Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 18 February 2019), January 1767, trial of Mary Cluse (t17670115-12).

Mary Cluse, Theft > grand larceny, 15th January 1767.

98. (L.) Mary Cluse , spinster , was indicted for stealing five guines, one half guinea, and one quarter guinea , the property of Edward Flower , November 18 . ++

Edward Flower . I live in the liberty of the Rolls; I work in mother of pearl , and keep five or six journeymen; I had been at the play with a female acquaintance on the 17th of November; after that was over, she, her sister, and another young man went to my house; we had a glass of punch, and a glass of wine, and something to eat to regale ourselves; then I went part of the way home with the two sisters; they lived separate, one at home with her friends, the other was in service; the young man went with the sister, and I with her. When we came to her mother's, she was in bed; we being loth to disturb her then, she was for going to her sister in the Minories; I went with her, and when near Bow-church, in Cheapside, she persuaded me to return, saying, she could go very well by herself; I left her; this was about one o'clock in the morning of the 18th. As I was returning, the prisoner and another woman came out, either from the Old 'Change, or the next street to it, into Cheapside. She came and got hold of my arm, and asked me if I would give her any thing; I said, what would you have me to give you; her reply was, to r - er. I did not make an immediate reply, whether I would or not. She still followed me, and wanted to prevail upon me; when we came into St. Paul's Church-yard , she dragged me into a passage behind the Chapter-house; the other woman followed behind; she pulled me to her, and put her back against the wall, and took up her petticoats herself, and fell to unbuttoning my breeches, and bid me put my hands about her neck, which I did, and in half a minute she had completed her business; she had not only unbottoned my breeches before, but my pocket also on my left side, and taken my money, as I found afterwards; she presently pushed me from her, and said, there comes the watch; do you run that way, and I'll run this. I set out, and away ran she, and the other woman with her, into St. Paul's Church-yard. I stared about, but saw no watch; then I found my pocket was picked of five guineas, a half guinea, and a quarter of a guinea. I had tucked my watch-chain in, she did not meddle with that; then I pursued her into St. Paul's Church-yard; she took up the passage by the pastry-cook's into Pater-noster-row; there I met John Ward by accident; I begged his assistance, saying, these women had robbed me; we ran and catched them; we called the watch, and took them to the watch-house; they were both searched, we could not find the money.

Q. Are you sure you had it about you, when you was with the prisoner?

Flower. I am sure I had when I was in Cheapside; the prisoner owned she had been with me, but had not robbed me.

John Ward . I was coming down St. Paul's Church-yard; I met two women running; I heard one say to the other, d - n you, run, run. Mr. Flower came up afterwards, and said, for God's sake, young man, lend me assistance, for I am robbed by these two women. I ran rather by them, and said, what have you done, you have robbed the man; they d - n'd me, and said they had robbed no man. Mr. Flower came up, and said, you have robbed me of my money; give me my money; they denied having any, but owned they had been with him behind the Chapter-house; we called the watch, and took them to the watch-house; they were searched, but no money found.

Robert Best . I was constable of the night; the prisoner and another woman were brought into the watch-house; the prosecutor desired I would send for somebody to search them; I called a woman, who searched them both, but found nothing; the prisoner owned she had been along with the prosecutor.

Prisoner's defence.

I was just come from Clare-market; I came down Fleet-street into St. Paul's Church-yard, turning down into Pater-noster-row; when I got down three parts of the street, that gentleman stopped me, and said, I had robbed a man; I said, Gentlemen, I never saw you before; they began to pull me about in a very rude manner; I said, if I have done any ill, charge the watch with me. I never was with the man at all; when I came to the watch-house, they gave charge of me for robbing him of five guineas; we were searched by a woman; and after that, he would have us searched by a man; he said he believed he could swear they must have it between them.

Q. to Prosecutor. Might you not lose your money out of your pocket in the situation you was in?

Flower. I went with a couple of watchmen to the place, but found no money there.

Q. Was you drunk or sober?

Flower. I was a little elevated in liquor.

Acq .