JOSEPH HOPKINS, JOHN STEWART.
7th April 1856
Reference Numbert18560407-471
VerdictGuilty > unknown; Guilty > unknown
SentenceImprisonment > penal servitude; Transportation

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471. JOSEPH HOPKINS and JOHN STEWART , feloniously breaking and entering the dwelling house of John Wallen, and stealing therein 32 pieces of velvet, and other goods, value 400l.; the property of Robert Marshall—2nd COUNT, feloniously receiving the same.

MESSRS. BALLANTINE and LEWIS conducted the Prosecution.

ROBERT MARSHALL . I am a silk manufacturer, and carry on business at

No. 11, Spital-square—my warehouses are on the ground floor of that house—the upper part of the house is occupied by Mr. John Wallen—when you enter the house, you first go into a hall—on each side the hall there are two rooms on the ground floor, and an inner door which communicates with the house, but that is only opened when you knock or ring—the street door is open, I do not keep the key of that—the two side doors inside the hall lead into my warehouse—I was in the habit of going out about 1 o'clock in the day, and remaining about three quarters of an hour—there might have been one or two exceptions, but, as a role, I may say I did that every day—on 20th Feb. I left my warehouse about that time, leaving there a quantity of velvets and black silks—I returned at 2 o'clock, after being absent half an hour—I found thirty-two pieces of velvet gone, and tea pieces of silk, three pieces of which had been sold, and were wrapped up in paper, and left on the counter—they were perfectly safe when I left—when I came back I had some difficulty in opening my door—there were no marks of violence—I lost upwards of 400l. worth of property—I have not recovered any portion of it—the premises are in the liberty of Norton Folgate.

Cross-examined by MR. RIBTON (for Hopkins) Q. What sized house is this? A. I do not know exactly the number of rooms, I think there are about twelve—Mr. Wallen's family occupy the upper part of the house, and the lower part also—I rent the parlours from him—Mr. Wallen is an architect—there is only that one family living in the house—there is one servant—there are no clerks—I do not know whether Mr. Wallen is exactly out of business, but he is a great invalid, and not able to attend to his business—he has several daughters, but only one I believe resides at home; others are at home occasionally—he has a son who does not live in the house—I consider that he does no business now, on account of the state of his health—he has no assistants or apprentices—I have no clerks—I have a little boy who comes early in the morning to sweep the warehouse, light the fire, and do various little things—I attend to the whole business myself, I have no one to assist me—I send out things by a man, who makes it his trade to carry for warehouses in the neighbourhood, and who comes in at stated times; generally about 10 o'clock in the morning, to ask if I have any goods to go out—he had come in that morning—I had not told him to come again—he does come again about half past 12 o'clock, or a quarter to 1—he had come that day at a little past 1 o'clock, and asked if there was any thing to be sent out—I told him to wait, I was then making up the three pieces that I had sold—ho said he was going a little farther, and he would call again—I told him to come in at 2 o'clock, was he did come in at 2 o'clock, just as I was in the act of trying to open the door—I have employed him in that way for about twelve months—I da not know that he knew my habit of going out between 1 and 2 o'clock, because he has generally come in at about a quarter to 1 o'clock, before I went out—I do not know whether my habit of going out was known in the neighbourhood, I did not publish it—I do not know whether that man knew it or not—his name is Davis—he is not here—the street door is left open—my warehouse is on each side of the hall—I am in the habit of locking both doors with the same key—when I go away at night I always take the keys with me—I have been there eighteen or twenty months—the boy generally goes away about 11 o'clock, and does not return, as I have nothing further for him to do.

Cross-examined by MR. LAWRENCE (for Stewart) Q. In what state did

you find the place when you returned? A. The velvets are kept in boxes—they were taken out, and the boxes placed on the floor helter skelter—I had been sewing some of those velvets that very morning—they were each in different boxes of about the same size—every piece of velvet is made to be about the same size, generally speaking—with silk it depends on the fabric; they vary—every piece of the same fabric would be made of about the same number of yards.

