WILLIAM ROBINSON, Theft > grand larceny, 13th December 1786.

Reference Number: t17861213-88
Offence: Theft > grand larceny
Verdict: Not Guilty
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89. WILLIAM ROBINSON was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 17th of December , fourteen pounds weight of lead, value 1 s. belonging to William Followell .

(The witnesses examined separate.)


I am wife of the prosecutor; the prisoner came to my house at No. 24, Little Gray's-Inn-lane , between seven and eight, on the 17th of December; I never saw him before; he was brought to me out of the back yard; and I asked him what he did in our house? he said, he came into the yard to ease himself; he was committed to Bridewell; he was brought back in about ten minutes; he had ran away; and I was called down stairs; and I directly missed my lead pipe which was fixed to the wall of the dwelling house in the yard; he said, he knew nothing of the pipe; I saw it the night before; I was not in the yard that morning before he came; the pipe was not found till eleven in the day; it was found down the necessary; I saw it found; the prisoner was committed to prison before my pipe was found; I have lodgers in my house; nobody else has access to my yard but myself and my lodgers; this is the lead.

Who were your lodgers at that time? - Jane Field had him stopped; there are a good many lodgers in my house, but they were not down stairs.


I saw the prisoner last Thursday was a week, about half past seven in the morning, in Mrs. Followell's yard; I lodge in the house; I did not see him go in; he was taking this lead and cock off the top of the tub; I saw him shaking it, and give it a twist off; I did not see him with any knife in his hand; he had a white cap on and no hat; I was frightened; I went into the shop and told a young woman; I could not see into the yard then, so that I did not see what he did with the lead.

Do you know whether he saw you when you saw him first? - I am not sure; that young woman went into the yard and she called, and said, who is there? he did not answer the first time; then he said, yes; says I, there is a thief in the yard has cut the cock off; he came out with his hand behind him, and he came to me, says he, d - n your eyes, you bitch, what do you make such a noise for? says I, you have been cutting the cock off; so he ran away, and said, d - n you and your cock too; I ran after him; he cried stop thief, very loud; he was taken; he was not out of my sight; he was brought back to our house.


I lodged at the prosecutor's; I saw Mrs. Field come into the shop about half past seven; she looked very pale, and said, there were thieves in the yard; I saw nobody there, but I heard somebody in the necessary; I asked once or twice who was there; the third time he said, there was one there; I then asked if he belonged to the house, or did he live up stairs; he said, no; I then went into the passage, and he followed me; he had his right hand under his coat; and I thought he was going to strike me, and I locked the door which went out of the passage into the shop; I saw the prisoner at the street door afterwards; and Mr. Field came to the street door in his shirt; and the prisoner ran up the lane; and I saw Mrs. Field run after him; he was dressed in a blue coat and black breeches; and his beard was very long; when he was in the necessary he had a white cap and a hat on, but when he was brought back he had no cap on.


I have been been very ill ever since I left the Polly, Captain Gordan, belonging to Liverpool, where I served my time; I got up at half past six to take a dose of physick; I was advised to take a walk into the fields; coming back, I went into this barber's shop to get shaved; and necessity took me, and I went into the yard, and this woman came and asked me what I was doing and I told her; I came out and walked away as fast as I could from her; one of the men brought me back; they asked me, where is the lead? says I, I never saw any lead at all; I said I knew nothing of the lead.


I live in Essex-street, Strand; I know nothing of the lead that is laid to his charge; I know nothing of the parties; I have known the prisoner and his family; I heard these evidences, these two women, against him on Friday say, that the young man went into the yard, and Mrs. Followell said she had sent a boy to draw water and bid him shut the door, and he came back and told her, somebody was in the vault; she went to see who was there, and a young man was there; and she said come out, and he said something to her; in about an hour's time, she said, she found some lead down in the vault; she said the young man came out of the vault and had nothing with him; she said she never saw him till he came out of the vault; she told me so; I was asking her about it, but I did not then know who she was; there was a middle aged man came up to her, and said that the prisoner gave sixpence to him to fetch his friends, and says he, I will nick him a sixpence, and do you all stick in a mind, and all swear alike, and you will get thirty shillings, and she said, I intend to do it.

