17th February 1831
Reference Numbert18310217-16
VerdictGuilty; Guilty; Guilty; Guilty
SentenceDeath; Death; Death; Death

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Fourth Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Recorder.

451. GEORGE LONSDALE , JOHN HOWELL , EDWARD MALLETT , and WILLIAM ALLEN were indicted for feloniously breaking and entering the dwelling-house of Edward Brown , on the 14th of February , at St. Pancras, and stealing therein, 15 dozen knives, value 4l.; 15 dozen forks, value 4l.; 1 fusee-engine, value 10s.; 1 set of bagatelle balls and cup, value 5s.; 3 pistols, value 10s.; 1 map, value 5s.; 9 table-mats, value 4s.; 4 copper plates, value 4s.; 4 knife-sharpeners, value 8s.; 4 turn rugs, value 4s.; 2 pincushions, value 1s.; 1 cup and ball, value 1s.; 18 spectacle cases, value 3s.; 1 set of chess men, value 4s., and 1 caddie-ladle, value 2s., his property .

MR. PHILLIPS conducted the prosecution.

EDWARD BROWN . I am a pawnbroker, and live in Upper North-place, Gray's Inn-lane - it is in the parish of St. Pancras ; it is a corner house, one front is in Wilson-street. On Tuesday morning, the 15th of February, between two and three o'clock, I was disturbed by an unusual noise; I got out of bed, opened my bed-room door, and heard that which convinced me all was not right at the top of the house - I went down two pairs of stains, and called the assistance of my young men; I have four - I awoke them all, and armed myself with a sabre; I went up to my ware-rooms, which are the attics - there is a trap-door in the ceiling; I observed the inner trap-door was removed, and a quantity of mortar on the floor - I observed that the ceiling was broken through a little beyond the trap-door.

Q. Was there any thing to prevent the person who had forced the trap-door from getting into the house? A. Yes, some iron bars which I had placed there myself - the aperture in the ceiling was about the size of a man's head; the two bolts of the trap-door had been forced, and the

outer trap-door had been forced open by breaking the wood - I put the sabre up through the bars at the inner trap-door, and made a noise with it against the bars; I then heard a trampling over the roof of the house - I heard footsteps on the roof; I put up the windows, and gave an alarm - the Police came to my assistance, sprang a rattle, and in about twenty minutes or a quarter of an hour, I saw all the prisoners, except Allen, in custody; I saw Allen in custody at the station, about half an hour after the other prisoners were taken - the house, No. 51, North-place, was empty; it is four doors from mine - I directed the Police to watch that house; No. 16, Wilson-street was also empty - that is five doors from me; there is access along the roof of my house to those of No. 51, North-place, and No. 16, Wilson-street; a man might meet with some difficulty in climbing up the houses in Wilson-street - there is access from both houses, but it is more difficult from the house in Wilson-street.

Cross-examined by MR. ADOLPHUS. Q. This was at two o'clock in the morning - you had gone to bed on Monday, the 14th? A. Yes - the inner trap-door was opened, and the outer trap-door thrown down on the roof; the inner trap-door is about a foot from the bottom of the outer one, which lays flat on the roof.

Q. When you open the outer trap-door, are you out of the house or in it? A. In the house, below the roof - the inner trap-door is over the ceiling.

Q. Was any opening made in the roof or trap-door by which a person could get into the ware-room? A. They had broken the ceiling, but the hole was not large enough for them to get into the ware-room.

Cross-examined by MR. CLARKSON. Q. Have you taken the trouble to pass from the roof of your house to No. 16, Wilson-street? A. I have not, but I was with those who did - it was a bricklayer, and one of the inspectors; they went down with a ladder, which they brought.

Q. Except from the assistance of the ladder would it not, from what you saw, be not only extremely difficult but extremely dangerous? A. Not at all, I could do it myself with ease - in raising from the top of the houses in Wilson-street to the roof of mine there would be a difficulty to a person not accustomed to it, but there was no difficulty in going from my house to Wilson-street, because I could drop from my roof to it; the height is about seven feet six inches - I have measured it; a person would only have to drop once - my house is the fifth from No. 16, Wilson-street; the four first houses are two stories high, and mine is three - he would not have to drop the height of a whole story, because the roof in Wilson-street comes above the story; it rises up - the gutter runs in the middle of my house, and reduces the depth very cousiderably - the four first houses are all one height, but No. 16 is a story higher - he would not have to ascend that story, as the back parapet is the same height.