THOMAS LKVESQUE . I am warehouseman to Mr. Thomas Kemp, a silk manufacturer in Spital-square. Our warehouse is nearly opposite Mr. Marshall's—on 20th Feb., about ten minutes to 2 o'clock, I was coming out of Mr. Kemp's premises, and saw two men come from the private door of Mr. Marshall's premises—I mean the street door, the front door—I did not see them come out of either of the warehouse doors inside—etch man had a black bag on his back containing something about a yard long, and twenty inches wide, as if they were velvets—the bags were similar to an old clothesman's bag, only new and glazed—they looked full—I watched the movements of those men—they turned towards White Lion-street, walking one behind the other—they walked across White Lion-street out of the square, and went towards Elder-street—there was a cart in Elder-street, about a dozen yards round the corner, with a man in it—the parties put the bags into that cart—they did not get in themselves—it was a dirty cart, of a greenish shade, I think—a spring cart—it had no covering—it was an open cart—Elder-street is very nearly opposite Spital-square, within a few yards—I saw the two men leave the cart—they turned round to the square again, turned out of Elder-street into White Lion-street, and that was all I saw of them—I did not see where they went to—I then went to dine—I left the cart still standing there, as if waiting for the parties to come back—I did not see it go away.

Cross-examined by MR. RIBTON. Q. The cart was some distance down Elder-street? A. About a dozen yards—I was about that distance from it when I saw the men go up to it—I passed down Elder-street close to the cart—that was how I saw the colour of it—I passed it before the bags were put in—I was walking on one side of the square when the two men were on the other side, and I turned into Elder-street first, and then I turned round and saw. what I have stated—I had a full view of the cart—I passed within a yard or a yard and a half of it—it was standing close to the kerb—I had got about a dozen yards past H when I turned round, and saw the parcels put into it—I had a friend with me, and we were both looking at it—his name is Thomas Godfrey—he is not here—he saw the men as well as me—I cannot say whether he saw them in Spital-square—I named it to him in Elder-street, or White Lion-street—I said, I did not like the appearance of the way in which the parcels were brought out in black bags—I drew his attention to the men—he had a full opportunity of teeing then—he saw the cart as he passed it, and the man in it—he had not so good an opportunity of seeing him as I had—I had a full opportunity of seeing him, both in passing the cart and when. I turned round and saw the parcels put in—I did not know of Mr. Marshall's habit of going out between 1 and 2 o'clock—I work opposite, at Mr. Kemp s—there are three persons in Mr. Kemp's employment besides his sons, and himself—I do not think any of them knew that Mr. Marshall was in the habit of going out between 1 and 2 o'clock—I know this was on 20th Feb., because when I came back from dinner I was told that Mr. Marshall bad been robbed—I do not see many persons go in and out at Mr. Marshall's, for when I go to my work of a

morning, I do not come out till dinner time—I have seen one or two standing about the door, weavers I should suppose they were.

Cross-examined by MR. LAWRENCE. Q. Between 1 and 2 o'clock is the common dinner time in your business, is it not? A. We have no rule, it is according as business lets us go—that is about the usual time.

COURT. Q. You say you had the opportunity of seeing the man in the cart? A. Yes, I saw his face, but I cannot recognise him—I do not think it was either of the prisoners, it was a taller man than either of them—I should say Hopkins is about five feet four or five or six—the person in the cart was sitting down when I passed it—he eased the goods down in the cart when the parties pitched them in—he was standing when he eased the goods down.

JOHN JAMES . I am a journeyman silk dyer, and work at Mr. Hendry's, in Blossom-street. I recollect in Feb. last seeing a cart in White Lion-street, coming from Norton Folgate—Hopkins was in it—I can speak positively to him—I used to see him frequently in White Lion-street, between 1 and 2 o'clock in the afternoon—the cart was coming from Norton Folgate in White Lion-street, and turned into Blossom-street—he was sitting in the cart—he went gently on until he came to Fleur-de-lisstreet; he then turned towards Elder-street, and I saw no more of him that day—it was on Wednesday, 20th Feb.—I heard of the robbery the same afternoon—Blossom-street is not the direct line to Elder-street—there is about a stone's throw between Blossom-street and Elder-street—since I was before the Magistrate I have stepped it, and made it seventy-six yards or steps—Blossom-street is not the shortest way to Elder-street from White Lion-street, the nearest way is along White Lion-street—I saw him turning into Fleur-de-lis-street, but I did not see him further—if he was going to place his cart within twelve yards of the bottom of Elder-street, he would be going round, and not the nearest way.

