16th April 1795
Reference Numbert17950416-12

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171. JAMES WEBB was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 4th of April , eight pieces of cotton shawls, each piece containg ten cotton shawls, value 14l. the goods of William Nicholls , and John Thomas Stevens , in their dwelling house .

A Second COUNT, for stealing the same goods, charging it to be in the

dwelling house of John Thomas Stevens only.


Q. Have you any partner ? - Yes.

Q. What is his name? - Thomas Nicholls.

Q. What business do you follow? - A Manchester and Scotch warehouse, No. 7, Milk-street .

Q. Whose dwelling house is it? - My dwelling house.

Q. Your partner does not reside there? - No, he lives over Blackfriars Bridge.

Q. Does he contibute at all? - He does, to the warehouse expence; the whole rent is paid out of the joint trade, and a certain sum charged to me for the house part.

Q. This place from whence the goods were taken, was that the part in which you pay in common? - It is in the part in which we pay in common out of the trade.

Q. The servants are joint servants in the trade? - Yes, the servants are.

Q. Did you lose any shawls at any time, and when? - On Saturday evening the 4th of April, I was up stairs at tea, at the time he was taken, and hearing the cry of stop thief, I got up and opened the dining room window, and looked out and saw a crowd coming towards the door, and I immediately went down stairs, and when I went to the door they were bringing the prisoner in to the door, these that had taken him.

Q. What else was brought in besides the prisoner? - Nothing else at that time; the property was taken into the next door, where the prisoner was taken up; when the prisoner was brought into the warehouse, our porter gave charge to the constable that came in with him, and he was at that time taken to the Poultry compter; it being Saturday night the Lord Mayor did not sit till the Wednesday following, and then he was committed; I went into our neighbours next door but one, Neale, Wright and company, and there I saw these eight pieces of shawls, which were taken up by one of them young men, they had laid them on the counter.

Q. Did you know these shawls to be your's? - Yes, I did, by my private mark being on them, they have been in my custody ever since, with the constable's seal on them, the constable himself I believe brought them to our house, from our neighbours, and tied them up, and put his seal on them, and then left them in our custody.

Q. You have told us you have a partner, have you any other partner? - No, no other.

Q. No other person having an interest in the trade? - No, no other.

Q. Where were these goods placed? - On a box, just at the entrance of the warehouse.

Q. The warehouse is at some distance from the house? - No, it is the lower apartment in the house, the ground floor, even with the street.


I am porter to Mr. Stevens.

Q. Look at the prisoner. Did you miss any property at any time? - On Saturday evening, the 4th of April, I was shutting up the warehouse, and a man came up and asked me several questions about the way to Aldersgate-street; and I told him immediately which was the way, and he asked me whether the White Horse inn was there, and if the Norwich waggon did not go from it? I told him I did not know, but there was a White Horse inn, in Cripplegate; immediately it run in my head that something was going forward more than usual, and I turned my head and see the prisoner coming out of the shop with a quantity of shawls in

his arms, he had them before him openly I immediately cried stop thief! and ran after him, he carried them about ten or a dozen yards, and threw them down in the kennel, and ran away; I cried stop thief! and he runs up a narrow court that leads to Honey lane market, Robinhood-court, he was stopped there.

Q. Did you see him stopped? - No, I did not.

Q. How soon did you see him after he got away from you? - In less than a minute; the constable came up, and I laid hold of him, and he laid hold of him, and we two led him back to the warehouse.

Q. What became of the shawls, how many pieces were there? - Eight pieces.

Q. How soon did you see them again? - About ten minutes after, at our neighbours, Neale and Wright's.

Q. Were they the same as the prisoner threw down? - They were.

Q. Where did you see them? - On the counter; the person who took them there is here.

Q. Do you know them to be your masters property? - Yes.

Q. Should you know them again if you was to see them? - Yes.

Mr. Knapp. This was between seven and eight o'clock at night? - Yes.