Q. Would he have to run along a parapet without any guard from the street? A. He could go across the top of the houses without being near the parapet; it would not be at all difficult or dangerous.

JAMES WHITAKER . I am a Police-constable. On the morning of the 15th of February I was in Mecklenburgh-square, about a quarter to three o'clock; I heard a rattle spring, went to North-place, Gray's Inn-road and met Mr. Brown; my attention was directed to the roofs of the houses, and I saw three men moving; they were coming from Mr. Brown's house towards No. 51, North-place - I went to No. 51 with the officers, O'Donnell and Sheehey; I got the key from Mr. Morgan, who lives next door, and went in with the two officers - I went up to the third flight of stairs, and saw the prisoners Lonsdale, Howell, and Mallett, and secured them there on the third flight in that house - Mallett had neither hat nor shoes on; Lonsdale had a pair of list shoes on - Mallett said he had left his shoes and hat on the roof of the house - I did not find them myself.

CONSTANTINE O'DONNELL . I was in Swinton-street, and heard an alarm - I went with Whitaker and Sheehey, into the empty house, No. 51, North-place - I had not seen any body on the roofs; I had not looked at the houses - we found the three prisoners in the empty house, and secured them - Mallett had neither hat nor shoes on; I asked where his hat and shoes were - he said on the top of the house.

WILLIAM SHEEHEY . I am a Policeman. On the morning of the 15th of February, about a quarter-past three o'clock, I went into the empty house, No. 51, North-place - we found three of the prisoners coming down from the third floor on the landing; Mallett had neither hat nor shoes on, and one had list shoes - we kept them in custody.

GEORGE DISMORE . I am a Police-serjeant. On the morning of the 15th of February I went into the kitchen of the empty house, No. 51, North-place, and found in the kitchen two skeleton-keys, which I produce - they were wrapped in a handkerchief; I afterwards tried them to the door of No. 16, Wilson-street, and the larger key opened the door of that house.

Cross-examined by MR. CLARKSON. Q. Has the door a common sort of a lock? A. It has - I did not try it to the locks of the other houses in Wilson-street; I should not have liked to try it on inhabited houses.

Q. The key has been wrenched I see, do you know who did it? A. No, it is precisely in the state I found it - many street door keys are about that size; some are larger and some smaller - it might open other locks, unless there was any thing particular in the wards.

MR. PHILLIPS. Q. You have no doubt that key would open a good many hall doors? A. No doubt of it.

MICHAEL RADFORD . I am a Policeman. On the morning of the 15th of February I heard an alarm, which induced me to go to the top of Mr. Brown's house - I found eleven parcels of property on the roof of his house, and I picked up a handkerchief - I did not find a hat or shoes there; Moody was with me; he followed me - Mr. Brown claimed the eleven parcels of property; they were on the top of his house, outside it.

WILLIAM MOODY . On the night of the robbery I went on the roof of Mr. Brown's house; I found fifteen parcels, besides the eleven found by Radford; I also found a pair of shoes and a hat, which I have now in my possession - the streets were not very dirty, that I recollect.

JAMES CARTER . I am a Police-constable. I searched the loft of the house, No. 51, North-place, and found a

pair of shoes; the place where I found them was dry - the soles of the shoes were damp: I saw Lonsdale in custody afterwards - we fitted the shoes on his feet at Hatton-garden; they fitted him as if they were made for him.

Cross-examined by MR. ADOLPHUS. Q. I suppose there is nothing particular in the size of his feet? A. Not that I am aware of - he did not own them in my presence; he had a pair of list slippers on.

JOHN ABRAHAM THOMPSON I am an inspector of the Police - I saw Lonsdale and Mallett after they were taken into custody; each claimed a pair of boots, or shoes; one was a pair of lace boots and the other Blucher boots - I cannot say which claimed each separate pair; they were the boots in possession of the Policeman - they are here.

Cross-examined by MR. CLARKSON. Q. Did you take Allen? A. No; I was at the station when he was brought in - I saw all the prisoners there nearly about the same time - I cannot say which was brought first.

