17th February 1820
Reference Numbert18200217-85
VerdictGuilty; Guilty
SentenceDeath; Death

Related Material

ActionsCite this text | Print-friendly version | Report an error
Navigation< Previous text (trial account) | Next text (trial account) >

434. JOHN BIRD and GEORGE BIRD were indicted for burglariously breaking and entering the dwelling-house of William Wyllie , Esq. , about twelve o'clock in the night of the 29th of January , at Fulham , with intent to steal, and burglariously stealing therein, six spoons, value 10 s.; three candlesticks, value 25 s.; three pair of snuffers, value 4 s.; one extinguisher, value 2 s.; one snuffer-tray, value 5 s.; one pair of sugar-tongs, value 5 s.; one sugar-bason, value 5 s.; two pair of nut-crackers, value 5 s.; four salts, value 3 s.; two decanters, value 5 s.; two miniature paintings, value 5 s., and one table-cloth, value 3 s., his property .

For the Prosecution, MR. ADOLPHUS.

ELIZABETH PIKE . I am servant to Mr. Wyllie, who lives in Broomhouse-lane, near Parson's-green . On Saturday night, the 29th of January, I shut the house up secure; I shut the windows - it was perfectly safe. I went to bed between ten and eleven o'clock at night, and got up a little after seven in the morning. I opened the parlour door, and saw the papers laying about the room, on the table and the floor; there was a candle on the bar of the fire-grate, which was in the candlestick the over night - candle-grease was dropped on the papers and on the sideboard; a small drawer full of papers, in the sideboard, was broken open - the cellaret was also broken open. There was a round hole in the small drawer, which had been scooped out, and the cellaret-drawer was broken in front.

Q. Where was the plate - A. The four salts were in a drawer above the cellaret, which was not locked; a silver sugar-bason and tongs were taken from a cupboard in the cellaret, which was not locked; a pair of plated candlesticks, and a bed-side candlestick were taken off the table; a pair of decanters, two stoppers of other decanters, a table-cloth, and a small and large pair of snuffers - also a small taper-stand off the chimney-piece. I went and called my master up.

Q. How had the thieves entered the room - A. A square hole had been cut in the outside shutter that contained two small bolts, which fastened the sash - they were forced. The window was not broken; every thing was safe the night before - it was getting light when I arose. I was about a quarter of an hour coming down stairs. It must have taken some time to force all these places.

WILLIAM WYLLIE , ESQ. I rent the house, which is in the parish of Fulham. The servant called me up, upon which I immediately went down, and found every thing in confusion in the parlour; I was the last person there the night before, except the servant - the drawers were locked, and all things safe and in order. In the morning the papers were all scattered about - I missed the articles stated in the inditment - sixteen or eighteen holes were cut in the shutter by a centre-bit, and all broken out into a square hole. A candle was left on the grate, which appeared to have been burnt, from the quantity of grease that was laying about the grate, and my papers were covered with grease - I gave information to Pople. I have since seen a pair of steel snuffers, on the Monday, which I knew to be mine - they were in a drawer of the sideboard over night.

Q. Did you see Pople apply the centre-bit to the holes in the shutter - A. Yes; it did not fit them - it was applied to the holes in the drawer of the sideboard, but did not fit. A crow-bar was produced, which exactly fitted the holes in the sideboard - it was of a particular shape, and fitted the impression exactly. To the impression of different parts of the drawer and the window, a chisel was also applied, but I cannot speak to that.

GEORGE POPLE . I am an officer of Queen-square. On Sunday morning the 30th of January, Mr. Wyllie applied to me. I went to his house, and examined it. The window-shutter was bored with a centre-bit, and the piece broken out, sufficiently to let a hand in to undo the bolt; I suppose twelve or fourteen holes were bored in it - it would take two or three minutes to do it. After the shutter was opened the sash was forced up by some instrument, apparently by a crow-bar, and the fastening broken. I examined the sideboard in the parlour, and in the middle drawer there was a hole made with a centre-bit, so as to get the bolt of the lock back, and two other drawers appeared to be forced open with a crowbar. I found a piece of printed paper in the room which smelt very strong of tinder, and on this paper was printed

"Keech, coffee-warehouse, Stretton-ground, Westminster."

