10th April 1865
Reference Numbert18650410-381
VerdictGuilty > lesser offence; Guilty > unknown
SentenceImprisonment; Imprisonment > penal servitude; Imprisonment > penal servitude

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381. JOHN CAMPBELL (44), JAMES ROBERTS (42), EDMUND COLLINS, (31) and ROBERT WHITE , (46) Feloniously breaking and entering the warehouse of John Henry Crane, and stealing 50 revolver pistols, value 130l., his property. Second Count, feloniously receiving the same.

MR. PATER conducted the Prosecution.

JOHN HENRY CRANE . I am an agent for the sale of firearms, and carry on business at 6, Birchin-lane—I occupy the second-floor—no one sleeps on the premises—I always lock up my premises when I leave—on Saturday evening, 4th March, about 6 o'clock, I secured the place in the usual way—I locked my own door with the ordinary lock, and also padlocked it on the outside—I left about 150 pistols in the warehouse, besides other firearms—when I arrived on Monday morning I found the premises had been entered, and missed thirty-eight pistols, worth about 130l.—the padlock had been wrenched off the door—I have looked at these pistols (produced by Hancock) they are my property.

Cross-examined by MR. METCALFE (for Roberts). Q. Does any one live on the premises? A. No; it is let out in offices—I did not fasten the street door—Mr. Chamberlain, the proprietor, did that.

JOHN CHAMBERLAIN . I am an umbrella maker, and occupy the shop floor at 6, Birchin-lane—on Saturday evening, 4th March, I secured the premises by locking the front door, and bolting it on the inside—I was the last to leave—I left by the back door, and fastened it with two patent locks—there are these iron gates, which I padlocked—I found the locks perfectly secure on Monday morning—my shop was in the same condition, but on missing a bag I went upstairs, and found that the first and second floors had been broken open—I immediately called in the police.

Cross-examined by MR. METCALFE. Q. What time did you leave on the Saturday? A. The clock had struck 7—I went back a few minutes before 9 on Monday morning—no one lives in any part of the premises.

COURT. Q. In what state did you find the front door? A. Secure, but the key which I had left in it was gone, and it was unbolted—the persons had let themselves out that way.

FREDERICK WILLIAM JURY . I am assistant to Mr. Folkard, a pawnbroker, 160, Black friars-road—on Tuesday, 7th March, the prisoner Roberts brought this pistol to pledge; he asked 30s. on it—we had previously had notice from the police that there had been some stolen—I stopped it, and handed it to my employer, who sent me to the police-station for a constable, to whom he handed the pistol—Roberts said he had got it to pledge, and all he got over 1l. he was to have himself—he did not say whose it was.

Cross-examined by MR. METCALFE. Q. Are you sure this was on the 7th? A. Yes, about half-past 3 or from that to 4 o'clock in the day—I did not hear him give any name.

EDWARD HANCOCK (City-policeman). On 6th March, I went to 6, Birchin-lane, and examined the premises—on the first-floor I found the door post of an office had been cut away in order to release the lock; the desks in the office had been forced, and a cash-box forced open—on the second floor, the offices of Mr. Crane, I found marks on the door which corresponded with this jemmy (produced)—I found no other marks of violence on Mr. Crane's place—on the same day I went to Mr. Folkard's, a pawnbroker's, in Black-friars-road, and gave him some information respecting these pistols—on Wednesday, 8th, I went to the Southwark Police-court, and took charge of the prisoner Roberts—I told him he was charged with breaking and entering the warehouse of Mr. Crane, No. 6, Birchin-lane, City, on the night of the 4th, and stealing a large quantity of pistols—I said, "You will also be charged with stealing this pistol, "alluding to the one produced by the last witness—he said, "Oh, I had it from a man in the Blackfriars-road, at a public-house; I was to have all that I received over 1l. for it"—I asked him if he knew that man—he said, "No"—I asked him if he could find the man—he said if he had time—I then took him to the station, searched him, and found on him 22s.; one shilling bad, and twenty-one good—at the police-station I asked him for his address; he declined to give it—he said he was of no occupation—I have since found his address—on 3d April I took the prisoner White into custody in Stamford-street, Blackfriars-road—I said, "Bob, I want you"—he said, "What for?"—I said, "For being concerned with, Jemmy the Penman, and others, now in custody, charged with breaking and entering the premises of Mr. Crane, in Birchin-lane, City"—he at that time made no answer—on the way to the station he said on the Monday following the robbery you took six pistols to Israel's, in Long-lane, Bermondsey—he said, "Yes, I did, and those six and the seventh that Mr. Folkard of Blackfriars-road has, were all I had to deal with"—the charge was read over to White at the police-station, and he was asked to account for the possession of the pistols—he said, "I decline to do so"—on 14th March I received these five pistols from a person of the name of Parker.

