20th April 1814
Reference Numbert18140420-51
VerdictNot Guilty

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336. RICHARD KINGWELL was indicted for burglariously breaking and entering the dwelling-house of William Ayre , about the hour of eleven in the night, on the 19th of March , with intent to steal .

WILLIAM AYRE . I am a housekeeper in Holborn-bridge, at the end of Fleet-market, in the parish of St. Andrew's, Holborn ; I rent the whole house. My house was broken open. I had been spending the evening, and did not return home until between the hours of one and two on the 19th of March. When I returned, I was let in by a servant maid; I observed to her, that I smelled a sulpherous smell, I would be satisfied from whence it arose before I went to bed. I searched about. I went into the accompting-house; it was stronger there than in the other part; still I could not perceive any fire. I then went into a back warehouse; the first thing that attracted my attention was a private door bursted open inwards, it had been forced inwards, and a table that stood before it had been misplaced, and a can of oil throwed down. It immediately occurred to me that some one had entered the house that way, and as I had got no weapon I thought it necessary to get one. I immediately went to the dining-room, and took the poker. I came down stairs with the candle in one hand and the poker in the other, and went towards the door that was open. Anybody that gets down the area, if they push the door a person can come in my house; they must drop nine feet. While we were in the back warehouse, the servant screamed out, there is a man. She ran and opened the street door. I then perceived a man; that man afterwards turned out to be the prisoner. I then perceived the prisoner secreted under a bench; that bench is used by my workmen occasionally. He came out, and the moment he came out he sprang at my collar to seize me, as I suppose. I struck him upon the side of the head, knocked him down, and as he was getting up I repeated my blow upon the back part of the head; he then closed with me, and in that act the candle went out of my hand. We were in darkness. Nobody came to my assistance. I kept hold of him, and conceiving he might do me an injury I was anxious to get him towards the front door for assistance. At the front door the servant maid was calling out, murder! thieves! This was about fifteen yards from the front door. We were in the passage then. I had to get him through the door of the passage. I was obliged to release him from the grasp of one hand; the door of the passage opened inwards; I was obliged to loose one hand to get the door open. At that moment, by a sudden spring, he got out of my hands; he broke from me; I pursued him, crying, stop thief. He got out of the front door, but as I lost sight of him within a few paces I was fearful of misleading the hue and cry; I therefore still continued, and cried stop thief, as loud as I could.

Q. Before he broke from you had you any opportunity of observing him so as to speak to his features - A. Not at that moment. At the time he broke from me he ran into the street; I could see no one about the house but the girl screaming at the door, murder and thieves. When I returned, the patrol of the adjoining parish came up; I requested him to come in, and he and I examined the house to see whether there was any more persons in; there was no other person; there was a pair of boots and a hat belonging to no one in my house. The person that escaped from me had no hat on, that I am sure of; I rather think he had no boots or shoes on. While we were searching the house, the watchman of the adjoining parish came to inform me the man was secured in the watchhouse. The watchman's name is Flemming. I went there, and saw the prisoner without a hat, and without any boots or shoes on his feet, and the boots that we carried he owned, as well as the hat. I believe I asked him first whether he meaned to murder me; he said, no, God forbid. I then asked him how he came to do such an act; he said necessity had driven him to it. It was not till after the examination at the magistrate that I found that the lock of my desk had been forced; and this instrument which I produce I found in the passage. The instrument had cut away part of the wood work; the impression on the bolt exactly corresponds with the instrument.

Q. Did the prisoner say how he got in - A. He declined answering that. The prisoner's head was very bloody; I conceived that arose from the blows I had given him. That is all I know.

MARY ANN SKINNER . Q. Had you heard any noise before your master came home, in the house - A. About half past twelve at night I went into the shop, I heard a rustling with paper; it seemed to be in the accompting-house, at the back part of the shop; that is on the same floor as the area door. I did not go to see what it was. There was no other servant up in the house but me. I went down with my master when he came home. About three o'clock I was down in the back warehouse; I saw the area

door, it could not be far open without my seeing it, and when I went down with my master I perceived some one under the bench; I ran to the street door and gave the alarm.

MICHAEL CANNON . I work at this bench near the area door. I staid in the house until past ten o'clock. There is a small screw to fasten the area door, it is concealed between two boards.

Q. Can you say with certainty at the time you left the house that the area door was perfectly secure - A. Not positively at the time I left it. In the afternoon I placed the table against the door, and placed the oil-can on the table; I am quite sure the door was closed at that time; after that, I was backwards and forwards. I was occasionally in the shop. Whether the other servant was in there I cannot say with certainty; he had no business there particularly.

THOMAS FLEMMING . I am a watchman in Skinner-street. I heard the cry of stop thief, in Skinner-street; I took the prisoner in Skinner-street; he came as from the market. I saw him come from Turnagain-lane; he had no boots or shoes on, or hat. When I laid hold of him his head was bloody. I went down to Mr. Ayre's. He was searched in the watchhouse; some of our men found some articles upon him; they are here.

JOHN WOOD . I am a patrol. Flemming, the watchman, brought the prisoner into the watchhouse. I searched him. I found on him three flints, a steel, and the top part of the tinder-box, and a pair of nippers, and the bottom of a candle upon a halfpenny. The matches I found in his pocket appear to have been lighted, and burnt; the bottom part of the tinder-box was brought from Mr. Ayre's house. I fitted it to the top I found on the prisoner; it fitted it.

JOHN TURNHAM . Between one and two o'clock, I heard a noise in Fleet-market; I went to it. I found Mr. Ayre outside of his door. Mr. Ayre asked me to search the house; we went in. I found the boots and the hat; I took them to the watchhouse; the prisoner claimed them.

JOHN POWELL . I was on duty. I assisted in searching Mr. Ayre's house. I found a bag in the front shop; the prisoner owned it to be his.

Prisoner's Defence. I know nothing of the charge that is alleged against me; I had been to my father-in-law's, coming over the bridge I was knocked down; I lost my boots, and with the loss of blood I was faint; I laid myself down in the market; I lost my hat; I was almost dead. When they asked me whether they were my boots I do not know what I said, they bothered me in such a manner.


London jury, before Mr. Common Serjeant.

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