18th September 1802
Reference Numbert18020918-70
VerdictGuilty; Guilty; Guilty; Guilty; Guilty; Guilty; Guilty; Not Guilty; Not Guilty
SentenceDeath; Death; Death; Death; Death; Death; Death

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655. WILLIAM HERBERT , JOHN REYNOLDS , JAMES PEACH , FRANCIS RILEY , CHARLES SMITH , JOHN ROBERTS , EDWARD GRIFFITHS , ELIZABETH LANE , and ELIZABETH EALEY , were indicted for breaking and entering the dwelling house of George Skillecorn , about the hour of twelve in the night of the 19th of July , and burglariously stealing a tin nutmeg-grater, value 1d. two wooden tills, value 6s. a medal, resembling a farthing, value one farthing, eighty-four pennypieces, seven hundred and twenty halfpence, and one hundred and forty-four farthings , the property of the said George.

GEORGE SKILLECORN sworn. - Q.Where is your house? - A. In Littile Queen-street, Holborn .

Q. Is it a public-house? - A. Yes, in the parish of St. Giles.

Q. Were you robbed in the month of July? - A. Yes.

Q. What night was it? - A. On Monday, the 20th of July.

Q. What time did you go to bed? - A. I locked up the cellar, and saw all safe, at a quarter past eleven, or somewhere thereabouts; I always go down stairs the last thing.

Q. How is the entrance into the cellar fastened?

- A. By two bolts; it was a door opening upon the pavement, in Parker's-lane; it is a corner house.

Q. That was fastened with a bolt on the inside? - A. Yes, with two bolts.

Q. Were they fastened when you went to bed? - A. Yes.

Q. Are you sure of that? - A. Yes.

Q. Were you alarmed by any thing? - A. No.

Q. Were you called up? - A. Yes, at four o'clock in the morning.

Q.How did you find your house? - A. A lodger called me up, when I found the bar and street door open.

Q. Were they fastened over night? - A. Yes.

Q. Was any other part of your premises open? - A. The cellar door at the bottom of the stairs was open.

Q. You mean the stairs leading from the house to the cellar? - A. Yes; the cellar flap was open.

Q. That is outside, next to the street? - A. Yes.

Q. How were the bolts? - A. They were unbolted, and the flap shut to again, but the bolts not bolted.

Q. Were there any marks of violence? - A. A small part of the flap of the door was cut away, and part of the door split, then some instrument had been put in, and the bolts shoved back.

Q. How was the door at the foot of the cellar stairs? - A. It locks into a large staple, and the lock was shoved back.

Q. Could that he shoved back by any person who was in the cellar? - A. Yes.

Q. Did you observe any thing else? - A. We found these shoes (producing a pair of old dirty shoes), laying under the slap of the cellar, very wet and dirty.

Q. Did you observe any thing more? - A. No. thing in the cellar.

Q. Did you miss any thing? - A. In the bar we found two drawers were taken away; the bottom part was locked, but the window that pulls down was not locked, for I had broke the lock the day before, (two draweres produced); this drawer contained the penny pieces and new halfpence, and this contained the old halfpence and farthings; the middle drawers were opened, the papers turned out, and twelve metal table-spoons taken away; in the left hand drawer was an old tin nutmeg grater, which I had seen at eleven o'clock that night.

Q.When you first came down stairs, was it dark or light? - A. It was quite light then; I went outside the door, and immediately two watchmen came up.

Q. Did you go with them in search of the thieves? - A.Immediately.

Q. Where did they carry you to? - A.Down Parker's-lane, and through Cross-lane, into Lewkner's-lane.

Q. How many watchmen went with you? - A. Two at first, but we were joined by another on the right hand side, pointing to a house, one of the watchmen said, there is one of them in that passage.

Q. Was the street door open? - A. Yes; we forced our way into the back parlour, and found the whole of the prisoners there, except Elizabeth Laue.