JOHN RUDDICK (City-policeman. 534) I went to Mr. Crane's premises—I there found this jemmy, a lantern, a lock, a cash-box lying on the third floor stairs—I found the padlock of the door on the ground forced open.

BENJAMIN CUNNINGHAM . I am assistant to Mr. Byas, a pawnbroker, of 147, St. George-street, Ratcliff-highway—I produce a revolver pledged on 7th March by Roberts—I advanced on it 1l. 2s.

Cross-examined by MR. METCALFE. Q. Are you sure Roberts is the person? A. Quite sure—I had not known him before—he was introduced to me by a respectable tradesman in the neighbourhood, who came with him to pledge it—it was a person of the name of Savile.

COURT. Q. In what name was it pledged? A. James Roberts, 10, Albany-road, Old Kent-road.

CHARLES POTTER . I am assistant to Mr. Hastiugs, pawnbroker, of 190, Union-street, Boro'—I produce a revolver pledged on 7th March, by the prisoner Roberts—there were two together; they said it belonged to them,—the other one offered to sell me one, but they said it belonged to the two—I bought one, and I produce it—he said they had half a dozen, which they had bought; some that had been made up cheap for America, and they had only two left—I advanced 15s. on the one that I took in pledge—it was pledged in the name of John Roberts, of 10, Albany-road.

JOHN HENRY CRANE (re-examined.) I recognise both these pistols produced by last witness—I recognise them all, the one pledged at Mr. Hastings and the one at Mr. Byas—they are my property; the value of them is about 7l. and those three about 50s. each—they were a portion of the missing pistols which were safe on Saturday, 4th March, when I left.

MR. METCALFE Q. Had you seen them yourself? A. Decidedly; before I left on that Saturday evening—they had been lying on my bench for a long time; in fact they were my sample pistols—I recognise all these produced as my property.

HENRY PARKER . I am assistant to Mr. Folkard, pawnbroker, of 160, Blackfriars-road—I know the prisoner White; not by name—he pledged in the name of Martin—lie came to the shop on Saturday night, 4th March, about 9 o'clock, and offered these two revolvers to pledge—I advanced 2l. 5s. on them—they were pledged in the name of Martin of Webber-row—he said they belonged to a friend of his who had bought very largely for the Federal army, and this was superfluous stock that he had for sale—on the same evening, afterwards he bought five others which he wanted to dispose of; he wanted 7l. 10s. for them—I said I had no time then to go into the particulars of value, but if he felt disposed, I would let him have 5l., and if he would call again on Monday or Tuesday, I would ascertain the value and give him the value of them—I think be called on the Monday or Tuesday; in the meantime Hancock had called on me, and when White came again, I said to him, "These things are stolen; I expect you will refund me the money"—he said, "They don't belong to me; they belong to a friend of mine, at all events I will get you the money"—he went out, and in about half an hour he came back and brought me 6l. 10s. of the money—he said he would give me the other in the morning, and I retained the pistols—I have since given them up to Hancock—I have known him for some time as pledging at the other shop—I always thought he was a commercial man, trading and attending sales and so forth—he had always gone in the name of Martin.

RICHARD EDMONDS (Police-inspects L). Between 9 and 10 o'clock on 17th March, I found a letter and A brown-paper parcel on my desk at the police-station in Tower-street—it contained this revolver—I gave instructions to a constable, and the prisoner Collins was apprehended—I saw him at the station at 2 o'clock the same day—I told him I should apprehend him for being concerned with others in stealing a quantity of pistols in the city—he said that he had sold one to the grocer at the corner by the Windmill—he also said that he had had a row with Jack about five, meaning Campbell—I asked him who Jack was—he said "Jack Campbell, you know, and these five were found in a dust heap at the back of the Windmill, and Jack had them"—I showed him the pistol that was left at the station—he said it was the one he had sold to Jones the grocer.

Cross-examined by MR. RIBTON (for Collins). Q. Do you know anything of Collins? A. As a costermonger and general dealer in the street—I was

afterwards told that he had been to the station between 10 and 11 o'clock—I was not then there; Sergeant Wells was—he is not here—I can't say whether he left his address—I know him well being in the vicinity—I have no doubt that he then left information with reference to this affair of the pistols—I know Mr. Wootton; he keeps the Windmill—I had Collins apprehended by two men—he was sent for to the station in consequence of the contents of the letter found on my desk—that letter was in Jones's handwriting.

JOSEPH WOOTTON . I keep the Windmill public-house, in the New-cut Lambeth—I know all the prisoners—they used my house—on Monday, 6th March, I saw Campbell with one of these pistols in his possession—he was showing it—I saw White sometime afterwards join him, and in the course of the day I saw Roberts, or Dick, as I call him—I saw Campbell showing him a revolver—Campbell asked me to buy one, but I said I did not want one—next day Campbell left two in my charge—I lent him 12s. on them till next morning, when he said he had a customer for them—he returned me the money next morning, and took them away—they were pistols of a similar description to these—I had seen the prisoners almost every day previous to the 6th of March—I had not seen Roberts for weeks before—the others I had seen almost every day—they are living in the street—Campbell and Collins were in and out of my house all the evening of Saturday, 4th March—I have no doubt that Collins was in my house on the 6th; I could not swear it—I did not see any pistols in his charge.

