JOHN GEORGE OWENS.
28th June 1880
Reference Numbert18800628-430
VerdictGuilty > unknown
SentenceImprisonment > penal servitude

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430. JOHN GEORGE OWENS (18) , Burglary in the dwelling-house of Elizabeth Metzler, and stealing a clock and other articles her property.

MR. PURCELL Prosecuted.

ELIZABETH HANNAH SANS METZLER . I live at 83, Avenue Road, Regent's Park—on the night of 18th May, at about 11.30, I was in bed, heard a noise, and I rang the bell for my servants—a search was made but nothing unusual was found and I went to bed again—I again heard the noise and then I went to sleep—next morning I went downstairs and found that the plate-glass window of the dining-room had been broken—there was a place large enough for a man to get through—I missed from the mantelpiece a clock and a marble plinth, also a tortoiseshell tea-caddy and a cigar stand (produced)—the value of the clock is 16l.—I gave information to the police.

SARAH VARNEY . I am parlour-maid at Mrs. Metzler's—on the night in question I locked up the house securely—the dining-room window was unbroken when my mistress rang for me—I went over the house but I do not know whether the window was then broken, nothing attracted my attention.

SAMUEL MORRIS SAMUEL . I am a watchmaker, at 157, Houndsditch—I bought this clock of the prisoner and a man named Metcalfe, on 27th May, for 33s., also these diamonds on 25th May for 4l., and this fancy box for 1s, the same day I bought the clock—the diamonds were not set—this was the first purchase I made from the prisoner and his partner—the entries in this book were made at the time of the transactions—on 30th May the prisoner came to me alone with an old silver watch, for which I gave him the weight of the silver, 2s. 3d.; the bow of that watch is not broken—on 31st May they came together and brought me these plated knives (produced)—I think they brought me a sample the day before—they asked me 1l. and I gave them 12s.6d.; there are six dessert knives and forks, six fish knives and the forks are wanting—I also purchased some old pieces of odd jewellery, and a worn-out coin as old gold, by weight for 4s.—Inspector Bannister came to make inquiry at my place—some of these articles were there then—the clock I had at my private house.

Cross-examined by the Prisoner. I paid you both; Metcalfe took the money, I paid him 2s. 3d. for the watch.

By the JURY. I am not in the habit of buying property of anybody who comes into my shop without knowing them—the prisoner and Metcalfe had bought watches of me on four or five previous occasions—the first time I think was 16th April, and they told me they were dealers and took things in the ordinary way of sale and exchange—this was the first transaction that I had with them in the way of buying—I can buy these fish knives for 1l. wholesale—if you buy new things and second-hand things there is a great difference in their value—it is usual for persons of the prisoner's age to be dealers on their own responsibility.

FREDERICK RICHARDSON . I am assistant to Miss Flemming, pawnbroke, of Lower John Street, Golden Square—this cigar cabinet was pledged there on 20th May by the prisoner for 5s.; he was alone.

Cross-examined. I cannot swear positively to you.

PATIENCE HUTTON . I am cook to Miss Jonas, of 44, Finchley Road, St. John's Wood—between 1 and 2 a.m. on 21st May I was aroused by the ringing of a bell, and saw Mansell, 273 S, outside—in consequence of what he said I went to the drawing-room and found the window open, the chiffonier drawer open and the room very much disarranged—I missed this box from the whatnot—I also missed a case of card counters and a prayerbook (produced)—I also missed some medals and a silver ladle—the window was broken; it had been secured the night before.

AMELIA HAWKE . I live at 26, Park Road, Marylebone—I was away on 24th May, and on my return at about 12.30 I found some drawers open and everything disturbed—I missed from my room a pair of diamond ear-rings, two boxes, two pairs of opera-glasses, and other things, value 40l—I identify these diamonds; they were set in silver when I last saw them—I paid 26l. for them in Vienna.

FREDERICK STOVEL . I live at 40, Belsize Road, Hampstead—I was out of town in May, and in consequence of information I received I came up on the 28th—I found my house had been broken into, and I missed a dressing case and the contents, and a great many tilling—I recognise these articles; a pair of old scissors, an old snuff-box, a bunch of keys, and an eye-glass—I also missed this certificate of Great Eastern stock, which was in my dressing-case—my daughter received a letter about the certificate.

ALFRED CRAWSAY . I am manager to Phoenias Hans, money changer, of 16, Strand—this certificate of stock was produced to me by the prisoner and another man on 8th June—the prisoner asked if we could sell the stock—I said "Yes"—we found it was the property of Miss Edith Stovel—I told him if he brought her to the office to sign the transfer we could negotiate it for him—he left it and went away—he came next day with a woman and the same man—I had previously sent this letter to Miss Stovel, 40, Belsiae Road, with a blank transfer, and I asked if he had received it—he said he had not—he pulled out a card with Mr. Stovel's name and address on it, and I asked the woman to sign the paper—she wrote "Edith Eliabeth Stovel" on a piece of scrap paper, but spelt it altogether wrong—I told her if she was nervous she had better go home and sign the transfer at home—they went away, and I saw no more of him.

