6th April 1785
Reference Numbert17850406-68
VerdictGuilty > lesser offence

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481. MARY PILE (the female highwayman) was indicted for that she, about the hour of five in the night, on the 22d of January last, being in the dwelling-house of William Webb , 29 s. 6 d. in monies numbered, the monies of Abraham Abbott , in the said dwelling-house, feloniously

did steal, and being so as aforesaid in the dwelling-house, and having committed the said felony about the same hour, the said dwelling-house feloniously did break, to get out of the same .


I lodge at the Plough, Mile-end .

Who keeps the Plough? - William Webb .

When did you lose your money? - The night of the 22d of January, a person slept with me, and in the morning when I arose, I missed my property out of the right-hand pocket of my breeches.

Who slept with you? - It relates upon the person now at the bar.

Who was it? - Mary Pile , so called; she was in bed before me, about an hour and half, or nearly two hours.

What did you lodge together? - Yes.

How long had you lodged together? - She only lodged with me that one night; in the course of the night she was up three times; first of all she pretended to be after the pot, and as such I handed it to her, she went to bed again, and in about two or three hours after she pretended to have drank rather too much; I used some vile words, I wanted to know the reason of being out of bed, as such the person got into bed again, I went to sleep; in the morning when I awoke, I found my door open, and my bed-fellow gone; I did not think I was robbed, for I always told Mrs. Webb, where I lodged, that if she was straitened for beds, she might put a decent person into my bed: I got up in the morning as usual, between eight and nine, I went to the pump, as I usually do, and washed myself, I put my hand into my pocket to shift my money as was usual, and it was gone; I went to look for my money, I came to Mrs. Webb, says I, pray what gentleman was that you put into my bed last night; she said he seemed to be a very good kind of a gentleman; still it passed on or half an hour or more; I took my pocket-book out of my pocket, and I had some papers of value to me and none to nobody else, but they were gone; I cannot say which way she went out of the house; but I am informed she got out and left the door open; I am sure I had the money when I went to bed.

Court. Does this woman that keeps your house put women into bed to you? - She did so; I told her she might put any gentleman that was decent.

This was not a gentleman, you know? That was not under my dissection, I did not know that.

How was she dressed? - Being in bed, I only passed by her, I took no notice at all of her clothes, I saw it was a person that seemed to be smartly dressed.

Was it the dress of a woman, or a man? - A man.

MARY HART sworn.

She came into our house about seven o'clock on Saturday night.

Who came? - The prisoner at the bar, in man's apparel, we thought it had been a young gentleman; she called for three penny worth of rum and water, then she had a glass of shrub at the bar, and after that a pint of porter and some bread and cheese; mean time she asked me if she could sleep there; I said we had no bed; she said she came from Colchester; I told her we had only half a gentleman's bed; she said she should be glad if my mistress could let her sleep there, for she was going down into Kent; her father kept the Five Bells in Kent; so my mistress said she might sleep in this man's bed; she asked me which was the gentleman that was to sleep with her; I told her that gentleman that was walking to and fro, in the snuff-colour; she asked me his business; I said he belonged to the sea; she said was he a man of any property; I said I believed he was, she always behaved so; she said what time could I get up in the morning, I should like to start about four; I told her if she would lay till about six, I would call her: she got up as high as I can guess about five; I heard her go down, she went down stairs, and left the front door

open, and let herself out; I immediately got up and went down stairs, and the door was open, and she was gone.


I apprehended the prisoner from the description I had, I found the prisoner, she had been to enquire for longings at two different places, I found her at the blind beggar, at Bethnal-green turnpike, last Saturday night, between ten and eleven; I found this black handkerchief in her pocket and this key, I searched her otherwise, and she had no money that I could find, but sixpence and some halfpence.


I know nothing about it, I never saw the man till they took me up to the house.

Court to Mary Hart . Are you quite sure this is the person? - Yes Sir, very sure.

Court to Abbott. What do you say? - I am sure of my loss, but as to the person, she was in bed in her shirt, I do not know her person.

Hart. I took particular notice.

Jury to Abbott. Had you any connection with her? - I maintained the idea of her, as I would of a man, and naturally as she got close to me, I kept hitching further from her.

Court to Prisoner. Have you any person to appear for you? - No, my Lord.

What account do you give of yourself? - I put the clothes on the Saturday that they took me up, I was a little in liquor.

Where do you come from? - I belong to a place called Howe, in Kent.

Court to Constable. What is your place? - The hamlet of Mile End, Old Town.

Court to Prisoner. How came you into that quarter where you was taken? - I was a little in liquor, and so I went to bed there, I have nobody to give any account here, I sent for no friends.

Hart. The door I found open, I fastened them myself, with two bolts and a spring lock, I went to bed about half after ten, or high eleven; there is nobody in the house but our own people, nobody got up that morning I am sure of that; I am sure she was the first that went out that morning.

Jury. Did she agree to lay till six? - She asked me whether she could get out at four, I said, I would call her at six; she asked me to shew her my door, and I did; she never knocked at my door.

Did she pay for what she had over-night? - Yes, she paid sixpence for her bed.

GUILTY Of stealing, but not of breaking and entering .

Transported for seven years .

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

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