Q. In what manner were they employed, and in what parts of the room? - A.Elizabeth Ealey was in bed.

Q. How many beds were there in the room? - A. One.

Q.Was she dressed or undressed? - A.Undressed; one of the men was upon the bed likewise, but I cannot swear to which.

Q. In the bed or on the bed? - A. On the bed; he was dressed; Griffiths was standing against the window, with his arms across, looking towards the table; Reynolds was at the table, counting the money, without shoes.

Q. Were they dressed? - A. All the men were dressed; the penny pieces were arranged up in rows, and they were counting the money before them.

Q. You did not examine Reynolds's feet or stockings? - A. No, we were glad to secure them; Smith had made his escape up the chimney, before I got into the room.

Q. How soon after did he come down the chimney? - A. In about ten minutes.

Q. Did he come down of his own accord? - A. No, by frightening; as he went up the chimney, the halfpence kept tumbling down out of his pocket.

Q.That caused you to look up the chimney? - A. He had been seen to go up, but I did not see him.

Q. When he came down, what did you find upon him? - A. I did not search him, I was in the street, and had got hold of some of the others; we were glad to secure them, so that I did not take notice of any other positions.

Q. Where did you first see Elizabeth Lane? - A. She first came to clear her character up of her own accord.

Q. Where did you first find the drawers? - A. They were found in Stonecutter's-buildings.

PRIAM DOWLAN sworn. - Q. Are you a watchman? - A. Yes.

Q. Where is your stand? - A. I watch in Great Queen-street and in Little Queen-street, as far as Lincoln's-inn-fields, on the other side.

Q. Before Skillecorn came out of his house, and spoke to you, had you, in the course of the night, made any observation upon any person being about that spot? - A. I did.

Q.Give an account of it? - A. I made an observation.

Q. What time of night? - A. About twelve o'clock.

Q. What did you observe? - A. I saw Reynolds.

Q. Was any body with him? - A. No, I saw him come from the corner of Mr. Hunter's, the baker's, till he came as far as the shoe-maker's shop, then he crossed over the way, and saw me in my box, upon which he went round, till he came to Skillecorn's, the publican.

Q. Is that all you observed, before you received an alarm? - A. I heard an alarm, as I was standing at the corner; I heard Elizabeth Lane, to the best of my opinion, by her voice, for I have known her three or four years, though I cannot swear home to her, say, d-n your eyes, Jack, now is the time to make your ground good, for the watchman is out of the way.

Q. Was it day-light? - A. Between day and dark; it was so dark, he got out of my fight round the corner.

Q. Did you see any man there? - A.Reynolds I saw before, and I saw him cross from Stonecutters-buildings, where he did the drawers.

Q. You say you saw a woman, and heard her say something? - A. I did not say I saw her.

Q. Repeat the words she said? - A. D-n your eyes, Jack, now is the time to make your ground good, for the watchman is out of the way.

Q.Did you see any body to whom she said that? - A. I saw Reynolds cross over the way at that time, and I pursued him with a rattle; he ran across the way to the corner of Parker's-street.

Q. Did you see any body else, except the two you have mentioned? - A. I kept up the rattle, and kept him in view till the turning a coal-shed, when he got into a place, called Gold-beater's-alley; I was afraid of being murdered, and did not go up there; I went back to look for the woman, where she used to be, as I did not see her go into the alley, and Reynolds came up to me with shoes on as slippers, and his stockings quite wet; as soon as I saw him, I took him to the watch-house.

Q. Were they shoes or slippers which he wore? - A. They were shoes, but he wore them as slippers, with the heels down, they did not sit him at all.

Q.How long did he remain there? - A. A very few minutes; I told the constable how I had seen him about; he examined him, but found nothing on him, so let him go; he and I came together from the watch-house, and when I came to the corner, he said, Dowlan, I believe you are an honest watchman, and I will treat you to-morrow night; I said, I wanted no treat from him, for I worked for that with which I could treat myself; well, says he, I will give you a shilling, which I also refused; I then came on to the corner of Parker-street, where I saw one of the Bow-street officers in the buildings, who had found the drawers, after I had let Reynolds go; I marked the house Reynolds went into.

