Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 16 November 2018), December 1783, trial of REBECCA BIDWELL (t17831210-7).

REBECCA BIDWELL, Theft > shoplifting, 10th December 1783.

7. REBECCA BIDWELL was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 9th of December , six pair of ribbed cotton stockings, value 21 s. the property of William Saunders , privily in his shop .

WILLIAM SAUNDERS sworn.

I am a hosier , I sell by retail.

Did you lose any stockings on Tuesday? - Yes, six pair of, fine cotton ribbed.

Was you in the shop at the time? - Yes, I am chiefly in the man factory way.

GEORGE HOLLAND sworn.

I am servant to Mr. Saunders, on Tuesday night about the nine o'clock the prisoner and another woman came into my master's shop in Broad-street, Bloomsbury , and asked for some, worsted stockings; I went backwards to get some stocking, and while I was the prisoner took a paper of cotton stockings with six pairs in it, my back was turned to her, I did not see her take them they were six pair of superfine ribbed cotton.

What may be the value of them? - One pound one shilling.

Court. That is three shillings and sixpence a pair? - Yes.

Did you serve the other woman with stockings? - No, she would not have them at that price, I asked eighteen-pence, and she wanted them for sixteen-pence, the other woman told this woman to go out and mind a jackass that they had out of doors; I suspected then that they had got something; and I told the maid as soon as they were gone that they had got something.

Did you examine to see if you had lost any stockings? - Yes, one Mr. Meecham came who had taken the stockings upon her, he asked me if we had lost any stockings, I said, I would look, I told him, I thought I had by two women who just then went out.

Did Meecham you what stockings he had taken? - He said, he had taken some stockings, I looked, and missed these six pair of ribbed white cotton, I had put them in the window about five minutes before; I then went with Mr. Meecham to a public house, next to Justice Walker's in High-street, and there I saw the stockings.

GEORGE MEECHAM sworn.

I belong to the public office in High-street, Bloomsbury, and I am one of the deputy keepers of New Prison, about half after nine o'clock on Tuesday morning last, I met one Mary Wright , and I suspected her, knowing her to be a shop lifter, she ran up Bow-street; and I met the prisoner in Hyde-street, and I suspected she had something, I saw something of a bundle stick under her cloak, I pulled her cloak on one side, and said, what have you here, she said, nothing, immediately from under her arm I took this bundle of stockings, there are she pair they have been in my possession ever since she said, she found them in an alley.

(The stocking deposed to by Holland, marked by himself, and also by Mr. Saunders.)

PRISONER's DEFENCE.

I have nothing to say, I found the stockings, and I met Meecham, and I told him what I had got, I took him to the place where I picked them up, that I am sure of.

Court to Holland. When you went backwards did you observe whether the prisoner moved from the place where she was or not? - When I went backwards I saw her at the counter and nobody else, and I saw her pull her cloak over something, I suspected her then.

Court to Holland. Is that the selling price? - Yes.

GUILTY , Death .

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