27th October 1819
Reference Numbert18191027-56
VerdictNot Guilty

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1433. STEPHEN THOMPSON was indicted for stealing, on the 1st of October , one ewe sheep, price 2 l. , the property of William Bottomley .

SECOND COUNT, for wilfully and feloniously killing the said sheep, with intent to steal the whole carcase.

WILLIAM CUFLEY . I am patrol of Enfield . On the 1st of October, between two and three o'clock in the morning, I met the prisoner in New-lane, Enfield - it was moonlight; he was coming in a direction from his own house. I asked him what he had got? took a shovel from him, and asked him what mark was on in it? He said

"Robinson;" and asked me not to take it away. I took it from him, and while we were talking I saw a person go by on the other side of the hedge, within eight and nine yards of us - he had something on his head. The field is higher ground than the road; he passed by a low part of the hedge by which means I saw him. I left the prisoner to go after him, expecting to meet him in the gap - I could not find him, but when I got into the field, I saw a sack lying forty or fifty yards from where I saw the man - it contained flesh. I gave it to my comrade, and immediately went in pursuit of the prisoner; I came up with him about a hundred and fifty yards off, going into his own yard. I told him that I had found a sack, and thought he must know something about it, which obliged me to take him into custody. He then threw down a bag, which contained a sheep's pluck and a chisel. I asked him who it was on the other side of the hedge? He said he knew nothing about him. He begged very hard to be let go, and said he had a large family, who were starving.

Q. Was the bag that he threw down, the same that he had when you first saw him - Q. Yes, my Lord - I did not take notice whether it was warm or cold. Spencer came up with the bag that was found in the field, and we took it to my house; I found it was the carcase of a sheep, wrapped up in a smock-frock. I afterwards went to Mr. Bottomley, and found a sheep's skin in a wood, in some bushes - it was marked. There was a mark of blood on it, just by where the sheep had been killed, and hung on a tree.

Q. Was the skin shewn to Hackett - A. He was with me when I found it. I saw it compared with the carcase - the trotters were left in the skin; they appeared to correspond - it was slaughtered very well. The shovel, which he said belonged to Robinson, was marked W W. I do not know the other man.

Prisoner. Q. Did you not tell the magistrate that you saw two men run away - A. No.

JOHN SPENCER . I was with Cufley; the prisoner had a shovel and a small bag - he said the shovel belonged to Mr. Robinson. I caught a glimpse of some person on the other side of the hedge, with a sack on his head. We took the shovel from the prisoner, and let him go with the bag. We then went to the field and found a bag containing meat, but I did not particularly notice it then. I was left with it, and came up with Cufley just by the prisoner's door - he had secured him; he begged to be let go. Cufley then had a little bag in his hand; we took both the bags to his house; the bag in the field contained the carcase of a sheep. I then went to the wood, which was three miles from where we found the sack - we found the skin there. I have been a butcher five years; the sheep appeared to have been slaughtered very well. I saw it compared with the skin, and they corresponded. There was a bit of skin left on the carcase, which matched with a hole in the skin.

Q. How did you compare the pluck - A. That is very difficult. I put it inside, and laid the windpipe to the head, but it is impossible to speak to it. The carcase was hot, and the pluck warm - the pluck would cool sooner than the carcase. The prisoner is not a butcher. I have known him five years.

Q. None but a butcher could cut up a sheep in that way - A. No, my Lord; we found the bag nearer the prisoner's house than where we met him - he was not coming from it, but going towards it. The other man was going towards the prisoner's house.

WILLIAM HACKETT . I am servant to Mr. William Bottomley, and look after his sheep. On Friday morning, a little before six o'clock, Cufley came to me. I then counted my sheep, missed one, and went to a wood with him, about forty yards from where our sheep are kept, and found the skin. There were marks on it where the sheep had been killed, and hung on a tree to dress; the skin is marked W B, which is my master's mark - it was a ewe; we could not tell how long it had been killed - I took it home - they were all safe at six o'clock the night before. I compared it with the carcase which Cufley shewed me, and every thing appeared to correspond. A bit of skin was left on the carcase, which also matched; I cannot say whether the pluck agreed. New-lane is about two miles from my master's.

Prisoner's Defence. I went to gather mushrooms, and found a bag and a shovel against the gate; I told the constable that it was not Robinson's. He overtook me again, and said he had found the carcase.


Second Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Justice Park.

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