6th July 1814
Reference Numbert18140706-120
VerdictNot Guilty

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681. JOHN SAUNDERS and JOHN NIXON were indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 23rd of June an ass, value 2 l. the property of the right honorable William earl of Mansfield .

THOMAS BYE. I am a servant to the right-honorable William earl of Mansfield, at Caen Wood . An ass was lost from his premises, on the 23rd of June, at night, or early in the morning of the 24th; it was a valuable ass, and a favourite animal; it was in the paddock when I saw it last; the paddock was perfectly secure. The gate must have been broken open; the ass could not have got its own accord. I saw the ass again on the 7th of July, in Fitzroy-market; I saw Joseph Payne in possession of the ass; I knew it immediately.

JOHN PAYNE. I am a fishmonger; I live in Fitzroy-market. On the 24th of June, I bought the ass of both the prisoners; I gave them a one-pound note and my ass in exchange for this ass; they delivered me the ass, and took away my ass. I heard no more of it until Mr. Perks and Mr. Bye came and claimed the ass. When they came to me I did not know that the ass was stolen. I went with them to Bow-street; there I gave the same account that I have now given, and these two men were taken up.

SAMUEL MORRIS . I am a butcher in Fitzroy-market. The two prisoners are the men that sold the ass to Mr. Payne, on the 24th of June. I saw them then.

JOHN SMITH . I apprehended the two prisoners. I told them what I apprehended them for; they said, they bought the ass of a farming man, in Holborn; there was tied to a waggon two asses. I think they said, the waggon belonged to a man of the name of White, he lived a good way off in the country; they did not say what town or place. I have seen the prisoners before; I know no harm of them.

JOHN PERKS. I am an officer. When I took Mr. Payne into custody, he very readily took me, and he and his wife pointed out the prisoners. I asked him what conversation took place when he purchased the ass; he told me. The prisoners said, they brought the ass from Hampstead.

Q. to Payne. Did the prisoners tell you where they got the ass - A. They said, it came from Hampstead; they had not had it long; they said, they bought it of a gentleman at Hampstead; they did not say whom.

The Prisoners joint Defence read in court. My lord and gentlemen of the jury; as we were walking down Holborn, we saw a man riding upon a mare ass, and a colt; we bought the ass, and sold it to Mr. Payne; we did not know it was stolen. We told Mr. Payne where we lived. We were apprehended for stealing the ass. Since we have been in custody,

we have tried to trace the man; we have advertised the ass, and offered a reward for apprehending the man, and if you will find us not guilty, I do assure you, if ever we find the man, we will take him into custody.

JAMES NEWTON . I am a costermonger, like the prisoners; I keep an ass. I know both the prisoners; they drive asses about, with greens upon them.

Q. On the 24th of June, or thereabouts, do you remember going down Holborn, and seeing any asses - A. Yes, at the corner of Gray's-inn-lane; I cannot say the day of the month, it was about a week or a fortnight before the prisoners were taken into custody. I asked the man with the asses, the price of them; he said, three pounds. I bid him two-pounds for one; he said, that would not do. John Dixon and John Saunders came up; I cannot say what price he asked them; they bid him two pounds for one. He said, he would talk to them if they would give him something to drink. It was a dark brown ass. I have seen the ass again; it is the same ass that these men bought. The man told me, he brought the asses from Birmingham.

ALEXANDER ELLIS . I sell all sorts of vegetables.

Q. Do you recollect any morning early seeing any asses in Holborn - A. Yes; I have seen that ass to day, or one much like it. When I saw it in Holborn, it was in the possession of a stout man; he had a spade in his hand; there was a waggon before him He said, that waggon belonged him. James Newton came up. He asked me to buy the asses; he told me, he brought them from Norfolk.

WILLIAM GILL . I am a market man; I sell and asparagus about the streets; sometimes I carry them upon myhead, and sometimes upon an ass. One morning early, I was coming towards Holborn-bars, I met a man with two asses; he asked me if I wanted to buy any asses; he asked me three pounds for the two asses; I told him, I had no money to purchase them. Dixon and Saunders came by. I and my friend took our goods upon our head, and went home up Holborn. This is four Fridays ago.

The prisoners called six witnesses, who gave them a good character.


Second Middlesex jury, before Mr. Common Serjeant.

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