Q. Was the breaking effected by clumsy thieves or not - A. By old thieves, in my judgment. The same afternoon I received information, went to the Bell, public-house, Old Pye-street, Westminster, with Alfred Pople , and found both the prisoners there. I apprehended George Bird , and searched John, but left him there till next day - I found nothing on either of them. I kept George Bird , and desired Alfred to search his lodgings, No. 44, in a court in Duck-lane. I knew them to be his lodgings by having frequently been there to him - it is the first room on the right-hand side of the ground floor. The following day I was not satisfied with my brother's search, went there myself, and in the table-drawer of the room I found a centre-bit, and in the cupboard I found a tobacco-box full of tinder. I went to the Bell, public-house, again, and found John Bird , searched him, and told him I was going to search his lodgings, and he had better go with me - I did not know where he lodged until the evening before, when I went there; he took me to his lodgings, No. 4, Duck-yard. I searched, and found a pair of steel snuffers there, hanging on a nail in the room - a girl whom he cohabited with was there; I am confident they were not in sight when I was there the night before - the prosecutor claimed them. An iron chisel was found there; my brother afterwards produced a crow-bar to me. I went to the house, and compared the centre-bit with the marks on the shutter and sideboard, but they were rather larger than the instrument. The crow-bar fitted as exactly as possible with the marks on the cellaret.

WILLIAM WYLLIE , ESQ. re-examined. The grocer's paper was not in my house the night before.

ALFRED POPLE . I am an officer. By my brother's direction I searched the lodgings of George Bird , No. 44, Duck-lane, on Sunday evening, and in a corner cupboard in the room, I found a crow-bar, which has the point broken at one end. I was present when it was tried at the prosecutor's house - it fitted exactly in every particular, and the other end corresponded with the shutter. We went to John Bird 's lodgings, and found an iron chisel behind the table against the wall. We took it down to Mr. Wyllie's - it also fitted the marks on the shutter. Next morning we went and took John Bird at the Bell, public-house, Old Pye-street, and took him to his lodgings; my brother found a pair of snuffers, which were not in the same place the night before. A young woman who was there, said, in his hearing, that a young man had given them to her, who was either gone abroad or was dead, I cannot be certain which. The prisoner said she had better come to the Magistrate to explain that. She came up, but did not come forward.

MR. WYLLIE. I know the snuffers, they belonged to our chamber candlestick, which was missing that night, and had been left with it. I have not the least doubt of their identity.

THOMAS CORDWELL . I look after the Fulham stages. On Saturday night, the 29th of January, I was at the Bull, Stamford Bridge, and saw the prisoners there, about half-past nine, or a quarter before ten o'clock. I knew them quite well before. I called for a pint of porter - they asked me to drink with them; I did so, and put my pint to their pot. They then said they were going on a crack, and shewed me a chisel and a crow-bar, like those produced. I noticed it being broken at the end - it is the same. I noticed one corner of the chisel being broken, and so is this; they both produced them, each produced one from their persons. I went away, heard of the robbery next day, and on Monday morning I told Mr. Wyllie what I knew.

JOHN BIRD . Q. Did you tell the Magistrate you knew the instruments - A. I said I knew them by what I observed on them.

JAMES LEDSHAM . I keep the Bull, public-house. I remember on the 29th of January, when the robbery was committed; the prisoners were at my house that evening, and had a pot or two of porter. I am certain of it - the last witness was there, talking to them, he had a pint of porter. I did not know them before.

ROBERT GILLINGHAM . I am watchman of Walham-green, about a mile from Mr. Wyllie's, between the Bull and his house. On the night of the 29th of January, about half-past eleven o'clock, I saw the two prisoners - I am confident they are the men - I did not know them before. I saw them at the corner of Sandyend-lane, which leads to Parson's-green, in the way to Mr. Wyllie's house. They went down the lane.

JOHN BIRD 'S Defence. When Pople looked round the room he found the snuffers, and said they were the articles he wanted; the young woman who belonged to the room, said they belonged to a young man, who was either dead or out of the country.

