JAMES REYNOLDS.
3rd December 1823
Reference Numbert18231203-32
VerdictGuilty
SentenceDeath

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Before Mr. Justice Bayley.

32. JAMES REYNOLDS was indicted for stealing, on the 24th of October , at St. Leonard, Shoreditch , a clock, value 5 l., the goods of William Matthews , in his dwelling-house .

WILLIAM MATTHEWS . I am a gardener , and live at Hoxton , in the parish of St. Leonard, Shoreditch, and rent the whole house. On the 24th of October, about twelve or one o'clock in the day, this clock was safe; it was not fixed - it was an eight day table clock. I had had it seven years; it cost me 5 l. at a sale - I pawned it last winter for 5 l.; I believe it worth that. I have pawned it for that more than once. About seven o'clock in the evening. I came home - my wife came to the gate with the lantern to light me with the horse, and during that time some one must have jumped over the rails, and stolen it. As soon as she brought me the light, she turned back and went in. She was not out of the house five minutes - a child five years old was left in the room where the clock was. My wife let me in at the bottom of the garden, which is at the back of the house. A person must have got over the fence, and got in at the front door, for the gate was locked. I know the prisoner by sight; he was not in the habit of coming to the house. I went to his house on this night, in consequence of information, but he was not at home - he was taken a fortnight afterwards, opposite the Rosemary Branch, public-house, near to where he lives - I could not find him before.

Prisoner. Q. Did you not meet my employer a few days afterwards, and say you wanted Woolf, who had robbed you - A. This Woolf was suspected to have been with him at the time. I may have asked somebody about Woolf.

Q. Have you not had the children several times into your garden, and persuaded them what to say - A. No.; I have only told them to speak the truth; one of them nurses my child, and is often at my house.

HARRIET BROWN . I am nearly eleven years old, and live near Matthews's. I have known the prisoner two months; he lived by the Rosemary Branch; I knew him very well by sight. On a Friday night, two or three weeks before I went to Worship-street, which was two or three weeks ago, about seven o'clock, I saw him with a clock - he was going away from Matthews's; three more boys were with him; he was going towards the Robin Hood, which is near Matthews's; I am sure it was him. I did not speak to him - he had nothing over the clock - it was Matthews's, for I had seen it before a good many times. It was dark, but there is a gas-light by the Robin Hood. Jane Ruddle and I were playing by the Robin Hood - I used to play with Matthews's little girl often, and have often seen the clock. I nursed his child.

Q. Did you go and tell Matthews of it - A. Two boys, Findley and Gray, who were playing with us, went and told him directly. Matthews never told me what to say. I did not see where the prisoner came from.

WILLIAM MATTHEWS . It may be thirty or forty yards from my house to the Robin Hood. My house is in the centre, between two gas-lights. My palings are near five feet high.

JAMES FINDLEY . I am eleven years old. I was at play with Brown, on a Friday night, not long ago, (five or six weeks ago, I think.) I know it was on a Friday, because I carry pots about on Fridays. I know the prisoner by having seen him several times before. I saw him between six and seven o'clock, with three more boys - it was nearer seven than six. I saw him hang a clock on Matthews's gate, while he got over the gate out of the garden, and then ran away towards the Whitmore's Head, public-house, with it under his arm, and went by the Robin Hood. I know it was Matthews's clock, because I have often seen it before.

THOMAS GRAY . I am thirteen years* old. I have known the prisoner about twelve months. He lodged up at the Rosemary Branch. I saw him with a clock, on one Friday night, about seven o'clock. Three more young men were with him. I saw him inside Matthews's fence. I saw James Reynolds and John Tover jump over Matthews's railing. He hung the clock on the rails before he jumped over, then took it off, and ran by the Robin Hood. We hallooed Stop thief! I do not know whether anybody went to Matthews; I did not. I am sure he was the person. Matthews has not told me what to say. I saw Matthews that night, and went with him to the Rosemary Branch, about eight o'clock. He asked for the prisoner there. I did not see Reynolds afterwards till he was apprehended.

Prisoner. Q. Did you not see me by the Canal one rainy afternoon - A. That was the day Matthews took him. He was by Kingsland-road bridge. I told Matthews, and he went after him.

