20th May 1795
Reference Numbert17950520-14

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255. SARAH SIMS was indcited for feloniously stealing, on the 6th of May , a linen frock, value 1s. a cotton skirt, value 1s. a linen cap, value 1s. 6d. and a silk sash, value 6d. the goods of Thomas Moon .


The things are mine; I am only the prosecutor.


Q. You are the wife of the last witness, Thomas Moon? - Yes.

Q. How many children have you? - Four; George, Thomas, Ann, and Rachell. This day fortnight, (my three eldest children goes to school) it being a holiday, they asked leave to go to play; at half past two they went into Checquer-court .

Q. Where do you live? - In St. Martin's-lane.

Q. How near is that to it? - I have a door that opens into it at the back part of my house; they were absent about a quarter of an hour, and the eldest returned and asked for a bit of string, and said, that the woman would give him a knife, if he carried a woman a bit of string to make a kite of. I asked what woman? He said, Mrs. Smith; they called her Mrs. Smith. I went down the court immediately, but saw neither the child nor the woman. Then I fought after my husband, and alarmed my neighbours with the fright, and they were all searching of her for five hours.

Q. Which child was it you lost? - The young one, Ann. I sent all ways to seek her. Many people went, but could hear nothing of her, until the publican where I have my beer came and told me, Sarah Rutlidge came in and said, that a person had seen the prisoner have the child on her lap at the end of the Chequere. I could not find her out for an hour and a half after. In the mean time, Daniel Reeves brought me a sash; he deals in clothes.

Q. That was the sash you knew your child had on? - Yes Search was made after her; she had been at another shop or two to offer it to sell, and could not. I did not hear of her till about half past six, or near seven. I had her then brought to me from St. Ann's workhouse; Sarah Price carried her there.

Q. Who was she brought to you by? - I was not in at the time she was brought home from the workhouse.

Q. It was your child? - Yes.

Q. When your child was brought to you, had she on the same things as when she left you? - No; she had lost her frock, her cap, her top skirt, and her sash.

Q. That was the sash that you told me a person had brought to you? - Yes, the same sash.

Prisoner. I have no questions to ask, no more than what she says, is not true.


I live in Crown-court, Princes-street, Soho.

Q. Do you know Mrs. Moon? Do you know where she lives? - Yes, I know now.

Q. How far do you live from her house? - About a quarter of a mile. On Wednesday last the prisoner came with a child in her arm to my shop, about half after three, the 6th of May, and asked me if I wanted to buy a sash? and I said, no. She told me, if I knew her distress I would buy it. I asked her why? She said, she had got three children, and, says she, see what a sweet creature I have in my arms, and she had got nothing to eat the whole day, I should do a charity if I would give her three-pence for the sash. Accordingly I goes and changes a shilling, and gave her three-pence for it.

Q. How old did the child appear to you to be? - About two years old.

Q. How was he child dressed? - Quite clean, a frock and cap, and every thing on, only no sash.

Q. Did you inform any body of this afterwards? - Yes; my wife was not at home, and she heard of a child being lost while she was out, and comes home and told the children to take care, for a child was lost, and described the child;

and I told my wife that I had bought a green sash; and my wife thought it was the sash of the child that was lost; and I went to the woman with it that lost the child.

Q. To Mrs. Moon. How old is your child? - Two years and nine months.

Q. The last witness was the person that applied to you with the sash? - Yes.


Q. Do you remember seeing the prisoner at the bar at any time last Tuesday fortnight, or any time? - I see her the 6th of May, with the child on her knee, and the two little boys at the side of her.

Q.Should you know the child again if you was to see it? - Yes.

Q. Are you sure it was the prisoner that you see? - Yes, I am sure of it.

Q. Where was it you saw her? - Facing Northumberland-house, the corner of Checquer-court, sitting on a step; it was about half after two, as nigh as I can guess.

Q.How came you to know the prisoner? - Because she used to come to our house for a glass, of ale; and she was there that morning, and had two glasses.

Q.What is your house? - The Rose and Crown, St. Martin's-lane.

Q. I believe you heard of this afterwards, and you was the cause of her apprechension? - Yes, I heard of it afterwards, and I recollected seeing her;(looks at the child) that was the child, I did not mind the dress; I knew the child, we serve Mrs. Moon with beer. I told my mistress of it, and she informed Mrs. Moon of it.

Prisoner. It is no use to ask her any questions, for she tells very great stories.


Q. Will you be good enough to look at the child; did you ever see the child before? - Never till I took it out of Rider's-court, a few minutes before six, or about six, I cannot say to a few minutes.

Q. Where did you find it? - Crying, in Rider's-court, Cranbourn-alley. One part comes into Cranbourn-alley and the other into Newport-street.

Q. To Reeves. Is that the child the woman had in her arms? - Yes, it is, when she sold me the sash.

Q. To Price. You say you found the child crying in Rider's-court? - Yes; I brought it to the house where I live, and then we sent for the beadle of St. Ann's parish; I live in St. Ann's parish; then I took it up with the beadle to the workhouse; we thought it might be owned; and as soon as I delivered it there, I came out of the house, and returned again; and some persons told me, that the people were there waiting for it, at my house, the friends of the child were. I brought it back, and delivered the child to a man, an acquaintance of Mr. Moon.

