Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 07 June 2020), April 1784, trial of PATRICK BURNE CHARLES BARTON (t17840421-19).

PATRICK BURNE, CHARLES BARTON, Theft > burglary, 21st April 1784.

324. PATRICK BURNE and CHARLES BARTON were indicted for burglariously and feloniously breaking and entering the dwelling house of John Delport , on the 14th of April last, about the hour of eight in the night, and burglaririously stealing therein one linen sheet, value 3 s. two yards of linen cloth, value 3 s. one linen shirt, value 3 s. three silver teaspoons, value 2 s. his property .

The witnesses examined apart at the request of the prisoners.

JOHN DELPORT sworn.

Mr. Sylvester, Council for Prosecution. Where do you live? - I live in Staining-lane , I am a working Jeweller , my family consists of my wife, my wife's cousin Miss Radford, who was upon a visit, and children: on Wednesday the 14th of April I had dined with my next door neighbour, after dinner the ladies went to take a walk, and they returned at dusk, and we sat down to tea at eight, and I said to my son about half after eight, let us go to see whether every thing is safe, and we went up two pair of stairs, the door was shut, and every thing safe at that time.

When you left the house how was it fastened? - It was fastened, my son pulled the door to him and put the key in and double locked it, I stood by him and saw him push against the door, to see if it was locked, we returned to our friends again.

What hour did your wife go home with the children? - About a quarter before nine, soon after which I was alarmed by my son giving me information that the street door was open, I immediately run and stopped at the door, I heard a noise up stairs, and directly I said what rascal is that in my house, and immediately the two prisoners came down stairs as fast as they could, I stood still at the street-door, and one of the prisoners, Patrick Burne , was the first that came out, when he thought he was at my reach to take hold of him, I received a blow on my head with a bit of iron, but I could not distinguish what bit of iron it was, immediately I went back towards the street, and I thought to take hold of them, but by being obliged to hold my head, it was not in my power to take hold of them when they rushed out; I think the other prisoner had a light coloured coat on, but I cannot swear to him.

Had you any opportunity of taking notice of the other man at that time? - No, my Lord, I know the other, Patrick Byrne was one but I could not see the other, though I think I could swear to him by the colour of his coat; they ran as fast as they could to make their escape; Burne run down Lillypot-lane: here is the hat which I was cut with (The hat produced which was bloody) I could not go any further, the blood run so fast down my neck, when I returned I found the bureau open, and some things on the carpet.

Mr. Fielding, Prisoner's Council. Mrs. Delport went out with the children? - Yes.

You cannot be sure as to one of their persons? - No.

CLEMENTINA DELPORT sworn.

I am wife to Mr. John Delport , I went home with my children from the next door, about half after eight, or a quarter to nine, I found the outward door open, I went to the parlour door and found it open, and some things taken out of the bureau, and laid on the carpet, some new cloth, and a sheet and a shirt.

Out of the bureau drawer? - Yes.

Where had you left them when you went out? - In the drawers, I left the drawers shut but not locked, the parlour door was locked, and I had the key in my pocket, the screw was broke, and it was forced open; I missed three silver tea-spoons with our name on them, that were upon the mantle piece in the parlour; at the same time I heard a noise on the one pair of stairs, and I said to my cousin, I am sure there are thieves in the house, I came immediately and called Mr. Delport, he stood at the door, I went over the way to make room for my husband to take hold of them, and I saw the two fellows come out, one in a light coat, and one in a dark coat.

LEWIS DELPORT sworn.

What age are you? - Fourteen.

You had dined with your father at the next door neighbour's Mr. Whittingham's? - Yes, I went with my father to the house about a quarter before nine.

Who shut the door? - I did, I pulled it by the knocker, then it was only on the single lock, then I put the key in and double locked the door, and pushed against the door afterwards.

Are you sure that you double locked the door, and the door was fast? - Yes.

Mr. Fielding. What time was it when your father and you first went home from where you dined? - It wanted a quarter of nine.

How came you to say a quarter before nine, did you see any clock, or take any particular notice of the time? - The gentleman next door looked at his watch just before we went out.

What gentleman was that? - A gentleman at the house where we dined; I carried the key with me, I got it from my mother, I kept possession of the key till I came out again.

Court. How long after you came back with the key was it when your mother and the children went home? - Soon after, I only drank my tea before they went home.

What time did you go out to dinner? - About a quarter after one.

You did not shut up the house I suppose on the week day at dinner time? - No Sir.

JOHN WHITTINGHAM sworn.

I live next door to Mr. Delport, I went out after the alarm, just after Mr. Delport, being near Mr. Delport I saw two men run out, the one run down Lillypot-lane, the other down Staining-lane, they both run into Noble-street, I gave the alarm of stop thief, and one of the men that run down Lillypot-lane was stopped in Noble-street, or in Falcon-square, I cannot be sure which, he was presently brought back, I followed him some little way at some distance, I first saw him in Noble-street, I went into Noble-street, and there I found him in custody.

In whose custody was he then? - I believe Cox was the man who had hold of him.

