10th January 1798
Reference Numbert17980110-8
VerdictsGuilty > lesser offence; Guilty
SentencesDeath; Transportation

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73. URIAH MOSES , and ANN BENJAMIN , were indicted, the first, for breaking and entering the dwelling-house of William Holmes , about the hour of six in the night of the 8th of December , and stealing seven silk handkerchiefs, value 30s. thirty yards of lace, value 30s. and fifty-eight yards of calimanco, value 40s. the property of the said William ; and Ann Benjamin, for feloniously receiving seven silk handkerchiefs, fifteen yards of lace, and fifty-eight yards of calimanco, part of the said goods, knowing them to have been stolen .

WILLIAM HOLMES sworn. - I am a linen-draper and mercer , in Whitechapel : On Friday the 8th of December, the glass of my shop-window was cut, and several articles missing, four or five cards of black lace, some is what is called British lace, two pieces of silk handkerchiefs, and two pieces of calimanco, one was brown, the other drab colour; the whole of them were worth, I suppose, seven or eight pounds, the calimancos are worth about thirty shillings each, the silk handkerchiefs are worth about thirty-five shillings, the lace I cannot exactly say what quantity there was of them, they had been cut, and therefore I cannot say.

Q. What time did you discover that these things had been taken away? - A. About six in the evening; I discovered it by seeing the window broke, and missing the things; I did not hear the window break; next morning, the officers belonging to the Whitechapel office produced part of my property; a number of the things in the window were tinged with blood, the edges of the papers were as if somebody had cut their hand, and drawn it down.

Q.Did it appear to be cut with a diamond? - A. Yes, there was a piece left by the frame; some of the glass remained in the inside of the window, and some out.

Q. Who was it produced them to you? - A.Thomas Griffiths.

SARAH HENLEY sworn. - I am a night nurse at Guy's-hospital: The prisoner, Moses, came to the hospital on Wednesday, and came out on Friday the 8th of December; he was taken out by some men that came after him, the constables.

Q. Do you remember if he was in the hospital on Friday the 8th of December? - A. I saw him coming down stairs with two men as I went up stairs, about eight o'clock in the evening; I always go to bed in the afternoon, and come to the hospital about eight, he never returned to the hospital again; I went up to the ward where he had slept, about ten o'clock, and in examining his bed I found a card of lace. (Produces it.)

Holmes. This lace has my private mark upon it; I had put it in the window on the 8th of December, in the morning.

Mr. Agar. Q.Have you any partners? - A. No.

JOHN NOWLAN sworn. - I am a constable: On the 8th of December, I took the prisoner into custody in Guy's-hospital; the back part of his hand was cut in several places, here is a part of a shawl which I found in the bed where he was, very bloody, (produces it); I asked him how he cut his hand; he told me he was at his father's, in Petticoat-lane, and as he was going over London-bridge, he had a tea-pot in his hand, he tumbled down and cut his hand with the pieces.

Cross-examined by Mr. Agar. Q.There were a great number of people in the room where he slept? - A. Yes, a great number.

Q. You found nothing upon him when you took him? - A. Only two knives.

Q. No diamond? - A. No.

Q. At that time he was in bed? - A. Yes; he said he had been in bed about half an hour, it was then a quarter after seven o'clock.

THOMAS GRIFFITHS sworn. - I am a peace officer; I went to Mrs. Benjamin's house on the 8th of December, between six and seven in the evening, in consequence of an information, I went in company with John Griffiths and Edward Smith, two other officers; when we came there, I found Mrs. Benjamin, and two or three women, sitting in the room on the right hand side as we went in; I then asked her what was become of the property that was brought in by three or four boys a little before; she said, be quiet a bit, you will spoil me; says she, if you will stop a little I shall have a good thing for you by and by; I then insisted upon her going with me up stairs, to see where this property was; she, in company with Edward Smith and myself, went into the one pair of stairs back room, and between the bed and the sacking, I found this property. (Produces them).

Q.How came you to look there? - A. I turned up the clothes, and found it upon the sacking; when I counted over the things, I found three pieces of lace, two pieces of silk handkerchiefs, containing seven handkerchiefs, and these two pieces of calimanco, one piece with a good deal of blood on the paper; I then asked Mrs. Benjamin what was become of the boys that brought it into the house; she said, she believed one boy was gone to Guy's-hospital, that he had cut his hand, that it bled very much, and she had lent him an old shawl to wrap round his hand to dry up the blood; I then came down stairs and took the property to the office, leaving her in custody with Griffiths and Smith.

Cross-examined by Mr. Knapp. Q. I believe you found that this house was a house let cut to lodgers? - A. The door of the apartment they generally sleep in themselves was locked.

Q. I ask you if you do not know that this house

was let out to lodgers? - A. There are other people in the house.

Q. Do you not know that this very room was occupied by another person of the name of Ann Smith? - A. I believe there was a woman that slept in that room.

