6th April 1826
Reference Numbert18260406-82
VerdictGuilty > lesser offence

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Before Mr. Recorder.

658. THOMAS FREEMAN was indicted for a burglary in the dwelling-house of Francis Hammond , on the night of the 6th of April , and stealing 80 pairs of stays, value 25l., his property; 1 veil, value 50s., and a handkerchief, value 3s. , the goods of Mary Bean , spinster.

MR. ADOLPHUS conducted the prosecution.

FRANCIS HAMMOND. I am a stay-maker , and have a shop in Oxford-street , but live in Leicester-square - I only rent the shop - nobody sleeps there. I locked the premises up safely between half-past nine and ten at night, on the 6th of April, and left every thing safe; at seven o'clock next morning, a bag was produced to me containing seventy-eight pairs of stairs, which are mine, and worth 25l. or 30l., and some other property of Miss Bean's, my shop-woman; no force had been used to the door - I left it locked.

HUGH WYNN . I am waterman of the coach-stand in Oxford-street, at the corner of Argyle-street, opposite the prosecutor's shop. On Friday morning, the 7th of April, at half-past three o'clock, I saw the prisoner there, and watched him for three-quarters of an hour, walking first on one side, and then on the other, looking at Hammond's shop; I saw him look in at the key-hole twice, as he went by, and give a kind of cough - a waggon went by the last time that he gave the cough; I immediately went and informed a watchman - a watchman came up, crossed Oxford-street, and look him into custody, just as he was coming away from the door - about three yards from the door. I saw no person come out of the house, but saw a person running away on the other side of the way; the watchman called Stop thief! but he got away; I found a bunch of keys and a bag, like a clothes bag, on the step of a door, on the opposite side, a good distance from the house, near Queen-street, and delivered it to the watchman - the keys were under the bag - the prisoner could not have dropped that bag.

Cross-examined by Mr. PHILLIPS. Q. You observed him walking about for three-quarters of an hour? A. Yes; he went to the door and looked through the key-hole - a coachman directed my attention to him - I did not see any one with him - he put his head down to the door and coughed - he walked on one side of the way, and then on another - the bag was found in the direction the other man ran.

Mr. ADOLPHUS. Q. How often do you think he passed the prosecutor's door? A. I suppose twenty times; he did not look through any other key-hole, nor cough, except at this door - it was a kind of short cough, as if for a signal - I cannot find out the coachman.

JAMES BAIN . I am a watchman of St. James. Wyan called my attention to the prisoner. I noticed him for about five minutes, during which time he went to Hammond's door three times, and stooped down; I was too far off to say whether he made any noise the third time - as he came from the door I collared him within three yards of the door, and two men immediately sprung out of the shop door; when he saw them spring out, he immediately said

"I have nothing to do with them;" one man went down Argyle-street, and the other ran across by Queen-street; I saw him drop the skeleton keys and bag - the prisoner said nothing more to me.

Cross-examined. Q. You did not see him go into the shop? A. No; I could not hear him cough; I was about three yards off when the men rushed out - nobody else was there; his back was towards the door - one of them rushed by him but he could not see them come out.

Mr. ADOLPHUS. Q. How far was you from him when he went to the door three times? A. Not near enough to hear if he had coughed; I was the width of the street from him - but the third time I was making towards him- within three yards of him - one of the keys opened the shop door - it was quite newly filed; I saw the property found behind the shop door.

EDWARD TURNER . I am a constable. The prisoner was brought to the watch-house with seventy-eight pairs of stays and other property; I asked his name - he was a long time before he would tell, but at last said "Freeman;" I asked his address three or four times - he made a terrible stammering, and, at last, said

"No. 21. Grub-street, Moorfields." Nothing was found on him relative to this charge.

ELEANOR DEVINE . My mother keeps the house No. 21, Grub-street - we have lived there four or five years - she has lodgers - the prisoner never lodged there - on the 7th of April or at any other time.

Cross-examined. Q. How many lodgers have you ever had at once? A. Seven; we live in the next house; there might be persons lodge there for a short time, and I not see them, but I know all their names - I receive the rents sometimes; I can swear the prisoner has not lodged there for the last two or three years.

WILLIAM DUYAL . I lodge at No. 21, Grub-street. I

have the shop and all the lower part of the house; I know all the lodgers - I have been there three years - the prisoner never lodged there.

Cross-examined. Q. Cannot people lodge there without your knowing them? A. No; it is impossible - they have to pass through where I work - I know all their names.

(Property produced and sworn to.)

Prisoner's Defence. I had been out drinking with a friend late, and was locked out, so I walked down Moorfields into Cheapside, and up to Oxford-street, and was coming by this house when the watchman laid hold of me.

HUGH WYNN . I was within six yards of him when he coughed - it was twenty minutes before the watchman came up.

GUILTY. Aged 32.

Of stealing only .

Transported for Seven Years .

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