28th November 1836
Reference Numbert18361128-167
VerdictsGuilty > unknown; Guilty > unknown

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167. THOMAS JOHNSON was indicted for stealing, on the 25th of November, 1 purse, value 6d.; 1 thimble, value 1s.; 1 sovereign, 2 half-sovereigns, 1 crown, 1 half-crown, and one £5 note; the goods and monies of Ann Wylam, from her person; and LEWIS ALEXANDER for feloniously receiving the same, well knowing them to have been stolen.—2nd COUNT, for receiving of a certain evil-disposed person; against the Statute &c.

MR. BODKIN conducted the Prosecution.

ANN WYLAM . I am a widow, and live in Norfolk-street, near the London Hospital. On Friday, the 25th of November, I got into an omnibus at five o'clock, by the London Hospital, to go to the Bank—the prisoner Johnson was the conductor, and Alexander the driver—I sat on the right-hand side, close to the door—the conductor was on my left as I went in—there was a female on the same seat as me, at the further end of the omnibus—a lady and gentleman got in at Whitechapel church, and alighted at Gracechurch-street—the lady continued on her seat all the way, and never moved—no one else got in till we got to the Bank—I had a purse in my pocket with one sovereign, two half-sovereigns, 4 duplicates, and a trifle of silver in it—about half a minute before I moved from my seat to get out I put my hand into my pocket to pay my fare, and found my purse perfectly safe, and a £5 note, which I also had folded in paper, with a crown piece and half-a-crown—it was wrapped up in paper, besides my purse, and

separate from it—that and the purse were quite safe when I arose from my seat—I paid Johnson sixpence—he was on my right-hand side as I got out when I gave him the sixpence—that was the side on which my pocket was—I noticed nothing particular, more than a brushing against my clothes nearly at the bottom of the steps—Johnson was then close to me—there was nobody to brush against me but him—it was on the side that my pocket was—I had a silver thimble, a pencil-case, and knife, also, loose in my pocket—I walked on to St. Paul's churchyard—I had not occasion to put my hand into my pocket again—I went into a shop there—I did not put my hand into my pocket there, nor till I returned home in the evening—it was five o'clock in the evening when I got into the omnibus—I missed my money about twenty minutes before seven o'clock when I got home—(I had left the omnibus about five o'clock)—on putting my hand into my pocket, I found it cut through my dress—my dress and pocket were cut twice, my purse, money, and thimble were gone, and the four duplicates which had been in the purse—one of the duplicates was for a gold chain pawned at Mr. Ashbridge's—I saw nobody but the conductor near me on the steps of the omnibus—Alexander was on the box.

JOHN ASHBRIDGE . I am a pawnbroker, and live in Broad-street, Ratcliff. A communication was made to me of the loss of the duplicate on Saturday morning, the 26th, and about ten minutes after, the prisoner Alexander came into the shop, produced this duplicate, and applied for the gold chain to which it refers—it was pawned for 30s.—it was worth about three guineas—he asked for the chain, and said he wanted to take it out—I said nothing to him, but immediately sent for the officer Roche, who came in, and then Alexander said he had bought the ticket of Johnson, and gave directions where Johnson might be found, and the officer found him by that direction.

ROBERT ROCHE (police-constable K 211.) I was sent for to Mr. Ashbridge's shop on Saturday morning, and found the prisoner Alexander there—he told me he had bought the ticket of a man named Johnson, who lived in Baker's-row, Mile-end, and gave 5s. for it—I asked him how Johnson came by it—he said he did not know—I took him to the station-house—he wrote a few lines to Johnson by me at the station-house, and told me I should find him at Mile-end gate, as he was returning from the west end in a bus—I went and found him there I said to him, "Are you Johnson?"—he said, "Yes"—I said, "I want you"—he said, "I suppose it is about the purse lost last night; I am just going to the Thames"—I then asked him what he had done with the purse and the other duplicates—he told me he had got them at home—I did not search him—I searched Alexander, and found 1l. 19s. on him—this is the letter which he wrote to Johnson—(read)—("Johnson, come to me immediately, as I am charged with robbing a lady of the ticket of a chain, which I have been to take out of pawn, which I had of you.—L. Alexander, station-house"—addressed to "Johnson, conductor of Mr. Macnamara's omnibus")—I did not deliver the note to Johnson—Mr. Ashbridge had mentioned in his hearing about the lady being robbed of the duplicate before the wrote the note.

