10th July 1805
Reference Numbert18050710-3
VerdictGuilty > with recommendation

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434. JOSEPH DELAFORCE was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 9th of June , five guineas , the property of William Stadden Blake .

(The case stated by Mr. Gurney.)

WILLIAM STADDEN BLAKE sworn. - Examined by Mr. Gurney. Q. Where do you live? - A. In 'Change-alley .

Q. Do you know the prisoner at the bar? - A. Yes.

Q. Has he for some time past visited an apprentice of your's? - A. Joseph Delaforce used to come to see a young man, my apprentice; his name is John Row .

Q. In consequence of any suspicion that you entertained did you mark any guineas? - A. I marked sixteen and put them in a drawer, in my parlour, in the front of the house; the ground floor consists of the shop, the parlour, and an accompting-house; I saw the lock of the drawer fastened on the Saturday night.

Court. Q. At what time on Saturday night? - A. About eleven o'clock when I went to bed.

Q. In what manner did you number the guineas? - A. From one, two, so on regularly to sixteen; the first eight I put in a purse, and the other eight loose in the drawer, on Saturday the eighth of June.

Mr. Gurney. Q. That was last Saturday month? - A. Yes.

Q. Has any other gentleman an accompting-house adjoining that parlour? - A. Mr. Turner; it is separated by a partition only.

Q. He has a clerk of the name of Tagg? - A. Yes.

Q. Did you desire Mr. Tagg to take a view of what was doing in your accompting-house? - A. Yes.

Q. Could any person, by making a hole in that partition, see what was doing in your parlour? - A. Yes, the back of the person would be towards the hole, if they were doing any thing at the drawers.

Q. The drawers were on the opposite side from that hole? - A. Yes.

Q. How soon the next morning did you receive any information that induced you to come down stairs? - A. About a quarter before eight on the Sunday morning.

Q. When you came down, you found the prisoner in the custody of the constable? - A. I did.

Court. Q. You desired Mr. Turner's clerk to watch that room on the Sunday morning? - A. I did.

Q. You found the prisoner in the custody of the constable when you came down? - A. I did.

Q. Did you look in the drawer for the purpose of seeing what money was there? - A. I did.

Q. In the first place, did you find the lock of the drawer safe? - A. No, I believe it was wrenched open.

Q. Was it open when you went to it? - A. It was not fastened so completely as it was before.

Q. Did it appear to have been forced open by a crow? - A. I could not tell, the lock had been forced.

Q. Did you find any of the money gone? - A. I found there were five guineas gone; I have got the remainder of the guineas here.

Q. What were the numbers that were gone? - A. The numbers that he took were, one, five, seven, eight, and fifteen.

Q. Of course the others were left? - A. Yes.

Q. Then you found the other eleven guineas quite right? - A. Yes, four was taken out of the purse, and one from the loose parcel in the drawer.

Q. At the time when you came down, and you searched the drawer and found the five wanting - were the five guineas shewn you by the constable in the presence of the prisoner? - A. Yes.

Q. Were those, which were so shewn you by the constable in the presence of the prisoner, five of those which were in the drawer the preceding night? - A. Yes.

Q. And were in the drawer with the other eleven you have now in your hand? - A. Yes.

Q. What parish is your dwelling-house in? -

A. The parlour is in St. Edmund the King, and the other part is in St. Mary Woolnoth.

Cross-examined by Mr. Alley. Q. Is the whole of the parlour in St. Edmund the King? - A. The whole of the window is in St. Edmund the King, and it runs off to a narrow point at the other end of the room.

Court. Q. Is that part where the drawers stand in St. Edmund the King? - A. I am sure it is.

Q. Have you any partner? - A. No.

WILLIAM TAGG sworn. - Examined by Mr. Gurney. Q. You are clerk to Mr. Turner, of 'Change-alley? - A. I am.

Q. In consequence of any information from Mr. Blake, did you look through any hole? - A. Yes; previous to that I heard this young man come to Mr. Blake's door, it was then about a quarter before eight; I was standing behind the wainscot of the shop, in Mr. Turner's accompting-house, and heard the prisoner ask for John Row, the apprentice of Mr. Blake's; the boy answered that he was up stairs; the prisoner at the bar desired him to call him, he said he wanted to speak to him; I heard the lad go up stairs; then I immediately applied my eyes to the hole which we had prepared for the purpose of perceiving the prisoner's motions, which commanded a full view of the drawers.

Q. Did you perceive the prisoner do any thing? - A. I saw the prisoner in the parlour; I immediately applied my eye to the hole; he appeared to have come from the shop to the parlour at the moment I put my eye to the hole.

Court. Q. He could not have got into the parlour but by the shop? - A. No other way; I saw him take something out of his pocket (his back was towards me,) with that he got the drawer open, either by wrenching or picking, I do not know which; he took something out of the drawer, in doing which he dropped a paper that was in the drawer; he put something in his pocket; then he stooped, and picked up the paper, and replaced it in the drawer; then he immediately shut the drawer too, and returned momentarily into the shop.

