17th September 1860
Reference Numbert18600917-806
VerdictGuilty > with recommendation

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806. AMELIA SMITH (49) , Stealing 2 pairs of boots, value 7s. 6d., the property of Henry Carter.

MR. METCALFE conducted the Prosecution.

JOSEPH GOSLING . I am assistant to Mr. Carter, who keeps a general shop at Woodford in Essex—on Saturday, 4th August, between 9 and 10 o'clock in the evening, the prisoner came to our shop—I don't know whether she had been there before; she asked for a pair of boots—I took her into the boot-room and showed her a pair, she asked me for a common pair; I showed her a pair—she tried them with her hand and said they would suit her—when I pulled the pair of common ones from the cupboard some others fell on the floor—I did not try them on, she said she could tell the size by her hand—she said she would take them—I then went to put the other boots into the cupboard when I heard something drawn along the floor—it sounded like boots—there was nothing else in the department besides boots—she asked for a pair of children's boots, which I showed her; but as I could not find the pair she wanted, she said she would call on Monday for them—while she was lookiug at the children's boots I heard her rustling something in a basket which she had with her—I did not notice anything else, as

there was a girl standing between us—we had to go'through the carpet-room into the draper's shop on the way to the street—I took her into the draper's shop to take the money—I carried the boots which she had selected into the front shop and placed them on the counter—she put down a half-sovereign—I went to get the change, but did not give it her then—I called the shopwalker, Mr. Abernethy, and then I accused the prisoner of having a pair of boots that did not belong to her—she then went to run out of the shop—Mr. Abernethy stopped her and said, "What have you done?"—she said, "Oh, Mr. Carter, you must forgive me;" believing he was Mr. Carter—he then pulled up her shawl and found a pair of boots hanging upon her left arm; they were fastened together—we then took her in to Mr. Carter, and she said, "Oh, you must forgive me"—when we were passing through the back room she took a pair of children's boots out of her basket and threw them away from her—I distinctly saw that—they had our mark upon them, and so had the boots taken from her arm—they were my master's—neither pair had been sold by me—when she threw the boots away I picked them up—a constable was sent for and she was given into custody.

Cross-examined by MR. SLEIGH. Q. How long have you been at Mr. Carter's? A. About eleven months—I have been informed that the prisoner has been a constant customer; I had never served her before—I saw her there once before—she did not say anything about wanting a pair of boots for her daughter who was in a situation and had just come home—the price of the common boots that I showed her was 2s. ll 1/2 d.—she did not say they would not do, and that her daughter in her work would wear them out in a week, nothing of the sort—the price of the boots that she had upon her arm was 4s. 10 1/2 d.—that is one pair which we charged her with stealing—I do not attend to the boot and shoe department in particular—I attend to all—those boots which she bought at 2s. 10d. would fit herself—I should think the others would be too large for her—I have not seen those boots here—she gave me half a sovereign in payment—at the time she gave me that I believed she had been stealing—I did not speak to her then—I took the half-sovereign to get the change; we have no cashier, each assistant takes his own money—I got the change out of the till—I went to the till to get the change before I communicated to anybody—I afterwards made a communication with Mr. Abernethy—he pulled up her shawl and the boots were visible, hanging on her arm—Bhe did not pull up her shawl, Mr. Abernethy pulled it up—I never thought she did; I know she did not

COURT. Q. Did you say anything to her when you stopped her? A. I said, "What have you got?" and she said, "You must forgive me, Mr. Carter"—that was before the shawl was pulled up—I said, "You have a pair of boots in your possession that don't belong to you"—she went to run out of the door and Mr. Abernethy stopped her and asked her what he should do with her, she replied, "You must forgive me, being the first time"—he then pulled up her shawl and saw the pair of boots hanging upon her arm.

MR. SLEIGH. Q. Then it is not true that she pulled up her shawl? A. No; I have not said so that I am aware of—when she was being taken through the shop and threw the boots away I was behind her, Mr. Abernethy was in front leading her; the prisoner's little girl was with her, she was behind us—I don't think she could have seen it—it was rather dark—it was going through the passage, which is about three yards long—it is a narrow passage leading from one shop to another—there was no lamp or candle there—I stated at Stratford that I had seen her take a pair of boots out of

the basket and throw them away; I told Mr. Abernethy of it, and that is the statement I have always made.

WILLIAM ABERNETHY . I am foreman to the prosecutor—on 1st August, between 9 and 10 o'clock—in consequence of something Gosling said to me I went up to the prisoner—when I reached the front of the shop I went between her and the shop door—Gosling then said, "This woman has some boots about her"—she then made a movement to go out of the door and I stopped her—I said, "What have you got there?" lifting up her shawl, and I took a pair of boots from off her arm—I think lifting the shawl was partly the act of both—I made a movement to do so and she pulled it on one side—I then saw a pair of boots strung across her arm—I took them off her arm and said, "What must I do to you now? I must give you into custody"—she said, "You must forgive me this time, Mr. Carter" or words to that effect—I then took hold of her and led her through the passage way to Mr. Carter—in passing through the doorway that leads to Mr. Carter's department, she pulled on one side from me, and on turning round I saw Gosling pick up a pair of boots—Gosling said to her, "What, another pair?" they were children's boots—she said nothing—we went in to Mr. Carter—he sent for a constable and she was given into custody—the place where the boots were picked up was not the place where the boots were usually kept—they are kept in another room—boots were never scattered about there—it is some distance from the shoe room—I believe she had a basket with her.

Cross-examined. Q. How many examinations were there at the police-court? A. Only one—I believe I mentioned about Gosling picking up the other pair of boots before—I don't know about the words "What, another pair?"—I saw the pair she was said to have bought; she was not charged with stealing them—I think mine was the first movement towards pulling up the shawl, and she finding I was pulling it pulled it too—she did not say, pointing to the boots on her arm, "These are the boots I bought, and I put the money down to pay for them"—she said so before Mr. Carter, before she was taken by the constable she said, "Mr. Carter knows me well, I this is the pair I bought, and I put the money down to pay for them."

MR. METCALFE. Q. That was when you went in to Mr. Carter? A. Yes—she did not say anything of the kind when she was first charged; she did not say anything about the children's boots.

The prisoner received a good character.

GUILTY.—Recommended to mercy by the Jury. Confined Two Months.

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