HENRY THOMAS DALLY (police-sergeant K 23.) I went with Roche, on Saturday morning, to the Turnpike Gate, and took Johnson into custody—he said, "I suppose you want me about the purse last night; I have heard all about it at the west-end, and was just going down to the Thames to see Loui" meaning Alexander—he said, "Has he been trying

to get it out?" (nobody had mentioned that he had been trying to get it out of pawn)—I told him yes, he had been trying to get it out—he said he picked the purse up on the steps of the bus the night before, and he felt it, and found there was nothing but duplicates in it, and had sold it to Loui Alexander for half a pint of purl—I asked him whether he had got the purse—he said, no, he believed Loui had got it—I then took him to the station-house, and Alexander was there in custody—Roche was behind me—I am not aware whether he heard all the conversation—when I got to the station-house I said to Alexander, "Johnson says you have got the purse, have you got it about you"—Alexander said, no, he supposed he must have lost it—I searched Johnson, and found on him 5s. and a pen-knife—the prosecutrix came to the station-house afterwards, and Johnson said he recollected taking her up at Turner-street, and setting her down at the Bank—I learned from Johnson that he lived in Thomas-street, Whitechapel—I went there on Saturday evening and searched—his wife gave me two duplicates, which were in a basin in the first-floor front room—I went to Alexander's house, in Oxford-street, Stepney—he gave that as his address—I did not search the house—I looked at all the pockets of the clothes he had taken off, and his writing-desk, but did not search the whole house—I examined the parlour drawers, but there was nothing there—there was a table-drawer, but no other drawers I believe—he occupied the lower part of the house.

THOMAS GAMMAGE (police-sergeant K 5.) I was at the station-house when Alexander was in custody—I asked him how he came by the duplicate—he said he bought it of a man named Johnson, in Whitechapel, and gave him 5s. for it, if it turned out all right at the pawnbroker's, and he did not know where he got it from—he did not explain what he meant by "all right."

JURY. Q. You did not hear Johnson say at the station-house that he gave him half a pint of purl? A. he did not.

Johnson"s Defence. I have witnesses here. I hope you will take my case into consideration, and think whether it is possible I could cut this woman's pocket while she walked down two steps, and receive my fare with one hand—there were some people in the bus who saw me produce the purse and ask if they had lost it.

FRANCES DODD . I live at the Union, 191, Oxford-street. On Friday evening, the 25th of November, about six o'clock, the prisoners both brought the purse to the counter—they were both together—one might have come in before the other—Johnson produced it, and said he had found it—he showed the contents at the counter—I think there were four duplicates—Alexander appeared surprised, and said, "Let me look at it?"—he saw the purse and contents, but it did not appear to me that wither of them knew the contents till they came to the counter to the light—they looked at it at the counter, at the light—I saw one of the duplicates as it laid at the counter—it referred to a cloak for 5s.—I do not know what was done with the duplicates—I went about my business—they were in the hands of Johnson at the time—Macnamara's omnibus was in the habit of stopping at out house—our house is on the right-hand side of the way from here—I keep the public-house.

MR. BODKIN. Q. What o'clock was it? A. about six o'clock—that is the time the omnibus usually gets there—we have gas-lights in the place—I have no doubt the gas-lights were lighted in the street—there were other

people in the house at the time—I have a niece husband, but neither of them were in the bar at the time.

COURT. Q. Where did Johnson say he had found the purse? A. On the step of the omnibus.

MRS. MACNAMARA. I live in Sydney-street, Mile-end. Johnson, when, he came home, told me he had found a purse on the steps of the omnibus, that there were four duplicates in it, and he had asked the persons in the omnibus at the time if they had lost any thing—that there were some gentlemen in the omnibus at the time, and that nobody owned them.

Q. Did he tell you whether he asked any female if she had lost it? A. He said persons—the persons in the bus, my husband is the proprietor of the omnibus—he has no partner—the conductor had no share—he was paid weekly wages—Johnson did not show me the duplicate—somebody came in to pay me money, and he went out—he said they were for a gold chain, a cloak, a pair of pillows, and, I think, some spoons.

Q. Did it not occur to you to set him to inquire at the pawnbrokers, the direction of the person pawning; to inquire for the true owner? A. I did not think any thing more about it.

