9th January 1799
Reference Numbert17990109-4
VerdictNot Guilty

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83. ROBERT SHELTON was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 19th of November , two cotton gowns and coats, value 2l. a calico gown, value 1l. four petticoats, value 3l. a pair of stays, value 18s. a tea-pot, value 5s. a table-cloth, value 18s. six damask napkins, value 6s. another petticoat, value 10s. a muslin apron, value 8s. a yard and a quarter of binding, value 1d. thirteen buttons, value 2d. and a piece of sponge, value a halfpenny, the property of Elizabeth Kemp , in the dwelling-house of John Jones .

JOHN JONES sworn. - I live at No. 6. George-court, Snow-hill .

Q. Do you keep the house? - A. Yes; Mrs. Kemp left a box in my care the latter end of July, I do not know what it contained, it was put up in the garret, and in November last it was broke open, and the things gone; the lock was forced and broke, and the box empty, all but some waste paper; I cannot tell what day of the month it was, it might be about the beginning of the month; Mrs. Stevens, Mrs. Kemp's sister, found it broke open; she had wrote to her sister for some of her clothes, and she came to my house for them; the prisoner lodged in my house, he is a smith ; the box stood in his room.

ANN JONES sworn. - One morning as I was serving milk down Holborn-bridge, I saw Shelton going along with a great bundle under his arm -

Q. Was it near the time when Mrs. Stevens came to your house and found the box was broke open? - A. About ten days or a fortnight before that; I called to him, and said, is that you? he said, yes; I said, I thought you were in the hospital -

Q. Did he not lodge in your house? - A. Yes; but he went to the hospital about a fortnight before that; I asked him what that great bundle was; and he said, he was going to carry it to the other end of the town for a young man; I thought, sure the old man had not robbed me, and I ran up stairs, and found my things all safe.

Q. You do not know what was in that bundle? - A. No.

Q.(To John Jones .) I understood you, that the prisoner had lodged in your house till the time that Mrs. Stevens came? - A. Yes; he had been in the hospital, and lodged at my house five nights after; and before Mrs. Stevens came, there was another young man slept in the same room with the prisoner, he had slept in the room half a year, he lodges with me now; there were no other lodgers in the house; there was a young man slept there, it might be a week, while the prisoner was in the hospital.

Q.(To Mrs. Jones.) How long, after you had seen him with the bundle, did he return to lodge with you? - A. Three or four nights.

ANN STEVENS sworn. - I had the key of my sister's box, I locked it myself; I went again on the 20th, and found it broke open, and the contents gone.

ELIZABETH KEMP sworn. - I live at Lamport, in Northamptonshire: Upon hearing that my box was broke open I came to town, and, in the prisoner's room, I found a bundle containing about a yard and a half of silk ferret that had my private mark upon it; the prisoner had then quitted the lodging, and gone to another; I also found in the bundle a piece of sponge that I had left in the box, and a hank of buttons. The box contained, among other things, the goods mentioned in the indictment: there were two cotton gowns and coats, worth one pound each; four petticoats, worth three guineas, they cost me more; a white calico gown, worth one pound; a muslin apron, that cost me half-a-guinea, and all my muslin handkerchiefs and caps; a pair of stays, worth a guinea and a half; a tea-pot, worth five shillings; a tablecloth, worth eighteen shillings; half-a-dozen napkins, worth ten shillings; and a great many more things mentioned in the indictment; I have never found any of them again.

Mrs. Jones. The prisoner was gone away when Mrs. Stevens came, he had left an old coat and waistcoat, a pair of stockings, leather breeches, and jacket, they were good for nothing, in the bundle; I told Mrs. Kemp, he had left a bundle, and she might look if any of her things were there.

Q. How do you know that that bundle was his? - A. Because I had seen him wear the jacket and leather breeches.

Q. Had any other person lodged in the room after the prisoner had gone away, and before Mrs. Kemp came? - A. Yes, a barber lodged there, he lodges at my house now, he is not here; he works upon Snow-hill.

