12th April 1809
Reference Numbert18090412-2
VerdictNot Guilty

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310. WILLIAM ROBERTS was indicted for burglariously breaking and entering the dwelling house of Thomas Sides , about the hour of three at night on the 19th of November , and stealing therein thirty ounces of gold, value 75 l. fifty gold seals, value 70 l. eighty pair of earrings, value 50 l. sixteen gold chains, value 30 l. twenty gold lockets and broaches, value 60 l. six pair of bracelets, value 20 l. and a time piece, value 1 l. the property of Thomas Sides .

THOMAS SIDES. I live in Red Lion yard, Red Lion street, in the parish of St. John Clerkenwell , I am a housekeeper .

Q. In the month of November last were you disturbed at any time of the night - A. Yes, about four o'clock on the morning of the 20th I was awoke by a light in the adjoining room to my sleeping room.

Q. Was there any light in your sleeping room - A. No; it is a small room which I sleep in; I keep the door open to let air in from the adjoining room; the adjoining room is a large room which I keep as a warehouse; the light from the adjoining room appeared by flashes. I saw two men.

Q. It was not one steady uniform light - A. No. I saw the two men in a stooping position in the adjoining room, at the table in which the door of my bed room was open; the table was on the same side of the room as the door of the adjoining room I sleep in, and the men stood between the table and the wainscot, and in their hands was a jeweller's case open; the jeweller's case had been in a bureau; I had locked it up the over night myself about eight o'clock; the bureau was in the same room.

Q. What do you mean by a jeweller's case - A. It is a case that is carried about town to the jewellers' shops, it is covered with leather, but the substance is wood; the prisoner was the further man from me; the other man intercepted the sight of his face from me, I had a better view of the other man; instantly as I perceived the two men in the room I rose up, I searched for my sword, but from the alarm of the men I went without it: the instant I arose their light disappeared.

Q. What became of them - A. I saw them again on the stairs, but their light was so diminished I could only distinguish two forms of men on the stairs; I threw up the landing place window and called to the watchman; they went down stairs and out of the door; I saw them go up the court from the window; they went out of the court and escaped. I went to Roberts's lodgings as soon as I could dress myself.

Q. Where was his lodgings - A. In a court in Holborn; he was not there himself, there was a woman in the room. I found none of my property in his room.

Q. Did you examine your jeweller's box, or was that gone - A. The jeweller's box was not gone, part of the goods were gone; I examined the jeweller's box when I returned from Robert's lodgings; I went to Roberts' lodgings about five o'clock in the morning; I returned home in about two hours, then I examined the premises; I found then that they had been in my workshop at the top of the house, and they had taken away some gold in an unfinished state. I sleep in the first floor; the workshop is over where I sleep. I missed from the workshop seals, broaches, and various articles in an unfinished state.

Q. Did you examine your bureau in the room adjoining - A. Yes. I found it broken open; I had locked it about eight o'clock, before I went to bed; out of the bureau there had been taken twenty ounces of unwrought gold, besides several seals and gold net chains. I had seen them the over night.

Q. Did you examine the house below stairs to see how these people came in - A. I went into the kitchen;

I found the window open, the sash was thrown up, and the shutters were removed from the window, and in their usual place in the kitchen, and the street door was open.

Q. You have described the room which the two men were in being the room in which your bedroom door opened - A. Yes.

Q. And the table by which they were standing, how far was it from your bed room door - A. About a yard, and very close to the wainscot; the side of my bed was towards the door; it is a small room; the bed was close as could be to the door, only room enough just to undress myself; when the flash of light came I could see the men while I was in bed; the flash of light continued only an instant.

Q. The only view you had of seeing the prisoner was only an instant during this flash of light - A. Yes; I only just saw him imperfectly, because the other man was between me and him. I do not know who the other man was; I had a better sight of him than the prisoner, but I never saw him afterwards.

Q. Can you take upon you to say the prisoner was one of the men - A. I could not swear to his face, I only speak as to his general appearance.

Q. Had you known the prisoner before - A. He had worked for me a little while before; he had worked in the shop, and then I gave him work out.

Q. Did you find any of your goods out at any time - A. I found them out, but I could not trace them to the prisoner.

Q. I want to know whether you can now swear that the prisoner was one of the men that were in your room - A. To the best of my knowledge, I believe it; I cannot swear to him by his face; the other man intercepted the sight of his face from me; I only saw part of his whisker of one side; I will not take upon me to swear; by the appearance of the man altogether I believe him to be the man; but his face I could not at all swear to, I might be mistaken.


First Middlesex jury, before Mr. justice Lawrence.

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