11th April 1810
Reference Numbert18100411-3

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264. MELINDA MAPSON was indicted for that she on the 10th of February , about the hour of twelve, in the night of the same day, being in the dwelling house of William Dignam , two shifts, value 5 s. the property of Margaret Garey ; - a tablecloth, value 5 s. a silk handkerchief, value 3 s. a gown, value 10 s. a silver punch ladle, value 12 s. a shift, value 3 s. a counterpane, value 5 s. a silver table-spoon, value 10 s. and a pelisse, value 20 s. the property of the said William Dignam, feloniously did steal, and that she did afterwards burglariously break to get out of the same .

WILLIAM DIGNAM . I live at No. 5, New-street, Covent Garden, in the parish of St. Martin's in the Fields .

Q. Do you know the prisoner - A. I do. On the 10th of February, 1809, about a quarter past nine at night, she came into my service.

Q. Who was the last up in the house that night - A The prisoner was. I came home about a quarter on twenty minutes past eleven; the prisoner let me in. I secured the house, and at the same time I said young woman, I suppose your mistress has told you where to sleep, go down stairs and put the fire out, and then go to bed. We had no lodgers in the house, nobody but my wife, me, and her. I did not see her after; I went to bed directly.

COURT. Was your wife in bed before you - A. Yes. On the next morning I got up about a quarter before seven, my wife was up first; when I came down the prisoner was gone; I missed a time piece and a basket of clothes.

Mr. Knapp. In consequence of the prisoner being gone, and you missing the property you set about making an enquiring - A. Certainly.

Q. How could the prisoner have got out of the house - A. She must have unfastened the door.

Q. Did you fasten the door - A. Certainly; with a chain and a bolt at the top and bottom; the locked tried, I found it had been hampered.

Q. Then the security of the door arose from the chain and two bolts - A Yes. There was no outer door to the house; the windows were all secured.

MRS. DIGNAM. I am the wife of the last witness. The prisoner came into my house on Friday night, about the 10th of February, 1809; my husband was gone out; he returned about a quarter past eleven; I went to bed about ten o'clock, leaving the prisoner up; there was no other person in the house but she and me; I gave her directions what she was to do in the morning, shewed her her sleeping place, and told her to stay up till her master came in, and I told her to come to me about a quarter before seven in the morning.

Q. At the time that you went to bed did you observe the state of the windows - A. They were all fastened before she came.

Q. How was the door fastened before you went to bed - A. Only with a spring lock; there was a key in the door.

Q. Did you try at that time, or before, whether it would lock - A. In the course of the day, when the servant maid went in and out, the door locked very well; I never found any difficulty in locking the door before that time. On the next morning I awoke about six o'clock; she was to call me about a quarter before seven; I waited till the time; I found she did not come and then I rang the bell; I got out of bed and called her several times, she did not answer me; I went up into her bed room, she was not there; I missed the sheets from her bed, and on my going down stairs to the kitchen I found the street door open; I went down into the kitchen, there was a candlestick on the table, the candle had burned down in the socket, and the grease had run about on the table; the fire was nearly out; it appeared as if there had been a fire all night; I missed a basket of small linen that had been standing on the table in the kitchen; I had been in the kitchen with the servant until I went to bed, and then I left that basket there; I missed same linen out of a pan, and a large counterpane from the kitchen, and two pair of boots, and a drawer was broken open in the kitchen; I missed out of that drawer, tea, sugar, soap and candles; I went up stairs and told my husband that the servant was gone, and the street door was open. He came down stairs and opened the shutters of the first floor; we missed a basket of linen from out of the dining room, it contained sheets and table linen; we

missed a silver punch ladle, three silver table spoons, four silver tea spoons, a silver caddie shell, and a pair of silver sugar tongs; I went from there up into the garret, and missed the curtains from off the bed.

Q. Where were these things put in the dining room - A. In the knife case; I had used them that very day.

Q. Who is Margaret Garey - A. The servant that left me the same day; her box was broken open; she left her box till she had and opportunity of taking it away. I missed several tablecloths, four silk handkerchiefs, and ten gowns.

MARGARET GAREY . Q. You were a servant to this lady - A. Yes.

Q. Upon your going away we understand the prisoner succeeded to the service - A. Yes. I went away on Friday the 10th.

Q. Did you stay till the prisoner came in the service - A. No; I went away about ten minutes before nine; I left my box in my bed room where I slept, I was to call again for it on the Saturday. I returned on Saturday, and my box was broken open; I missed my clothes to the amount of fifteen guineas; there were six gowns, five petticoats, six pair of stockings, and five shifts.

Q. How lately had you seen them - A. I locked my box at eight o'clock; I tried it, and it was locked.

Q. Have you ever seen any of your property since - A. Yes.

JOSEPH SNOW . I am a constable and patrol of Newington parish. In consequence of information I apprehended the prisoner on the 21st of December last at the Waggon and Horses, Newington. I had been searching for her before several times at different places, I could not find her. When I apprehended her I searched her and found a red pocket book in her pocket, in the pocket book I found some duplicates; I delivered the woman and the pocket book to my father, Thomas Snow . I asked the prisoner when I took her if she knew Mr. Dignam, No. 22, New-street, Covent Garden; she said she knew nothing of him, nor any thing of the kind; I told her that I wanted her for a robbery that she had committed there. The next morning I went to Mr. Dignam and ordered him to attend at the office.