JOSEPH SMOUT . I am a butcher, and live opposite Mr. Brown - I have the care of No. 16, Wilson-street, and had so at the time; it was empty. On the 15th of February, on hearing an alarm, I went towards that house; when I got to the door, somebody opened it by drawing the lock inside; I instantly drew back, beckoned, and a Policeman came to me - I observed then that the door was about an inch and a half open; I saw it gradually drawn open about an inch and a half; it was instantly drawn open quite, and a person presented himself at the threshold of the door; I instantly sprang forward, and the door was slapped in my face by the person inside (there was no inmate to that house); there was a gas-light opposite the door of No. 17; that light enabled me to see the person - the prisoner Allen is that person; the gas-light is about seven yards from the door, on the same side of the way - Gough-street runs at the bottom of Wilson-street, and is from twenty-five to thirty yards from No. 16, Wilson-street - after he had shut the door in my face, I heard a cry of "There he goes, Stop thief!" and saw a man run past the bottom of Wilson-street, and a Policeman in pursuit of him; I joined in the pursuit, and had a view of his person, and kept him in sight - I got before the Policeman about three parts of the way down Gough-street, and passed Burge's yard to Mount-pleasant, turned the corner of Warner-street, and into Red Lion-yard - I did not lose sight of him as he turned the corner of Warner-street, but as he turned into Red Lion-yard I lost sight of him for a moment - he turned to the left-hand side of the yard at the bottom, and ran through a horse-pond; I followed him on the other side - he ran up three or four steps, and over a brick wall, which separated a private yard from the street; I was then seven or eight yards behind him - I made a catch at his foot as he get over; the gates of the yard were then broken; I entered the yard - one Policeman entered before me; we were together, and he (the prisoner Allen) was from eight to ten yards up the yard, laying on the ground, quite exhausted - we took him into custody - we found nobody else in the yard.

Cross-examined by MR. CLARKSON. Q. Was all the opportunity you had of seeing the man in the house No. 16, the door being open about an inch and a half? A. I did not see him till the door was quite opened - a person could not look out when it was open an inch and a half; it was when he threw the door open, and presented himself at the thershold; I had never seen Allen before to my knowledge - I swear positively that he is the man I saw at the door, and that I saw the same man afterwards in the yard - I did not observe whether his clothes were wet; mine were - it was only a small pond, nearly half leg up - he ran through as I did; the whole of my stockings were wet, because they were down over my shoes -I had not tied them up; nothing else was wet except my skin - I was not wet up to my breeches; I never lost sight of the prisoner except for a moment, at the corner of Red Lion-yard.

JANE WOOD . I am married, and live at No. 28, Gough-street, Gray's Inn-lane, which crosses the end of Wilson-street. On the morning of the 15th of February, between three and four o'clock. I was alarmed by the cry of thieves - I can see from my back window into some of the yards of the houses in Wilson-street, and of No. 16; after the alarm I saw a young man jump over two walls, in a direction of the walls of Nos. 16, 15 and 14. Wilson-street -I then went to the front of my house in Gough-street, and saw a man drop from the wall of the corner house in Wilson-street, into Gough-street - it was a young man in a fustain jacket; I gave an alarm, and cried out, "There he goes;" that was in the hearing of a Policeman, and I saw the Policeman pursue the man down Gough-street, towards Burge's yard, Mount-pleasant.

Cross-examined by MR. CLARKSON. Q. You were not before the Magistrate? A. Yes.

JOHN PHILIP THOMAS . I am a Policeman. On hearing Mrs. Wood give an alarm I saw a person drop from the wall into Gough-street - I pursued him through Red Lion-yard, to the turning of the horse-pond in Warner-street, accompanied by Smout; when I got to the corner I turned back, and saw him brought to the gate of the yard - it was the prisoner Allen.

Cross-examined by MR. CLARKSON. Q. As soon as you got to the corner you turned back? A. Yes, because I thought he would come round - I did not run through the pond.

LEWIS PRINCE . I am a Policeman. Allen was taken in a yard in Warner-street - he was quite exhausted.

