20th August 1849
Reference Numbert18490820-1554
VerdictGuilty > with recommendation

Related Material

ActionsCite this text | Print-friendly version | Report an error
Navigation< Previous text (trial account) | Next text (trial account) >

1554. JOHN LUCKHURST , stealing, whilst employed in the Post-office, a post letter containing 1s.; the property of the Postmaster-General.

MESSRS. CLARKSON and BODKIN conducted the Prosecution.

MATTHEW PEAK . I am a police-officer attached to the Post-office. On Tuesday evening, 7th Aug., about eight o'clock, I was at the back part of the Post-office, standing behind a door which concealed roe from the persons coming up the steps until they got into the hall—whilst there I saw the prisoner coming up the steps into the hall—as he came up to the door he threw down a piece or two pieces of paper; I could not see which—they fell near me—he turned round and saw me—he did not say anything to me—I did not appear to take any notice of him—he went across the hall towards the Alders-gate-street side—as soon as his eyes were off me I picked up the piece of paper—when he got near the entrance-door he stood behind a pillar—I then saw him tearing up some bits of paper and throwing them down—I then lost sight of him for about a moment—when I saw him again he was coming across the hall back again with a female—he came to the door where I was standing,

seeing the India boxes off, and said to her, "This is our Foreign-office"—he was showing her the different offices—he then went down into the back yard, and said something to the female which I did not hear, pointing towards the lobby door—he then came back again into the hall, went across the hall, and out at the front part—I then went to the pillar where I had seen him throw the paper away I there saw Clayton, one of the messengers, I called his attention to the pieces of paper, and he assisted me in picking them up—he gave me what he picked up—I preserved them with what I picked up near the door till next morning, keeping them separate—these are them (produced)—I made a report the same night—next morning I saw Mr. Bokenham—I went to seek for the prisoner, but could not find him till five o'clock in the evening, when he came on duty—I told him that Mr. Peacock wanted him—I went up with him into Mr. Peacock's office—he said, "What does Mr. Peacock want with me?"—I said, "He wishes to see you with respect to the letter I saw you tear up last night in the hall"—he made no reply to that—at that moment Mr. Peacock came in—he requested me to repeat all I had observed, which I did—the prisoner said he could not account for it; he recollected having three letters on his inkstand, one from his father which he tore up at the lobby door at the entrance of the hall—he was then told that had no reference to the one that was seen torn up behind the pillar—he said he had no recollection, and could not account for that—he was then shown this portion of the envelope in the state it is now, with the word" Norwich "on it—he said, "That is my writing"—that was what I picked up near the pillar—he was searched and 7s. found on him.

Cross-examined by MR. BALLANTINE. Q. When he threw away the first two or three pieces you speak of, how far was he from where you were standing? A. Not two feet; he threw them down towards me as he was walking across the hall—he could not see me then as I was behind the door taking an account of the boxes—he turned round and saw me after he threw down the paper; he made no endeavour to recover the pieces—I did not follow him—one of the pieces which he threw down contained no writing, and was not kept—I cannot say what has become of it—I lost it.

JOHN CLAYTON . I am a messenger in the Post-office. On Tuesday evening, 7th Aug., I saw the prisoner in the back part of the hall with a female—I picked up some pieces of paper near the pillar, which I gave to Peak—we picked up all that was there.

ALICE WHITBY . I reside at Haslar Hospital, Gosport. On 7th Aug. I wrote a letter to my mother in Norfolk—I enclosed 1s. 6d. in a piece of silk, sewed it to the letter, put it in an envelope, and directed it to" Mrs. Whitby, Brinton, Brinenham, Norfolk"—this is the envelope produced—this is part of the letter I wrote—here is a portion of the cotton to it with which I sewed the shilling—I gave the letter to Mrs. Easton to post—I sealed it with a thimble, I find the seal here.

MARY ANN EASTON . I received a letter from Whitby on 7th Aug., near twelve o'clock, to put into the post—I gave it to Coffin, the postman.

JAMES COFFIN . I received a letter from Mrs. Easton on 7th Aug.—I took it to the post at Gosport—it would be dispatched by the mid-day mail, at twenty-five minutes past one.

MARY ANN LEGG . I am assistant-postmistress at Gosport. I made up the bag for the mid-day mail on 7th Aug.; it was dispatched to London in the ordinary course, at ten minutes after one—this envelope bears the Gosport office stamp of that day.

JOHN GARDINER . I am a clerk in the Inland department of the General

Post-office. The prisoner has been nearly ten years employed there—he was on duty at the Inland office on 7th Aug.—a letter sent from Gosport by the mid-day mail would arrive at the Post-office on its way to Norfolk about half-past fivehe was employed as one of the inspectors of blind letters—a letter which has not a very intelligible address would go into that office—there was no post town mentioned on this letter—that would be called a blind letter, and would as such come into the hands of the prisoner or the other inspector that evening—it would be the inspector's duty to write on it the post town to which it should go—this word "Norwich" is the prisoner's writing—I have seen his writing several times—after putting" Norwich" on it, it would be his duty to send it out with the other letters to be dispatched that same evening—he would not have occasion to keep it in his own possession for any lawful purpose—it would go from the office at eight o'clock—it has the stamp of the Inland office on it; that indicates that it had arrived by the evening mail.

Cross-examined. Q. What number of letters would come into his custody on that evening? A. I cannot tell within 200 or 300; it is very uncertain—one other person, Mr. Johnson, was engaged in the same department—it was no part of his duty to deliver letters.

CHARLES JOHNSON . On 7th Aug. I acted with the prisoner as an inspector of blind letters in the Inland department—I have no recollection of seeing this letter in the course of my duty—I believe the word "Norwich" on it to be the prisoner's writing—after putting that on it would be his duty to send it away with others by a messenger to be sorted.

Cross-examined. Q. Suppose a letter was torn, would it be his duty to transmit it in that state, or would it be taken to some other part of the office to be re-sealed? A. Torn letters are re-sealed in another part of the office—they are kept back for five or six minutes for that purpose—there may be perhaps fifty or a hundred letters of that sort of a night—I do not know whether he had any to be re-sealed that night—I did not observe any in our depart-ment—I never knew the messenger leave letters behind—I have known instances where letters have not all been written on, and then they would not be sent till the next post.

MR. BODKIN. Q. In this instance the word "Norwich" being written on the letter, would it be necessary to do anything else? A. No; it was in a state to have gone off by that night's post, and ought to have gone.

GUILTY. Aged 37.—Recommended to mercy by the Jury. Transported for Ten Years.

View as XML