Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 04 August 2020), September 1771, trial of Mary the wife of William Jones Ann Styles (t17710911-32).

Mary Jones, Ann Styles, Theft > shoplifting, 11th September 1771.

570, 571. (L.) Mary the wife of William Jones , and Ann Styles , spinster , were indicted, for stealing 4 pieces of worked muslin, containing 52 yards, value 5 l 10 s. the property of William Foot , privately in his shop , August 7 . ++

Christopher Preston . I live with Mr. Foot, linen draper , in Ludgate-street ; the two prisoners came to our shop on the 7th of August, between five and seven, under pretence to buy a child's frock, after giving a good deal of trouble nothing would suit them; our apprentice shewed them some. Jones went from the counter towards the door; in going along, I perceived her move her arm; I suspected she had something under her cloak; I followed her and brought her in from the door, and took from under her arm, the remnants of worked muslin; they laid on the counter ready to put up in a rapper (the muslin produced and deposed to.)

Andrew Hawkins . I was behind the counter, they came in and asked for some low price linen; I believe Styles asked for them; there was none she liked, Jones's child was on the counter, she went to the door with the child; Mr. Presten brought her in from the door and took two pieces from under her gown, and two or three pieces fell on the floor; I went for a constable and took them to the Compter.

Thomas Ham . I live at Temple Bar; they came into my shop; I suspected them, and I watched them into a great many shops, at last into Mr. Foot's, and we took these muslins from under their cloaks, one of them said to the other it was a very unfortunate accident or they should have had something; there were five of them, three waited at a distance, these came to them as they came out of the shop.

Q. How many shops did you watch them into?

Ham. I believe at least fifteen.

Q. From what hour?

Ham. From three o'clock till six.

Q. Did the same two people go into every shop?

Ham. I believe these two always went in; the others stood out, I think.

Jones's Defence.

I gave them the muslin out of my hand in the shop; I have been a very honest woman in my life time; I have two children; I work very hard to maintain my two children since my husband was pressed.

Styles's Defence.

We live in one house together; she wanted to buy a child's jam; I went along with her, we only went into three shops; we live in Angel Alley in the Strand; I was looking at a piece of linen when they accused her of this.

Jones. guilty , Death .

Styles Acquitted .