (Produces it.)

Court. Q. How do you know that that is your cloak? - A. I know it by the number and the mark, it was the very first cloak I had shewn her; she objected to it on account of the lace being of a bad colour.

Cross-examined by Mr. Knapp. Q. You knew Mrs. Hutchinson? - A. I knew there was such a person who lives in Oxford-road, they have lived there a long time.

Q. Have you any reason to doubt that that person who was with her was the Mrs. Hutchinson who lived in Oxford-road? - A. No.

Q. The prisoner at the bar gave you her address? - A. Yes, Running-horse-yard, King-street, Portman-square; I went the same evening to enquire, and found that she lived there.

Q. Did she give you any reason why she would not pay for it then? - A. Because she had not made up her mind which of the two she would have.

Q. Did she say any thing about her husband at that time? - A. No.

Q. Did you find out who her husband was? - A. Yes, a horse-dealer.

Q. Did not he provide horses for the King's troops on the Continent? - A. I do not know; the people I enquired of said he had been on the Continent.

Q. There were a great many cloaks lying upon the counter? - A. Yes.

Q. It might have slipped down? - A. It might, but it could not have slipped under her arm.

Q. Where did you apprehend her? - A. She had not got past the window.

Q. Was not she looking at some articles in the window? - A. Yes, she was just going to move off.

Court. Q. Did you make any enquiry respecting Mrs. Hutchinson? - A. Yes; she answered the description of that Mrs. Hutchinson of Oxford-road, she wore spectacles, and is a person of very good character.

DAVID ALEXANDER sworn. - Examined by Mr. Const. I am shopman to Mr. Richardson: The prisoner came into my master's shop, she looked at a great many cloaks, she fixed upon one and ordered it to be sent home the next morning; she gave her address, she refused to pay for them, she went away, and Mr. Richardson followed her, I followed him; Mrs. Curtis and Mrs. Hutchinson were at that time looking in at the window; Mr. Richardson pulled her cloak on one side, and I saw the cloak under her arm; he brought her back, and then Mrs. Hutchinson exclaimed, oh Mrs. Curtis!

Cross-examined by Mr. Alley. Q. She was looking in at the shop window? - A. Yes.

Q. That is the way you generally bring customers in, by placing goods in the window, is it not? - A. Yes.

The prisoner called seven witnesses, who gave her a most excellent character.

GUILTY (Aged 42.)

Of stealing the goods, but not privily .

Tried by the first Middlesex Jury, before The LORD CHIEF BARON.

[Imprisonment. See summary.]

[Fine. See summary.]

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