GEORGE BIRD 'S Defence. On the night of the robbery I was at the Wheatsheaf, public-house, New Tothill-street, from about eight o'clock in the evening until near twenty minutes after twelve. I left there, went home to my brother's, No. 10, Cross-street, King-street, Walworth. I got there about half-past one o'clock, and stopped there all night.

THOMAS HUISH. I was at the Wheatsheaf, public-house, New Tothill-street, Westminster, kept by Ilet. On the 29th of January I went there at eight o'clock at night, and saw the prisoner, George Bird , there. I had seen him there before. I was in the house till half-past eleven o'clock - he was there the whole of the time - it was the night the King died. I am a painter by trade, and live in New-court, Orchard-street, about twenty yards from the

house. I merely know him by seeing him come there to drink.

MR. ADOLPHUS. Q. Is Ilet here to day - A. Yes; I believe six men of the 2d of regiment of Guards were present, they were to attend, but I believe they are out of town. Frederick Mitcham was there. I was drinking at the same table - Mitcham was also at the same table. I was drinking with a friend, I do not know his name. I went away at half-past eleven o'clock, and left George Bird there, my friend, and Mitcham; the six soldiers were at the same table. I believe George Bird had some oysters.

Q. Did you attend at Queen-square - A. No, I was subpoened here last Thursday evening, a young woman brought the subpoena. Mitcham met me, and asked me to come forward. I said I would if I was subpoened.

FREDERICK MITCHAM . I live at No. 46, New-way, Westminster, and keep a coalshed. I know both the prisoners by seeing them at the Wheatsheaf, public-house. On Saturday evening, the 29th of January, about eight o'clock, I saw George Bird there. I staid till twelve o'clock - we came out together; he turned to the right to go to his home, and I turned to go to mine.

Q. When did you hear he was in custody - A. On the Monday morning; I heard several people talking about it in the public-house. I did not hear what he was taken up for. I was subpoened to come here, on this day week a young woman brought the subpoena; she said George was taken up for something when he was drinking with me, and I knew it was on the 29th.

Q. But you was often drinking with him - A. She said it was the Saturday night that the King died.

Q. How was you to know it was the 29th that he was charged with it - A. I heard many people say so. The woman did not say it was the night the King died; she said it was the Saturday night he was drinking with me.

Q. You drank with him many Saturday nights - A. I was with him that night.

Q. How do you know it was the 29th - A. The young woman said he was drinking with me the Saturday night the King died.

Q. Did she say it was on the Saturday night the King died - A. No, she said nothing about it.

MR. ADOLPHUS. Q. Do you know the young woman - A. I had seen her before - she goes by the name of Maria. She once lived in the Almonry; she never lived with me. I have a house in the Almonry, which I let to one Douglas.

Q. You only know George Bird by seeing him at the public-house - A. I have met him at several places. I have seen him at Bow-street office. I was not a witness for him there.

Q. What did you appear for - A. About a bit of velveteen of his brother's; I do not know that he lived near me. I go to the Wheatsheaf every night; many others were at the same table - I believe George had some oysters - the landlord cleared us all out when he was going to shut up.

WILLIAM ILET . I keep the Wheatsheaf, public-house, George Bird frequented my house for sixmonths. On the 29th he was at my house - I am certain of it.

Q. What makes you certain of it - A. There was a poor man, who was discharged from the Guards, came in with pies to sell about a quarter before nine o'clock, and a person for mischief knocked his tins over, and about sixpenny worth of his pies were thrown down. There was a subscription to defray the expence, and the prisoner, George, subscribed. I think Mitcham was there.

Q. How should you know Bird was there any more than Mitcham - A. It was partly the prisoner's fault that the pies were kicked down. I was very much displeased at it, and spoke crossly to Bird about it.

Q. If Mitcham was there he must have heard it - Yes. I spoke very high. The prisoner subscribed 2 d. The poor man comes in every night. I did not mention this to him. I can prove nothing more than up to nine o'clock, for I had company in the parlour, and particularly attended to them.

MR. ADOLPHUS. Q. What time did you shut up - A. A little before twelve o'clock. I do not know when Huish went away. Several men were in company with Bird; one was named Hall. The company all left of their own accord. I do not remember seeing Bird after nine o'clock. I paid more attention to the parlour than to them. A man, who is here, brings oysters in every night.

