JOHN BERRYMAN, WILLIAM BLUNT.
10th September 1783
Reference Numbert17830910-32
VerdictGuilty
SentenceDeath

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627. WILLIAM and JOHN BERRYMAN were indicted for burglariously, and feloniously breaking and entering the dwelling house of Thomas Gale , Esq ; at the hour of two in the night, on the 31st day of August last, with intent, his goods, chattles, and monies in the said dwelling house, feloniously and burglariously to steal .

THOMAS GALE Esq ; sworn.

I live in Greek-street, Soho , my house was broke open on the last day of August, or the first of September, about two in the morning, I did not see the doors fastened; I took the prisoners in the house.

What alarmed you? - Mrs. Gale was alarmed, it was a particular night of thunder and lightening, which being so great, Mrs. Gale was alarmed for her children, and going up stairs, she head something lump in the kitchen, she ran immediately to me, and said, there were thieves in the house, I got up immediately and took a brace of pistols, which I had by me loaded with slugs; I called in two watchmen, and by the assistance of them we took the prisoners in the kitchen, they had tried an area door, and damaged it very much, they had got through a window; when we came to examine, we found that as to the area door, which is so full of nails that nothing of a tool could operate upon it, they went there and could not get in, they made three attempts on the shutters, on the third there was a hole, we suppose they got in there, otherwise they would not have left the window up and the shutters loose; there were cross bars to the shutters, which were undone.

Could they by the hole you have described in the shutter, have undone those bars? - I apprehend they could, I desired my servant with all the force he could to force the shutter, and see if he could not put his arm through, he did, and undid the bar.

Prisoner. Did this witness ever come down into the kitchen; he says we were taken out of the kitchen? - My servant and I went by ourselves, first the watchmen were alarmed by Mrs. Gale, when we came down we found an inner kitchen door, but one hole made through; they can make four of them in a minute as the carpenter convinced me; there was one hole made through the door, and a second begun.

JOHN GIBSON sworn.

I live with Mr. Gale, on the night my master's house was robbed 31st of August, I was alarmed by the ringing of a bell, which was on a room door, I jumped out of bed, my master stood with a brace of pistols in his hand, and called, says he, Joe, I wish you would go down; Sir, says I, give me the pistols, I will go down directly, my

master said, no, leave one with me here for my own sefety, I took one, and as soon as I got to the bottom of the stairs I saw a hole thro' the door, I had undone one bolt, and was going to undo the other: I called to my master, and said, Sir, they are in the kitchen now, we let in the watchmen and went in, and desired them to resign directly; first came out was Berryman, the watchman took hold of him, and he said, for God's sake, Sir, do not shoot me, says he, keep your pistol away, I shall make no resistance, he said, he would go quietly, the watchman rather went out to the other door, they had opened the shutter, and unfastened the outer door, which was so thick lined with nails, that it impeded the enterance of their instrument, and the other prisoner we took, rather of the outside of the fill of the door, and he begged, and prayed, and made a half drop behind the watchman, for fear of being shot.

Court. Was he in the kitchen too? - I do not think he was, I think he was rather in the area, here are somethings that I found.

Court. Did you shut your master's house? Yes, I barred the windows myself, and fastened the door.

Had these people any arms with them? - Not that I know of.

Did you search them? - I did not, as soon as they were gone up, I was employed in searching my master's house, to see if there was no more of them, for I thought it not proper to take their words for that; here are some flint, some tinder, a bit of candle, and somesteel.

Prisoner Blunt. Did you see ever a one particular in the kitchen? - I saw Berryman in the kitchen.

Court. Where does this celler door open to? - It opens into the area, they had unbolted the bolts of that door after they had got into the kitchen, that they might have a retreat.

Where did you take Blunt? - He was rather on the outside of the sill of the door, rather leaning towards the area, and the other man was in the kitchen.

JOSEPH LITTLEPAGE sworn.

I am the watchman, in Greek-street, Soho, I was going to cry two, going up my beat, I found the hands of a man had fast hold of the area rails withinside, I found he was getting up out of the area, I struck at him with my stick, with intent to knock him down, he fell down, when I found he was down I rattled for assistance, they both came and begged for mercy not to hurt them at that time.

When did they beg for mercy? - At the time I rattled, they begged for mercy to let them get up and they would surrender, I told them I would not, they must stay there, Mr. Gale came down, when I went into the kitchen I found they had boared a hole, they opened the kitchen door belonging to the area and got in there, I said, come and resign yourselves, one came to me, and the footman stood in the passage, and they begged for mercy.

Prisoners. I wish to know whether we were in the kitchen or in the area when he came to us.

Court. Do you think that will differ much? - I do not know, my Lord, I never was in the kitchen.

THOMAS JOHNSON sworn.

I am a watchman in King-street, adjoining to Greek-street, after two o'clock on Monday morning, I heard the blow of a stick, I went instantly, and at Mr. Gale's door there was Joseph Littlepage , the watchman, says he, here is thieves in the area, spring the rattle, and a great deal more assistance came; Littlepage and me went down, John Berryman was in the kitchen, and William Blunt was in the area, we opened the door of the area, and went in and took him out, and conveyed him to the watch-house.

ROBERT BERRY sworn.

On the last of August, I was beadle of the night, as it was a dreadful night, I was under some apprehension that the watchmen would leave their beats, and I went to look after them, and there was a rattle, I found at this gentleman's door, two

watchmen and the gentleman opened the door, and stood with a candle in one hand and a pistol in the other, we went down stairs, and as soon as I got to the top of the stairs they were at the kitchen door, and as Berryman came up to the top of the stairs, I took him to the watch-house and searched him, but found nothing, then the other prisoner was brought in the house, I found a stick.

PRISONER BERRYMAN'S DEFENCE.

I was coming along, and I heard the alarm of murder, or thieves, I thought there was something the matter, and I jumped over in the area; just as I jumped over this young man came by, and he said, what was the matter, and he jumped over.

Prisoner Blunt. I have nothing more to say than what this man has said.

Berryman. I told them I would answer to any thing.

Jury. What trade are you?

Blunt. I am a coachman.

Berryman. I have been to sea.

Jury. How high are the iron rails that you jumped over? - I cannot say rightly, they are higher than what I am.

How far down to the bottom of the area? - I cannot say.

JOHN ACRED sworn.

I appear for Mr. Blunt, I have known him from a child, I never knew any dishonest act by him, he was a gentleman's servant, and has lived in many reputable places, I saw him about a twelvemonth ago, which was the last time I saw him.

SAMUEL BAYLEY sworn.

I have known Blunt ever since he was four years old, he was always an honest, hard working lad as far as I know.

WILLIAM BLUNT sworn.

I am the prisoner's father.

I suppose you mean to give a good character of your son? - Undoubtedly; Sir, I shall speak no more than the truth, he has always been in respectable services, he followed the trade of a coachman , how he got into this affair I do not know, whenever he came to me for assistance he had it.

Court. Gentlemen of the Jury, with respect to the crime of burglary, if you suppose the evidence of Messrs. Gale and Gibson to be true, there can be no doubt but that the house was fastened over night, and that by some means or other it was forced open, the shutters in the area were forced open, and by that means people got in; if you are satisfied that these are the people who got in, you then have only to consider for what purpose they were there; if you think they broke into the house with intent to commit any felony, their crime is as compleat as if they had accomplished their design, and committed the felony.

WILLIAM BLUNT , JOHN BARRYMAN ,

GUILTY Death .

Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Mr. Baron HOTHAM.


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