Q. Were you with the officer, when he found the drawers? - A. No.

Q. After having met the officer, where did you go? - A. I went to the watch-house with the drawers, and then came back.

Q. Where did you go next? - A. I came back again, as far as the Running-horse, and stood there; there was a man, who lodged with Skillecorny, came out with Skillecorn to the door; I asked them, if they knew of any person being robbed, and if they did, that the drawers' were in the watch-house; then Skillecorn told me, he was the person.

Q. Where did you take them to? - A. I told him, if he would come along with me, I dare say I could find out the thieves, or the people that had robbed him; but that it was no use to go one or two together, for we must get some more assistance; I got two watchmen, and we went up to Lewkner's lane, but it is wrote up, Charles-street; when we came opposite the door where I saw Reynolds go in, on this side of Goldsmith's-alley, Riley spied me, and said, here is Dowlan.

Q. Did you hear him say so? - A. Yes; he ran back, and made the alarm to them.

Q. You saw him, did you? - A. Yes; I did not see him in the room, but I found him under the stairs, in the house, covered over with straw.

Q. When you first heard him say, here is Dowlan, where was he, did you see him? - A. He was in the passage, and run back directly; I never gave the door any time till I burst it open, and told the rest to follow me.

Q. You run into the room? - A. I did.

Q. In that room who did you find? - A.Samuel Beach.

Q. What was he doing? - A. As soon as I came into the room, he jumped from the bed where he was, with some money, and threw it upon the table where the remaining part of the money was.

Q. Did you see him? - A. I saw him.

Q. Who else did you see? - A. I saw that small chap of a boy, Charles Smith.

Q. What was he doing? - A. As soon as he had an opportunity, he got up the chimney.

Q. Did you see him go up? - A. No, but I found him there, and I saw him when I first went into the room.

Q. Who else did you find? - A. This young man, in a brown coat, Butcher Grissiths.

Q. What was he doing? - A. He was standing between the window and table, where the money was dividing in penny-pieces, and Beach threw a cover over it, a sort of cloth; he wore a sailor's jacket at that time.

Q. Did you see either of the other prisoners? - A. Yes, I saw Reynolds opposite the fire place.

Q.What was he doing? - A. I said, Reynolds, above all, if you stir out; I will lose my life, because I know you to be a thief.

Q. Was there any body else - was Riley there? - A. I cannot say; the other chap, in a blue-coat, Roberts, was standing near to Griffiths.

Q. Was any body in bed? - A. Elizabeth Ealy lay with her face to the wall, but I don't know whether she was asleep or awake.

Q. Have you named all the prisoners? - A. No; the other man lay between the window and the table, on the ground, on the boards, his name is William Herbert.

Q. Are there any persons at the bar, whom you did not see in the room? - A. I don't know whether Riley was in the room or not, but Elizabeth Lane was not there; we found Riley, afterwards, under the stairs, covered over with a little straw.

Q. Did you observe the chimney while you were in the room? - A. I did; Herbert lay between the table and the window, I told him to get up, and one of them said, that man was drunk; I said, if he was drunk, I would wake him; I pulled him up, and handed him into custody, telling them to take him along with the rest, and take care of them; before he was taken out, he said, there is a silver shilling on the bed, which don't belong to the property, let me have it; I went to the bed, found the shilling, and gave it him; Smith got up the chimaey, and I heard the halfpence and penny pieces falling down, he goes by the name of Black Charles, because he is a sweep; I told him to come down, but he made no answer; upon which, I told the other watchman to go up stairs, (for I was afraid he would get off) and throw the chimney down upon him, and smother him; I took some wood, and told him, I would set it on fire, and bring him down, if he would not come; upon those conditions, he came down, and delivered to me, ninepennyworth of halfpence and penny pieces, saying, there is only nine-pence on me, that is all I have, you can neither hang me not transport me; before Reynolds went, he threw off his top coat and waist coat into a chair, in which there was about the amount of five shillings, and said, you found no money on me; and with that he dropped this nutmeg greater, (producing it).