Cross-examined by MR. CLARKSON. Q. Did you see the butcher run through the horse-pond? A. No - I did not particularly notice Allen's clothes, and cannot say whether they were wet or not

JOHN SPENCER . I am in the employ of Mr. Brown. -On the night of the robbery I accompanied him up to the warehouse; I afterwards looked through the roof of the house, and saw the property there, in parcels, which the Policemen afterwards took possession of - I have since seen them; they had been placed on the top of the stairs, just under the grating where the trap-door was, on the day before the robbery; I know the articles by the duplicates being on them - I wrote some of the duplicates myself; I should think the articles worth from 15l. to 20l. - 13l. had been lent on them.

Cross-examined by MR. ADOLPHUS. Q. Where were

they when you saw them last? A. In stacks under the grating of the trap-door; they were taken off the stacks, and on the roof.

GEORGE DISMORE re-examined by MR. CLARKSON. I saw Allen when he was brought to the station-house - he was brought there about ten minutes before the others.

Q. When the others were brought in, did any body say,"Now we have got all four of you?" A. Not in my presence; I do not recollect it being said - I was engaged in entering the charge.

Q. Did not the other three prisoners state, in answer to that, "There are but three of us?" A. They did not, in my hearing - I am not aware of it; it might pass when I was engaged.

Prisoner Allen. Will you ask the Policeman, No. 235, who took the three men, what observation he made.

CONSTANTINE O'DONNELL . My number is 235; I did not ask the three men if there was any more of them, to my knowledge - the three told me they were not murderers, but they were robbers; I do not think I asked if there were any more of them, or any such question, nor that they said there were but three of them; I did not take much notice of what they said.

Michael Radford and William Moody here produced the twenty-six parcels found on the roof of the house.

JOHN SPENCER . I know this property - here are several duplicates of my own writing on them; they were in parcels, as they are now, when in the house - I have seen the contents; 13l. had been lent on them.

Allen's Defence. I am innocent. I know nothing whatever of these three men - I never saw them in my life till I saw them at the station. I was returning from Camden-town between one and two o'clock; I turned round the first or second turning on the left-hand side of the way from Mr. Cubitt's. to come towards Mutton-hill, on my way home to Finsbury, and as I came under a wall a Policeman sprang out on me, and said, "Here is one of them;" I turned round, and said, "One, what?" he said,"One of the thieves;" I then knocked him down - he sprang his rattle, and three or four more came up towards where I was; I then ran away, with ever so many Policemen after me, first up one street and another; I ran across a sort of mews - I did not know whether there was a turning, and when I got to the bottom there was none; I had no place to get away, and jumped over a gate - I never ran through any horse-pond; I hurt myself in falling off the gate - I found I could not get up, and there I laid; I cannot say how long, for I was stunned with the blow - some Policemen knocked the gates open, and laid hold of me; I said, "Where is the man I have struck?" they said, "Oh, come along," and took me to the station; two of them lent me their shoulders to lean on very kindly, or I could not have walked - they sat me in a chair; I had been there a quarter of an hour, when these three men were brought in - the serjeant or inspector, I did not notice which, said, "So we have got four of you;" one of them, I believe it was Mallett, said, "Which of us is it you reckon as two then, as there are but three of us;" the Policeman stood in a file before me - they moved back, and said, "Why, here is the other sitting in a chair;" the man said, "That man has not been with us - we know nothing of him; it was us three by ourselves;" I told the inspector I knew nothing of the three men, but, without any ceremony, he put as all into the black-hole together; he brought me out first in the morning, and told me I was charged with burglary, with those three men; I told him I was a housekeeper in Shoreditch, and a respectable man, and they might send for my friends; they said Oh, no, I was along with these three men, and laughed at me - they put me into the hole, and I was taken to Hatton-garden; I told the Magistrate I knew nothing of the three men, and they declared they knew nothing of me; the Magistrate sent me back till Thursday, when I was committed - I have plenty of friends; it has been so sudden, but I have no doubt some of them are here - they have heard of it by means of the press; I am a painter, and live at No. 60, Leonard-street, Shoreditch, and keep a shop, which my wife looks after; I have no incumbrance whatever, only one child, and leave the Jury to say whether I should be guilty of such a thing - my reason for running away was because I had struck the Policeman; I do not know the men - they were all strangers to me.

JOHN PHILIP THOMAS . I did not see any Policeman knocked down while I was in pursuit - the first I saw was the prisoner making his escape; I pursued him from the time he dropped from the wall.

