23rd June 1890
Reference Numbert18900623-514
VerdictGuilty > pleaded guilty; Not Guilty > unknown
SentenceImprisonment > penal servitude; Imprisonment > hard labour

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514. THOMAS JOHN ALEXANDER (32), WALTER PENNY (18), CHARLES YOUNG (17), WALTER ALLDAY (18), and MARK KEELEY (29) , Stealing four pieces of silk and two pieces of grenadine, the goods of the Great Western Railway Company, the employers of, Alexander, Penny, Young, and Allday; Second Count, Receiving the same. Alexander and Penny PLEADED GUILTY .

MESSRS. MASTERMAN and TALBOT Prosecuted; MR. HUTTOH defended Young; MR. PAUL TAYLOR defended Allday; and MR. ROOTH defended Keeley.

JOHN POLLOCK . I am a salesman in the silk department of the Fore Street Warehouse Company—on 24th May I received an order from Mr. Coltman, of High Wycombe, and I prepared to meet it, one length of perfection silk measuring 41 1/2 yards, a length (35 yards) of black grosgrain, a length (16 1/2 yards) of soie doublon, and 10 yards of black ottoman—these are the grosgrain and the soie doublon; in both cases the edges are specially reserved for us, and are not made for any other house—I identify this writing on the grosgrain as the writing of one of our assistants—the total value of the consignment I made up is roughly about.

Cross-examined by MR. HUTTON. There would be no paper round the top and bottom of the soie doublon, but I have nothing to do with the packing—all the things were sent out in packets this size, except the ten yards, which was half the size.

WILLIAM MCGIVERN . I am a salesman in the dress department of the Fore Street Warehouse Company—on the 23rd of May I executed an order for sixty-six yards of grenadine, and sent it to the entering-room—this is the same pattern.

Cross-examined by MR. HUTTON. There is no mark on the paper—we got in the piece specially for the order—it is not very rare stuff.

CHARLES SEXTON . I am a porter in the Fore Street Warehouse Company—on 24th May, early in the morning, I packed some four lengths of silk and two lengths of dress material for Mr. Coltman, of High Wycombe, in paper, and then in a wooden box—I put this card on the box, and addressed it, "J. Coltman, High Wycombe"—it was forwarded by Sutton and Company; this is their receipt—this is part of the box.

Cross-examined by MR. HUTTON. I saw the things again at the Police-court on 5th June—these goods are similar—I am not prepared to swear they are the goods.

SAMUEL SELF . I am a packer in Sutton and Company's employment—on 24th May I received a box of goods from the Fore Street Warehouse Company, for Coltman and Company, High Wycombe, and I delivered it at Smithfield Railway Station, to the Great Western Railway Company—this is the receipt, and this is the label that was on the box.

HENRY COOK . I am a checker in the employment of the Great Western Railway, at Smithfield depot—on 24th May I received a box from Messrs. Sutton for Mr. Coltman, of High Wycombe, at 7 p.m., it had this card on—I made out this consignment note—I sent the box to the truck for High Wycombe—the train would leave about 11.58, I think.

DENNIS O'BRIEN . I am sixteen—I live at 18, Tiverton Street, Newington Causeway, and I am in the employment of the Great Western Railway as a slipper boy—I scotch trucks—Penny was my mate—Alexander was a horse-driver; I knew him as Banbury—between twelve and half-past at midnight on Saturday, 24th May, I was on No. 1 line—I saw Penny put a long parcel down his trousers, and button his waistcoat over it—Alexander was with him—across the metals of the Metropolitan Railway there were two other slipper boys, Allday and Young—I went to them, and I saw each of them put a long parcel down their trousers, and button their waistcoats over it—I saw two of them take the parcels out of a box which was inside the metals—I saw them fetch the box from a dark tunnel—I asked them what they had got there—Allday and Young said, "Only silk and crape, and one thing and another"—Young asked me if I would buy his lot for one shilling—I refused it—the box, a large deal one, was at the side of them; it was empty then—Young and Allday broke it up and threw it over the metals behind the heap of cinders—then they came across the lines with Alexander and Penny, and they were getting their horses ready to go home—I went as far as the inner arch, as I had forgotten my hat, and came back to the signal-box to get it—I saw no more of them—I don't know Keeley; I did not see him there—Penny is a horse-driver.

