Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 08 August 2022), May 1766, trial of James Mussin James Reding , otherwise Reddin (t17660514-37).

James Mussin, James Reding, Theft > grand larceny, 14th May 1766.

324. 325. (M.) James Mussin and James Reding , otherwise Reddin , were indicted for stealing three diamond rings, set in gold, value 3 l. 10 s. one topaz ring set in gold, value 10 s. one mourning ring, one cornelian ring set in gold, one stone ring set in gold, one file stone ring set in gold, two garnet hoop rings, one French paste ring, and one fancy garnet ring , the property of John Heather , April 24 . +

John Heather . I am a pawnbroker , and live in Long-acre . On the 24th of April last, about a quarter past eight at night, some ho or other my window was broke, and the glass pushed in, and several rings as mentioned in the indictment, were taken away; they were in a little case about a foot from the window, (he mentioned the particular rings by name) I was behind the counter when it was broke; I ran out but could see nobody; it was done in the twinkling of an eye, the case and all was taken away; when I returned I got a candle, and found about 14 rings they had dropped in the street, they are not laid in the indictment; I found two in another street that was at a distance: I went that very night to Sir John Fielding ; it was too late to advertise them, but I did the next day; after that, Edward Wright took up the evidence and two prisoners; I went to them at St. Giles's Round-house; I said I could not swear to either of them, it being dark, I could not see who did it; then Wright told them they might go about their business; after that Valentine the evidence went to Ned Wright , as I have been informed since, and impeached the rest.

Q. How long was this after they were first taken up?

Heather. This was in a day or two after; then Wright and the evidence came to me.

Q. Did you ever find any of the rings laid in the indictment again?

Heather. No, I have not; I was before Sir John Fielding when the two prisoners were examined, they denied it, and called Valentine a dying dog.

- Valentine. I am between 18 and 19 years of age: I was bred up in London. and bound to a goldsmith in Monkwell-street, named Picket; I served him almost four years, but he dying, my mistress and I could not agree, and I ran away from her; I went down to Birmingham, that is six months ago; I worked there about three months, and returned again by Christmas; after that, I lived with my brother, a gold watch-chaser, on Clerkenwell-green, till I got 40 l. which was left me; I was not to have had it till I was twenty-one years of age; I spent that, and then I took to this course of life.

Q. When did you leave your brother?

Valentine. I left him about six weeks ago.

Q. When did you receive the 40 l.?

Valentine. Just as I came up from Birmingham.

Q. Had you spent it all before you left your brother?

Valentine. I had about fifteen guineas when I left him; I spent that about in drinking.

Q. When did you become acquainted with the two prisoners?

Valentine. I became acquainted with them since the last sessions at Guildhall, Westminster; I had seen Mussin under the piazzas at the play-house, just when the play was going to break up, and I became acquainted with him there. One William Till and I found the two prisoners at the Star in Compton-street, either the 23d or 24th of March, between five and six o'clock. Till is now gone out of the way. Mussin and I came out there, and we parted with Reding and Till; they went and got a warrant for a man who had called one of them a thief. Mussin took me to this shop in Long-acre, he shewed me the box of rings, and said Reding and he should have them this night: then he and I went back to Redding and Till; we desired Till to go and pawn two or three handkerchiefs; he went and pawned them; then we agreed, if we should be pursued, to go to the Thistle and Crown in Russel-court. Then Mussin bid me go cross the way because I was lame, and not able to run.

Q. What was your lameness?

Valentine. I had got the venereal disease. I went cross the way, facing the window, and Reding to the window; he hit the window three times, and it broke; he took the rings out; Mussin was close by him; then I run away, and hobbled along as fast as I could to the Thistle and Crown; one ran one way, and the other the other; the two prisoners came in while I was there; this was between eight and nine o'clock. I met Till in Bow-street, he went in with me; Mussin had a brilliant ring on his little finger, and Reding had a gold ring, with garnets set round on his little finger; they said they could not stay, they must go out again; they went out, and come in again in about twenty minutes; then Reding had an enamelled gold ring, with a white stone in it, on his finger; and Mussin came in with the same ring on he had before; they gave me the ring Reding had on before, and gave Till another garnet ring; that ring they gave me, Anne Freeman pawn'd for half a crown to go to the play; we went from there to the Fish in Strand-lane; after that we went and lay at the Red Lion in Piccadilly. I got up the next morning and was going to the Change, and in St. Martin's-lane we met Old Bob of Black friars, who bought some of the rings, but I was not there when they were sold; the prisoners told me of it afterwards; this was on the Friday: we went into the city; when we were at the 'Change Till saw a Jew there; he went and asked him if he would buy the rings, we were all four together. The Jew agreed to come and meet him at the Thistle and Crown in the afternoon, at five o'clock. I saw the Jew in the house, but Till ordered us to stay at the door; Mussin gave him the stone white ring, and desired he would get half a guinea for it of the Jew; and I desired a crown for mine, and the other a crown for his ring; they did not sell them to the Jew. He offered 7 s. for the two gold rings with garnets, and nine shillings for the other.

Anne Freeman . I am an unfortunate girl of the town. William Till was slightly acquainted with me; I have seen the prisoners and evidence pass me very often in a night, but was not acquainted with them. Till desired me to pawn a ring for him, and bring the money to him at the Thistle and Crown; I did, and brought the half crown to him there, then they were all four together.

Q. Where did you pawn it?

A. Freeman. To Mr. Stiles in Castle-street, Leicester-fields; then Till desired I would go with more, and Mussin said it was a wrong thing to ask it, and desired him not to mention it any more: I did not sit down, nor stay any longer than putting the money into Till's hand; he desired me to keep the duplicate till he came the next day for it; and when I was taken out of my lodgings I produced the duplicate, that is what I had of the pawnbroker.

Prosecutor. I have seen the ring; I believe it to be mine, but it is impossible to swear to a garnet ring.

Mussin. I was in company, but did not know what Freeman brought back, but Reding was not by at the time.

Valentine. Mussin and I fell out, and he called me a son of a b - h, then I went and made a discovery of this to Wright.

Mussin's defence.

I know nothing of the affair; I never saw any rings they had.

Reding's defence.

I had but a very slight acquaintance with the young man; I had not seen him for five or six days before he had me taken up; he threatened he would do something for me.

Both guilty . T .

See Reding tried last sessions, No 247, and see Mussin tried in the same, 274.