Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 24 October 2021), April 1784, trial of THOMAS RANDALL (t17840421-1).

THOMAS RANDALL, Theft > burglary, 21st April 1784.

376. THOMAS RANDALL was indicted for burglariously and feloniously breaking and entering the dwelling house of John Oldfield , about the hour of nine in the night, on the 1st of November last, and feloniously stealing therein, four linen shirts, value 10 s. one linen shift, value 1 s. three linen frocks, value 3 s. two linen napkins, value 2 s. three linen handkerchiefs, value 1 s. four linen aprons, value 4 s. one muslin apron, value 1 s. one pair of linen drawers, value 1 s. two pair of cotton stockings, value 3 s. one other pair of stockings, value 6 d. and one cotton petticoat, value 10 s. the property of the said John Oldfield .

ELIZABETH OLDFIELD sworn.

I live in Fleet-row , near Coldbath-fields; I am wife to John Oldfield ; on the first of November, between the hour of eight and nine in the evening; I went out to fetch some candles, I left nobody at home but my little girl, a twelve-month old; I locked the door, and after I had locked it, I tried it by the knocker, and I am sure it was fast, and the windows were fast.

Court. Are you sure they were fast? - Yes.

How long did you stay out? - Almost ten minutes; when I returned, I perceived the door about a quarter of a yard open; I was quite stagnated, knowing that I had locked the door; and as I stood, I heard a rattling within; I was going to step into the house, and I drew back my foot, and at that instant three men came out of the house; I stepped a little way down the court, and they all run out, and I run after them and cried, stop thief! and I saw one of them, which was the prisoner, had my property in a bag; I believe the prisoner to be the man.

Was he stopped at that time? - Yes.

Did you see him stopped? - No.

How long after he run out of the court was it, that he was stopped and brought back? - About twenty minutes.

Where was he stopped; I think it was in Hatton Garden, he was brought back to me in about twenty minutes.

Whereabouts did you lose sight of him? - At the corner of the court.

What light was there in the court? - There is a lamp over our door.

What opportunity had you to observe the faces of the men that came out of your house? - No further than I stood at the door when they all rushed out; I should know the other two men if I saw them; the prisoner was the first that came out.

Can you venture to say positively, that the man that was brought back to you, was the same man that you saw come out of your house? - I believe him to be the same man.

Are you sure of it? - Yes, I am sure of it.

Did you ever see him before? - No, never.

Then can you, seeing a man run past you, in the instant when you are a good deal frightened and flurried, take upon you to swear to the man? - I believe him to be the man, so far as the light over the door enabled me to see him.

But you cannot undertake to swear positively that it is the same man? - No, Sir, I cannot.

Were your things brought back? - Yes, they were brought back with the prisoner.

Who brought him and the bag back? - The constable, his name is Griffiths.

THOMAS WEEDOM sworn.

I took the prisoner in Hatton Garden, on the first of November, between eight and nine; I was coming down Hare-street Hill, and I heard the cry of stop thief! I saw the prisoner running with this bundle under his arm, I pursued him, and as soon as I got up to him he dropped the bundle; I never lost sight of him; that was about twenty yards from the end of the court where the prosecutrix lives.

Did you observe two other men run? - No, I saw none but him.

Did you see him drop the bag? - Yes, I saw him drop it, he dropped it in Summer's street, about twenty yards from the corner; I did not see the bag picked up.

You are sure that is the man that dropped the bag? - I am sure he is.

Have you any doubt at all that he was the man that dropped the bag? - I have no doubt at all that he was the man that dropped the bag.

What did he say when you stopped him? - He said I am not the thief; I took him to Mr. Griffiths, on Hare-street Hill.

THOMAS GRIFFITHS sworn.

I am the constable, the prisoner was brought to me by the last witness, I searched him, and found nothing upon him but a tobacco box, which was made use of as a tinder box.

Court. Was there any tinder in it? - No.

How did you know then? - By the smell of it; I took him down to Mrs. Oldfield's and this bag was brought to Mrs. Oldfield's house; it was there when I brought the man there; I desired Mrs. Oldfield to take care of the bag while I took the prisoner to Bridewell; nothing particular passed going there; the prosecutrix said, she believed the prisoner was the man that went out of the house.

What did he say to the charge that was made against him? - He pleaded that he was not the man.

STEPHEN TRUSTRASM sworn.

I picked up this bag at the end of Summer's-street.

How far from the corner? - About two doors distance from the corner, about eight or ten yards; I heard the cry of stop thief! and I run out of the door.

Did you see any body running? - I saw the prisoner at the bar running round the corner, under the lamp, it was light enough for me to see him run round the corner.

Did you see him drop the bag? - Yes.

How do you know it was the prisoner? - Because I knew him, I had seen him before.

Are you sure he is the man that dropped the bag? - He is the man.

How near was you to him? - Within ten yards.

What light had you? - The light of the lamp.

You knew him before? - I had seen him before about in the neighbourhood.

Are you sure he was the man that dropped the bag? - Yes.

Jury. Was there any more men with him at the time he dropped the bag? - No.

Court. What did you do with the bag? - I gave it to Mrs. Oldfield.

Mrs. Oldfield. The last witness brought the bag to me, and I laid it on the table till Mr. Griffiths came back, and it is the same he brought, and they are the same things that are in it now which were delivered to Griffiths; this petticoat I know by an iron mould, and several things, it is my own making.

How did the door appear to be broke? - It was unlocked, and the lock spoiled.

PRISONER's DEFENCE.

I was running along Hatton-street, going home, I lived in the Hole in the Wall Passage, Brooke's Market, there was another person before me, and I heard the cry of stop thief! and a man met me and said, which of them is it, and he stopped me; I staid there, I dare say, a minute and better, and he said again, this is the fellow, and he took me to the constable, and then to this gentlewoman's house; and then there was this other lady here, and she said, that is the man that broke into my house in May; and the constable took charge of me: the linen was laying about on the table, and I was taken to the watch-house, and to Clerkenwell, and on the Monday they appeared against me.

Court. Have you any body to give you a character? - I have not had an opportunity to send to any body.

Court. How comes this man to be tried so late? - He made his escape out of prison, and was retaken since the last sessions.

GUILTY Death .

Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Mr. RECORDER.

Prisoner. My Lord, I wish to be tried upon the other indictment which is against me.

Court. Does the prisoner wish it himself?

Prisoner. Yes, my Lord.