23rd April 1888
Reference Numbert18880423-472
VerdictGuilty > unknown
SentenceImprisonment > hard labour

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472. JOHN ALLEN (19) , Breaking and entering St. Clement's Church, Islington, and stealing a pair of flower-vases and other goods, the property of William Elwell.

MR. JONES LEWIS Prosecuted.

EDWARD HOUSE (Policeman Y 527). On Monday, 9th April, I was on duty near Arundel Mews, Islington—on entering the Mews I passed a man coming out—I turned my light on him, heard something, turned my light full on, and I saw the prisoner standing between the Wall and a van—he rushed to the front of the van and tried to get away—I got ahead of him, and he dodged back, and ran from the van to another, and fell over a block of stone, regained his footing, and jumped over ft 5-footwall

into a garden—I held my light so that I could see him crouched under the wall—he rushed over five different walls—I again got ahead of him, and he rushed back to a door of one of the houses—I put my light full on him; he returned into the first garden—I ran him into a corner, and said he might as well give himself up, as I was bound to have him—he said "I will"—as he came near me I seized him and held him—I said "What are you running away like this for?"—he said "I did not intend for you to catch me; let me have my hat"—he had no hat on during the chase—as I was going for it I had my light on, and these two vases shone—I said "We will have these," and picked them up—his hat was on the shafts of another van—the church window was broken about 20 yards from this spot, overlooking the mews, about 8 feet from the ground—there is a small wall between the mews and the church—I took the prisoner to the station—he said "What am I in for?"—I said "I believe it is burglary"—I went back to the mews with Inspector Peck, searched, and found these wicks near where the vases were—the church window had been forced from the outside—I called the verger up—the hole was big enough for a man to get through—the top of the offertory box was knocked off and the end knocked out, and on the seat under the broken window was this lamp—the vestry door had been broken open, and the drawers emptied, and the papers strewn about—a large cupboard, in which the safe was kept, was broken open, and the brass handle of the safe was broken off and put on the table—the wardrobe door was broken open and thrown wide open, but nothing disturbed in the wardrobe—after we had looked through the church we went back to where I first started the prisoner, and I picked up this brush and this gas key, and in the fifth garden I found this mother-of-pearl shell, also this bit of iron—on the other side of the church, between the wall that parts the church from the mews, about 2 feet, I found this piece of iron, which has been newly broken off—it corresponds with the other portion of the bar which has been found, and makes the iron railing of a fence—that was about 25 yards from where the prisoner was apprehended—there were marks of violence on the vestry door, but it was not broken open—it was opened by a key which is kept inside the church, near the vestry door—I called Mr. Elwell, the churchwarden, to identify the property as belonging to the church, and he charged the prisoner with breaking in—he made no reply.

Cross-examined by the Prisoner. I did not see you upon the premises of the church—I found you about 25 yards from the church, and about three yards from the vases—your hat was on the ground near where you fell over the stone. WILLIAM SINFIELD. I am the verger of this church, and live at 54, St. Clement's Street, Barnsbury—on Sunday night, 8th April, about 9.30 p. m., I locked up the church safely—there are five doors leading into the church—none of the windows were open, and no hole in any of them—I was called by the police about 4 a. m. on Monday, and found the doors securely locked, but the alms-box was broken open, but it had been cleared after the service on Sunday night—I missed these two flower vases—they had contained flowers, which had been taken out and strewn on the Altar—this little lamp was on a bench under the broken window inside the church—it was picked up by the police—I saw marks of violence on the vestry door, and picked up this piece of iron, the top of a railing, close to the vestry door, which had been opened by a key

which was taken from the top of the cupboard where the choir keep their music—the lock was not broken—I missed this shell from the vestry drawers, which had been pulled open, and the contents strewn about—it is called a christening shell—the value of the vases and shell is about 30s.—the property is that of the Churchwarden—the Register safe was not broken open, but had been tampered with—the plate was safe—I missed this wick produced—there was nearly a pound of it in the vestry drawers, which was similar, only it has been crumpled up—I found four distinct finger-marks of blood just inside the church—I missed this dusting brush and gas-key, also a missionary box from the vestry—that has not been recovered.

CHARLES WILLIAM PLUMMER . I live at 30, Scholfield-Road, Upper Holloway—on 9th April, about 12.30 p. m., I acted as watchman near Arundel Mews—I saw the prisoner and another man coming down Westbourne Road—the other man went into the urinal, and the prisoner took this lamp from outside, hanging on a post—it was in the lantern—I was just inside the place when I saw a light dodging about—I thought somebody was lighting his pipe, and then I saw the prisoner taking it away—I watched him turn up Bride Street, and then I put a new lamp into my lantern, and told a policeman about it, as I was going off duty at 1 o'clock.

The Prisoner's Statement before the Magistrate. "The constable let the right man go. It was the man he passed in the yard."

The prisoner in his defence said that he had been out on pleasure, and went up the yard to get a night's lodging, when the policeman showed his lantern, and he jumped up, fell, and lost his hat, and thought he was going to be charged with being in the van.


He then PLEADED GUILTY to a conviction of felony at Clerkenwell in February, 1888.— Ten Months' Hard Labour.

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