Q. You had seen the boys immediately before you went to this house? - A. No; I went down immediately upon my getting the information.

Q. Did not Mrs. Benjamin give you information, before you went up stairs, where these things were to be found? - A. I believe she said they were in the one pair of stairs back room.

Q.Did she not tell you, that that room belonged to Ann Smith ? - A. That might have passed; I cannot swear that it did not.

Q. The person whom she represented as having cut his hand, was apprehended? - A. Yes.

Q.Did he appear to have that bloody appearance upon his hand that she represented? - A. Yes.

Q. Then, in short, the account that she gave, turned out to be true? - A. Yes.

Q. And the information that she gave you, led to the discovery of this business? - A. Yes.

Court. Q. Had she told you the things were in the back room, before you insisted upon going up stairs? - A. I believe, when we were going up stairs, she said something about it, but I do not recollect whether she did or not.

Holmes. I lost these things from my window, the handkerchiefs I cannot swear to, my private mark has been rubbed off, it was put on with a red lead pencil; they are the same sort of handkerchiefs, and the number that I had lost, it was a piece; I had divided it that morning into four handkerchiefs, and three handkerchiefs; the calimancos and lace had my private mark upon them.

Jury. (To Griffiths.) Q. Was Smith, who rented this room, below with Mrs. Benjamin, at the time you went in? - A. I believe she was.

Moses's defence. I know nothing at all of it.

Benjamin's defence. I am a married woman, I am very innocent of it, I follow no business, but let my house in lodgings, the officer, Smith, came in first, and I told him, when he asked me, that there was somebody went up to Mary with a bundle; he asked me to let him have a candle, and I said, I could not give him the candle, because it was Friday night.

EDWARD SMITH sworn. - I went into the house first, and I asked her where the property was that was just come into the house, it could not have been in the house above five or six minutes; we ran as fast as we could; upon receiving the information, she desired I would make no noise, and desired I would keep out of sight, she expected the boys back in a minute, that she had paid nothing for them, and if I made a noise I should spoil it; I asked her for a candle to go up stairs, and she said she could not touch it, on account of her sabbath, it was past six o'clock; I took the candle, and went up myself, and found nothing; I returned down again, and then she, and I and Griffiths went up together, and she showed us where the property was; she then told us, that the boy, that she supposed had cut the window, had cut his hand; she had lent him a shawl, that he was gone to the hospital, and had taken the best piece of lace with him.

Q. Was any thing said about a woman of the name of Smith? - A. Not that I recollect; she said it was in the girl's room; she keeps lodgers.

Q. That was after you returned, and could not find it? - A. Yes; her own room door was locked, and her husband was out with the key.

Cross-examined by Mr. Knapp. Q. When you went up first, you could not get into the room? - A. No.

Q. You did search that room afterwards? - A. Yes; she has lodgers in the house that men came to see.

For the prisoners.

ELIZABETH HICKS sworn. - Examined by Mr. Agar. Q. Do you know the character of this boy? - A. No; I know his mother is a very honest hard working woman.

HANNAH SMITH sworn. - Examined by Mr. Knapp. I am servant to Mrs. Benjamin.

Q. Is she a married woman? - A. Yes.

Q. Do you remember this day, when some boys brought something to the house? - A. Yes; a boy brushed up with something in his hand.

Q. Was this house let out in lodgings? - A. Yes.

Q. Was there a woman of the name of Smith lodged in the house, besides you? - A. Yes; in the back room one pair, I was in the parlour when the boy came in.

Q. Where was you mistress at that time? - A. She was gone to a public-house to get change for a guinea.

Q. Does the parlour door open into the passage? - A. Yes.

Q. Was there more than one boy? - A. I saw no more, he ran up stairs as quick as possible.

Q. What is this Ann Smith? - A. I believe she is a lone woman by herself; I cannot say much of her.

Examined by the Court. Q.What became of the boy? - A. I went after him, and he said he wanted to speak to Mr. Benjamin, I told him he was not at home, nor Mrs. Benjamin, and in the mean time she came, and I came away directly, I did not see what passed.

Q. You did not see her give him the shawl? - A. No; I did not see any thing at all of it.

KITTY JACOBS sworn. - Examined by Mr. Agar. I keep a glass shop in Petticoat-lane, Moses worked three years with my husband; I found him very honest while he lived with me, he has been gone away three years; I have known Mrs. Benjamin five years, she was a very honest woman before she was married, and ever since, as far as I know.

FRANCES JEWELL sworn. - I have known Mrs. Benjamin these seven years, she lived servant with me, and a very honest hard working girl she was.

Court. Q. How long is it since she left your service? - A. Seven years ago.

Moses called three other witnesses, and Mrs. Benjamin one other witness, who gave them a good character.

Moses GUILTY Death .

Of stealing the goods, but not guilty of breaking and entering the dwelling-house .

Benjamin, GUILTY .

Transported for fourteen years .

Tried by the second Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Justice LAWRENCE.

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