Q. Did you find any thing in the pocket either of his coat or waistcoat? - A. Yes, copper penny pieces and halfpence, there was better than five shillings; I swore only to five shillings, but I dare say there was very near nine shillings; as he stood with his back to the chimney, he dropped this nutmeg-grater out of his left hand; I took it up, and said, Skillecorn, is this your property? yes, said he, I will swear to that being my property; we then took them to the watch-house, and all the money I found, I laid before the constable.

Cross-examined by Mr. Watson, Counsel for Roberts.

Q. You only saw Roberts standing by the table? - A.No more; I found no money on him.

Prisoner, Reynolds. He first swore, he saw me counting the money, and then that I was standing by the fine, and that he saw me drop the nutmeggrater; before the Justice, he said, that he knew nothing about it.

Q. Did you say so? - A. No, I said, I saw him drop it, and I took it up.

DANIEL CALLAGAN sworn. - Q. You are a watchman? - A. Yes.

Q. Had you seen any body about on this night, before you saw Skillecorn? - A. No, my stand is in the row where these men were taken, in Parkerstreet.

Q. Upon being called, where did you go to? - I was crying two o'clock, when I heard the rattle going, I ran through the passage between King-street and Lewkner's-lane, and asked Dowlan what was the matter; he told me, there was such a person passed, and mentioned Reynolds and Lanc, and that they had got into the passage; I did not see Bet Lane till she gave herself up at the watch-house.

Q. Did you go with the other persons to the house where the prisoners were taken? - A. Yes, to Watkins's house.

Q.Did you go in at the same time? - A. Yes, I was along with them.

Q. Did you, in that room, see all the prisoners, or how many of them? - A. I saw six of them, and one woman, who was in bed, with her head against the wall, but I cannot say whether she was asleep, or not.

Q. Where did you see the others? - A. Riley was in the passage.

Q. You saw them all in this situation? - A. Yes.

Q. What was there on the table? - A.Some copper.

Q. Do you know the prisoner, Reynolds? - A. Yes, I do.

Q. Was he in the room? - A. He was.

Q.What was he doing? - A. To the best of my knowledge, he was sitting against the window, but he got up when I got in; I took hold of Beach.

Q.Where was he? - A. He was sitting on the bed, I took hold of him, and told him to get up.

Q. Do you recollect what the others were about? - A. I guarded the door; and my partner knows more about it than I do.

Dowlan. I handed them to his, and he took care of them.

JOSEPH HUGGENS sworn. - Q. Are you a watchman? - A. Yes.

Q. Did you go with the other watchman and Skillecorn to the house in Lewkner's-lane? - A. Yes.

Q. Did you go into the room? - A. Yes.

Q. Did you go after Donald, or with him? - A. I went along with him.

Q.What did you first observe? - A.When I first went in, I saw the money divided into heaps on the table which was in the room, and there were five of the prisoners about the table, where the money was.

Q. Were they sitting or standing? - A. There were four standing about the table, and one laying at the end of the table; when Dowlan and I went into the room, we immediately seized on one or two of them; Herbert was laying at the end of the table, between the table and the window; one said, he was drunk, then said Dowlan, if he is, he must get up; upon which he got up, and said, don't take me away, for there is a silver shilling of mine here, that don't belong to the money.

Q.Did you find the shilling? - A. We found the shilling, and he got it.

Q. Where did you find it? - A. In the bedclothes.

Q.Did you take them away? - A. We had not, as we thought, force enough to take them, being such a number as they were, for we had three watchmen only, till Skillecorn took the rattle and sprung it in the street, and some others came up and assisted us; then, while we were getting ourselves ready, and putting the money into a handkerchief, a nutmeg-grater sell out of Reynolds's pocket.