HENRY COLLWELL . I lodge in New Tothil-street. On Saturday, the 29th of January, I was mending a pair of boots for the landlord of the Wheatsheaf; he gave them to me about four o'clock that afternoon - I live next door to him. I went in again at eight o'clock, and saw George Bird there, and he was there at four o'clock when I got the boots. I staid till eleven o'clock, and had three pints of beer myself - I sat on the seat opposite Bird. The landlord sat on a seat near the bar, and had a pint of beer.

Q. Did he scold anybody that night - A. No.

Q. Did anything happen about nine o'clock - A. A man asked the pieman for a pie; he wanted the money first - some words occurred between them, and he knocked his tin down. The landlord said it was a shame; he did not speak to Bird in particular. I think I left the house before Bird.

Q. When were you told to come here - A. On Wednesday a man wanted me to go to Queen-square on the Monday following; and about ten days ago a woman subpoened me.

MR. ADOLPHUS. Q. Since you was subpoened, have you been to the Wheatsheaf, as usual - A. I was there last night. The pieman stood in the centre of the taproom when his pies were knocked down. The man asked me to buy some of his broken pies, but I would not. I did not see the man knock them down - the men in the opposite seat bought them. I think I saw a dozen pies on the ground. The landlord was in and out, attending to his customers. I think he sat in the taproom near an hour.

THOMAS BENTLEY . I sell oysters and fish, and live in Dalley's-court, Queen-square. I go to the Wheatsheaf about six times every day with oysters. I know the prisoner in the smock-frock ( George Bird ), he bought some oysters of me there the last Saturday in January - I went in there three or four times. The last time I was there was at eleven o'clock, he was there then. I saw him there at five or six also.

Q. When was you applied to to give your evidence - A.

I knew nothing of it till the landlord was talking about being up here two or three days, and he thought I had better come - I was not subpoened. I first heard of this charge ten days ago.

MR. ADOLPHUS. Q. How long have you known George Bird - A. Not long; no further than dealing with him. I was there at five, seven, nine, and eleven o'clock. I heard some talk about the pieman. Mitcham and the landlord were at the table with Bird - I believe he was drinking with him. I am nearly positive he was there at eleven o'clock when I left. Mitcham and the painter was also there. I think the landlord was drinking with them at eleven o'clock. He was in the taproom every time I went.

Q. Have you often been brought up to Queen-square office - A. Not for these four years; before that I was taken up, but as soon as I took to work I was not molested.

HENRY COLLWELL re-examined. I do not know whether Bird left before or after me - I saw him there at eight o'clock.

ELIZA JACKSON . I live at No. 4, Duck-yard, Westminster. Neither of the prisoners lived in that house. John Bird used to come backwards and forwards - it was not his lodgings. The snuffers were found in my room, they are mine; they were given to me two years ago this April, by a young man named Cooper, who is gone out of the country. I always kept them hung on a nail in the room, and never used them - they are plain steel snuffers, about six inches long. I am an unfortunate girl.

MR. ADOLPHUS. Q. Did you serve any subpoenas - A. No.

Q. I suppose you mean Cooper was transported - A. He was. They hung there the night Pople first came. I do not think they were broken. They do not stand on any feet. I had borrowed the chisel to mend my bedstead.

ANN ALLEN . I live in Old Pye-street. I know the snuffers have been in the possession of Jackson since April I was in the room when Cooper gave them to her.

Q. He has had the misfortune to be transported - A. I never heard of it. I have cleaned them myself - they hung over a glass in the room; they were seldom used - I have seen them used once or twice.


ROBERT MITCHELL . I am a carpenter, and live in King's Road, Fulham. On the night of the 29th of January I was at the Bull from nine to ten o'clock. I cannot swear to the prisoners, but I firmly believe them to be two of the three persons who were there in company. I was not there above two or three minutes after they came in.

J. BIRD - GUILTY . - DEATH . Aged 26.

G. BIRD - GUILTY . - DEATH . Aged 20.

First Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Common Sergeant.

View as XML