THOMAS SNOW . I am a constable belonging to Newington. My son delivered the prisoner to me, and the pocket book, on the 21st of December last. I have a number of duplicates, three of them lead to the property that is found in the indictment. I gave these three duplicates to my son, he went to the pawnbrokers with them, and afterwards delivered them to me.

Q. to Joseph Snow. We understand that your father gave you were three duplicates - A. Yes. I went to Mrs. Dignam, and with her I went to Mr. Dexter's, in Whitechapel-road, Mr. Matthew's in the Minories, and Mr. Obee's High Holborn.

THOMAS DEXTER. I am a pawnbroker; I live in Whitechapel-road.

Q. Look at that duplicate - A. This is a duplicate of a handkerchief pledged on the 18th of March, 1809, pledged in the name of Mary Green, and a tablecloth pledged on the 8th of April, 1809, in the name of Ann Green. I have no recollection of the person that pledged them.

CHRISTIAN SMITH MATTHEWS. I live in the Minories; I am a pawnbroker. This is a duplicate of mine for a gown, pledged on the 6th of December, 1809, in the name of Mary Mapson ; I think it was the prisoner.

JOHN WILLIAMS . I am a pawnbroker; I live at Mr. Obee's, High Holborn. I have a punch ladle and a counterpane, pledged in the name of Mary Fuller , on the 13th of February, 1809, and three shifts on the 11th of February, 1809. It was a woman that brought them; I have no recollection of her. They were claimed by Mrs. Dignam.

Snow, jun. I have a spoon delivered to me by Mr. Rossiter, a pawnbroker, in Blackfriers-road. He was not bound over to appear.

Mrs. Dignam. The handkerchief found at Mr. Dexter's is mine; I lost four; this is one of them; the tablecloth and gown produced by Mr. Matthews is mine, this petticoat is mine, and one of the shifts found at Mr. Obee's is mine; the other two belongs to the servant; the punch-ladle and counterpane is mine. I lost ten gowns, only one is found.

Margaret Garey . The two shifts are both mine, they are marked P. G. I am sure this red silk handkerchief is my mistress; it is my working.

Q. to Mrs. Dignam. All these things that are found what value do you put upon them - A. I think they are worth more than forty shillings.

Q. Whereabouts was the value of all the property that you lost - A. I value them at thirty pounds.

Q. You described the candle to have been burned out - A. Yes; the candlestick stuck to the table with grease, apparently as if it had been burned out for three hours; it was quite cemented to the table with grease; it had ran over in that way.

Q. What time did you get up in the morning - A. About a quarter before seven. I did not miss the curtains from the bed when I first went into the servant's room; it was not light enough to see without a candle.

Q. Was it light enough to see any person out of doors - A. Yes, out of doors I could, but in doors I could not see any thing without a candle. We did not miss any thing out of the house until we opened the shutters.

Q. When you first went down was it light enough, supposing the shutters to have been down, to see what was missing without a candle - A. No; not when I first went down.

Q. You described the door to be open - A. Yes, it was; it was put to but not shut.

Q. Supposing the door to have been wide open would it have been light enough to distinguish the person of a man - A. Yes, certainly.

Q. This property being taken by whom it would, must take a great deal of time - A. Yes; I suppose it must have taken the whole night; there were different drops of tallow grease at different parts of the house, where the property was taken away.

Q. You described the drawers which appeared to have been broken open - A. Yes; the wood work had been cut away at the top and bottom. On the dresser there was tallow grease dropped, and particularly where she broke the maid's box there was tallow grease dropped.

Q. to Margaret Garey . When you were in the service was it your duty to fasten the door of a night - A. Yes, I always found it locked perfectly easy.

If there had been any injury done to the lock it must have been occasioned after eight o'clock; I came in and unlocked the door at my return, and found no difficulty whatever.

COURT, to Mrs. Dignam. What makes you say it was a quarter before seven when you came down - A. I had a clock in the room; it was a quarter before seven, or rather earlier. I was awake at six, and heard the clock strike.

Prisoner's Defence. I went to Mr. Dignam's house as a servant ; I had been in the house about an hour when Mr. Dignam came home; Mrs. Dignam was gone to bed; Mr. Dignam told me to go down stairs and put the kitchen fire out, but the door was never fastened; Mr. Dignam went to bed and left me in the kitchen; there was some one knocked at the door; I opened the door; it was my husband; he swore if I resisted in letting him come in he would take my life, accordingly he came in, and my fright was so great that I went out of the house, and went to my lodgings near Temple Bar. He brought the property in question home, and made away with it as he thought proper. After that I left London; and after that I came back to London I went to the Waggon and Horses, Newington, where I saw Mr. Snow; he told me he would search me; I voluntary gave him the pocket book that he has got in his possession, there was the ticket of the gown and the tablecloth, but the handkerchief in question is not theirs; he told me if I confessed where any of the property was Mr. Dignam would forgive me, and let me go; I did as far as I know, as my husband had told me where it was.

Q. to Mrs. Dignam. When you took this woman into your service did you understand her to be a married woman - A. Yes; she told me her husband was at sea, and he allowed her four shillings a week.

GUILTY - DEATH , aged 30.

First Middlesex jury, before Mr. Baron Thompson .

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