HANNAH STANTON, ESTHER CUMMINS.
11th September 1822
Reference Numbert18220911-24
VerdictGuilty > lesser offence; Not Guilty
SentenceMiscellaneous > fine

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1169. HANNAH STANTON and ESTHER CUMMINS were indicted for feloniously assaulting Henry Woodcock , on the King's highway, on the 15th of August ,

putting him in fear, and taking from his person, and against his will, one great coat, value 4 s.; one purse, value 2 d., and thirty-five sovereigns , his property.

HENRY WOODCOCK . I am a superannuated Excise-officer , and live at Colchester. On the 15th of August, I was in Whitechapel , between seven and eight o'clock in the evening; it was quite light. I was walking along the path with my great coat under my arm, and my canvas purse in my breeches pocket - it had thirty-five sovereigns and four half-crowns in it. I had been drinking, but knew what I was about very well - I was a little in liquor. Two women came up to me - one laid hold of my arms, and pushed me into Nelson's-court. I resisted, and desired them to let me go; they said I should not. There were people passing. I was frightened, for I could not get out of their arms. They swore I should go to their lodging; I refused - one of them seized my great coat, and took it from me, and the other put her hand into my pocket, and took out my purse, and ran away - both ran up the court. I thought I saw them go into a house in the court; but a man said they were gone one way, and another said they were gone another way. They were making a fool of me, and I gave no heed to them. One of the women was tall, and the other short, and had a full black eye. I can swear positively that the two prisoners are the two women. I did not see them again till next morning, and was then confident of them.

Q. Did you not express a doubt about it at Worship-street - A. I said I firmly believed they were the women.

Q. You were examined before the Justice, and said,

"I think they were the persons; I was rather in liquor, and therefore cannot swear to them" - A. I do not recollect saying any such a word. I gave information at the watch-house between eight and nine o'clock, and described them.

Cross-examined by MR. LAW. Q. You were middling drunk - A. I was partly drunk - I had only drank beer. I did not express a doubt about them.

Q. Did you not say you could not positively speak to them, because you were intoxicated - A. I said something about that. I swear to them, to the best of my knowledge, and belief. They were off in a twinkling. I was afraid of being murdered. I showed the constable the spot where it happened.

Q. Did you not take the officer to several places before you fixed on the spot - A. When I got to the places, I said that was not the place till I came to Nelson-court; I then said that was it; there are several courts about. I was not drunk; there were many people passing; I could not call them, because I was dragged up the court; I do not think I ever said I could not swear to them.

JOHN CLARK . I am an officer of Whitechapel. On the 15th of August the prosecutor came to me to the watch-house, and said he had been robbed by two women; that one was tall and the other short; that he could not swear to them - he did not describe them further. I went down the road with him, to see if he could point out the place where he was robbed; he looked up two courts, and at last pointed out Nelson's-court, and said that was the place, not the others. I advised him to go home to bed; he was a great deal in liquor. About an hour after he went home, I had information, and went to Cummins' house, and searched it - she lives in Nelson's-court, and I believe, alone. I searched the back yard; and found this great coat, half in and half out of the privy, as it was partly broken down; it was not concealed. I have had it ever since. She said she did not know how it came there; she supposed it was thrown over the wall, which might have happened. I took her to the watch-house. About nine o'clock the next morning, I questioned her again about the coat; she said Hannah had thrown it on her arm. She described Hannah as a Jewess, and pock-marked. I went to Plunkett - he said he knew Hannah - we went to Luke-street, and took Stanton. They would not open the door, and I got in at the window; it is a corner house. I saw the window of the other room open, and called to Plunkett; he followed and took Stanton; her husband was shutting the window down.

Cross-examined. Q. You think he was very much in liquor - A. Yes; he said he could only swear to his coat, and not to the prisoners. When he saw Nelson's-court, he knew it by the post in the middle, which he had clung to. I think the coat might have been thrown over, but it could not then have hung as it did, which was quite smooth. Cummins said in Stanton's presence that she had thrown it in.

RICHARD PLUNKETT . I went with the last witness, in the morning of the 16th, and searched Stanton's house; I knew her before. Nobody would let us in. My partner got in, and desired me to give a look out; when I turned the corner, I could see no one but a man coming towards me. I returned to a chandler's shop, and enquired if she was there; they said No, but I found her up stairs on the first floor. I said,

"I want you, Stanton." She said,

"Oh, Mr. Plunkett, have you a warrant against me?" She said she had a row with a girl, and she thought I had a warrant about it. I said I wanted her for a robbery in Whitechapel-road. She said she knew nothing of any robbery. I found 12 s. 6 d. in her bosom - I found a steel purse in a turn-up bedstead, containing 16 s. 6 d. which she said was private money of her own.

CUMMIN'S Defence. I am innocent.

STANTON'S Defence. I never saw the gentleman; the money I received for a coat of my husband's, which was to be raffled for.

CUMMINS - GUILTY. Aged 25.

Of stealing from the person only .

STANTON - NOT GUILTY .

After the Jury had returned their verdict, the prisoner Cummins stated that she was lame, and it was therefore impossible she could have been the woman who ran away. Partridge the officer stated that in taking her from the watch-house to the office, she appeared weak in the joints, and walked very slow indeed, and begged her husband to assist her; and he thought it impossible she could have escaped

"in a twinkling," as the prosecutor stated.

Mr. JOHN HOLMES , a surgeon, examined the prisoner by desire of the Court, and found her limbs much swollen, arising from a cold after delivery, which must have been much worse a month ago than now; he thought she could not run fast now.

Fined Sixpence and discharged.

Second Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Baron Graham .


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