MR. BODKIN. Q. What time was this? A. About 11 o'clock at night—I did not see the purse—the bus came back from the 5 o'clock journey at half-past 7 o'clock—I did not see him then—I saw Alexander—it was not his duty to come back with the omnibus—they do not come in generally, but he pays his money in at night.

COURT. Q. Who supplies the horses to the omnibus? A. They are our own horses—it is usual for the conductor to retain his money till the last journey—my husband is the sole proprietor of the omnibus and horses—Alexander did not come and tell me any thing about it—I have seen both the prisoners at the Thames police-office, where I attended to give evidence, but not in Newgate.

ANN WYLAM re-examined. These are the duplicates I lost that day (looking at them)—one is a pledge at Walker's Waterloo-terrace, Commercial-road, in the name of "A. Quin, New-street"—another in George-street, in the name of "Hunter, 11, Hawkin's-buildings"—I did not pawn the things; I employed Quin and Hawkins to pawn—it was my property.

Cross-examined by MR. PHILLIPS. Q. How does it happen they are different addresses? A. The persons live in different places.

GEORGE BURY . I am estate-agent and appraiser, and live at No. 37. Gilbert-street, Oxford-street. I was in the omnibus last Friday week—I got in at Bow Church, Cheapside, about half-past five o'clock—there was a lady in the omnibus, but not this lady—three or four got in before we got to St. Paul's—I cannot exactly say the time I got in—it was after six o'clock when I got home—they kept taking up and setting down between St. Paul's and Charing-cross—a lady and gentleman got out in the Strand, near the Adelphi, and the prisoner Johnson put his head in at the window, and said, "Has any body lost any thing?"—a gentleman sitting on my left asked what the property consisted of—he said, "I have found a purse"—the observation went round—five, six, or seven were in the omnibus, and the answer given him was "No"—he then said. "I have found a purse, but there is no money in it"—he did not say what was in it—he set me down at the corner of Bond-street—there was a female in the omnibus then, who looked like a servant.

BENJAMIN MURRAY . I am a tailor and live at No. 16, James-street, St. Luke's. I got into the omnibus directly after it left the Mile-end gate, previous the prosecutrix getting in and there was female in it—the prosecutrix got in directly after we passed the London Hospital and previous to getting to Whitechapel church, an elderly gentleman, who was very feeble, got in, and the prosecturix held her hand out to assist him in—directly after that we stopped again, and a lady and gentleman got in—we stopped at the Mansion House, and the prosecutrix got out, after shaking hands with a gentleman who sat on the opposite side—he had not got in with her—she got in, and the omnibus proceeded—and in some portion of the Strand the conductor asked if any lady or gentleman had lost any thing—he received an answer in the negative, and said he had found a purse—he did not say whether it contained any thing or not—I first saw the account of this robbery in the Dispatch newspaper, and afterwards saw handbills, which induced me to come forwards.

JURY. Q. Are you quite confident the prosecutrix shook hands with a gentleman? A. Perfectly satisfied—the elderly gentleman sat close by the side of her.

ANN WYLAM re-examined. I never shook hands with any gentleman—I put my hand on that side to support myself in getting out of the omnibus—I am certain my purse was quite safe when I left my seat to go out—I did not take it out of my pocket—I drew the 6d. out of it, and felt it safe in my pocket.

JURY Q. Was there a feeble old man whom you helped in? A. A lady and gentleman I recollect getting in, and I believe there was as elderly gentleman.

MR. PHILLIPS addressed the Court and jury on behalf of Alexander, stating, that he had always given the same account of the transaction, that he had given Johnson 5s. for the duplicate.

(George Palliser, Finsbury-place; Mr. Myers, Peter's-alley Cornhill; George T. Davis, Colt-street, Limehouse; H. P. Edghill, book-keeper at Nelson's coach office; S. Douglas, Robin-hood-lane, Poplar; and Thomas Cooling, coach proprietor, Chester-street, Kennington; deposed to Alexander's good character: and Arthur Macnamara and Henry Milner of Sidney-street, Mile-end, to that of Johnson.

JOHNSON— GUILTY . Aged 25. Believing him to have cut the pocket.


Transported for Fourteen Years.

First Jury, before Mr. Recorder.

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