16th April 1806
Reference Numbert18060416-64
VerdictsGuilty; Guilty; Not Guilty

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278. ELIZABETH CLARK and MARY WESTON , were indicted for feloniously stealing on the 18th of March , two silver watches, value 3 l. a gold watch, value 4 l. two silver teapots, value 10 l. 10 s. five silver table spoons, value 2 l. four silver tea spoons, value 10 s. eight handkerchiefs, value 1 l. 4 s. and one shawl, value 4 s. the property of Johanna Witts , in the dwelling house of William Field and MARY WILTS , for that she on the same day feloniously did receive, harbour, and counsel the said Elizabeth Clark and Mary Weston , she then and there well knowing them to have been committing the aforesaid felony .

JOHANNA WITTS sworn. I am a widow ; when my husband died I kept a lodging-house in Water-lane, Fleet-street, I live now in a lodging in Little Drury-lane .

Q. What part of the house have you. - A. A one pair of stairs back room in Mr. Field's house, I do not know whether his name is Thomas or William.

Q. What was your husband. - A. He was a carman.

Q. How long have you lived in this Little Drury-lane. - A. About three weeks.

Q. Tell us what happened to you. - A. I went to market to buy some beef steaks, and when I came from market I had a little drop more than did me good.

Q. What day of the month was this. - A. The 18th of March.

Q. What o'clock was it when you went to market. - A. Between eleven and twelve o'clock.

Q. You got exceeding drunk. - A. Because I am not used to liquor; I came home about one o'clock, I laid down on the bed, they picked my pocket.

Q. That you do not know, you was drunk, you laid down on the bed and slept. - A. When I was on the bed, they took the keys out of my pocket, and unlocked the trunk.

Q. Was you awake when they did that. - A. No.

Q. Then if I understand you you was very drunk, you laid down on the bed and fell asleep. - A. I did, I awoke about three o'clock, I found they were gone and the trunk was open, I went to look for my things, I found they were gone out of the trunk.

Q. You have not explained who you mean by they. - A. Elizabeth Clarke and Mary Weston , they lived with me in the same room, and they laid with me the night before.

Q. How long have you known the prisoner Clarke. A. About four or five months, she only came to lodge with me when she had no lodgings.

Q. What is she. - A. A girl of the town, I believe.

Q. How long has Mary Weston lived with you at these lodgings. - A. She came the second day after I was there, I had been three weeks there at the time I was robbed.

Q. What is her way of life. - A. She told me that she was a bookbinder.

Q. You know that she is an unfortunate girl. - A. I believe she is, she said she had a husband, and he was gone to sea.

Q. Any body else live with you. - A. She brought a young woman to live with me that night besides herself.

Q. What is her name. - A. Susannah Blake .

Q. Who brought her. - A. Mary Weston .

Q. Then you all four laid together, she is an unfortunate girl too. - A. Yes.

Q. You drank a good deal before you went to bed. - A. Yes.

Q. Did they drink with you. - A. Three of them did.

Q. Who stood treat, did you treat them all. - A No, they treated me.

Q. What was your liquor. - A. Gin.

Q. What had you in this box. - A. I had a good many things in this box, clothes, and two silver watches, a gold watch, two silver teapots, five large table spoons, four tea spoons, eight handkerchiefs, and a shawl, they were in the box when I went out.

Q. How came you in possession of all these things. A. I had this property before I had my second husband.

Q. Which husband was that. - A. Mr. Jones, he was clerk and outrider to Mrs. Thomas of Bristol.

Q. Were all these things, this gold watch and silver things his property. - A. I had a nephew that went to France, he had this gold watch in pawn, he asked me to take it out, and when he took his wages he would redeem it.

Q. How came you to have the two silver tea pots. A. One I had a good many years, and the other I got in the lottery, I bought it with the produce of a sixteenth.

Weston. Q. (to prosecutrix) Did not you send me to pledge the tea pot in your name at a pawnbroker's in Holborn. - A. No, it is as false as God is true.

Q. The cloak that you have on I pledged for you for a guinea and a half. - A. I pawned it myself, this young woman went with me, because I was rather in liquor.

SUSANNAH BLAKE sworn. Q. What are you. - A. I lived with this old woman a fortnight before Christmas day, at her house in Water-lane.

Q. That house was a nuisance to the neighbourhood, she was obliged to quit the house in Water-lane. - A. Yes.

Q. When she quitted that house she left the ladies behind her. - A. Yes.

Q. Did Clarke and Weston live with her in Water-lane. - A. No, only me.

Q. You used to see company, did not you. - A. Sometimes.

Q. Mrs. Witts knew that, did not she. - A. Yes.

Q. Was the house indicted. - A. No, her son keeps the house now in Water-lane.

Q. When did you come to this house in Drury-lane. - A. I slept there a few nights with her.

Q. Do you know the day of the month that she went out and got so drunk. - A. I do not.

Q. There where you slept, there was Elizabeth Clarke , Mary Weston , and Mrs. Witts, you all four slept there. - A. Yes.

Q. What hour did she go to market. - A. I think it was about ten o'clock in the morning, I think she returned about twelve.