Q. It was darkish? - Not very dark.

Q. Not quite so light as it is now? - No.

Q. So I should think. The person, had he a round hat on? - Yes, the shape of mine.

Q. Now it was dark, and he had a round hat on, and you lost sight of him, and he was stopped not in your presence; do you mean to tell the gentlemen of the jury that you swear to the person of the man? - Yes, I can.

Q. Had you ever seen him before? - Not before that night, I had a perfect sight of him.

Q. Had you any lights in your warehouse? - Yes.

Q. He ran out of your warehouse you say? - I see him come out of the door.

Q. Had you any lamps near you? - There was not.

Q. What distance was you from the prisoner when he came out of the door? - I was within a yard of the door.


I live along with Messrs. Neale, Wright and Co. as warehouseman. On Saturday, between seven and eight o'clock, hearing the cry of stop thief! I went to the door after our porter, and the porter ran down Milk-street, and I did not run at all, I set my feet immediately almost on the goods, that lay in the kennel.

Q. You did not see any body throw them down? - I did not.

Q. How far were they from your door? - The width of the pavement, directly opposite the door.

Q. What were the goods? - Purple shawls.

Q. What did you do then? - The porter that pursued the man, desired the shawls might be picked up, and I picked them up, and took them into our front warehouse, and laid them on the counter.

Q. Who were they delivered to after that? - To the constable that took the man.

Q. Did you deliver them to the constable or Mr. Stevens? - The constable took them I think, but I believe they were both present.

Q. Was it wet or dry in the street? - It was quite clean in the middle of the street, but some of them got into the kennel, and got very wet and dirty.


Q. Was you sent for on this occasion? - No, I was coming down Milk-street between seven and eight o'clock, and hearing the cry of stop thief! I ran as fast as I could, and seeing a concourse of people running in the court, I immedi

ately made round the other way, and catched the prisoner in the court, Robinhood-court.

Q. Was he running? - He was hardly running, when I came up to him there was so many people that he was partly stopped; I brought the prisoner back to Mr. Stevens and Nicholson's, and they gave charge of him, and I took him to the Compter; after that I went to Messrs. Neale's and Wright's, with Mr. Nicholson, and brought the shawls into his house.

Q. Were they dirty or clean? - Two parcels I believe were dirty, the others were not, they are here in court.

Q. What has been done with these shawls? - After that I then sealed them up, and left them at Mr. Nicholson's house.

Q. They were carried I suppose to the magistrate? - Yes.

Q. Did you seal them again there? - Yes, I sealed them at the Mansion House, before the Lord Mayor.

Mr. Knapp. You say the prisoner was running, and you stopped him? - Yes.

Q. He was running towards you? - Yes.

Q. You know Robinhood-court? - Yes.

Q. One end of Robinhood-court leads into Honey-lane-market? - It does.

Q. Then if he had been inclined to run away, he might have run away into the market? - He had not got through the court.

Q. These shawls you received from Neale, and delivered them to Nicholson, that is all you know? - That is all.(The goods produced.)

Prosecutor. They are the same shawls.

Q. Have they your private mark on them? - They have.

Q. When had you last seen them, before this transaction happened? - Half an hour before, they had been shewn that day, and just put by in another place, they were marked No. 214, with a cross.

Mr. Knapp. That is no particular private mark of your's no more than another dealer? - No, no other than I know my own mark.

Q. Persons in trade do mark their goods with private marks sometimes? - They do.

Q. They are linen I believe? - They are cotton, all of them.

Q. What is the value of all these things? - About fourteen pounds, that is the price that I am every day selling them for.

Prisoner. I was coming through Honey-lane-market, and I was walking down this court, and two or three people run past, and I walked on, and a great many people came in a cluster together, and laid hold of me, and said I was the person; and I asked what it was for? and they said I had taken some shawls, and they took me back to this gentleman's house, I know nothing more.

GUILTY . Death . (Aged 16.)

Tried by the London Jury before Mr. RECORDER.

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