Cross-examined by MR. HUTTON. The parcels Young and Allday placed in their trousers were as large as one of these; I don't know if it was as thick—I don't know if it was wrapped up or not—I saw them put it down their trousers—I was standing close to Young, talking to him—there was dark cream coloured paper on the parcel—I noticed no label on it—I thought it was stolen—I did not like to tell a policeman—a policeman is on duty there night and day.—I

say all the prisoners are thieves—I had been there fifteen months—I have 10s. a week—I was frightened; they did not threaten me; I thought they would—Young did not tell me not to tell anyone—I told Harry Banbury, a driver, the following morning, and he told Bill, his brother, who told Roberts, the foreman, and Roberts told the sergeant—the police came and made inquiries of me on the next day or the day after—when I spoke to Young and Allday they both said together, "We have only got silk and crape, and one thing and another"—I swear that—I said at the Police-court only one of them said it; that is true; I am not certain which one said it—I do not mean that both of them said it at the same time—when Young said, "I will sell you my lot for 1s.," he spoke then for the first time—this conversation took about five minutes, and then they went away—Young has been in the company's employment there about eighteen months.

Cross-examined by MR. TAYLOR.—I was communicated with by the police two or three days, I think, after 24th May—I knew in the interval that the slipper boys were suspected of stealing some property—I am generally on duty on Saturday night as late as half-past twelve—there were three slipper boys and two horse drivers there—there were no others there besides—Allday was there before I went into the employment—I have been down there five months; before that I was on the vans—I have known Allday since I have been there—Harry Banbury is a horse-driver in another gang—the horse-drivers and slipper boys generally go up together—I have said before to-day that I saw them take the silk out of the box.

Cross-examined by MR. ROOTH. I have never seen Keeley about the station—the policemen at the Great Western are all in uniform.

WILLIAM WALMSLEY . I am a policeman in the service of the Great Western Railway Company, employed at the Smithfield goods depot—on night, 24th, and morning, 25th May, I was on duty by the policeman's box at the entrance gate to see the men out—I saw Alexander, Penny, Young, and Allday come out about 12.30—I booked them out—next morning, in consequence of instructions, I went on to the disused platform underground, and searched and found the remains of a broken box; this is one of the pieces; there were several others—they were on the further side to where you come in, against some arches, beyond the Chatham and Dover line—there is a partition between that line and the other—it is the last place you see as you come in—the Wycombe truck stands at the bottom eastern end of the platform against the wall—it is about forty or fifty yards from where it is loaded to where I found this piece of box—this piece of box had this card on it—I noticed nothing suspicious about the prisoners.

Cross-examined by MR. HUTTON. Young went out on foot—I stand there to identify every man who comes out; I had not my light that night with me—there is a lamp in the centre; it was not burning—I could swear to the four prisoners that night—I did not notice them when I booked them out.

Cross-examined by MR. ROOTH. I don't know Keeley—I have never, to my knowledge, seen him about the station; he was not a servant of the company.

FREDERICK BENTON (Detective Officer, Great Western Railway). I know the place O'Brien has spoken about—the Wycombe truck is loaded at

No. 1 line, and then is taken to No. 4 by the horse-driver and slipper-boy—at No. 4 it is about fifteen yards from the disused platform that has been mentioned—between No. 4 line and the London Chatham and Dover Railway is the pillar of an arch, then come the London Chatham and Dover lines, and then the disused platform—there is a rubbish heap near the end of the disused platform—I searched it, and found these pieces of paper there—it is about fifteen yards from where the Wycombe truck stands when it is ready to go off—on the night of the 24th there was only one Wycombe truck going by the 11.58 train—there is some pencil-writing on one of these pieces of paper.

