30th January 1843
Reference Numbert18430130-706
VerdictsGuilty > unknown; Not Guilty > unknown

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706. JOHN ASHLEY was indicted for stealing, on the 7th of Jan., 1 vice, value 15s., the goods of Thomas Murray; and BENJAMIN BEER , for feloniously receiving the same, well knowing it to have been stolen; against the Statute, &c.

THOMAS MURRAY . I live in High-street, St. Giles, and am an ironmonger, This vice is mine—I lost it on the 7th of Jan.—it had been by the side of another vice in my shop—Ashley used to come to my shop at times with his father—I received information from my servant, Brown, and went to a house in Nottingham-court, Short's-gardens—I found Beer there—I was given to understand by the landlord that it was Ashley's father's premises—Ashley's father was not there, but Beer was in the act of taking away the vice from under the stairs in the cellar—I asked what he was doing with the vice—he said Ashley had sent him to take it away, and to meet him at the corner of Longacre—I gave Beer in charge—I had missed the vice a few minutes before.

Cross-examined by MR. PAYNE. Q. What is the weight of this vice? A. I should say about three quarters of a hundredweight—it is rather heavy—I did not hear Ashley mention at all when the vice was found—I should say a boy like Ashley could carry such a vice as this—I have seen it done—I have seen him come almost every other morning with his father—the vice was found about five minutes' walk from my place.

Cross-examined by MR. HOWORTH. Q. Did you ever see Beer before? A. No—Ashley's father is a stove-maker, which is a branch of smith's work—he never worked for me—he and the boy used to come to my house to buy iron—I did not know where he lived, for he always paid ready money for his iron—I have no doubt that it was at his workshop I found the vice—Beer was in a landing-place between the shop and the other cellar—I believe I and the policeman were there before Beer came—we were searching round for the vice—the boy Ashley had been taken into custody before we went to the cellar—a servant of mine had given him into custody, without my knowledge

—I went to his father's shop to look after the vice—I was there a few minutes before Beer came—I did not see him come in—it is a corner house—he came it at the side door—we did not hide ourselves—after we had searched the front shop, we found Beer taking out the vice, lifting it on his shoulder—the passage was very narrow, and I was before the policeman—he was to meet Ashley at the corner of Cross-lane and Long-acre—neither of us went to see if Ashley was waiting there.

COURT. Q. After you lost this vice you went in a few minutes straight to Nottingham-court, Short's-gardens? A. Yes—I went first by myself, but did not go into the house—I left a female servant at the corner of the house to see that they did not take it away—I then went to the station, and came with a policeman in about ten minutes—it was the second time that I saw Beer—I never saw Ashley there at all—Beer came in I suppose while we were there the second time—it is a very dark place—I do not know whether he was there when we went into the house.

HENRY BROWN . I am in the prosecutor's service. I was in the street on Saturday morning, the 7th of January—I saw Ashley with the vice on his shoulder, about nine or ten o'clock, in Bowl-yard, going towards Belton-street, which leads into Nottingham-court—I know it was my master's vice—I went and told my master.

Cross-examined by MR. PAYNE. Q. When had you seen that vice before? A. That morning, in the shop—I knew Ashley by his coming to the shop, and I knew the vice because I went up and looked at it—I am fourteen years old—I cannot take this vice up and carry it—I do not think he could lift it on his own shoulder—I did not speak to him—I did not know but he had been and bought it.

COURT. Q. Are you sure he was carrying it? A. Yes.

Cross-examined by MR. HOWORTH. Q. Was any one with him? A. No—I never saw Beer to my knowledge—I did not know where Ashley's father lives—his workshop is in Nottingham-court, Short's-gardens, where the vice was found.

EDMUND SWEENEY (police-constable F 130.) I went to Nottingham-court—I found Ashley there, and I took him to the station—I returned with the prosecutor, and found Beer under the staircase—I do not know when he came—we were there a length of time searching the place—there are two or three dark cellars—we, were obliged to get a candle—Beer was standing close to the vice.

Cross-examined by MR. PAYNE. Q. Were you at the police-office? A. Yes—Beer was first examined as a witness, and then turned into a prisoner—Beer made a charge against Ashley's father—I did not go to the top of Cross-lane, Long-acre, to see whether Ashley's father was waiting there—Beer told me he was asked by Ashley's father to take the vice there.

Cross-examined by MR. HOWORTH. Q. Had you examined that part where the vice was before Beer came? A. No—we were nearly ten minutes searching the place—it was full of old iron—the vice was not covered with iron—it was a very narrow place where Beer was—I cannot say whether Beer was in the place when we got there—the place is very large.

Witness for the Defence.

MICHAEL CONNER . I live at No. 5, Great Tothill-street, Seven-dials, Beer lives in that house—on Saturday morning, the 7th of Jan., the day that Beer was taken, I was cleaning my window, between half-past ten and eleven o'clock—a very genteel man came and asked me which bell he should ring for Beer—I told him—Beer shoved the window back and went out with him.

ASHLEY— GUILTY . Aged 16.— Confined Two Months.


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