Cross-examined. I cannot swear whether you or the other man produced the card, you were so mixed up in it—one said one thing and the other another—I believe you showed the card.

THOMAS BANNISTER (Police Inspectors.) On the 19th May I received information and searched Mrs. Metzler's premises—I also received information of burglaries at other houses, all within about a mile and a half—on Thursday, 10th June, I went to 5 A, North Road, Oxford Street, the prisoner's lodgings; it is a boot shop—I remained there all that day and all night, up to 11 o'clock next day, when the prisoner came to the house and looked in at the shop-door and said "Any letters for me, Mr. Hudson?"—Mr. Hudson said "Yes"—I was sitting behind the door, and I got up and said to Mr. Hudson, "Let me have my boots to-morrow," and I passed the prisoner, who stood at the door, and said "Good morning"—he said "Good morning"—I

got behind him, seized his arms, and said "I am a police inspector, and shall take you into custody for breaking into several houses in the neighbourhood of St. John's Wood"—he said nothing—I searched him, and found on him part of the property identified by Mr. Stovel, a gold snuffbox, a pair of eye-glasses, and a bunch of keys, including some of Mr. Stovel's cards—in his trousers pocket, behind, I found this revolver (produced), not loaded—in his coat pocket I found this seven-chamber revolver, six chambers being loaded—on my taking it from him he advised me to unload it, as it was rather dangerous—I said "Will it go off?"—he said "Let me unload it"—I declined his offer—he said "Oh, it's all right, I have only got one hand," because Sergeant Laid law had seized hold of him then—I asked him to give me his letters—one was addressed to Mr. Metcalfe, and contained a post-office order—I then went up to his room where he slept, and searched that, where I found this box and contents, identified by Patience Hutton, some more property belonging to Mr. Stovel, and some of that identified by Miss Hawke—on the mantelshelf I found some buttons, and said to the sergeant "They are important evidence, I shall take care of them;" the prisoner said "I know what you mean, I cut them off and put these on," pointing to the ones on his coat, and said "If I had followed my own advice I should not have returned to my lodgings; we thought there would be a noise about the stock certificate"—he said at the station "If I had not been stopped I should have been another Pease, I did not carry the revolvers to play with; I did not ask who the people were at the house or leave my card"—on finding a piece of cord at his lodgings I said to Sergeant Laid law, "I suppose this was on the ladder at Stovel's"—the prisoner said "No it was not, the piece on the ladder was not long enough, so I tied my lace on to make it longer"—I said I never thought it possible that any man could have left the house by that ladder"—he said "No sane man would have attempted it; it was a miracle I did not break my neck"—he wrote this post-card at the station: "Mr. Foster, Post-office, Eastbourne, Sussex, to be left till called for. A. K, caught at last No escape; just keep your wool in and be civil if in any fix. No more from J. O."—I told him I knew who his accomplice was, and he said he should like to write to him—the Police Information would not be sent to Mr. Samuel—he does not receive the pawnbroker's list I am told—in consequence of information I received I went to see him.

Cross-examined. You told me to go to Mr. Samuel's—you made the remark about Peace when you were in the dock, laughing.

By the COURT. Mr. Samuel did not come forward himself, it was through information from the prisoner that I went there—on the prisoner I found this box of cartridges, some of which fit the pistol, which was not loaded; and at his lodgings I found another case of a similar kind, which fit the revolver and the pistol.

LEWIS LAIDLAW (Police Sergeant 8.) On the morning of 19th May I went with Bannister to 83, Avenue Road, and found these two buttons on the balcony underneath where the window was broken—the window faces the front—you cannot see it from the garden.

Prisoner's Defence. The property pledged was left in my charge by a fellow-clerk. I only assisted him to sell it because he was a fellow-clerk, without knowing it had been stolen. He came to me one morning and asked if I would sew two buttons on his coat. I said "Yes." I had black buttons

on my coat, and he persuaded me to cut them off and sew them on his cost I knew nothing about the cabinet. I saw him take it into a pawnbroker's and come out; I asked him what he had done with it, he said he had left it there, and I saw no more of it. The witness said he was not certain whether it was me or another person. I told them were to get the cabinet. I knew nothing whatever about any of the articles. He asked me to take two sealed letters to Mrs. Stovel's. I said "Shall I deliver them both 1" He said "No, deliver one and ask if Miss Stovel is at home; if so deliver this one, and if not deliver the other," and if I was asked questions, I was to say a gentleman brought it from the office. I went there and delivered one letter and put the other in my pocket, the detective found it there sealed. I never knew what was in it till he showed it to me.

INSPECTOR BANNISTER (Re-examined.) The prisoner's companion lived in St. John's Wood.

GUILTY . The Jury expressed their strong disapproval of Mr. Samuer's conduct, and their belief that all the articles found had been stolen.— Five Years' Penal Servitude. There were other indictments against the prisoner on which no evidence was offered.


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