JANE RUDDLE . I am nearly eleven years* old. I have known the prisoner a good while. I went before the Justice last Thursday fortnight. I saw him on the Friday fortnight before that. I was by the Robin Hood, with Brown and saw him run by the Robin Hood with Matthews's clock under his arm. I did not see him get over the rails. I knew it to be Matthews's, because I had often seen it before. Three more young chaps were with him. They said. "Mind you do not drop it." We hallooed out, Stop thief! but could see nobody to take him. There was not time to go and tell Matthews. They got away. Findley and Grey went to tell him directly. I do not know the other boys. Matthews has not persuaded me what to say. He told us what to say, for I did not know.

* These witnesses, upon being questioned, appeared perfectly to understand the obligation of an oath.

Q. What did he tell you - A. He told me to say, that I saw James Reynolds run by with Mr. Matthews's clock. He did not tell me anything else. He only told me once or twice. He gave me nothing. All I have said is true.

Q. Be sure you tell nothing but the truth. Did you see him that night with the clock or not - A. Yes. I did not see him get over the rails.

Q. When did Matthews tell you this - A. As we went to Worship-street. He told me nothing else.

JAMES FINDLEY re-examined. Matthews never said a word to me. When I saw the prisoner go by with the clock, I hallooed Stop thief! and ran after him as far as the Robin Hood. I live behind the Robin Hood. I saw him down by Matthews's rails; he ran towards the Whitmore's Head. I then ran back, and told Matthews that some boys had been taking his clock away. He asked if I should know them. I said, Yes. I did not mention who it was; I only knew his name by what the other boys used to call him - Chummy. I told him what he was called. Gray went to him with me.

Prisoner. Q. What kind of a clock was it - A. An eight-day clock, on a stand. I had seen it three or four times in Matthews's house; it was a brass and mahogany case, with a glass door.

WILLIAM MATTHEWS . The boys came to my house that night to tell me, but I did not see them, as I had run out before they came. I saw them when I came back. They said Chummy Reynolds took it. Grey said, a boy named Woolf was with him. I said nothing particular to the girl. The children all seemed timid, and asked what they were to say. I said, if they saw him run by with the clock, to say so.

Prisoner. Q. Did not the neighbours cry shame on you, for getting them into the garden, to persuade them what to say - A. Some of the prisoner's relations did. I went that night to the Rosemary Branch, where the prisoner lived.

JOHN MANCE . I am an officer. I went with Matthews to apprehend the prisoner, and took him on Thursday, the 6th of November, about six o'clock in the evening, near his own house. I had been looking after him in the neighbourhood three times, but never went to his house. As I brought him to the Office, I came by Matthews's, and asked if he was there on the day of the robbery. He said, he was not, nor near it.

Prisoner's Defence. The children have been persuaded by the prosecutor to swear; and what they are persuaded to they will swear.

JOHN BICKNELL . I am a grocer, and live in Hyde-place, Hoxton. The prisoner has been occasionally in my employ for the last twelve months, carrying out parcels, up to the day of this robbery; he did not come to me afterwards - he did not come on the Saturday. I used to send for him when I wanted him; and did so once, but he was not at home. I employed him every day. He used to call for jobs; I paid him by the job, and owed him nothing. He was particularly honest to me. I have heard he has been apprehended once before, but I would employ him again; for, on the night of the robbery, the prosecutor came to me, and asked if I knew where George Woolf lived. Grey and his father were with him. Knowing Woolf to be a bad character, I pointed out his house. He then said he had lost a clock; that Grey had seen Woolf take it. I saw him again about five or six o'clock in the morning; he said he had not succeeded in taking Woolf.

Q. What connection had you with Woolf - A. None at all; not with Matthews, before that. I was walking up and down with an officer of Kingsgate-street Court, when they came up and asked about Woolf. I was then by the cottages, where the prisoner resided.

Q. Did you ever see the prisoner and Woolf together - A. Several times. He has been kept out of the way ever since.

Q. From the time Matthews and Grey came to you, you did not see the prisoner again - A. No. He lives in Medland's-rents, Rosemary Branch.

WILLIAM MATTHEWS . I remember going with Grey on the night of the robbery, and saw a gentleman on the bridge - it might be the witness. I asked him for Reynolds and Woolf; but I do not think either of them were asked for. I had a boy with me to shew where they lived; and it is not likely I should ask where they lived; or whether I spoke to the gentleman I cannot tell. I went after both Woolf and Reynolds that night.

GUILTY - DEATH . Aged 16.


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