Q. How long do you think this took up? - A. I do not think it was more than five minutes, he went into the shop before the lad came down again; immediately upon the prisoner leaving the parlour, I went out of the accompting-house to meet the lad who called the apprentice, and sent that lad for a constable in a slow whisper; the boy went immediately.

Q. Where did you speak to Mr. Blake's boy? - A. At the bottom of the stairs; there is a communication from my accompting-house to Mr. Blake's shop.

Mr. Gurney. Q. Had Row come down by this time? - A. He had; the constable was some time before he came, I suppose near a quarter of an hour; the prisoner was at that time in conversation with Row. In consequence of the lad being so long gone, I was fearful; I went out, and met them; I told the constable the circumstance, and I came back to the house with the constable, the prisoner was then in the shop; the constable went in before me; I communicated to the constable what had happened; I saw him searched, he found nothing upon him; I said I saw him go to the drawer, and take something out, in the prisoner's hearing; upon which Mr. Blake replied, you saw him go to the drawer, did you - if you are pretty clear, I will go and see what he has taken out; Mr. Blake went immediately in the presence of the prisoner, the constable, and myself; he said he had taken five guineas only now, the time before he took four; the prisoner did not say any thing. The constable then said to the prisoner, it is of no use denying it, come here, I will strip you, for you must have money about you; the constable stripped him to his shirt, but found nothing upon him; the constable then looked round the counter, and found five guineas, and said, here are the guineas; they were upon the shop work-board.

Q. Upon their being found, what did the prisoner say? - A. He requested that Mr. Blake would not be hard or harsh, it was in a slow tone, I am not sure which; he did not say any thing more; but cried.

Q. Did you look at the five guineas? - A. I did.

Q. Did you find that they were marked? - A. I did not, because it required a magnifying glass; I took down the numbers that were missing when Mr. Blake counted them; that was all that passed.

HENRY CHURCH sworn. - Examined by Mr. Gurney. Q. You are a City constable? - A. Yes: On Sunday, the 9th of June, I was sent for to Mr. Blake's; I went there, and found the prisoner at the bar in the shop talking with the apprentice, John Row . The moment I went into the shop, he turned round, and said to the other apprentice, good morning, John, I will bid you good by; I said, stop, you are not going yet; I took him by the arm, and turned him round towards the shop-board, and said, I must know what you have got; I waited a few moments before I searched him, till Mr. Blake came and gave me charge of him; I proceeded to search him, but found nothing.

Q. Before you searched him, had you observed him to do any thing? - A. I observed him to go to his master's shop-board, and put his hand to a dirty cloth that was there; I did not hear any thing jink.

Q. After you had searched him, did you go and look under that dirty cloth? - A. I did, and found five guineas there under the same dirty cloth which I had observed him put his hand on.

Q. You took possession of them - have you kept them ever since? - A. I have; they were examined

in the prisoner's presence; he did not say any thing all the time he was there till I was going to take him to the Compter; he begged for mercy of his master; I produce the five guineas, they are the same; I have had them in my possession ever since.

Q. (To the prosecutor.) You have examined those five guineas with the magnifying glass? - A. Yes; there are three of them visible without a magnifying glass on, No. 8, 5, and 15.

Jury. Q. What age is this young man? - A. I believe now he is near twenty-two.

Q. You are the person that pays the rent for this house? - A. I am the householder.

Prisoner's defence. On the constable coming into the shop, I immediately bid my fellow-apprentice good morning, on account, as I thought, that the constable was come on business; he immediately said, you cannot go; he turned round to me, and said, I shall want you, let me see what you have got in your pocket; I said, you are very welcome to see what I have got in my pocket; he took from my side pocket a pocket-book, which contained the copy of my freedom; he went to the shop-board to look over the pocket-book; I then followed him to the shop-board, and said, be so good as to take care of the things that are in there; O yes, said he, they shall be taken care of. By that time Mr. Blake came down stairs, and after he came to the place where I stood, Mr. Tagg said that he saw me go to the drawer; the constable turned round to my master, and said, I have searched him, and he has got nothing in his pockets; then he said I must strip myself; immediately I pulled off my clothes, one by one, and stripped myself properly; he searched my clothes, and found nothing upon me; he said to Mr. Blake, there is nothing upon him; Mr. Tagg said, I do not care what there is upon him, he has got it; then they searched about the shop, and in the course of a little time they found the money on the shop-board, near the place where Mr. Blake was.

The prisoner called six witnesses, who gave him a good character.

GUILTY, Death , aged 22.

Recommended to mercy by the Jury and prosecutor, on account of his youth and former good character .

London Jury, before Mr. Common Serjeant.

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