COURT. Q. Had you known Hopkins before, except seeing him about in the street, as you say? A. I saw him upwards of three weeks previous to the robbery, in White Lion-street—I had no acquaintance with him—I did not know his name—I only knew him by seeing him standing here and there in the street at different times, and sometimes he was standing talking with a man, as I was going to my dinner—it was about 5 or 6 minutes past 1 o'clock in the afternoon that I saw him on 20th Fob—I know that, because it was the time I was going home to my dinner from my work—it was a sort of dirty looking cart, something of a darkish greenish dirty looking cart, and a brown, middle-sized horse, rather a poor looking one.

Cross-examined by MR. RIBTON. Q. Do you know Bowles? A. Yes—I think I was present when he was examined before the Magistrate, but I could not hear distinctly what he was saying—I have not been talking to him about this transaction—he spoke to me first of all—he noticed Hopkins in White Lion-street before I did—he spoke to me about it, about three weeks previous to the robbery—since the robbery I have spoken to Bowles about it, in the dye house—I was speaking to him about it on the 20th, in the afternoon—he told me he had seen a cart—he did not tell me the colour of it, nor did I tell him—to-day is the first time I have said a word about it—I was not asked before—I have not been speaking to Bowles about it to-day.

MR. LEWIS. Q. I suppose the robbery was the common talk of the neighbourhood? A. Yes, I heard talk of it many a time.

COURT. Q. How near did the man pass you in the cart that day? A. I

was close to him, close to the side of the cart as he was turning round from White Lion-street into Blossom-street—the pavement is very narrow there—I saw his face—I have not the least doubt that Hopkins is the man.

THOMAS BOWLES . I am a fellow workman of James—I know both the prisoners, but one of them I have only seen once, that is Stewart—I was in the habit of seeing Hopkins at about 1 o'clock in the day, in White Lion-street—I have seen him there for four or five weeks, I should say a score of times or upwards, about the same time of day—the last time I saw him was on 20th Feb., the day of the robbery—he was riding in a cart—it was about 2 o'clock—the cart was loaded—he was alone in it—he was driving into White Lion-street from Elder-street—I saw two men near the cart; Stewart is one of them—he was in the road—I saw those two men, I should say, for about a minute—the cart was going at the rate of from ten to twelve miles an hour—I first saw it in Elder-street—it was then standing from ten to twelve yards from the corner—it was there that I saw Stewart talking to Hopkins—the cart then drove off—Hopkins drove the cart.

Cross-examined by MR. LAWRENCE. Q. Do you say that you saw Stewart talking to him? A. Yes—I know it was Stewart, because I had a good, fair look at him—I am not troubled with bad eyesight—I never left my employment because of my bad eyesight—I am working now as a dyer, and have been for upwards of twenty years—I have never left off through my eyesight, only when I have done my duly labour—I have never been obliged to cease my employment for any reason whatever—I am still a dyer—I never saw Stewart only on that day—when I was first asked about this matter, I did not say I believed it was Stewart, but was not certain—I said there was another man talking to him at the side of the cart; and when my evidence came to be read over, they put it down, "a man," as I was not in possession of either of their names—I never said that I only believed Stewart was the man—I did not see him again till he was before the Magistrate—I do not know of any reward being offered for the discovery of this robbery—I have heard it talked of—I have heard them say it was 150l.

COURT. Q. How near were you to the cart when you saw Hopkins and the other man by him? A. At the corner of the very street, within ten or twelve yards—it was a very dirty cart, a spring cart—it had been a green, but most of the colour was gone—when I saw Hopkins talking to the other man, he was standing still—the cart had not started—when it did start, he ran after it, a little way behind it—he went up White Lion-street—the cart went to the top of White Lion-street, and turned out at the top of Norton Folgate—I had not occasion to go so far—I went down Blossom-street, and lost sight of them—Stewart had turned into Norton Folgate before I went into Blossom-street—the prisoners are the two men, I am positive; I have no doubt at all about it—I could not see what was in the cart—there appeared to be a quantity of things in it, but they were covered over with a white bag, or a white cloth—I had observed Hopkins frequently before—I had not mentioned it to anybody—I think I have mentioned it once or twice in the shop, that I had seen a man hanging about the streets—I am almost positive I have mentioned it—I will not pretend to say whether I have done so in James's presence—I mentioned it among the workmen in the shop.

