HANNAH COTTON.
15th April 1830
Reference Numbert18300415-15
VerdictGuilty
SentenceDeath

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Second Middlesex Jury - Before Mr. Sergeant Arabin.

683. HANNAH (THE WIFE OF THEOPHILUS) COTTON was indicted for stealing, on the 1st of January , at St. Leonard, Shoreditch, one 50l., one 40l., and two 5l. Bank notes, the property of James Silverthorn , in his dwelling-house .

MR. CLARKSON conducted the prosecution.

JAMES SILVERTHORN . I keep the Bald Faced Stag public-house, Worship-street . The prisoner was my servant of all work - it is my dwelling-house, and is in the parish of St. Leonard, Shoreditch. In October last I had a 50l., a 40l., and two 5l. Bank notes - I deposited them in my cash-box, which was kept in a small room behind the bar; it had no lock to it, but the drawer in which it was was always kept locked - I never found it open; the same key unlocked the drawer and till - the key was always in the till, except when wanted to open the drawer. On the 1st of January I went to my cash-box to take the notes out, and they were gone; the prisoner was in my service at this time - I suspected my pot-boy, and had him apprehended; he was discharged - and in consequence of information afterwards received I had inquiry made about the prisoner, who had left my service on the 10th of January; she knew where the cash-box was kept - I had seen the notes safe ten days before I missed them: in consequence of further suspicion I went to Chatham, with Brown, the officer; we got information there from Captain Lloyd, and found Mr. Osborn, a linen-draper, at Chatham, and ascertained something about the notes - I returned to London with the officer, and proceeded to Ireland, about four miles beyond Tuam, to a village called Woodcay, and apprehended the prisoner there on the 28th of January; when we were on board the steam-packet, coming home, I handed her some refreshment - she said she had been a very bad woman, and I had been a very good master; she was at that time in custody for robbing me - I had charged her with it.

GEORGE OSBORN . I am a linen-draper, and live at Chatham. On the 14th of January I was at home - Whitehead, my shopman, brought me a 40l. note, and from what he said to me I went up stairs into my shop, and saw the prisoner; she had no bonnet on - I changed the 40l. note for her, and after writing her name on it I put it into my cash-box - I had some conversation with her about it, and am certain she is the person; I wrote on the note the address she gave me, and gave her the change; between the 14th and 18th of January I found a 50l. note in my cash-box - I did not change that myself; I sent that same note to Leaf, Son, and Coles, with the 40l. note - the prisoner made several purchases at my house after I changed the 40l. note, but not before.

ELIZA OSBORN . I am the daughter of the last witness. The prisoner came to the shop in January last, purchased something, and handed me a 50l. note; I gave her change for it - I put the note into my father's cash-box: she bought a cloak, ribbons, a handkerchief, and other articles, which I have since seen.

REBECCA OSBORN . I am Mr. Osborn's daughter. On the 14th of January the prisoner came to the shop, and asked for change for a 40l. note - that was before she purchased any thing; I received the note from her, and gave it to Whitehead, the shopman - my father afterwards came up, and had some conversation with the prisoner.

LEWIS WHITEHEAD . I am shopman to Mr. Osborn. -On the 14th of January I saw the prisoner in the shop - she wanted change for a 40l. note; I received the note, and took it to Mr. Osborn; master asked her name, which she gave - he wrote that name in her presence on the note; I recollect Mrs. Cotton was the name she gave - she made some purchases after she got change, and I saw before the Magistrate goods which she had bought; there was a shawl - when she bought the shawl she told us her husband had lately had 300l. left him by his uncle, that he was then on the water, and she expected him home shortly - that they intended to hire a house, and live in the town, and they should have plenty of goods; this was on the 14th - I saw her again next day; she bought some articles, and on the 16th she came again twice, and the second time bought a cloak, some lace caps, ribbons, silk handkerchiefs, Valentia, and other articles, amounting to between 4l. and 5l., and tendered the 50l. note; Miss Eliza Osborn gave her change for it - the goods produced at the Magistrate's I believe are the same I sold her; on that occasion she said she was going to town, and did not like such large notes about her, as she was coming back shortly, and asked if she could put any money into the Savings Bank - she did not leave any notes with me.

WILLIAM GLASBROOK DRESSER. I am in the employ of Messrs. Leaf, Son, and Coles, wholesale warehousemen, Old 'Change. On the 21st of January I received a 40l. and 50l. note from our cashier, Mr. Smith - I presented them for payment at the Bank on the 21st of January; here are the letters which contained the two halves - the 50l. note is No. 13,722, dated the 15th of July, 1829; and the 40l., 16,803, the 21st of August, 1829; I have written that on the back of the letter, and wrote on both notes the name and address of our firm - I have since seen the same notes in the hands of the Bank clerk.

