24th October 1787
Reference Numbert17871024-50
VerdictNot Guilty

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861. JOHN JACKSON was indicted for burglariously and feloniously breaking and entering the dwelling-house of Richard Hughes , on the 27th day of February last, between two and three in the night, and burglariously stealing therein, one silver tea-spoon, value 12 d. two linen table cloths, value 10 s. one damask ditto, value 5 s. his property .


I am one of the patrol belonging to St. John's parish ; between the 27th and 28th at night, between two and three, I was standing in the horse-ferry-road, near the end of Masham-street; I heard the noise of dogs; I went round the fields along the lane towards the bank, within about 100 or 150 yards of Mr. Hughes's house; I peceived a boat lying on shore; and when I came near Mr. Hughes's house, there is a large door, and two or three large willow-trees; I perceived a man standing with his face towards one of the trees; I called to him, halloo! says I; what are you, says he, a watchman, what do you do here; he lifts the latch with his left hand, puts his hand back with the left arm, and shoved the bolt to the right, I said if you are a watchman, where are your arms? as I knew Mr. Hughes always furnished his watchmen with arms, I took hold of him and searched him, and found nothing on him; I said, I will see whether you work or watch for Mr. Hughes; he was very loath to go towards the house; I thought I perceived a light through the key-hole at the front of Mr. Hughes's house; I called to Mr. Hughes twice; the front door was open; two persons made their appearance; says I, does this man watch here; one of them said very low, yes; I called Mr. Hughes repeatedly two or three times over; four persons came out immediately, one of them had a crow and a dark lanthorn in his hand, after they got past me a few yards, they rapped out a very heavy oath, b - st your eyes, shoot him! says I, fire away! I have as many pistols as you have; the first pistol did not go off, the second did; I returned it; one of them clapped his hand to his side as if he was touched, and then to his face; there was a ball, with eight or nine slugs; the persons I imagined were wounded, they set off; I then went and called two of

Mr. Hughes's people; all this time Mr. Hughes's people were in the house; having discharged one pistol, and having no more ammunition, I thought it not proper to follow them; I went and searched the house; there was a pistol lying between the parlour door and the street door, and two bottles of spirits; they had broke into the house, and had wrenched out the iron bar of the cellar, where I suppose liquors are kept, facing that was the kitchen, where there was a quantity of linen; I saw no more of the prisoner till about four weeks afterwards; I heard he was in the New-bridewell precinct, St. George's-fields; I got our under inspector to go over with me, I gave him a description of the prisoner; I said as soon as I saw him, that is the person; he had a blue coat on, a flannel waistcoat, and a blue apron wrapped round his body; I saw him about four weeks after; says I to Mr. Knight, that is the very person I had hold of; the prisoner denied it strongly; I went away, and some time afterwards I went to the Rotation-office; I was subpoena'd down to Ryegate in Surrey, and there was bound over to attend here.

Had you a lanthorn with you? - No; it was quite star-light, and getting upon the bank, it casts a great reflection.

Could you swear, at the distance of four weeks, that you know that man again, having only seen him by star-light? - He was so remarkable, that I gave a description of him to Mr. Hughes, and they told me his name, and where he lived; Mr. Hughes would not go over with me; I even told them he was about as tall as me, if not taller, and a great deal lustier.

Was there any advertisement of this man put in the papers? - Not that I know of.

Prisoner. As they all knew where I lived at the time, why did not they come after me?

Elliot. Mr. Hughes's men who worked for him, knew where he lived, and by the description I gave, they told me where he lived.

Court to prosecutor. Are any of your servants here? - No.

And you was not there at the time? - I was not in the house.

JOHN BUTT sworn.

The prisoner was in custody, and brought to the bar at Union-hall, the latter end of March; I went and searched his lodgings, and found these things at his lodgings, which I produce; he lodged in Fore-street, Lambeth; his wife went with me; I found a center-bit, and a false key, chissels and bolts.


I was set to watch, which I did three nights, and this prisoner came the third night to fetch some things away which I produce; this was after Mr. Hughes's house was broke open; it was in a little field near Camberwell, and these implements were found bid in the ground on a Monday night; here are two crows; the prisoner came about ten minutes after nine, and went down on his knees for the things, and we apprehended him; Taverner was with me.


I was not at home; I have business that calls me out every evening at Covent-garden theatre; I do not come home till the next day; I left my house about five or six in the evening.

How came it that you did not apprehend this man? - I knew nothing of him, it was of no use my going; when the patrol came to my people, it was a fortnight or three weeks after.

Elliot. It was the same morning; I told the prosecutor I should know the man.

Court to prosecutor. How far do your servants live? - The man is not to be found that was in the house, he is not with me, and I do not know that the maid servant that lived with me is there now; there was nothing heard of this man till he was in in the New Gaol in the Borough.

Court. Elliot has said on his oath, that he told you the next morning that he knew

where the man was, and that he could take him into custody.

Prosecutor. Elliot came and gave a description of the man; and my men said, they thought it was the prisoner.

Court. Did any body take charge of the bundle of linen?

Elliot. It was taken up to Mr. Hughes's mother by the footman who lived there then.

Court to Jury. Gentlemen, there is no evidence.


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

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