WILLIAM SMITH.
15th September 1851
Reference Numbert18510915-1817
VerdictGuilty > unknown
SentenceImprisonment

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1817. WILLIAM SMITH , stealing 53 sovereigns, and 10 10l.-notes; the property of George Gibson, in the dwelling-house of Charles Hayward.

MR. METCALFE conducted the Prosecution.

GEORGE GIBSON . I am an engineer; I live at Woollaston, near Newcastle, On 22nd Aug. I was lodging at the Captain of a Man-of-War, in High-street, Poplar—I had in my possession ten 10l.-notes and fifty-three sovereigns—while I was there I saw the prisoner generally every evening in the public coffee-room, where I used to take my meals—he used to come in to smoke a cheroot and read the paper—I got into conversation with him—on 1st Sept. I told him I wanted to find a Mr. Miller, who lived in St. John's-wood—he directed me, and told me he was going to the Yorkshire Stingo, and to meet him there it 2 o'clock—I went, and found Mr. Miller's, but he was not at home—I went to the Yorkshire Stingo, and met the prisoner soon after 2 o'clock—we had something there, and walked arm-in-arm to Oxford-street—when we got there, I said, "Now I know my way home"—the prisoner said, "I don't feel very well after taking that ale at the Yorkshire Stingo; will you go and have something to drink?"—we went to a house, and had something, and came out again—he then said, "You wait here about five minutes; I have a little business to settle over the way; if I am not back in five minutes, you go away"—he left me to go across the road, and he could not have more than crossed the road when a second man came up and accosted me by name—I had seen that second man that morning at the public-house where I was lodging—he was standing at the bar—when he came to me he asked me if I would go and take something to drink—I told him I was waiting for a friend who was gone across the road, and I should not like to lose him—he said, "Come in here, and we can see when he comes across," and he pointed to the same public-house that I had been in with the prisoner—we went in, and went to a front window in the billiard-room, in order that I might see my friend—I stood there from ten minutes to a quarter of an hour, and did not

see him—the second man then said, "Mr. Gibson, you had better sit down; it appears your friend is not coming back"—I sat down, and just as I was sitting down, in came a third man, whom I had not seen before—he said he hoped he did not intrude into our company—I told him, no, we had no private conversation; the room was as free to him as it was to us, and he had a right to sit in it if be thought proper—he sat down, and called for a glass of brandy and water, cold—in about five minutes the second man said to me, "Mr. Gibson, were you ever in America?"—I told him, no, I never was—the third man then said, "I have just arrived from there"—the second man said, "I have an idea of going there myself, and I should like to know what would be the best business for a person to embark in"—the third man said he did not understand anything about trade or business, for he had been living servant with a batchelor gentleman, who was dead; he had lived eleven yean with him; and as he had spent the best part of his time with him, he had left him 22,000l., and in his will he had left directions that he was to distribute 400l. to the poor in different parishes in England, not naming what parishes—he asked me what parish I belonged to—I said, "To Woolaston"—he asked if there were many poor there—I said, "Yes"—he then asked the second man what parish he belonged to—he said, "To Bath"—he asked if there were many poor there—he said, "Yet, a great many"—he said, well, as we appeared to be respectable persons, he would give each of us 20l. for the poor of those parishes, on condition that we could prove that we were respectable persons, and persons not likely to keep this money ourselves, and he said he would give us a new hat a piece for distributing the money—he said he had brought his lawyer over from America with him, and he had left his lawyer that day, not long since—he said he had just come from the Bank, and he pulled out a lot of what I took to be 5l.-notes, and he pulled out a paper, about three or four inches long, with a double row of sovereigns in it, but those he held in his hand; I could only see the end of them—he said the advice his lawyer gave him was that he should be particular who he gave this money to; that he had to distribute, and not to give it to the officers of the parish, as it sometimes was the case that they did not give it to the poor, but put it into their own pockets, and the poor did not get it; but that he should give it to respectable persons, who would give a few shillings to one, and a few shillings to another—the second man then said, "I can show you as much as 50l., to show you that I am a person of sufficient respectability to receive this money;" and he said, "I dare say Mr. Gibson, my friend, can show you as much"—I said, "Yes, I can show you 150l. for that matter, to convince you that I am a person of sufficient respectability"—we all three left the house, and took an omnibus, and came to the Bull's Head, in Leadenhall-street, and we went in, and it was arranged that we should meet there and show our money—I then went to the public-house where I was lodging, to get my money—the second man went with me—he left me at the corner of Robin Hood-lane, and we were to return to the Bull's Head, in Leadenhall-street—I went to the public-house where I lodged, to get my money—I got there about 20 minutes or half-past six—I might be twenty minutes op-stairs gatting the money—I then returned to the Bull's Head, in Leadenhall-street, with the second man—we had gone to Black wall together, and went back together—we went into the Bull's Head, and the third man followed us into the room where we had been sitting previously—when we got in, the second man showed him a lot of notes, and I showed him ten 10l.-notes and fiftythree sovereigns—the third man said he was perfectly satisfied that we had the money—I had counted my money on the table, and put it back again into