Howell. All I have to say is this man is as innocent as a child unborn.

Mallett. I have nothing to say with respect to myself, only I never saw this man (Allen) in my life till he was in the watch-house.

Allen. I lived nine years with Mr. Swain, of the Red House, Battersea, and with Mr. Bright, of the Minories, four years - I married a young woman from his house, and he recommended me to go into business for myself, but I preferred journeywork for him; he has been a very good friend to me - I went to work for myself, and by his assistance have got a good connexion: when I have had nothing to do I have gone back and worked for him, and Mr. Swain gave me a job which came to 70l. last winter.

WILLIAM CHAMBERLAIN . I live in the Kent-road - I was a mariner in the East India Company's service. I have known Allen from my earliest recollection - he is a painter, and housekeeper; he lives in Leonard-street - he has lived there nearly two years I believe; I never heard any thing against him till this time.

COURT. Q. Do you know Camden-town? A. Yes -I do not know whether Wilson-street is in the way from there to Shoreditch.

MR. PHILLIPS. Q. How long have you known him? A. His father and mine were boys together - I am not related to him: I swear that - we have known one another boys together; I have been voyages to sea - I was at sea twenty-two months at one time; I have been away from England within the last four years, but not all the time - I never knew him in custody: I heard he was taken up, but the prosecutor exonerated him - it was something about watches, but he was not charged with it; it was something about his brother - the prosecutor's name was Moore, I believe; I do not know where he lived - I never heard of the prisoner being in custody more than once; I have heard him called Jack, the Painter.

Q. Do not you know that he is the pugilist? A. I never heard that he had fought at all - I never knew him fight; I never heard that he belonged to the ring, and was

a prize-fighter, that I swear; he keeps a chandler's shop, and is a painter - I live at No. 3, Rodney-place, Kent-road, and am a sailor; I returned from sea two years ago last May - I have been endeavouring to get a situation since that, but have had nothing particular to do; I have been assistant in a school part of the time, in King-street.

Q. What King-street? A. You go up Princes-street, Gray's Inn-lane to it - I do not know the number; the gentleman's name is Banbury - I left there twelve months ago last Christmas; I was there for a quarter.

Q. That is in the neighbourhood of Mr. Brown's house, is not it? A. No, a very long way; it is King-street, Soho - that is it; I go into Gray's Inn-lane and Princes-street, to go to it - I never noticed the number of the house; I did not live there, but went daily - I do not know whether there is a number on the door.

COURT. Q. Where did you live then? A. In the same place as I do now - I walked there morning and evening: I have lived in the same place ever since I came from sea - I saw Allen last about three weeks before he was taken, at his own house: I swear I have not heard of his being taken up within the last two years - I perhaps saw him once a month or not so often; I used to go to his house - I never had the slightest notion of his being in the ring; I never knew he fought at all, nor never heard he belonged to the ring - I was not in the habit of visiting him oftener than I have said.

WILLIAM ABBOTT . I am a painter, and live in Hackney-road. I have known Allen about five years, I think; he lives in Leonard-street, Shoreditch, and is a painter - I never knew any dishonesty imputed to him.

MR. PHILLIPS. Q. Did you know him pretty intimately? A. The first two years we worked together, with Mr. Bright, of No. 109, Minories, who is still living; I continued to know him occasionally up to the present time - I never heard of his going by any other name but Allen; I have read of his going by the name of Jack, the Painter, but never heard of it.

Q. How could you tell it was the person you knew, who you were reading of? A. By its being William Allen, alias Jack, the Painter - it was as a prize-fighter I read of him; I never asked how he came to be called by that name - I work for Mr. Bright now; I never heard of the prisoner being in custody.

JURY to JOSEPH SMOUT . Q. Do you recollect in what dress Allen was when taken into custody? A. He had a fustian frock-coat, with pockets on the side, and I believe, fustian trousers - it was a sort of shooting-jacket, such as plumber's wear; a kind of frock coat, nearly down to the knees, I think, but not quite - I am positive he is the person I saw in the house when the door opened.

JANE WOOD. When I saw the young man getting over the wall, he wore a light fustian coat, with pockets at the side - I cannot say it was Allen.




ALLEN - GUILTY - DEATH . Aged 21.[Feb. 24.]

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