Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 24 January 2022), February 1675, trial of Harker (t16750219-1).

Harker, Theft > animal theft, Theft > grand larceny, 19th February 1675.

The first was one Harker an Ostler at the Bell-Inn on Fish-street Hill who was arraigned upon two several Indictments, the one for the Felonious stealing of a Horse , the other for the taking away of Monyes to the value of fourscore Pounds and upwards , from one Mr. Sterling , a Gentleman that lay in the same Inn, it seemes upon the evidence, that this Gentleman overnight spoke to the said Hostler to get his Horse ready the next Morning for his journy; which accordingly was done, and that Morning the Gentleman finding his Horse made ready, took his Portmante wherein was fourscore Pounds and upwards, and laid it on himself upon the Horse and fastned it, and then going back again upon some occasion into the House, at his return within a very little time, finds his horse and mony gone and the Ostler to boot, who had taken this opportunity of his absence to leap into the the Saddle and ride away with the booty; the Gentleman being thus left in the Lurch, finds it to little purpose to pursue after him, but rests for a while as patient as the reflections of so great a loss and disappointment would suffer him, It happened the same day towards Evening that a friend of this Gentlemans being in Russel-street neare Drury-Lane, towards the Evening saw the aforesaid Hostler passing by, He was then diguised with a Periwig so that he was not easy to be known, however the Gentleman apprehended him and it proved the same person, and he Confessed before the justice upon his examination that it was he that rode away with the Gentlemans Horse, and mony, and being demanded what he had done with them, he acquainted them that he had hid the mony (all but a little) that he took out for present occasions in Cane-wood near Highgate, and there according to his directions going over to the place they found it the horse he had left at Holloway tying him to a Bush, in the High-way and upon inquiry in the Neighbourhood there they chanced to heare of him, and the Gentleman had him returned again allso

Upon his tryal he confest that he had rod away with the Horse and mony, but desired the favour of the Court in respect that the Gentleman had his Horse and mony returned again, which matter being left to the Jury, they brough him upon the first indictment for stealing the horse not guilty , upon the second they found him that as for taking the mony ; notwithstanding the Court not being satisfied with their first Verdict, sent them out again to consider of it but they brought in the same again that he was not Guilty of Stealing the Horse, for that as they said they understood the Gentlemans Horse was delivered to him to hold while the Gentleman went in, which made a Lawful possession, and therefore could be no Felonius taking him away, but the Court seemed to be of another opinion.