Was the man that you found in custody of Cox, the same man that you saw come out of the house, and run down Lillypot-lane? - I strictly believe it was him, I cannot say to the identity of the person, I particularly remember he had a brown great coat on, and the man that was taken had a brown great coat on; when I first came down to see them in custody, there was rather a dispute which way they should bring the prisoners, I told them to follow me to the prosecutor's, the prosecutor was asked if that was the man that struck him, he immediately answered it was the man, he could swear to him.

Mr. Fielding. Had you lighted candles at your house when your guests went away? - Yes, before that.

You lost sight of the persons who rushed out of Mr. Delport's house? - Yes.

How far is Noble-street from the entrance of Mr. Delport's, forty or fifty yards? - More than that.

One hundred perhaps? - More than that: there are about six houses I believe in the lane.

WILLIAM COX sworn.

On Wednesday the 14th of April I stopped the prisoner Burne; there were three of us coming together, James Robinson , and William Ward , and myself, and I heard the cry of stop thief, I then saw no one, I run immediately towards the report, and seeing a person running, I laid fast hold of the prisoner, which was then there, he made use of an expression which I well remember, I have done nothing at all, he made a draw back as if to give a blow, he fell down and threw something down, I said to the other man, he has thrown something down, we looked for it, and it was a poker.

Court. How near is Falcon-square to Staining-lane? - It is I believe six or seven hundred yards.

Do you know Noble-street? - I cannot say I do.

How long before you laid hold of the prisoner, had you seen him running? - I had hardly seen him time enough to notice any thing, the alarm being so great, I laid hold of the first person that approached towards me, I did not see him running any distance, I am sure he was running, he said I have done nothing, it was rather dark, I believe I might rather run before him, and slip in sideways, but the first that approached me proved to be the man at the bar.

JAMES ROBINSON sworn.

Mr. Sylvester. You was in company with Cox, on the 14th of this instant? - Yes, we came from the Castle and Falcon in Aldersgate-street, Cox, Ward, and myself, we heard the cry of stop thief! we all set off.

Where were you? - About fifty yards from the square, going out of Aldersgate-street; we set off and run into the square, and we saw some people running, and Cox stopped a man, and they fell down together; I ran up, and Mr. Ward came directly after, and pushed me right over them down; I got up, and Cox said to the man, keep your hands of your pockets, and immediately he threw an iron crow out of that pocket, and it hurt my leg, the crow was taken up; Cox said to me, he has thrown something out of his hand; says I, I have got it, it is a poker, but I carried it down that night to the Compter, and it was a crow; Ward knows no more than I do.

Mr. Fielding. There were several people running, you say? - Yes, but this man was the first.

Court. You say that the prisoner threw an iron crow against your leg, did you see him throw it? - Yes.

THOMAS MEERS sworn.

I am a carver and gilder.

Where was you on the evening of the 14th of this month? - I was at the end of Fitches Court, Noble-street, and I was leaning against a post, and between eight and nine, I heard the cry of stop thief! and I saw two men, one with his hat off, and there seemed to be a piece of iron in his hand; and the other was in a round hat and a light coloured great coat, and there seemed to be a stick in his hand, they were upon a slight run, I kept up with them very well, they run into Falcon-square, I followed and laid hold of the coat of the man in the light coloured great coat, till a gentleman came up and stopped him; I laid hold of Barton, the other man ran across the square; I saw a man before, and I let go his coat, a gentleman ran him up against the wall, and said, I will be damned if I let you go, and I ran up and collared him; and the prisoner said he was no thief! then I let go his coat, and ran to look at the other.

Do you know the other man? - Yes, I know him by his shocky head, I was not five minutes with the prisoner.

Did the mob bring back the other man the same way that you saw the other man run, or another way? - Yes, the same way.

The Rev. RICHARD FREER sworn.

On Wednesday evening, I believe it was the 14th of this Month, I was coming out of Silver-street, going into Wood-street, I knocked at Falcon-square for a person, one Mr. Davis, I heard the cry of stop thief! and I heard the sound of feet coming down from Noble-street, and we crossed the way, and against the dead wall I met the prisoner Barton; I immediately collared him, he asked me what I stopped him for; I said I apprehended he was a thief; he said he was in pursuit of a man; he strove to get away, and I held up my stick, and told him I would knock him down; I observed another man come down after him, and he turned to the right where we were standing, and several people after him, and I heard somebody cry out, damn him, the other is taken; I then proceeded with him after the other people to Staining-lane, where they said there had been a robbery committed; when I came there, I was behind the other prisoner whom two people had in custody, and I heard that gentleman who was wounded say, that is the man who struck me, and he then looked into the other man's face, but I do not believe he said any thing of him; I proceeded with him to the compter, nobody else went with him there; I saw him searched by a man that is a Jew I believe, he first searched the other prisoner, and I saw the ends of some keys, which appeared to be picklock keys, taken out of his pocket; they then searched the prisoner Barton, and he pulled out something, the man that searched him did, and put into his coat pocket, then he pulled out a japanned tobacco box, and the prisoner Barton said, that is only my tobacco box; I said you had better open it, and see what is in it, which he did, and it contained tinder and two or three matches; I then heard somebody cry, go for a constable, which I believe was the man who examined them; then I saw an iron crow.

