23rd August 1841
Reference Numbert18410823-2209
VerdictGuilty > unknown

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2209. WILLIAM MILLER was indicted for feloniously assaulting John Samuel Fisher, on the 21st of August, with intent his goods and monies, from his person, and against his will, violently and feloniously to steal.

JOHN SAMUEL FISHER . I shall be fifteen years old next October—I am clerk to Mr. Robert Hudson, Custom-house agent, St. Dunstan's-hill—I have been seven or eight months in his employment—he has an office in the lobby of the Custom-house. Last Saturday week I had occasion to pay 16l. 3s. 6d. into the treasury of the Custom-house—it was a 10l. note, a 5l. note, a sovereign, a half-crown, and a shilling—it was Mr. Hudson's money—I had to go across the long room up a small passage to the treasury—I had the money in my hand—I crossed the long room with it, and got about two steps from the door of the treasury—there are a great many people in the long room—I did not see any body near the treasury door—while I was about to enter the door a person came behind me, and gave me several severe blows on the head, and afterwards knocked me down and demanded my money—he said, "Give me your money" three or four times when I was down—I would not part with it—I held it firmly in my hand, and called out "Murder"—while I was calling out I heard somebody approaching, and then the person who attacked me ran away—he had a blue coat on—I did not notice his features—I noticed his coat when he was about a dozen yards from me, after he turned to run away—I am certain of his having a blue coat—two or three moments after he ran away Cook and Kelly came up—I told them which way the man had gone—I was carried into the treasury, and sent for my employer, and then I put the money on the table—two or three minutes after Cook and Kelly came up, while I was sitting on the chair in the treasury, I heard somebody call out, "He is caught, he is caught"—I came out of the treasury, and saw the prisoner in custody—he had a blue coat on—my father came to the place afterwards, and said to him, "You vagabond, or scoundrel, how came you to hit a boy like that?"—he said, "I have not hurt him, I have not hurt the boy"—I have suffered a good deal from the violence, and I have been attended by a doctor.

THOMAS KELLY . I am a messenger in the employ of the Customs. On Saturday week, about half-past twelve o'clock, I was in the bench lobby near the treasurer's office—I heard a great screaming in the passage, and a cry of "Murder," repeated two or three times—I went to see what was the matter, and about two paces from the boy I saw a man in a blue coat running—I immediately ran after him—I lost sight of him, at he turned round a corner—there are several corners there—I only lost sight of him once, and I never regained sight of him till I found him in a coal-hole, not far from the staircase—there were some gentlemen standing on the top of the staircase—he must have been twenty paces from the staircase when I lost sight of him—he would have two corners to turn to get to that staircase—there was no way for him to get out of the Custom-house but by that staircase—in consequence of something that passed with those gentlemen, I came back, and looked in the coal-cellar—I had ran past the coal-cellar to get to the top of the stairs—the coal-cellar is about eight or ten paces from the top of the stairs—after passing the coal-cellar I should have to pass one of the corners I have mentioned—a person going into the coal-cellar would be concealed from a person on the top of the stairs by the corner—a man named Salter ran as far as the prosecutor, who was lying down when we passed him—no other person went on with me—I then went to the coal-cellar, and found the door was not as it generally is when I have occasion to go there—I pulled the door open, went in, put my foot in behind the door, and felt a man—I then fastened the door back so as to keep him behind it, and hallooed out to Mr. Salter, who was coming up, that I had got him—the person I seized was the prisoner—he had on a blue coat—I had not heard at that time any thing from the boy about the person who assaulted him—I secured him, and said, "I have got you"—he said, "I know you have"—I then handed him over to Mr. Brunet, the constable—he was taken into a little lobby near the coal-cellar, and there kept some time—the boy was brought to him and shown to him—I did not hear him say any thing then.

JAMES COOK . I am clerk in the Receiver-general's office in the Custom-house—I was in the office about noon on Saturday week last, about half-past twelve o'clock—I heard a noise in the passage, and a boy calling out "Oh!" several times—I took no notice of that, as it is sometimes customary with boys—after that I heard a call of murder—I went out immediately into the passage, and as I was going out I saw a man pass the door—I did not see enough of him to take notice of his dress—I went into the passage and found the boy there—he was partially rising, and apparently in great agony—I assisted him up, and asked him to walk into the office—he said he could not—I carried him in, and placed him on a chair—he requested his employer might be sent for, which was done, and about one or two minutes afterwards the prisoner was taken into custody—the boy's father was sent for, and when he came he said to the prisoner, "You scoundrel, or rascal, how dare you ill use the boy in the way you have done?"—he said "I have not ill-used the boy"—the police were sent for, and on their arrival he said there was no need of so much fuss, for he would go without any resistance.