MR. OSBORN. These are the letters which enclosed the two halves of the 40l. and 50l. notes; I am certain they contained the same notes.

ROBERT CRESSWELL . I live in King-street, Islington. In August last I received a large sum of money from Jones and Lloyd, and among the rest a 50l. note; on the 18th of October I took the same 50l. note to Silverthorne, who gave me change for it.

GEORGE KERBY . I am clerk at Jones, Lloyd and Co. On the 13th of August I had a cheque drawn by Davis and Taylor, and among other notes, I paid a 50l. note, No. 13,722, 15th July, 1829, for it.

WILLIAM THACKERAY . I am clerk to Messrs. Fuller

and Co., bankers, Cornhill. On the 17th of October I paid a 40l. note, No. 16,803 in part payment of a cheque of 45l. 4s. 6d. - I have not got the date of the note; I have since seen it in the hands of Freeman, a Bank clerk.

JOSEPH PARR . I am second mate of the Dolphin convict bulk, at Chatham. A man named Cotton was on board the bulk; I believe the prisoner to be his wife - she came there in January, as his wife: on the 17th of January I was the officer on duty - the prisoner came to the bulk, and had some conversation with Cotton as his wife; after that I took from Cotton three 5l. notes and three sovereigns; according to the rules of the bulks a person confined there cannot come to visit a friend with money, and I took this 18l. from him when he came on board from his wife - he had been allowed to go out to see her, and had no money when he went out.

JAMES BROWN . I am a Police-constable of Worship-street. In consequence of information, on the 21st of January, I went with the prosecutor to Mr. Osborn's, and received from Whitehead some patterns of ribbon; I returned to town, went to Ireland, and apprehended the prisoner - I asked if she knew who I was: she turned round, and said, "Yes, I do - it's all up with me now;" I found a shilling and a few halfpence on her - I asked what she had done with the rest of the money she had received in change for the notes at Chatham; she said she had spent it all.

Prisoner. I did not say it was all up with me. Witness. Yes, you did.

JOSHUA FREEMAN . I am a clerk of the Bank of England. I produce a 50l. and a 40l. note, paid into the Bank on the 21st January, by Leaf, Son and Coles.

MR. OSBORN. This 40l. note I am certain is what I received from the prisoner - my own hand-writing is on it; the 50l. note agrees with the number of the note I took when I sent it to Leaf and Co.'s - I found it in my cash-box the name of Cotton which she gave me is on the 40l.

MISS OSBORN. I am sure of this being the 50l. note; I put it into the cash-box.

MR. OSBORN. It is the 50l. note I found in the cashbox - there was another 50l. note there, but this was the only one I sent to Leaf and Co.

JAMES SILVERTHORNE . I received the 40l. note from Thackeray, and the 50l. from Cresswell; I do not know the identical notes, but I am sure I put the same notes as I received from them into the cash-box, on the 18th and 20th of October, and never had any others of those amounts during the whole time; when I lost them I took every measure to discover the thief; the prisoner lived with me at the time, and was well acquainted with my loss.

JAMES BROWN . The prisoner was examined before Mr. Broughton, and what she said was taken down - the signature to this examination is Mr. Broughton's writing. -(read)

"The prisoner says she found the two notes in the prosecutor's passage; she did not know that they were part of the money he had lost - she did not know the amounts; hearing her mistress say she had lost four notes and some receipts, she did not know these were part of the notes she had lost."

Prisoner's Defence. I was sweeping the rooms one morning, and picked them up in the passage, and nine or ten days after I heard mistress and master saying something about missing something in a parcel, I said to myself these papers I found must be some money, and somebody must have dropped it who has come to the house; I kept it nine or ten days, then heard a great noise about four notes being lost out of a parcel; master said at first there were six notes in it, and then four, but there were only two papers in the parcel I found; mistress said she had them in her hand on the Monday before the Friday she lost them, and I had had these a long time before that; I went to Chatham and gave them to a woman to read, she said it was a 5l. and a 10l. and wanted to go out and get them changed - I said I would go myself; I went to a grocer's and bought a few articles, and asked them to change a 5l. note; he said, "Good woman, this is a 50l. note;" I showed him the other, he said it was 40l., and said, "Never mind paying for the things now, take them to the public-house where you lodge, they will take care of them for you." I went and began to tell the publican's wife how I got them - she said, "Never mind, go over to that shop, and you will get change for it - never mind who you are." I went; I did not know it was master's money; I never took the money out of the drawer; mistress said there was 40l. in sovereigns and 40l. in silver, if I took any thing I should take that.

MR. SILVERTHORNE. The prisoner left me without notice.

[Monday, April 19.] GUILTY - DEATH . Aged 28.


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