JAMES MAYNE (Police Constable O). On the night of 28th May, about ten minutes past eight, I was in Golden Lane,. St. Luke's—I saw Keeley walking along Hatfield Street, westwards, and go into Dean's Court—about ten minutes afterwards I saw him, in company of Alexander, leave Dean's Court, where Alexander lives, at No. 7—they are brothers-in-law—Keeley was carrying a sack on his shoulder, with something bulky in it as they left the court—I followed them some way, and came up with them in Bunhill Row—Constable Small was then with me—I said to Keeley, "What have you got in that sack?"—he said, "Nothing," and threw the sack to the pavement—I caught hold of him; he said, "I will go quietly," but he commenced to struggle, and kicked out right and left—I told him I was a constable—Small took Alexander, and I took Keeley to the station—at the station Keeley, pointing to Alexander, said, "That man asked me to take a walk with him"—I searched and found on him this piece of paper—in the sack were these thirty-five yards of silk, sixteen and a quarter yards of silk, and sixty-six yards of grenadine—they have been in the custody of the police ever since—this piece of paper, which I found in Keeley's left-hand breast pocket, fits a breach in the paper wrapper of the grenadine—he said, as to the paper, "I got that from that man, too; I cannot write"—on 3rd June I went to 50, Roscoe Street, St. Luke's, where I saw Young—I said, "I am a police constable, and I am going to take you into custody for being concerned with others in stealing a quantity of dress material from the Smithfield Goods Railway Station on last Saturday night week, that would be the 24th"—he said, "Not me, sir, you have made a mistake"—on the 29th May Keeley made a statement, which Inspector Burnham took down, and I signed as a witness to Keeley's mark.

Cross-examined by MR. HUTTON. I went to Young's on the 3rd, one or two days after I had information about this robbery.

Cross-examined by MR. ROOTH. Keeley was carrying the sack in an open manner over his shoulder; it was a fairly bulky parcel; I and Small were in plain clothes—when he said he would go quietly I had said nothing about taking him to the station—when we said we should take him to the station he began to struggle—I have never seen Keeley with any of the prisoners, except Alexander—the statements made by the prisoners are similar—I received no harm in the struggle—Keeley gave me a correct address; I searched his house; no property claimed to be stolen has been found there—a great many people were about when I arrested him—Keeley had no sack when I first saw him going towards Dean's Court, but when he came out he had the sack.

GILBERT SMALL . (Detective G). I was with Mayne when Alexander and Keeley were arrested—I went to Mayne's assistance, and Keelay kicked

me on the right shin, and caused a wound—he resisted his arrest—I arrested Allday, who was charged with stealing silk and satin; he made no reply—I arrested also Penny and Alexander.

Cross-examined by MR. ROOTH. He kicked me trying to get away from Mayne; it has healed up, but there are marks; it was a wound about as large as a finger-nail—he went quietly afterwards—he was charged at the station, first with the robbery, and then with the assault at the same time.

WILLIAM BURNHAM (Police Inspector E). On 29th May I took these statements from Alexander and Keeley—Keeley heard what Alexander said—they were cautioned before they made the statements, and afterwards the statements were read to them before they were signed. (The statements were read as follows:—Alexander said: About 12.10 a.m., on 25th May, 1890,1 was walking up the hill to Smithfield Goods Station, leading a horse, when the horse shied, and I then saw this silk and satin, in three parcels, lying in the roadway in two different places. I picked them up and took them home, and on Wednesday, the 28th, I went to Keeley, and asked him to come with me to get rid of them. We went and fetched the stuff from my house, and carried it as far as Roscoe Street, when the detective stopped us and brought us to the station. Keeley said: About 7 p.m., on 28th May, 1890, I was standing at the comer of Golden Lane and Old Street, when Thomas John Alexander, my brother in-law, came to me and told me that as he was coming home last Saturday night he picked up some goods, which he had now at home, and asked me to go home with him to sell it, and he would give me a few halfpence. He said he should not have noticed the goods only his horse that he was driving shied at them. I went home with him, and he brought a bag with something in it downstairs into Dean's Court, Hatfield Street, and carried it to Roscoe Street, when he gave it to me to carry, and we both walked along together, when the policeman in plain clothes met us, and stopped us, and brought us to the station")—Alexander gave his statement first.