Q. To Moon. Who was that friend? - A publican, that lives next door to me.

Prisoner. I never see the lady in my life.


Q. Did that person (Price) deliver a child to you, on the 6th of May at the workhouse? - Yes; she delivered a child to me between six and seven o'clock in the afternoon, this day fortnight. I was called down and I took it up to the matron, and I had it till this gentlewoman came again for the child, and then I delivered it to her again. I put a little bed-gown on it; it had nothing on it but an under petticoat, and a shift.

Q. To Price. What had it on when you found it? - A pair of stays, an under petticoat, a shift, and a pair of shoes.

Q. Had it on any frock? - No, nor upper skirt, nor cap, nor sash.


Here are the duplicates that were found on the prisoner, which relate to the child's things; the frock, cap, and petticoat of the child. I did not find them myself, my wife found them.

Mrs. MUMFORD sworn.

Q.Did you find any duplicates on the prisoner Sims? - Yes; on the 7th of May, between eleven and twelve o'clock, I found two tickets belonging to the child's frock, skirt and cap.


I am a pawnbroker, in Panton-street, Haymarket.

Q. Did the prisoner ever come to you to pawn any thing? - Yes; on the 6th of May, about one or two o'clock in the forenoon, she came to pawn a frock and cap. (Produced.)

Mrs. Moon. I know it to be the property that the child wore at the time that I missed her, by the oldness of it, and the mending of it. I have not the least doubt about it.

Q. To Turner. Was it on a Wednesday or a Thursday? - Wednesday; she pledged it in the name of Parfield.

Q. To Mrs. Moon. What time was it that you went out and missed the child? - Near half past two.

Q. To Turner. Was it noon, or morning she came to you? - About noon.

Q. Might it be two or three? - Yes; it was not so late as four.

Q. You are sure with respect to the prisoner? - Yes, I am sure with respect to her.

Q. You cannot be mistaken about her? - No.


Q. What are you? - A pawnbroker.

Q. Did you ever see the prisoner before? - Yes, I see her on the 6th of May; she pawned a child's petticoat with me for sixpence.

Q. Where do you live? - No. 21, Green-street, Liecester-fields; (produced) as near as I can recollect it was between four and five.

Q. To Mrs. Moon. Is that yours? - Yes, I had lately made it up.

Q. You are sure your child had it on that day? - Yes, I am very sure of it.

Q. To Baxter. Pray did you inquire how she came by it? - No, I don't recollect I did; but I took her name, Ann Smith, St. Martin's-lane.

Q. To Turner. Did you inquire of the prisoner at the bar how she came by these things? - I don't recollect I did.

Prisoner. I came from Wapping last Wednesday was a fortnight, to the best of my knowledge, when I came to the town I went to Mrs. Rutledge's, where I had a glass of ale; I had not drank any thing all the way coming along. I went out of their house, and was not in the house all the day afterwards. I met with a person that I had known some years, and she asked me to go with her and drink. I went with her, and I came back, and went to Mr. Jenkins's office, to see for a place. He said, I might call to-morrow. I met with this woman again, and I had something else to drink, which, not eating any thing, it got quite in my head. This woman said to me, let us take this child, and take a little bit of a walk. We bought the child a basket, and went in to have something to drink. About four o'clock in the afternoon, the woman asked me what money I had in my pocket? I said I had nothing. She said, let us take off the child's frock and skirt and pledge it. I said, I would not; I have had children of my own. She said, she knew the mother of the child; and she took them off, and pledged them; and the next morning I went in to Mr. Rutledge's, to have a glass, and to hear

if I could hear any tidings concerning the child; and they took me up to the justice. I sent for this woman up to the justice, and they would not let her speak a word. They said, they would hang me if they could.

GUILTY . (Aged 22.)

The Recorder immediately passed judgment as follows:

Prisoner, the wickedness and profligacy of your crime is so much superior to any thing that we have heard of in this court, at this session, that it makes it necessary that your judgment should be separated from the common felons, and that you should immediately receive the sentence of the court. The stealing of a few articles of wearing apparel, would not, itself, receive a very severe sentence, but when that theft is attended with a very aggravated circumstance of depriving parents of a child, it becomes, in my opinion, a most gross and a most heinous offence. It is, in my mind, very little short of the crime of murder. I have not words, nor will I attempt to describe the feelings of the unfortunate parents, who may be thus deprived of their children. I have to lament, that the law in this land does not provide a distinct punishment, equal and adequate to this act of profligacy of your's. But, collaterally, the court has a power, and so far as they have a power, considering the offence of which you are convicted, so far they will consider, that you, not having any feeling for the happiness of others, are in a situation to receive the just resentment of the law. I shall proceed to pass on you the severest sentence that the law of the land will permit me to pass, lamenting that I have not power to pass one more severe than that I am now about to do. The sentence of the court is, that you be transported for seven years , to pass beyond the seas, to such place as his majesty, by the advice of his privy council, shall be pleased to declare and appoint.

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

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