ROBERT DYE . I am a livery stable keeper, in White Lion-street, Norton Folgate. I can see the prosecutor's premises from my house—I know both the prisoners, by seeing them frequently about my premises, not together, but I have seen both frequently; Hopkins for about three weeks previous

to the robbery, between 1 and 2 o'clock in the afternoon—I did not see Hopkins on the day of the robbery—I saw Stewart that day, opposite my premises, and also the day before—he was in White Lion-street, between 1 and 2 o'clock, on both days—on the 20th he was walking to and fro opposite my house and gateway, which looks opposite the square.

Cross-examined by MR. LAWRENCE. Q. You speak of Stewart by name now; had you known his name before you heard of this transaction? A. No, not till I went to identify him—I know it was on the 20th that I saw him walking to and fro, because I heard of the robbery the same afternoon, and I was about my premises particularly that day, and noticed him—I saw him from my counting house window, which looks up the square—there is a blind to that window—I might have to raise myself a little to look over it.

COURT. Q. From where you saw Stewart walking backwards and forwards, could he see the door of Mr. Marshall's house? A. Yes—I can see it from my counting house.

Q. Look steadily at those men, and do not be in a hurry to answer; what do you say? A. They are the two—I hare no doubt—when I went to see them at the police office, one was walking about, and the other was sitting down—there were no other persons there but policemen—I was told that these two persons were taken for the robbery, and asked whether I could identify them—it was at Spital-square station.

JONATHAN WHICHER . I am a detective officer of the Metropolitan Police. On Monday, 25th Feb., I was in company with sergeant Jackson in the Kingsland-road, and met the two prisoners together—we followed them; we were in plain clothes; we followed them some distance down the Kingsland-road—I then stopped Hopkins, and said, "Pray, what is your name?"—he said, "My name? why?"—I said, "I wish to know"—he said, "I shall not tell you"—I said, "Where do you live?"—he said, "I shall not tell you"—I said, "I am a police officer, and I have a motive in asking you"—he said, "I shall not tell you, but Mrs. Welsh knows my name very well"—there is a Mrs. Welsh who keeps a low public house in the neighbourhood—I said, "Then if you refuse to give me your name and address, you must go with me"—he said, "Very well,"and I took him to the station house in Spital-square; and after the witnesses Bowles, Dye, and James had seen them, they were charged with this offence—Jackson took charge of Stewart—he stood close by during this conversation, but said nothing—they both refused their address at the station, to the acting inspector, in my presence—they each said they should not give their address—I searched Hopkins, and found on him a silver watch and 15s. 9 1/2 d., nothing relating to the charge.

COURT. Q. Were there any other prisoners at the station when Dye, James, and Bowles saw them there? A. No other men; there was a drunken woman—we always do mix persons with other prisoners when they are to be identified, but there were no others there on this occasion—it is generally done.

HENRY JACKSON (police-sergeant 11 H). I was with Whicher on 25th Feb. in the Kingsland-road, and took the prisoners into custody—I left then at the station and was away for absent an hour and a half—in consequence of a communication made to me on my return by Farrell, a constable in whose custody they were left, I went to the watercloset; I searched the pan, and in it found a quantity of small pieces of paper—these are them (produced)—they were taken out of the pan and given to Mr. Marshall—he was present when they were taken out—he said he would take them home and paste

them together, he took them away with him—next morning, I think he showed them to me pasted on this board—I received it at his house—I had examined the papers that I found, the evening before—they were not soiled in any way, some of them were wet—I can speak to some of these papers as being the same 1 found in the pan, they are like what I found, they have similar figures as them—water cannot be let into the pan from the cell, it is turned on from outside—a person who uses the pan cannot empty it—that is done, on purpose, for precaution—a person using the pan can throw anything into it, but cannot pass it below.

Cross-examined by MR. LAWRENCE. Q. When were these pasted on the board? A. I believe the same afternoon; I can speak to their identity by the particular figures on them, which we made observation upon at the time we took them out and wiped them.

COURT. Q. Were you with Whicher when these men were asked their addresses? A. Yes, Whicher asked Hopkins his address when he took him, and he refused to give either his name or address, and so did Stewart to me.

WILLIAM FARRELL (policeman). On 25th Feb. I was on duty at the Spitalfields-station—the prisoners were brought there and left in my charge—Stewart asked to be allowed to go to the water closet—I granted that request—he was there about five minutes, I did not follow him, I stood at the reserve room door where I could see the cell door—I heard him tear up some paper—I communicated that to sergeant Jackson, and afterwards went with him into the cell and picked out these pieces of paper from the pan.

