21st April 1784
Reference Numbert17840421-20

Related Material

ActionsCite this text | Print-friendly version | Report an error
Navigation< Previous text (trial account) | Next text (trial account) >

395. ISAAC TORRIES and WILLIAM SMITH were indicted for burglariously and feloniously breaking and entering the dwelling house of Thomas Barber , about the hour of nine in the night, on the 31st of March last, and burglariously stealing therein, half a yard of silk ribbon, value 2 d. a muslin half handkerchief, value 6 d. one piece of flowered linen, value 1 d. the property of the said Thomas Barber .

The witnesses examined apart at the request of the prisoners.


On the 31st of March last, between eight and nine o'clock our house was broke open, I went out between four and five, I fastened my house, it was a casement, and I generally put a bit of string, because I did not think the hasp was enough, I have no key to the door, I pull it after me, I always do.

Court. It has a spring lock? - Yes, I am sure that I shut it, I tried with my hand after I had shut it, I did not come home till it was all over, and they had taken the men into custody and carried them into the publick-house, I saw nobody till these men were taken to the compter.

Mr. Peat, Council for Prisoners. Did not you say before the Justice that you had double locked the door? - No, I said I had pulled it too, and put my hand against it.


I came home on the 31st of March before my wife, and I found the casement open and the door open, and I went in and found the screen that we have round our fire place was put a little backward, and I saw a light on the outside over the chamber, and I heard the trampling of feet over head, and I thought it was my dame as I call her, and I called at the stairfoot and said, halloo dame, says I, is it you, which is my usual way of talking, and no answer was made me, I called the second time, halloo dame, are you coming down, no answer, and then they immediately rushed down stairs, then I thought there were some thieves in the house, or somebody that there should not be, and I made away to the door, and got it in my hand, and jammed it fast, and they were both pulling up against me to get by me.

What time was this? - Between the hours of eight and nine, while we were pulling together one against the other, one of them, but I cannot say which, struck me with this stick, as I suppose, for I was cut over the knuckles to make me quit my hold of the door, and one of them says, damn him, cut his hands off.

Do you know which said that? - No, it is out of my power.

Had they any thing in their hands to cut your hands off with? - Not that I can tell, then I made an alarm, and many people came

about with pokers and tongs, and one thing or another, and when they found they were overpowered, and that the house was beset, they went into a little cellar that we have, and there they were taken.

Are you sure these are the two men that run down against you at the door? - It was dark my Lord, I could not swear that, but these are the two men that were taken in my cellar.

Are you sure of that? - Yes, I am sure of that, there is no way of coming to my house but at the front door, there is no yard, no backside to my house.

Mr. Peat. It was the outside of the door? - Yes.

You was a good deal alarmed and frightened? - Yes, any body would.

You did not observe whether any persons went in but those of your neighbours then? - I know nothing more, I went up stairs, and they had got an apron, and spread in the room and taken out these little trinkets and things, they were not all worth one shilling I suppose, which they had taken out of this drawer.

Mrs. Barber. They were in the drawer before.

What was there in the apron? - A half handkerchief, and a piece of a cap, and a bit of linen, these things were in the drawers when I went out, and they were all shut but not locked, the apron belonged to one of the prisoners.

Mr. Peat. Did you examine the drawers immediately before you went out? - I had taken some of my things out before that day, I saw them, and had them in my hand.


I was sitting by the fire between eight and nine o'clock, I heard an outcry in the alley, I live next door to the prosecutor, he was calling out for help, I told him we would get some able assistance, and go in and see, we went up stairs and saw the drawers out, and that apron laid on the floor, we went down stairs, and two or three men went into the cellar, I did not go into the cellar with them, the witness Mann and others went down and found them, I saw them come up, I stood at the head of the stairs.

Court. Are you sure that the two prisoners are the two men that they brought up? - Yes.

Did you go with them to the Justice's? - Yes, I attended the sitting Alderman next day, I know nothing more, I was examined before the Alderman, I gave the same account then as I do now.

Prisoners. When we were examined before the Alderman, that gentleman who says now we were taken out of the house, said, my young fellows, we will have a good weeks work out of each of you.

Allen. I defy any man to say that I said any such words, I want nothing at all, I come to see justice done, I will take my oath, that I never spoke no such thing in the world, I will bring a character for twenty years, and one man that has known me for fifteen years.

Mr. Peat. Did you see the prisoners searched at all? - Yes.

Prisoners. We were searched by five different people in the house, before ever we were taken out of the house.


I live within a few yards of the prosecutor, I was at his house that night, I went in and took these two men out of the cellar, any thing further I know nothing about, one was a Jew looking man, and the other was a fair faced man, them are the two men standing there with the flowers before them, they were in the cellar near to the necessary, they were standing together as they do now.

Is it a large cellar? - It is a middling sized cellar, we went down there with another man, but I do not know his name, we brought them up, the other man and me.

Is the other man here? - No, not to my knowledge.

Mr. Peat. Did you see them searched? - Yes, there was nothing found upon them but this stick.


I was sent for to the publick-house, the prisoners were both hand-cuffed together, I took them to the Poultry Compter, after that I went into Mr. Barber's house, in the one pair of stairs room, and I saw these things on the floor, I searched the prisoners, there was a knife in Smith's pocket, a common sized knife.

(The things deposed to.)


The reason why we went into the cellar was, there is the sign of a chandler's shop, we went in, and there was nobody at home, and directly after the prosecutor came in and we was frightened, over and above frightened, and we went out of the way for fear of being shot, or having some damage, there was nothing found upon us, I had not so much as a knife, I never went with intent to steal any thing, there is the sign of a chandler's shop, and the door was wide open, then there came in some men which collared me.

Prosecutor. I keep a green shop .

Mr. Peat. Was there any locks or bolts on the inside part of the house? - On the inside there was a lock, but it had no key to it.

Court to the Constable. Did the woman say that the door was not locked? - Yes, she told me it was upon the latch, and she lifted up the latch with a skewer.

Why, is there a latch? - It is an iron latch.

Did you say the woman told you that the door was upon the latch, and it was not locked? - Yes.

Mrs. Barber. I had broke my key some time before, and my husband and me know how to open it without the key, and nobody else.

Are you sure you pushed your hands against it, and it was shut? - Yes.

Constable. I saw the lock of the street-door, it is a spring lock, there was no lock on the room that I was in, I did not see any when I went up stairs, the room door was open, it was afterwards I carried the prisoner to the Compter.

MARY LEE sworn.

I went about ten minutes before Mr. Barber cried out, and the door was fast, I went for some potatoes and I pushed at the door, and the door was fast not ten minutes before.

Prisoner Torries. The door was quite open when I came there to buy some tobacco.

Court to Prosecutor. What sign have you to the door? - Some half cheeses near to the post of the door; I do not sell cheese, I sell greens.

The prisoner Torries called two witnesses who gave him a good character.

The prisoner Smith called two witnesses who gave him a good character.

Court. Was there room for any man to get in at the window? - Yes.

And are you sure that the casement was fast? - Yes.


GUILTY Death .

Court to Smith. What are you? - I have been to sea about seven months.

Where do you live? - In Paternoster-row, Spitalfields, with my mother.

Tried by the first London Jury, before Mr. JUSTICE NARES.

View as XML