Q. Did you see it? - A. Yes, I saw it fall out of his hand or pocket.

Q. Out of which hand? - A. I believe it was his left-hand, or left-hand pocket.

Q. Who took it up? - A. The watchman, of the name of Dowian, and asked Skillecorn if it was his property, and he said it was.

Q. Then you took them away? - A. Then we handed them one by one to the watchmen at the door, in the street; at the time we handed the first out, the smallest of them, Smith, got up the chimney, I saw the foot, and the copper-money falling down.

Q. How soon after you came into the room was it, that Smith was getting up the chimney? - A. I suppose it might be about five minutes.

Q. Did you see him in the room before he got up the chimney? - A. I did; I saw him standing at the table when we entered the room.

Q. Did you see him come down the chimney? - A. Yes; we told him to come down, or that there were people at the top of the house that would throw the chimney down on him; but he kept going up, and after we had secured the rest, there being some old boards in the room, we threatened to set them on fire, upon which he came down, and said, I give myself up to you, I have only ninepence on me, you can neither hang or transport me for that, upon which we took him away, and put him with the rest; there was a bed in the room, which was very small, and on the bed there was a sailor, dressed in a blue jacket, and a woman lying in the bed on her left side, with her face to the wall; we took him likewise, and put him with the rest; when we broke into the room, I verily believe the woman was asleep, and did not know any thing of it.

JOHN WYGATE sworn. - Q.What are you? - A. I am a constable of the night, and was present when the prisoner were brought into the watch-house.

Q. Do you recollect Reynolds, one of the prisoners, being brought in earlier by one of the watchman? - A. Yes, I do.

Q. You examined him, and finding nothing on him, you discharged him? - A. Yes, by the consent of the watchman.

Q. Do you recollect what situation he was in as dress? - A. No.

Q. Do you know what time in the morning it was? - A. I believe, turned of one o'clock.

Q. Was it light or dark? - A. Dark.

Q. Do you recollect the property being brought in? - A. Yes, I had them all searched, and I found halfpenny, and penny-pieces only on one.

Q. Which was that? - A. That was Roberts; I found nothing on either of the others.

Q. Were the things distinguished at all from the others? - A. No, they were all put together.

Q. Were you in the watch-house, when Elizabeth Lane first appeared? - A. No, I was going to take the charge to the Magistrate; I saw her in the passage; I asked her what she did there; she said, she came to resign herself up, for she heard we wanted her.

Q. What time was that? - A. About half-past eleven o'clock, as we were going to take the charge from the watch-house to the Magistrate.

Q.Did you take charge of the drawers and the halfpence, and the penny-pieces? - A. Of the halfpence and penny-pieces, but not of the drawers, they were given back to Skillecorn, because he wanted to use them; here are the halfpence and penny-pieces which I have had in my possession ever since. (Produces them.)

WILLIAM CLINE sworn. - Q. What are you? - A. An officer belonging to Bow-street.

Q. Do you recollect being met by a watchman, and his taking you to look for some drawers? - A. No.

Q. What do you know? - A. It was during the election, and as I was going home, about half-past two in the morning, I went down Little Queen-street, and through Stone-cutter's-buildings, where, by accident, I saw three drawers.

Q.Was it light or dark? - A. It was just greylight; I saw a penny piece on the ground, which I picked up, and on looking further, I found four more; feeling about, I found seven halfpence, and one drawer, and looking further, I found the other box, on a piece of timber, which lay in the street; I kept them in my possession till I went before the Magistrate, and the publican wanting them, I was ordered to mark them, and let him have them, which I did; these are the drawers; I found some papers concerning a cloath's-club, which the publican swore to, they were laying near the drawers.

