Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 05 October 2022), December 1783, trial of JAMES GODFREY (t17831210-20).

JAMES GODFREY, Theft > theft from a specified place, 10th December 1783.

20. JAMES GODFREY was indicted for feloniously stealing on the first day of December instant, thirty yards of scarlet woollen cloth, value 14 l. the goods of Edward Shepherd , privately in his warehouse .

ROBERT BLADES sworn.

I am clerk to Mr. Shepherd, a Blackwell-hall factor ; on the first of December he lost this cloth.

Court. Is his warehouse the place where his goods are usually exposed to sale? - Yes.

Does he sell by retail? - No, by commission.

Was you in his warehouse any time the first of December last? - Yes, on the first of December, between eleven and twelve in the morning, I saw the prisoner with this piece of cloth on his shoulder.

What quantity? - About thirty-four yards, or thereabouts, I cannot say to half a yard.

How far might that be from your warehouse? - Just outside the door.

Had you seen him in your shop before? - Upon seeing him with the cloth, I supposed he had taken it out of our shop, he was going off with it in Basinghall-street, and I followed him, at the corner of Basinghall-street, he looked to see if any body pursued him, he attempted to run away from me when I collared him, he pitched down the cloth when he saw come up, I asked him where he was going with it, he said a man sent him for it, I asked him what man, I told him it was Mr. Shepherd's cloth, and took him back to Mr. Shepherd's.

Court. In this warehouse your master sells goods by commission? - Yes.

They are never exposed to sale in this warehouse? - Not till a person asks for them, we sell none by retail, it is for home trade or exportation.

Court. You do not know at all how the cloth was taken out of your warehouse? - No.

How near the water side was your warehouse? - It is in Basinghall-street, just by Guildhall, I saw the cloth about half an hour before, it stood upon its head.

(The cloth deposed to.)

Prisoner. I have had the drum of my ear broke, I have not heard a word of what the Gentlemen have said.

Jury. Did the prisoner return with you? - I led him back, I never lost sight of the prisoner till I took him, nor of the cloth.

(The cloth deposed to by Mr. Shepherd.)

EDWARD SHEPHERD sworn.

I am a Blackwell-hall factor, I never sell any goods by retail.

Do you break bulk before you deliver the goods? - No.

Some of your goods are disposed of to home customers, and some to foreign? - Yes.

Are these locked up or open? - They are put up in papers and done upon shelves.

Are these shelves open? - Yes.

You never expose any of your goods on the outside of your shop? - No; I was from home, the cloth is my property, consigned by a clothier in the country upon commission.

Court to Blades. Is that the piece of cloth you took from the prisoner? - Yes.

Had you examined that piece of cloth before you delivered it to the other person? - When I pursued the prisoner up Basinghall-street, the number was towards me, it never was out of my sight, it was about three times the distance from here to your Lordship.

(The cloth shewn him.)

By what do you know it? - By the mark and the number upon it.

Had you seen that piece of cloth before? - Yes.

Whose mark is it? - It is the mark of the clothier that manufactured the cloth.

But may not other people employ the same clothier? - No, my Lord, not the same number.

Jury to Blades. Do the doors in your warehouse stand open? - Frequently.

PRISONER's DEFENCE.

As I was walking along as another person may do, I saw another man come along with the same coloured coat as mine, with a piece of cloth, he put it down, and he began to run, I heard a cry of stop thief, this gentleman came and laid hold of me, my friends are not here, I work hard for my living.

Court to Jury. I think gentlemen it is a doubt whether this is a warehouse within the act of parliament of the tenth and eleventh of William the third, chapter twenty-third. There was a case determined therein 751, before Justice Parker and others for stealing goods in a warehouse; they kept a warehouse by the water side, where merchants usually kept goods till they would be put on board, that was to be a warehouse within the act. In this case, gentlemen, two reasons why the prisoner should be acquitted of the capital part; he was not seen in the warehouse, and secondly its being a doubt whether this is a warehouse within the act.

The prisoner called three witnesses who gave him a good character.

Court to Taylor, one of the Prisoner's witnesses. Did the prisoner's wife lodge at your house? - Yes, your honour and she is with-child.

GUILTY. Of stealing, but not privately .

To be confined to hard labor six months in the House of Correction .

Tried by the first London Jury before Mr. Justice WILLES.