Offences: Damage to Property > other; Damage to Property > other
Verdicts: Guilty > no_subcategory
Punishments: Imprisonment > penal servitude
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RICHARD JOHN ASKEW . I am the landlord of the White Horse, Shere, in the county of Surrey—the prisoner was at my house on 18th September, and left about a quarter to 5 in the evening—I have made this plan (produced)—it correctly shows the path across the fields from my house to Gomshall Station, also the main road from the same place to the same round Frank's Corner, past the Black Horse to the station—it is quite correct as far as I know—I am not a surveyor, but I have passed my examination at Kensington, and have a master's certificate for drawing—I know how to measure and survey—this is merely a rough sketch—the way across the fields is a little farther round than the main road—it goes past Mr. Coe's rick and Mr. Farhall's farm, and also past some ricks of Mr. Farhall's—there is a level railway crossing about 150 yards from Mr. Farhall's rick; that is marked on the plan.
EDWARD FARHALL . I am a farmer, and live at Shere—on Monday evening, 18th September, about 20 minutes to 6 I was near my house, and saw the prisoner coming down the corner from the direction of the heath—I had a friend with me—the moment the prisoner saw me he turned round in a most suspicious manner, so much so, that we stood still and looked at him—he turned round, and went away again towards the heath, which is about half a mile from my house, not in the direction of the station, but quite the contrary direction—the next thing I saw was Mr. Coe's rick on fire—that was between me and the station, and directly after, within two or three minutes, I saw my own rick on fire—Mr. Coes rick was in a field to the right of the path going towards the station—my rick was farther on, also on the right of the path towards Gomshall Station—the distance between my rick and Mr. Coe's was about 300 or 400 yards—that was the last I saw of the prisoner.
Cross-examined by the Prisoner. It was about 20 minutes to 6 when I saw you—you were about 16 or 17 yards away—I did not speak to you—when you turned round you went in the direction of the heath.
By the COURT. I did not know him before—he was quite a stranger to me—it was quite light at the time.
ALFRED FELLOWES . I am a bricklayer, living at Gomshall—about 10 minutes to 6 on the evening of 18th September I was going through the fields on my way home from work—I was between Mr. Farhall's house and Mr. Coe's rick—I saw the prisoner coming up from the path leading from the church—that is a cross path leading into the path that runs across the fields to Gomshall Station—he stepped across the other path leading to Gomshall, and went straight up to Mr. Coe's stack, and went round the left-hand side of it—I was coming the same way as he was—I had a good opportunity of seeing him—I have no doubt he is the man—I did not notice the rick on fire till after I got home—I could see the rick plainly from my kitchen window—I live in Queen Street, Gomshall—I saw the fire from my window—I should think that was about eight minutes after I had seen the prisoner go round the rick—on seeing it, I went back, and saw that portion of the rick was on fire where I had seen the prisoner—shortly afterwards I saw another fire at Mr. Farhall's—at half past 6 I went with Police-constable Finch to the railway station at
Gum hall and there identified the prisoner—it is about 700 yards from Mr. Coe's stack to the station.
Cross-examined. You were going the same way as me—after you came up the path I passed you—I left you at the stack.
By the COURT. The stack is surrounded by a hedge, but it is away from it—he did not go over the hedge; he came through the pathway in the same field as the stack was—there was nothing between the stack and the path; you step from the path to the stack—it is barely 40 yards from the path—he did not go out of my sight, not when he went round the stack, because as I walked on I could see him—I had my back to him then—I did not turn round to look at him—I don't know what became of him—I did not suspect any mischief; I thought, perhaps, he was going there for a certain purpose.
SARAH JELLY . I am the wife of Edward Jelly, and live at Albury Heath—on Monday, 18th September, about 5.55 p. m., I was crossing the fields to Gomshall Station with my daughter; I was carrying a box—as I went along the path that runs through Mr. Coe's field where the rick was, I saw the prisoner round the rick; he was close to it—I continued my walk through the path until I got to Mr. Farhall's field—I stopped there to rest—there is a hedge there dividing the two fields, just about half way between the two fields—while resting there I looked round and saw the prisoner—he stooped down to pick up his overcoat—he was close to the rick—he put on his overcoat and walked round the rick—when he got round the other side he moved away from the rick and looked around, and in an instant the rick was on fire, and I saw him run away down into the same footpath I had come along—he stopped at a little gate leading into Mr. Farhall's field, which I had come through, and came into the field; he did not pass us—I continued my way on to the railway station, where I saw Constable Finch take the prisoner into custody about 6.30 p. m.
Cross-examined. I was about 300 yards from the rick when I saw you—I said 150 yards at Guildford—after that you were behind me, and I did not see you any more till I saw you at the station—I saw you come into the same path I was in—I saw you from the wicket gate.
GEORGE HENRY HYDE . I am a gateman in the employ of the South eastan railway company the level crossing at Gomshall—at a little before 6 o'clock on 18th September I saw the prisoner—he came up the line to cross the railroad; he came from the direction of the path that leads across the fields to the station from Mr. Farhall's yard, but he was going across the contrary way towards Ewhurst (Referring to the, plan)—he came across the line to go through the little gate, and I said "It's a nice day, sir"—he said "Yes," and said he had lost his way, and he asked me which was the. way to Gomshall Station—I said "You are going the wrong way altogether; there is Gomshall Station"—we could see it, and I pointed out the way to him—he said "I have just come from Shere, and I have lost my way"—I then went to my house, and as I went up the slant I saw Mr. Farhall's rick on fire right in front of me—the farm is about 150 yards from my house.