Q. When she returned was she sober. - A. No, far from it, she was very much intoxicated, Mrs. Witts went out and came home again, and then went out a second time, and left Betsey Clarke and Poll Weston; I went out with Mrs. Witts, she was going to look at another lodging; I saw Poll Weston take the keys out of her pocket as she lay asleep on the bed.

Q. When she took the keys out of her pocket what did she do with them. - A. She put them under the bed till she found an opportunity of opening the box, and then she put the keys into Mrs. Witts' pocket again; after Mrs. Witts had her nap, she got up to go out, I went with her, I returned and found them both coming down stairs with the property in their laps; I went with them to Charing Cross, and we drove to the bottom of Holborn, there the coach stopped, and Poll Weston went out and pawned two watches.

Q. Who remained in the coach. - A. Betsy Clarke , the old woman ( Mary Wilts ), and me, remained in the coach while she went and pawned them; we waited at Covent Garden while Betsy Clarke went and fetched Wilts, before we took the coach at Charing Cross; Betsy Clarke returned to Poll Weston, me, and Mrs. Wilts, and said they would lend no more than a guinea and a half upon the two watches, and she thought it a great deal too little, she asked Mrs. Wilt, whether she had not better pawn the watches, Mrs. Wilts said she had better return back and pawn the two watches, which she did; they were pawned for a guinea and a half; then we told the coachman to drive us to the top of Holborn; Poll Weston and Betsy Clarke went and pawned the tea pot for two pounds.

Q. You did not go with them. - A. I did not; we all of us went to a hatter's shop at the top of Holborn, and we bought a black beaver hat for each of us; we went to a public house near Drury-lane, Poll Weston then had the property in her apron at that time, we stopped at the public house till twelve o'clock, Betsy Clarke and I left Poll Weston with the property.

Q. Did you get drunk. - A. I did not, nor the other young woman did not; we left Mrs. Wilts with Poll Weston, I do not know what she did with the rest of the property.

Q. Now, my girl, did you see the rest of the property. - A. I saw them in her apron.

Q. What were they. - A. A silver tea pot, a gold watch, and several India silk handkerchiefs, and a silk shawl, five silver table spoons, and four silver tea spoons.

Q. Was Mrs. Witts exceeding drunk. - A. She was.

Q. She is apt to get drunk, is not she. - A. Yes.

JAMES - sworn. I live with Mr. Warner, High Holborn; the prisoner brought this tea pot in to pledge, and a girl of the name of Clarke was behind her.

Q. When was it. - A. On the 19th of March, about eight o'clock in the evening, I lent her two guineas on it, I am sure she is the girl, I had known her about two years.

Q. Could you take in such a pot as that without suspecting her. - A. I did suspect her, but she evaded my questions by saying her brother and she had a few words, and the name that she told me corresponded with the cypher, she was better dressed, and looked a respectable person; she only asked two guineas, she seemed to know the worth of it; it was certainly an error of judgment, I confess.

Court. I can excuse errors of judgment, but this was an error of the heart.

Weston. I pledged the tea pot with him for Mrs. Witts, he asked me my name, I told him it was Johanna Wilts, I told him he need not be under any apprehension of taking it in, I had not stole it, I knew I had not.

JOHN WHITNEY sworn. I am a pawnbroker, I live at No. 78, Drury-lane. On the 20th of March, the prisoner Elizabeth Clarke brought this handkerchief to me and pledged it for two shillings and sixpence.

Clarke. That is my handkerchief, a young man that is gone to sea left it with me.

WILLIAM PICKERING sworn. I am patrole and goaler of Bow-street. On the 21st of March the prisoners Clarke and Blake were brought to the office; Blackman and I were sent with Blake and Clarke for Mrs. Wilts; I produce a black beaver bonnet, which I took from the prisoner Clarke by the order of the magistrate; she acknowledged it was bought with part of the money the property was pawned for.

WILLIAM BLACKMAN sworn. I am an officer of the public office, Bow-street. On the 21st of March Pickering and I went with Clarke and Blake to No. 4, Steward's Rents, to search for Mary Wilts ; she was not at her lodgings till about six o'clock; on the morning of the 22d, when I apprehended her, I searched about the room, and found no property.

JOHN CORDERY sworn. I am constable of the precinct of White Friers. On the 20th of March the son of the prosecutrix came to me to take Clarke into custody; I took her into custody at the house of Mrs. Witts, in Water-lane, Fleet-street. In searching of her I found seven pennyworth of halfpence, and three duplicates, one for a pair of pattens for fourpence, the other a petticoat for half a crown, and the third was the duplicate for that handkerchief which the pawnbroker has produced. (The tea pot identified by the prosecutrix.)

Clarke's Defence. That is my own hankerchief, and the hat is my own, I had fifteen shillings given me the night before, I gave thirteen shillings for the hat.

Q. (to Blake) Look at that hat. - A. This is the the same hat which we bought, each of us had one of these hats.

Weston's Defence. Mrs. Witts desired me to pledge the tea pot; I have lived with Mrs. Witts ever since I was twelve years old; she was obliged to quit her house, a gentleman lost his gold watch there, she then removed to the lodgings in Drury-lane; since I have been in trouble she was obliged to remove again to Clement's Inn.

Mary Wilts was not put on her defence.

CLARKE - GUILTY , aged 24.

WESTON - GUILTY , aged 22.

Transported for Seven Years .


First Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Recorder.

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