Cross-examined by MR. ROOTH. When Keeley was charged at the station he said, "The statement handed in by Burnham is a correct statement of what I wanted to say."

JOHN POLLOCK (Re-examined). The writing on this paper, which was with the grosgrain, is by one of the assistants in the department, James McSkinning—the writing on this piece, found in Keeley's pocket, is not that of any of our men, that I am aware of—by the marks on it I should think the prisoners had been estimating the value.

Young's statement before the Magistrate:" I have been eighteen months with the company, and this is my first offence."

MR. ROOTH called the following witnesses:

THOMAS JOHN ALEXANDER (the prisoner). I have been in the employment of the Great Western Railway Company for nineteen years—I have pleaded guilty—I plead guilty to picking the things up, not knowing them to be stolen—Keeley was out of employment; I heard he had done nothing for some weeks, and about seven o'clock on the 28th I asked him to come out for a walk—he came to see me about seven o'clock, and I brought down a bag with these things, and asked him to help me carry them—we walked as far as Roscoe Street; I had the bag—he asked me what I had in the bag—I said, "Some old things, and if

I can get rid of them it will be a few halfpence in your pocket"—the bundle was of middle size, about 12lb. or 13lb. weigh, I suppose, in an ordinary sack—I gave it to him at Roscoe Street—we were arrested—Keeley did not know the contents of the bag—he is my brother-in-law—he is a carman, I believe; he is not connected with the railway company at all—he had not been doing anything since the Saturday—I made the statement to the inspector which has been read.

Cross-examined. I knew that two pieces of silk and a piece of satin or dress stuff was in the bag; two were loose, and one wrapped in paper—I am positive the grenadine was not in paper when I picked it up—I received nothing from Penny—I don't know if I have ever seen this piece of paper before; I did not write this on it; I can write my name, but I am no hand at figuring—I never saw Keeley's writing—I did not see the paper taken out of his pocket by the policeman; I know nothing about it—I cannot say for certain whether I gave it to Keeley; I never wrote it—I am sure I did not give it to him—I have no idea where he could have got it from—I don't know how many yards of grenadine or of the other things there are—I put the things in a sack, which was an old one I had—I had no other things—I was walking with the horse up the circular rise into Smithfield when I found these things, one on the near side, and two on the off side—the horse saw one, and kicked the other—they might have belonged to the railway; I did not know but what somebody might have pitched them over the railings; I was not to know whose they were—I sometimes find things lying in the roadway—I did not know till afterwards that they were silk and satin; I do not know now what this is that had no paper on; it is dress material—I did not tell Keeley I had some silk and satin—I had left off work, and was coming home—I put them in a bag, as I did not want to expose them; I was going to take them anywhere where I could get rid of them by selling them—it did not occur to me to take them back to the railway, or to inquire about them—I told Keeley when I got rid of them he should have a few halfpence—I carried them to Roscoe Street—the detectives make a mistake if they say Keeley had the sack—I did not see them till we got to Bunhill Street, and I did not walk with my eyes shut; I looked to see if anybody was behind—I had just given the sack to Keeley when they came up—I looked behind because with a thing like that about me I was a little dubious; I was rather timid at the time, because I had had it three days at home.

By the COURT. The hill on which I found the things is on the company's premises.

Re-examined. I am quite sure Keeley did not know what was inside the sack; I said nothing to him about it.

JAMES MAYNE (Re-examined by MR. ROOTH). Keeley said in Alexander's presence, "I got that paper from him too"—Alexander said nothing in reply to that.

By MR. HUTTON. Young told me where he lived; I searched his premises, and found no stolen property there.

Young and Allday received good characters,


ALEXANDER.— Five Yearn' Penal Servitude.

PENNY.— Eighteen Months' Hard Labour.

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