2nd December 1801
Reference Numbert18011202-59

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59. AMY STAPLES was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 12th of November , six silver table-spoons, value 3l. and a silver nutmeg-grater, value 2s. the property of Susannah Penfold , in her dwelling-house .

SUSANNAH PENFOLD sworn. - Examined by Mr. Knowlys. Q. You are a widow , and live in Howland-street ? - A. I am; the prisoner had been in my service between four and five months; near five months.

Q. Who first gave you any alarm that your house had been robbed on the 12th of November? - A. The prisoner, between seven and eight in the morning she came up, and said, Ma'am, you are ruined intirely, for your desk is broke open, and all your money gone; one of the closets is broke open in which the plate was, and that the plate was gone. The plate was kept in two closets, one in the from parlour, and the other in the back parlour; she begged I would not go down, for it would frighten me very much, and desired I would let her go for my son; I told her to go to Upper Berkeley-street for him; when she was gone, I dressed myself, and went below stairs; I found the plate-cupboard open, the key of which was in my pocket.

Q. Do you know who had locked the cupboard the night before? - A. I had double-locked it the night before, and she stood by me.

Q. Did the lock appear to have been picked or forced? - A. There were no marks of violence at all.

Q. What quantity of plate did you miss from there? - A. A large quantity.

Q. Among the rest there were six silver tablespoons? - A. Yes, which I have seen since.

Q. In consequence of what you observed, did you send for Mr. Meller? - A. Yes, and by his advive I sent for Crocker, an officer, from Bow-street.

Q. Did Crocker come before the prisoner came back? - A. Yes; when she came home, she looked

about, and said, every thing is gone; she went down to shew Crocker the place where she thought the thieves had got in; after they had been gone down a little while, Crocker called out that he could not hold her, and I must come and assist him; I went down, and found the prisoner on the floor, and Crocker had hold of her; Mr. Meller then came down; they took off her pockets; and opened them in my presence; a silver nulmeggrater and half a dozen silver table-spoons were found upon her, with my name upon them, H. S. P. my late husband's name was Hugh; they had been osually kept in the closet in the parlour, which had been broke open; I had seen them a day or two before.

JAMES MELLER sworn - Examined by Mr. Knowlys. Q. I believe you are the King's Bench officer of Customs? - A. I am, and live in Howland-street.

Q. What was the first thing you observed when you went to Mrs. Penford's? - A. I found Crocker laying upon the prisoner on the floor; he asked me for God's sake to lay hold of her arm; I did, and desired she might be searched; she said, she had nothing at all about her; I pulled her up by the arm, and said, if you have nothing about you, you need not be afraid of being searched; Crocker by that time had got at her pockets, and took out of her pocket six silver table-spoons.

Q. When they were found, did she say any thing? - A. Not a word.

Q. Do you know the value of those spoons? - A. I should suppose they cost about five pounds.

Court. Q. Are they worth three pounds? - A. Yes, they certainly are.

HENRY CROCKER sworn. - Examined by Mr. Knowlys. Q. You are an officer belonging to Bow-street? - A. I am one of the conductors of the patrole: On Thursday, the 12th of November, I was sent for to Mrs. Penfold's house; the prisoner told me she had been robbed, and likewise her mistress; she said, she had been robbed of a two-pound note and her cloak. I looked at the premises, and observing something suspicious, I asked her where she had lost her cloak from; she shewed a drawer; I then asked her where she had lost the note from; she shewed me a place in the kitchen drawer; she said, she had lost it out of a letter; I then suspected her, and said, my girl, perhaps in your sturry, you have put the two-pound note in your pocket; she said, no, she had not; I desired her to be sure, and search; she put her hand in her pocket, and was unwilling to pull any thing out, which strenghtened my suspicion very much, and I said, stop a minute, and let your mistress search you; there were two other maidservants by; I went to lay hold of her, and she immediately resisted; in the struggle, she and I fell together, I sent one of the servants to fetch some gentleman to my assistance, and I kept her hunds fast, that she should not throw any thing away; Mr. Moller then came, and held her hands; I got at her pocket, and took six silver table-spoons out, which I have had ever since. (Produces them.)

Q. (To Mrs. Penfold.) Look at those spoons? - A. Those are the spoons I lost from my cupboard:

Q. (To Crocker.) Did the prisoner say any thing? - A. Yes, she said she had picked them up on the stairs, and had put them in her pocket.

Q. Did it appear to you that the house had been broke into from the outside? - A. People might have got in the way she shewed me, but it was the most unaccountable robbery that ever was committed if they did; there was a ladder in the yard, and there were such very small marks of violence, I suspected very much some person in the house.

The prisoner did not say any thing in her defence.

GUILTY , Death , aged 26.

First Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Justice Grose.

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