Cross-examined. My house is the best part of half a mile from Mr. Askew's—when I saw you it was about 10 or 12 minutes past 6 o'clock—I had just sent the 6 o'clock train past; it was light
Prisoner. I never spoke to him—I had been there six months, and it is a funny thing that I should not know my way to Gomshall.
Witness. Those were the last words he spoke to me—I did not know him before—I am sure he is the man, because I stood talking to him.
WILLIAM FINCH (Surrey Constabulary 22). On 18th September, at 6. 10 p. m., I received information in consequence of which I went in the direction of Mr. Coe's rick—I found it encircled in flames—at the same time I saw another rick on fire at Mr. Farhall's at Gravelpits Farm—I went there and received some information, and then went to Gomshall Station—I saw the prisoner there on the down platform about 6.30 p. m. and the witness Fellowes—I said to him in the prisoner's presence "Is that the man you saw at the rick?"—he said "Yes, that is the man"—I then took the prisoner on one side and asked him his name twice; he did not give it me—I then charged him with setting fire to Mr. Coe's wheat stack—he made no reply, and I took him into custody—on the left shoulder and hip of his overcoat I found a quantity of seeds, chaff, and small pieces of straw and buzzy things such as you would get from a rick—I conveyed him to Guildford by train—on the way he said it was foolish to chastise him for setting tire to the ricks—he said that on more than one occasion—ha said he had taken a third-class return ticket from Guildford, and had been down to Dick Askew's that morning—I saw him deliver up his third-class return ticket at Guildford Station—on the way to the police-station he kept inquiring how much farther it was—I said "Not much farther"—on getting close to the County Police-station there is a narrow passage—I said "This is the way"—he was then in the centre of the high-road, and as soon as I said "This is the way,"he bolted and ran in the direction of Stoke—I ran after him and caught him in about 100 yards—I then put the cuffs on him and took him to the station, and when I took the cuffs from him at the station, he had this knife (produced) in his right hand—I saw his hand before he ran away, ho had nothing in it then—he must have got it when he ran away; it was not open—I searched him and found two boxes and a half of lucifer matches; they were partly full, one containing more than the other—there were three boxes, but one was broken about and only contained a few—I also found some loose matches in his pocket.
Cross-examined. When I arrested you at the railway station I gave you a touch and said "I want to speak to you round the corner"—you said "Speak to me!"—I said "Yes," and then I called Fellowes's attention to you and said "You will be charged with setting; fire to the rick"—you made no reply to that—you did not ask me where and ask me to show you, nor did you say "I know nothing about it"—you did say "Where?" you refresh my memory now, and I said "Mr. Coe's, down here, where you came along. "
CHARLES WALTER BARKER . I am Deputy Chief Constable of the Surrey Constabulary—the prisoner was brought in custody to my office I entered the charge against him and read it over to him—he said "It is a mistake, I never left the road at all; when I came out of Askew's I went past Frank's shop to the Black Horse at Gomshall"——Frank's shop is at the corner of the main road on the way to the station—he would have to pass the Black Horse.
fields—I have not measured it—the path runs along the side of the hedge and the rick is in that field—it was burnt on Monday night, the 18th; the value of it was about 200l.; it was nearly all destroyed—you go along the path past my rick and come to a gate leading into Mr. Farhall's field; you can get to Gomshall Station that way—I should say it would take from 18 to 20 minutes to walk by that route from the White Horse to Gomshall Station—I have never timed it, but if I was going it would take me that time—it would not take me from 5 to 6.30—I do not know anything of the prisoner, only from what I have heard since the fire—he is a perfect stranger to me—I can give no suggestion why he should have done this.
The Prisoner's Statement before the Magistrate. "I don't wish to say anything more that what I have said."
RICHARD JOHN ASKEW (Re-examined). I have known the prisoner for some time—I suppose I am sometimes known as Dick Askew by most people—I should not think the prisoner knew me sufficiently well to speak of me as Dick Askew; I should be surprised at his doing so—he was not in my service—I knew him at the time he was living as groom to the Duke of Northumberland, who lives about ten minutes' walk from my house—the prisoner used to come occasionally to my house with other grooms; that was how I knew him, but only in that way—he came to my house on the afternoon of 18th September and had some bread and cheese and ale there—I served him with it—he said he had left the service and had come over for a holiday—he paid for what he had—I saw him leave at about 5 o'clock—my house is about 400 or 500 yards from Mr. Coe's rick, but there is a nearer way by the path, that would be about 300 yards—when he. left my house he turned to the right in the direction of Mr. Farhall's, towards the heath, the opposite way to the station—(Referring to the plan) he went in this direction—that would lead to the rick.
Prisoner's Defence. When I came out of Mr. Askew's I went down the main road, and when I got as far as the Black Horse I had two glasses of ale and stopped there some little time, and from there I went to the station to wait for the train and the policeman arrested me.
GUILTY . There was another indictment against the prisoner for setting fire to Mr. Farhall's rick, and Constable Barker stated that he was suspected of another similar offence, and that he had been dismissed from the service of lard Onslow on the Saturday precious to the fire in question. — Five Years' Penal Servitude.