Cross-examined by MR. LAWRENCE. Q. This is an ordinary cell in which prisoners are received? A. Yes, there are three cells, this was No. 2 cell—there is a water closet to each cell.

COURT. Q. Row soon after he had left it did you go in? A. About a quarter of an hour—no other person had used it in the mean time—I am sure of that—he did not appear to have used the pan in the ordinary way—I had not turned the water on, so that I should have been sure to have found it there.

MR. LAWRENCE. Q. There were other constables about, I suppose? A. There was no other constable there besides myself at that time—I had rinsed out the pans with water about half or a quarter of an hour before the prisoners came in—the people at the station never go into those water closets.

ROBERT MARSHALL re-examined. I received information on 25th Feb., and went to the station and received from sergeant Jackson some pieces of paper—I took them home and pasted them on another piece of paper, and matched them together—this is it—these are the pieces I pasted on—they are the same that I received from Jackson, and no others—these are every one that I received from him—I find marks on them—on one piece there is the word, "velvet"—it is on two pieces of paper which fit together, each piece contains part of the word—I also find some numbers on these pieces, they are compound numbers—I do not know how many pieces contain compound numbers—they correspond with the lengths that were on tickets attached to the pieces of velvet stolen—I can prove the lengths of the pieces of velvet stolen, and I have made a corresponding list with these numbers—I have my book here containing the numbers and lengths of the pieces—they were entered as they were brought in by the weaver, by myself—I began business at these premises in Sept 1854—I am able from this

book to tell what goods came in and when—I cannot tell what remained on the premises by this book, I should hare to take that from my stock taking last Christmas, and the entries in my day book—this book will not enable me to say what goods I had on 20th Feb.—it gives the widths and lengths of the pieces, and by my other books I could of course tell exactly what I have lost—I have done so—those other books are not here—the letters "dit" on these pieces of paper, I presume, mean "ditto"—there are no numbers here, only lengths—I can prove that I have lost pieces of velvet corresponding with these lengths—I prove that by my books—I have made out a list of what I lost—the books themselves would not prove it if they were here; it is a process of arithmetic; I should have to explain and make out the list in Court—I made an exact list of the goods I lost, from my books—I ascertained what had come in, and what I had sold, and then the missing were not sold—this is the extract I made (produced)—it is not that the books refreshed my memory and enabled me to speak from recollection, I speak from the books themselves, they prove it—I can speak from recollection to some particular numbers and lengths being in the warehouse shortly before the robbery, for instance, those I had shown to a customer that morning—there was one piece of velvet of 28 yards, and two pieces of 36 yards—lengths of velvet vary—that is so with all velvets—those three were peculiar numbers in themselves, being rather unusual lengths for velvet, velvets are generally made to come out of the loom at 31 yards—(it was stated that the figures 28 appeared on the pieces of paper, but not 36)—all the others that I lost I can swear to as being from 29 to 34 yards in length—that would be the case in almost any velvet warehouse—1005 yards is the exact quantity I lost—I am speaking from a calculation that I made; of course I cannot speak from memory—there were 32 pieces taken away, and the average length of them was 31 yards—that would make 992 yards; a few yards of extra length would make it up to 1005—I made the list out, and added it up very carefully several times, and made it 1005 yards—this paper is similar to that used for velvet wrappers—I do not know whether it is commonly used, I used it—I pasted these pieces of paper in this way at a friend's house, Mr. Beverly—he is in Court—I could not match the dates, and I thought them unimportant, so I pasted them on any way.

SOPHIA ELIZABETH WALLEN . I reside at No. 11, Spitalequare. Mr. Marshall rents the parlours of my father—I remember 20th Feb., no one left the part of the house in which we reside, on that day, with any black bags.

HOPKINS— GUILTY .** Aged 56.

STEWART— GUILTY .* Aged 36.— Five Years Penal Servitude.

(Hopkins was further charged with having been before convicted.)

JONATHAN WHICHER . I produce a certificate—(Read: "Central Criminal Court, Jan,) 1850, James Hughes, convicted of housebreaking, and transported for ten years")

JOSEPH METTAM . I was present at the trial—Hopkins is the man—I was the prosecutor in the case.

HOPKINS—GUILTY.— Transported for Fourteen Years.


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