This elderly man said this publickly? - Yes, I stood by and heard him; there were the three women there and me; there was no-body else upon the steps that I knew; but there were a number of people on the steps; and I said to the man, you are an old man and a father of children by your looks, it is a shame to take a poor boy's life away; and the woman in a red cloak made answer and said, I did not understand what they said; I never saw the old man before.

This was said in the presence of all the three witnesses? - It was, I know no further; I know his family to be an honest, creditable family; they lived in the town of Liverpool; and he lived at the same place, he served his time to one Merchant Hudson, at Liverpool; I have known him ever since he was a child; he is the youngest of nineteen children; he is about eighteen; I am twenty-four; I have seen him since he has been out of the shop he was in; I gave him his victuals, and me and my husband took great compassion on him, being so far from home; he did not lodge at our house, he told me he used to sleep on board the vessel while it was in London, and when he used to come up, I used to give him his victuals.

Court to Jane Field . Do you remember seeing this witness on the steps on Friday last? - I saw her one day last week on the steps.

Did you tell her you did not see the man till he came out of the necessary? - I never said any such thing.

Did your little boy come to tell you there was somebody in the vault? - He went in the morning to get a kettle of water, and I told him to shut the door, and he said there is somebody in the yard; I had seen nobody then; I did not go to look.

When was it then that you saw this man in the yard? - About five minutes after I sent the boy to fetch some water.

Did he say he durst not go into the yard? - No, he never said such a thing; I took no more notice of it; I went into the yard, and I saw this prisoner at the bar taking this lead off.

Was there any man spoke to you about your being all of a story? - My Lord, there was a man that he sent of an errand that morning, but I never saw him before, he sent him to counsellor Baker, for his brother was his clerk.

What is that man's name? - I do not know the man.

Did you see that man there on Friday? - I saw him here one day last week.

Was Mrs. Williams present? - I did not see her, but I am not sure.

Did the man say any thing to you here? - He said to me, you found the lead; yes says I, we found it down the necessary two or three hours after the prisoner was taken; that was all that passed.

Did you hear him say any thing to Mrs. Followell? - No, I did not.

Was she with you when he said this to you? - We were all together.

Did he say what the prisoner had given him to go to the witnesses, or to go to his brother? - I know what he gave him, because he said before Justice Blackborough, he gave him sixpence for going.

Did he say he had nicked him out of the sixpence? - I am sure he never said such a thing.

Had you any conversation with this woman? - When she found out it was I that was against the man, she begged and prayed of me and Mary Russell , not to say any thing against him to hurt him; I said I must speak the truth; then at night she had three or four women with her, and called me all the false swearers at the bottom of the steps, and on Saturday she said so, she had three or four women along with her.

Court to Russell. Did you hear any conversation? - I saw the man speak to Mrs. Followwell, but I did not hear what he said; it was the man the prisoner at the bar sent of an errand for him; I do not know the man or any thing of him; I saw the prisoner send that man with a note some where in the Temple, but where I cannot not tell; and I saw the man come back again to the prisoner at Justice Blackborow's.

Did he appear to you to be acquainted with the prisoner? - No, I do not believe he was.

Did you hear Mrs. Williams say any thing to Mrs. Field? - Mrs. Williams begged of me and Mrs. Field not to appear against the prisoner; I said I should appear only for the truth; but I did not hear this lady call Mrs. Field a false swearer.

Did you hear this lady say any thing to the man? - No, I did not.

Court to Field Did you hear Mrs. Williams say any thing to the man?

Mrs. Williams. She did; she made answer and said, that I did not understand what they said; she was the woman in the red cloak, and the other was witness.

Court to Mary Followell . Did you hear any thing said by that woman, Mrs. Williams, to the elderly man on the steps on Friday? - She said he should not put things into our head to say, for we would say enough without; and the man said you have got the pipe; and I said I have; that was all that the man said to us.

Court to Mrs. Followell. What had he been putting into your head when she said so? - He said have you got the lead, and I said yes; and Mrs. Williams said, do not put things into people's heads, that is wrong; he had been saying nothing any further than he came and asked me have you got the lead.

You are sure that he had not said a word to you about being able to get something by it by swearing? - Never, he never mentioned it; Mrs. Williams did not understand what the man said; I told her so.

Jury. That woman in the black cloak pulled her in the red cloak.

Mrs. Field. I did not touch her.

(Several of the students and several gentlemen informed the Court they saw her.

Mrs. Field. I did not; I only put my hand on the board.


Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Mr. Justice WILSON.

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