JOHN SALTER . I am a messenger to the Bench officers of the Customs—last Saturday week I was standing in the Bench lobby, and heard a violent scream of "Murder" in the passage—I immediately went into the passage, and saw the boy just rising from the ground, with his hat in his hand, very

much crushed, and saw a man running from him—I merely saw his back, he had on a blue coat with gilt buttons—on going round the first corner I lost sight of him and Kelly also—I afterwards heard Kelly call out, "Salter, I've got him"—I went to the coal-hole and said, "Do not open the door till I have got a candle"—when I returned with one several persons had come up, and the prisoner was out of the coal-hole—I heard him say that he went into the coal-hole to make water—I examined the corner where he had been standing, but there was no moisture whatever—there was nothing about his dress which had the appearance of his having opened his dress to make water.

COURT. Q. Did you see any other person when you saw the man with the blue coat running away? A. There was no one in the passage at the time—there is no other outlet from the passage except that by which I was coming and the man running—there is no other door in the passage in the way he ran but the coal-hole, into which he could have turned.

WILLIAM HENRY MARSHALL . I am clerk to Messrs. Henderson, of Mincing-lane. I was at the Custom-house in the Treasury about half-past twelve o'clock on Saturday week—I heard a noise in the passage—I at first thought it was some boys at play—I then heard screams and a cry of "Murder"—I opened the Treasury door and went out—as I did so I saw somebody rush by the door—when I got into the passage I found Fisher in a stooping position, as if he was getting up, and his hat was on the ground, very much crushed—several persons came up, and the boy was taken into the Treasury—shortly after I heard a cry that they had found a man—I afterwards saw the prisoner in the passage—the boy saw him, and said in his hearing he believed he was the man.

JOHN FISHER . I am the father of the boy. I was at work at Galleyquay, and was sent for to the Custom-house last Saturday week, and saw the prisoner there in custody—I said to the prisoner, who was then in custody, "You scoundrel," or something similar, how dare you knock the boy about in this kind of manner, seeing the boy in a terrible way—he said, "I have not hurt him"—he was then taken away in custody.

ROBERT HAMLIN (City police-constable, No. 539.) I was sent for to the Custom-house last Saturday week, a little before one o'clock—I found the prisoner there in custody—some one asked him why he secreted himself in the coal-cellar—he said he had been there to make water—I examined the coal-cellar, but there was not the least appearance of any such thing having taken place—I afterwards remarked in his presence at the station that there was no such appearance—he said nothing.

WILLIAM BROWN (City police-constable, No. 543.) I took the prisoner from the Custom-house to the station—I afterwards took him from the Mansion-house to the Computer—as we were going along I remarked that he appeared to have several witnesses against him—he replied that some of the witnesses were right enough, but one or two he considered of no use at all.

THOMAS KELLY re-examined. I could not see the stairs at the time I lost sight of the man I was pursuing—I could not see the stairs from the cellar-door—it is on the first floor—the two gentlemen were standing at the top of the first flight, on the same floor as the cellar—at the bottom of the stairs there is a passage leading into the street—I knew the persons who were standing at the top of the stairs—neither of them were dressed in a blue coat.

Q. By the time you got to the top of the stairs, would there have been time for a person to hare run down those stairs and got away by the passage, without your seeing him? A. No—I did not see any one running down those stairs, or along the passage below—the person could not have run down those stairs—I do not think he could have run round the second corner before I ran round the first.

Prisoner's Defence. I went to the Custom-house, on Saturday, with a young man I was acquainted with, who had some business to transact there—he left me waiting while he went into one of the offices—while standing there (and I believe the last witness stated at the Mansion-house that he saw me standing there ten minutes) I saw two or three persons go to this coal-cellar, which I thought was for the sake of convenience, and I went in there; while I was there the person came and said, "Look, he has gone in there;" I have been in a most respectable situation up to this last fortnight, and I have not made my friends acquainted with this.

GUILTY . Aged 28.— Confined Twelve Months.

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