my purse—the third man then got up to leave the room for some purpose—I supposed he was going to the back-door—as he was leaving, the second man said, "You will not leave us now?"—he said, "No," and he took out those sovereigns that he had in his pocket, and put them into the second man's hat—he came in again in a few minutes, and took the money again—the second man then said to me, "Now we will go and get each a 20s.-stamp to receive this money"—the third man then went to the window, and lifted up the little red curtain—that window looks into the street—he held the curtain up for a moment, and did not stop to look any time—he then came and sat down, and the second man and I got up to go and get the two stamps—the third man said, "But you will not leave me, you will not run away now?"—I said, "No, certainly not"—the second man said, "Of course, Mr. Gibson, you will leave a deposit with him, the same as he has done with us"—I said, "Certainly," and I put my hand into my pocket, and took out my purse, containing the 153l., and put it into his hat, as a guarantee for my returning, leaving the hat on the table—I and the second man then left the room, to get the two 20l.-stamps; and as we got to the door, I happened to meet the prisoner—I stopped, and said, "Halloo, Mr. Smith, what are you doing here?"—he laid hold of me by my left arm—I took it to be in a friendly manner—then the second man, who was a little in front, returned, and held me by my right-arm, and the prisoner by my left—I just turned myself, and I saw the person with the money, the third man, coming walking along the passage—I tried to extricate myself from the other two, but I could not—I said, "Let me go—let me go!"—but they still held me, and I could not get away—I was so petrified and astonished that I had not power to call anybody, or make any alarm—I tried to extricate myself from them—they still held me fast, and by-and-bye they gave me a pull, and pulled me bang off the door-step into the middle of the footpath, and the third man passed me, and crossed the street—I did not see that he had anything with him—he had his hat on, and he ran across the street—I did not know that there was a passage opposite the public-house; I thought he would run up the street—I was then more resolute than I had been, and broke from those men—I ran across the street in a slanting direction, to get before him; but I could not find him—then the thought struck me that I had heard of such passages in London; I came back and found the passage—I went through it, but I could not find him—I came into the other street which, I suppose, is Fenchurch-street—I stood about, wondering which way the man was gone; and the prisoner came to me and said, "What is the matter?"—I said, "I have had a heavy loss"—he said, "What?"—I said, "Ten 10l.-notes, and some sovereigns"—I do not know whether I told him how many sovereigns, but I said I knew the numbers of the notes—he said, "Don't make a noise, come along with me; and he took me to a house and gave me a small glass of brandy—we came out, and he said, "Don't make any noise, but go directly home, and go to bed; and to-morrow morning go to the Bank and tell the numbers"—I took his advice, and went home to my lodging—I went up-stairs and laid down a little while on the bed—I then got up, and went into the street, and told a policeman, and asked him what I had better do; that was about 9 o'clock in the evening—I have not seen the two men since, nor the money, nor any part of it.

Cross-examined by MR. ROBINSON. Q. You devoutly believed that the whole of this tale about the 22,000l., and his having the 400l. to distribute, was all true? A. Yes; I have been a good deal at sea for twenty-two years; I left England last July four years—I was perfectly sober—I had drank a

glass of ale at the Yorkshire Stingo, a little brandy in Oxford-street, and a little brandy and water, and one glass of brandy and water after that—I was perfectly sober—I had seen the second man at Poplar that morning—when the prisoner met me at the door, he took me by the arm, and the other man took roe by the other arm—they were both polling me away from the door—it was dark—the gas was lighted—I was very much excited when I saw the man coming away with the money—when I saw him come out, I followed him as fast as I could—I came back, and went through the passage into Fen-church-street, and there the prisoner came a second time to me.