Cross-examined by MR. COOPER (for Campbell). Q. I suppose you are a well known victualler thereabouts? A. Yes—the pistols were exposed in the moat open way, there was nothing secret about it—any of the public coming in would see them as well as myself—I knew Campbell well—I can only speak of the pistols being similar to these—a lot of customers looked at them and handled them—Campbell was in and out of the house all the Saturday evening—he was there from 7 o'clock till 9 or 10—he might have been in and out all the time—they live close by and they are always in and out.

COURT. Q. Was he in and out from 7 to 9? A. Yes; he might have been in all that time; we are very busy on Saturday nights—they were in and out so often that I did not miss them.

Cross-examined by MR. METCALFE. Q. Who first produced the pistols? A. I saw Campbell with the first one—he took it out of his pocket and was showing it before the bar; anybody could see it—I only saw one the first occasion—I never saw more than two at once—that was the time he left me two to take care of—he took them out of his pocket.

Cross-examined by MR. RIBTON. Q. You had known Collins for some time, had you not? A. Yes; I saw him on the 10th and told him there was little doubt that the pistols were stolen—I also told him he had better go to the station and tell them what he knew about it—that I understood he bad sold one to Jones, and the best thing he could do was to go to the station and tell the truth—I had no notion at first that they were stolen—these things are in the market now for the war in the States—he left my house with the intention of going to the station—he said Campbell had given him one of the pistols to sell, and he had sold it to Jones—that was on Saturday evening, 11th—I knew that he lived close by in Windmill-street—he was very frequently at my house—I have known him about ten years—I always thought him a hard-working man—he works at the gas-house in winter time

and in the summer he sells fruit about the streets—I never heard anything against him.

MR. COOPER. Q. What is the distance from Birchin-lane to your house? A. It is a shilling cab fare, something over a mile; very nearly two miles.

BENJAMIN HAYNES . I keep the Mitre Tavern, Broadwall—I know Camp-bell—I can't say how recently before 4th March I saw him at my house, or how recently before he was taken into custody—it was about 7th or 8th March; I paid so little attention to it—a tall gentleman with Campbell offered me a six-barrelled revolver for sale for 2l.—it was something like those produced—the tall man took it out of his pocket, and Campbell asked me if I wished to purchase such a thing, and I said no.

RICHARD JONES . I am manager to Mr. Matthews, a grocer, in New Cut, Lambeth—I know Collins and Campbell—on Monday, 6th March, Collins came to my shop and showed me a revolver—he asked me to purchase it of him—I asked what he wanted—he said 2l. 10s.—he took it away and brought it back and said he was selling it for another man, the man wanted 25s. and he was to have all he got over—I gave him 26s. at last—he said he wanted 1s. for himself—I saw him again the same afternoon—he then wanted me to buy two more and three duplicates referring to revolvers—I saw the duplicates; they are not here—I believe they have been destroyed—a coster-monger in the Cut told me they had been burnt—I did not purchase them—I made some communication to the police, and saw Inspector Edmonds.

Cross-examined by MR. RIBTON. Q. Did another man come with him? A. No, no one—I know Campbell by sight—he was not with him.

HENRY MORTON (Policeman. L 63) I apprehended Campbell at the Windmill public-house on 10th March—I said to him "Johnny, I want you for being concerned with a man in custody, for having committed a bur-glary in the city, and a quantity of pistols being stolen, also for since dealing with that property"—he said, "I have not been dealing with the property"—I said, "I was in the Windmill on Tuesday, and I saw you put one over the bar"—he said, "I did not put it over"—I said, "You were there, and I find from inquiries that you left two at the Windmill all night, and received some money upon them"—he said, "A man brought them to me and asked me to sell them for him; I did not know that they were stolen, I thought they were mace goods"—that means getting goods by false pretences, not intending to pay for them—"as soon as I knew they were stolen I gave them to the man. He took them away. I could not dispose of them. I will do the best I can to assist you in getting the property back."

Cross-examined by MR. COOPER. Q. Was not what he said, "I will do the best I can to find out who the persons were that brought the property to me?" A. Yes—I searched his house and found nothing there—I had liberty to go all over the whole of it—he is a smith by trade I believe.

COLLINS received a good characterGUILTY on the Second Count Confined Six Months. —CAMPBELL, ROBERTS, and WHITE GUILTY on the First Count. —CAMPBELL, Ten Years' Penal Servitude. —ROBERTS and WHITE, Seven Years' Penal Servitude.

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