7th July 1784
Reference Numbert17840707-32

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692. JOHN PONTIE and JOHN MATTHEW COX , otherwise BANBURY JACK , were indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 31st of May , thirteen yards of thread lace, value 5 l. the property of Thomas Robinson , in his dwelling house .


I am a shopkeeper , I sell lace and haberdashery in King-street, Little Tower-hill , as I was sitting in my back parlour at breakfast on the 31st of May last, I heard an alarm of stop thief, and I looked up and perceived it was my neighbour, I ran to see what was the matter, when I came to the door I saw a company of men running up the street, and turning my head to my own window, I found myself to be the party that was robbed; I missed thirteen yards of thread lace.

Court. What did it cost? - I valued it at five pounds.

Court. What did it cost you, that is the fair way when you charge a man for his life? - It cost me nine shillings and sixpence a yard, I saw it there about half an hour before, and I saw it afterwards.


I live in Queen-street, which joins to the prosecutor's, I was standing about twenty yards, or not so much, about nine in the morning, and I observed one of the prisoners which I know, the prisoner Pontie and another with him looking in at the shoemaker's window, then they went to Mr. Robinson's, which is the next door, then they went to the second window, then the man that was with Pontie stood with his back towards me, which made me observe his face.

Court. Do you know that other man? - I cannot swear to him, but the other's face being towards me, made me observe him the more, then I saw one of them take something out of the window, but which it was I cannot say, and I made an alarm of stop thief! and they run and were pursued a little way, and then crossed the street, and I saw something drop, which proved to be the lace, but from which of them I cannot tell.


On the 21st of May I was sweeping my master's door, I live with Mr. John Downes , Sparrow-corner, a neighbour to the prosecutor, I heard a cry of stop thief! and immediately pursued two men up King-street, and I saw the prisoner Cox drop a piece of lace, he was apprehended afterwards.

Court. Are you sure he was the man that dropped the lace? - To the best of my memory he is the man.

At what distance were you from him? - About ten yards, not so much.

Can you swear to him positively? - I saw his face.

Can you safely swear to him? - I can:

Were you present when he was apprehended? - Yes.

Prisoner Cox. Ask the prosecutor who was the person that picked up the lace and gave it into his hand, after several people running up the street? - I received the lace from the hands of this man.

Prisoner Cox. I picked up the lace in the street, and immediately gave it into the hands of a man that was there.


I apprehended them both, it was the 31st of May, on Monday morning, as I was standing, I observed Pontie make round the corner, I apprehended Matthew Cox on the Thursday morning following.

Did you see Cox pursued? - No, I saw him on the Thursday morning afterwards.

What did Cox say? - He said he picked up the lace, and he called out stop thief!

(The lace deposed to.)


I was making the best of my way to my friend's, being Whitsun-Monday morning, to get a clean shirt, I never was near the house in my life.


I was coming up the street and there were people calling out stop thief! I ran after two or three people that were coming out of St. Catherine's-lane, I live there, and have done ever since I went to sea; I have been home about ten months, I am innocent of the affair, I had several gentlemen yesterday, and I believe they be in the yard now.

The prisoner Cox brought one witness to his character.

The Prisoner Pontie brought two witnesses to his character.


GUILTY Death .

Tried by the second Middlesex Jury before Mr. Justice HEATH.

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