ELIZABETH MARK . I am single, and am barmaid at the Captain Man-of-War public-house, in High-street, Poplar. I know Mr. Gibson, he had been staying at our house from the 22nd Aug.—I have known the prisoner about two months; he occasionally frequented our house while Mr. Gibson was there—Mr. Gibson lived with us, but he went in the coffee-room to drink and smoke, and the prisoner went there too—in the week previous to 1st Sept, I had seen the prisoner every day, and sometimes two or three times a day—on Saturday, 30th Aug., I saw another person come in, and go in the coffee-room; but Mr. Gibson was not then at home—that person was in the coffee-room while the prisoner was there—they had the morning paper, and were together two or three hours—there was no other person there—I saw the same man several times during that Saturday; he was in and out several times; and on Sunday, after the house was opened, he came in the afternoon—the prisoner was not there then—he came there twice during the evening—the prisoner was then at the bar—I saw him again on the Monday morning, while the prisoner was at the bar again—he went into the coffee-room first, and then came to the bar—Mr. Gibson came down while the prisoner and the other man were standing at the bar on the Monday morning—he was the only person standing at the bar beside the prisoner—he took a drop of gin—I saw Mr. Gibson go out that morning about 10 o'clock—I saw ham again when he returned, and went up-stairs, between 6 and 7—he remained in hit bed-room about five or six minutes; he then came down, and went out—the prisoner came in the evening about a quarter before 6—he went away to tea—he came in again to light a cheroot, while Mr. Gibson was up-stairs—he, left again, while Mr. Gibson was up-stairs, and Mr. Gibson left immediately afterwards—I saw the prisoner again, about twenty minutes before 10 in the evening.

Cross-examined. Q. The prisoner was in the habit of using the house? A. Yes, occasionally—Mr. Gibson was lodging in the house—some other man came in on the Saturday and Sunday—I knew Mr. Gibson was as engineer, and had just come from Calcutta—we knew he was not without money.

ANN MARIA. SOPHIA HAYWARD . I am the wife of Charles Hay ward, who keeps the Bull's Head, in Leadenhall-street. On 1st Sept., Mr. Gibson came about a quarter before 4 o'clock, there was one person came with him; I do not remember whether two persons came in with him, but there were three altogether; they remained about half-an-hour—shortly before 7, one of them returned; he sat down behind the door, and in ten minutes or a quarter of an hour, Mr. Gibson and the other returned, and then the third one got up and followed them into the back-parlour—there is a window in that back-parlour, and by pulling aside the curtain, you can see into the street—it commands a view of the pavement, near the door, and of the opposite side of the way—a person, by pulling that curtain aside, could see whether any one was in the street—they remained about half-an-hour—I saw one leave the door—Mr.

Gibson was the second, and the third man was then coming along the passage—that was the last I saw of them—I saw nothing of the prisoner that I had never seen the man who went out first, till that Monday—he came from the parlour that afternoon and asked me the sign of the house; I told him, and he wrote it down in his pocket-book—the man who was coming along the passage, I had seen before, and two or three days before that he had dined at our house with the prisoner—during the month of August, I had seen him with the prisoner every two or three days—they came together, and left together; but sometimes they would come first one, and then the other—I saw that man had a hat on his head when he was coming along the passage—I did not find 150l. in that room afterwards, or any hat.

JOHN MORRIS (policeman, K 128). I took the prisoner—I found on him this box, with artificial horse eyes, and this George the Third's shilling, gilt; and these other two coins, at his lodging.

Cross-examined. Q. What did you tell him? A. That he was taken on suspicion of being concerned, with two others, in robbing a gentleman—he said, "Good God! I know nothing about it"—he looked at the prosecutor, and said, "What do you mean?"

GEORGE GIBSON re-examined. Q. You spoke of seeing one of the other men on the morning of 1st Sept., was that the second man? A. Yes. Prisoner's Defence. I am innocent; I met him the next morning, and took him to stop the notes.

GUILTY .— Confined Twelve Months.


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