Q. What is his name? - A. I do not know, only Thomas. (An officer was sent by the Court to fetch him).

Q.(To Mrs. Jones). How came the prisoner to quit your house? - A. I do not know; when he came first, he agreed upon a week's warning, but he went away without giving me any warning; there was another person lodged with me at the

time, and does still, of the name of White, a porter; the prisoner said, first, I did not see him with a bundle, and then afterwards, he said, I did see him with a bundle, he was going to carry to be washed.

Q. You do not know whether any body had seen him about the house that day that you saw him go down Snow-hill? - A. No; my lodgers were both out at work.

Q. When you returned, after you had seen him upon Snow-hill, did you go up into the garret? - A. Yes, but I did not think any thing of the box.

THOMAS DENNIS sworn. - I am a hair-dresser; I have lodged at Jones's near a twelvemonth; I lodged in the same room that the prisoner did.

Q. Do you remember the prisoner going to the hospital? - A. Yes.

Q. Did any other person logde in the same room before he went to the hospital? - A. Yes.

Q.What was he? - A. A porter; he lodges in the same house now.

Q. How long had he lodged in the same room? - A.About a month before the prisoner went to the hospital.

Q. Do you remember a box in that room of Mrs. Kemp's? - A. Yes.

Q. Do you know whether the box was locked, or open, at that time? - A. I do not know.

Q. Do you remember the time that Mrs. Stevens came and found it open? - A. No.

Q.Was that box in the garret before you came to lodge there? - A. I cannot say.

Q. Do not you know the name of the man that lodged in the same room with you? - A. No; I go in at night, and come out in the morning; I very seldom say any thing to any body.

Q. Did you ever see any thing of any bundle? - A. No, never.

Q. Did you sleep in the same bed with this man? - A. No, I slept by myself.

Q. Did you ever see any buttons or sponge? - A. No, I never took any notice of any thing of that kind.

Q.(To Mrs. Jones.) Whereabout was this bundle lying that you speak of? - A. At the corner of the chimney close to his bed-side; any body might see it that took any notice of it.

Q. How many beds were there in the room? - A.Three.

Q. What became of the jacket and the breeches? - A. They are at our house now. The man that Thomas speaks of is a Quaker, and works at a chemist and druggist's; White lodged in the two pair of stairs.

Prisoner's defence. I had a kick over the knee by a bullock; I went into the hospital, and came away sooner than I ought to have done, because I wanted to get to work; I saw Mrs. Jones one morning, and paid her two shillings, and promised to come again, and pay her the rest, and told her, I would take away my bundle; they came and fetched me out of the shop where I was at work, and took me to Hatton-garden; I told her where I was at work, in Bath-street, Cold-bath-fields; that piece of sponge I have had these two years; and the buttons came off a pair of gaiters that were in the bundle; the buttons of one are on, and the other off.

Q.(To Mrs. Jones). Was there a pair of gaiters in the bundle? - A. Yes; one with buttons, and the other without.

Q.(To John Jones ). Are the buttons that you have here, the same kind of buttons with those upon the other? - A. I cannot say.

Court. Then you must go and fetch the bundle.

Q.(To Mrs. Jones). Did he pay you two shillings in part of payment? - A. Yes, he did.

Q. Did he tell you where he worked? - A. No; when I asked him, he said, it was somewhere about Cold-bath-fields.

Q.(To Mrs. Kemp.) Where did the buttons come from that you lost? - A.Off my husband's waistcoat.

Q. What were the number? - A.Thirteen.

Q. Do you say that from having counted them since? - A. Yes; but I knew there were either twelve or thirteen.

Q. Were they all of a size? - A. No, not quite.

Q. Has this silk ferret ever been used? - A. Yes, as a binding for my pocket.

Q. This mark you made, is a mark for the pocket? - A. Yes.(Jones produces a bundle, but the buttons on the gaiter did not correspond at all with them).

The prisoner produced three buttons from his waistcoat and jacket, but they did not correspond.

Seven witnesses were called, who gave the prisoner a good character NOT GUILTY .

Tried by the London Jury, before Mr. Justice LAWRENCE.

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