MARGARET WALKER sworn. - Q.What do you know of this transaction? - A. I know nothing very particular, except that I live in Stonecutter's-street, and was sitting up that night to get my son's breakfast, who belongs to the army, and was going to a review very early in the morning; the watch being close to me, and about a quarter before two, I heard a noise, upon which I went to the door, where I saw a person rapping; I asked him what he wanted, he said, nothing; I then went into the kitchen, and saw all the fastenings safe; in the course of a little time, I heard a great noise, and heard that the watchman had taken a man up upon suspicion of a robbery, and that some halfpence had been found with the drawers.

Q. Did you know the person who spoke to you at the door? - A. Yes, I know him now.

Q. Is he one of the prisoners? - A. No; I thought I would call the watchman to tell me who it was, when I understood they had taken the persons, who, I suppose, I had heard, and that the person I had spoke to belonged to Bow-street; I was desired to go to the watch-house, to declare what I had heard, and as I followed them, they went into a house, in Parker's-lane, and took the prisoners; as I was waiting, I discovered something laying near my foot, in a handkerchief, which I picked up and took to the watch-house, where it was examined, and contained the farthings.

Q.(To Skillecorn.) Did you receive a handkerchief from the last witness? - A. Yes, this is it.(Produces it.)

Q. Who does it belong to? - A. Nobody owns it.

Q. What was in it when she gave it you? - A. some farthings, but I don't know how many.

Q. Are those the drawers you lost out of your bar that night? - A. Yes, they are, I locked them up about a quarter before twelve.

Q. You spoke of there being a quantity of halfpence, penny-pieces, and farthings in those drawers? - A. Yes.

Q. To what amount? - A.About two poundsworth, or more, but I am sure there was that; there might be fifty shillingsworth, but I am positive there were above two pounds.

Q.Was there any particular piece among them? - A. Yes, it is like a something, it is Sir Isaac Newton's model; I received it that night for a pint of beer, and have received it twenty times over from one man, nobody else would take it.

Q. That was in the drawer? - A. It was in a little bowl in the drawer.

Q.Where did you find it? - A.Amongst the rest of the money, upon counting it out in the watch-house.

Q. What do you say to the nutmeg-grater? - A. I have had it these eighteen months, sometimes it was in the drawer, and sometimes I wore it in my pocket, on that night it was in the drawer.

Q. Do you remember receiving it again that night, when the men were taken up? - A.Dowlan gave it me in the room; he asked me, if I knew it, I said, I did; I saw him stoop to take up something, but I did not see it dropped.

Reynolds. Q. I wish to know what mark he knows the nutmeg-grater by? - A. In the first place it is nearly worn out, and it is difficult to shut; in the next place, the corners are so sharp, that it tears my pocket all to pieces, therefore I did not carry it for some time.

Court. Q. Those shoes were not fitted on them? - A. No.

Herbcross defence. I am a labouring man, Griffiths and I was going into the country to harvestwork, and he asked me to call for a shirt, which he had left to be washed; I said, I did not care, but he must make haste to be in time to go in the waggon; I went with him to this room, and had not been there long before the watchman came in and took us all.

Griffith's defence. I am a butcher, and did work in Clare-market, but having hurt my leg, I could not follow that business; wanting my shirt washed, I found out that one of these women took in washing, and when I was going to fetch it, I asked Herbert if he would go with me, which he did, and we were taken.

Reynolds, Beach, Riley, Smith, and Roberts, declined saying any thing, and Lane, and Easley were not put on their defence.

William Herbert, GUILTY , Death , aged 36.

John Reynolds, GUILTY , Death , aged 15.

Samuel Beach, GUILTY , Death , aged 28.

Francis Riley, GUILTY , Death , aged 15.

Charles Smith, GUILTY , Death , aged 13.

John Roberts, GUILTY , Death , aged 14.

Edward Griffiths , GUILTY , Death , aged 17.

Elizabeth Lane, NOT GUILTY .

Elizabeth Ealy , NOT GUILTY .

First Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Justice Le Blanc.

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