JOHN SMITH.
3rd April 1816
Reference Numbert18160403-4
VerdictGuilty
SentenceDeath

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291. JOHN SMITH was indicted for burglariously breaking and entering the dwelling-house of Edmund Simkins , at about the hour of seven in the night of the 17th of February , with intent to steal, and for burglariously stealing therein, one lookingglass, value 4l. the property of the aforesaid Edmund Simkins .

EDMUND SIMKINS. On the 17th of February last, in the evening, at about a quarter past seven o'clock, I was sitting in my kitchen with my family, at my house, No. 24, Greenfield-street, Commercial-road, at the parish of St. Dunsten Stebonheath , and I was alarmed by something over me, as if something had dropped; some one of the family exclaimed, there is some one in the parlour; that was the room above. I immediately ran up stairs, and discovered the prisoner with a glass, resting on the ledge of the window; it was a looking-glass; the window was open; the shutters had been put to; the sash was thrown completely up. I was in the room not ten minutes before; it was then down. I have not a doubt but that the prisoner at the bar, who was in the room, had opened the window; the sash is fastened down by a catch, or a window drop. I found this catch forced from the window, and lying on the floor. This is part of the catch; that had been entire, and fastened to the window, and I found this knife also in the room; it was not there ten minutes before. I found the prisoner at the bar getting out at the window, with the looking-glass resting on the ledge; the glass was removed from its place. There is a little wooden railing outside, that he might have rested his foot on in getting out; he might have got out without breaking the glass or damaging himself. When I saw him getting out, I gave the alarm of stop thief; he had got one foot on the chair, and the other on the table. The watch was not set. I gave the alarm of stop thief, and a young man was passing, and saw him coming from the window, and threw him down into the kinnel, and I found him in his custody, when I secured him; this was about a quarter after seven o'clock, it was dark. When I went up, I had not a candle with me, but I knew the prisoner was the same man when I went round, because I have a lamp just opposite to me, and another by me. The prisoner is the same man whom I saw in the room. He begged very hard for mercy, and hoped I would let him go. I am sure the window was down when I went up about ten minutes before. No person could get in at the window, or force it up, without forceing this catch off.

WILLIAM ALTHORNS. I was passing by before the alarm was given, and seeing the prisoner coming out of the window, I thought proper to seize him; I threw him off the rail into the kinnel; the rail is under the window. I held him down a minute or two, when there was a cry of stop thief, and the last witness, Simkins, came out; I did not let go of him until I put him into the hands of Simkins. The prisoner said he had done nothing, he had done nothing, let him go, let him go.

Simkins, Re-examined. I took the prisoner to Lambeth-street office, and delivered him into the custody of Ebenezar Dalton. The glass was not taken out of the house, because I had put it back again; he had moved it from its place.

EBENEZAR DALTON. On the 17th, I was standing in the office, between seven and eight o'clock in the evening, and I heard a bustie in the street, and went out; I saw Mr. Simkins and two or three more bringing this man to the office, and it was with great difficulty we got him in; I took him in, and searched him; but there was nothing on him. The next morning I went to the house that had been broken open, and there I received this knife and catch. The knife agreed with the mark on the window; there was an appearance of force on the window, where it had been broken open.

Prisoner's Defence. On the day in the indictment, I was very much intoxicated, and was returning home through Greenfield-street; I had come from Ratcliffe Highway; a person stopped me, and charged me with a robbery, and I knew myself to be innocent, and I made no resistance. It is impossible to break open a house without any instrument; and it is well known that that knife, (even if it was proved to be mine,) could not break open this window; they searched me, and found nothing on me.

Simkins. Re-examined. The looking-glass had been fixed to the wall. I have not the least doubt that that is the man,(pointing to the prisoner,) who was getting out of the window when I went up stairs; he was dressed nearly as he is now.

Prisoner. Q. Did you see my face - A. I did.

JURY. We should suppose that the power of that brass would cesist the power of that knife.

Simkins, Re-examined. Q. Your window is in a frame - A. Yes, it slides up.

Q. Do you see that knife, it does not seem very strong; how do you suppose it could break that brass - A. I don't know how it could be broken off, but I found it broken off, and the window open. He could not open the window without breaking the catch; the glass of the window was not broken at all.

Ebenezar Dalton, Re-examined. I saw where the knife had made an impression; there was the mark of the knife on the sash.

THE COURT, in summing up the evidence for the consideration of the Jury, told them that if the prisoner lifted the sash after it was dark, without forcing the catch, that would constitute the crime with which he was charged.

GUILTY - DEATH , aged 19.

Second Middlesex Jury, before Lord Ellenburough.


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