Did you ask the man what it was that he put into his pocket? - No.

What was the name of the man that searched them? - I do not know, he appeared to be a Jew.

When did you first see the boy Thomas Meers ? - I believe at the compter, not before.

Where did you first see the boy lay hold of the flap of the man's coat? - I believe it was the corner of Staining-lane.

Court. Because this boy has been telling us he had hold of his coat before you laid hold of him? - The prisoner was upon the full run, and from his running so fast, I rather conceived him to be the thief.

Was there at that time any boy near him? - I did not see any boy, I have had some talk with the boy after he told me he was near him and put up his stick, or something, and he he was frightened and let go his coat.

Prisoner Barton. Did you see any stick in my hand? - I cannot say I did.

Did you make use of any imprecation? - I made use of no imprecation, I told you, I apprehended you was the person.

Court. Did you use any such expression as this, I will be damned if I let you go? - No, my Lord, that I am conscious I never did; when I first met the prisoner, I am confident there was no boy laid hold of him, the boy mentioned the circumstance to me, and I was rather uneasy in my mind, I went to the boy's master and had some conversation with him, and the boy then said he believed he was at some yards distance when I stopped him, but prior to my stopping him when he was coming down the lane, he caught hold of his coat.

Mr. Fielding. You did not see any boy till some time afterwards? - I saw a boy have hold of the prisoner Barton's coat, when I came to the corner of Staining-lane.

MOSES HARVEY sworn.

I am a prisoner for debt in the Compter.

Do you remember these two men being brought there? - I do, it was the 14th of this month, I searched them both.

What did you find on each of them? - On Barton I found three pick-lock keys, and on the other I found a tobacco box which contained tinder, several pieces of matches, and three silver spoons.

Court. Where were the spoons? - In another pocket.

In what pocket? - In his coat pocket, but which I do not recollect exactly.

What did you do with these spoons as soon as you found them? - I put all the things in my pocket together, there was no constable came in with the prisoners.

When did you produce these spoons afterwards? - The next day.

Not till the next day? - No.

Did you tell any body that you had found spoons in his pocket? - No, I did not know that there was any occasion.

One of the gentlemen has told us that when you had taken something out of his pocket, you put it into your pocket without shewing it? - I put every thing else in my pocket in the same manner.

Were not the matches in the tobacco box? - No, nothing but tinder, I gave the things to the constable, Mr. Fletcher; there was a crow when I searched them, I delivered the crow and the rest of the things to Mr. Fletcher.

Mr. Freers. I beg leave to know if he delivered up all the things, it is a satisfaction to my mind?

Harvey. I delivered up every thing excepting the spoons, knowing they were the only pieces of property belonging to the prosecutor, and as there was no constable brought in with them, I did not deliver them to any body, I carried the spoons to my own apartment in the compter, there they were safe, when the constable came I did not deliver them to the constable the next day, but the person came that saw me take them, and I went immediately and fetched them.

Court. Did you deliver up every thing to the constable that you took from the prisoner? - I delivered up every thing.

I ask you whether now you have delivered up every thing that you received from the prisoners? - I have most certainly.

Because it looks very much like a manoeuvre, when they were discovered to deliver them up? - It was no discovery at all, there were ten or twelve people that were present at my searching them, that saw me take the spoons and every thing else from the prisoner.

Court to Mr. Freer. Have you any more reason for suspecting that man's conduct? - I was conscious I saw him take something else out of his pocket, but I could not ascertain what.

Court. He says the other people saw what it was? - I saw him take something out of the pocket, but I could not ascertain what it was, I did not ask him, it seemed to be close clasped in his hands, I saw every thing but the spoons.

WILLIAM BUTT sworn.

You received some spoons from Moses Harvey ? - I gave them to Mr. Kirby my master.

- KIRBY sworn.

I am keeper of Woodstreet Compter, I received three silver tea-spoons from my servant, Moses Harvey had marked them, and a Mr. Ward that was present when the man was searched, he mentioned it, I took them from my man, and delivered them to Fletcher the constable.

JOHN FLETCHER sworn.

I am constable, these are the spoons that were given to me before the sitting Alderman, here is the tinder box and matches, the crow and pick-lock keys, one of these keys opened Mr. Delport's door, but I cannot tell which it was.

To Prosecutor. Look at these spoons? - They are my own.

PRISONER BURNE's DEFENCE.

My Lord I was that evening in St. Martins Le Grand, it was my way home to go down Monkwell-street, coming down I saw two men run swiftly by me down Noble-street, and I saw these three keys drop, I picked them up and run after them, and one turned up a court in Noble-street, and I thought I saw the other man by him, and I run after him; in Falcon-square a man came up and stopped me, I said I did not know any thing about the matter, he jumped upon me and threw me down, he got up again and said he would secure me for a thief, so he brought me back to this man's house, as for that iron crow I know nothing about it, I never had it in my hand, I have friends here.

Court. What are you? - I am a weaver .

The prisoner Burne called two witnesses who gave him a very good character.

PRISONER BARTON's DEFENCE.

I came from Richmond with a barge that evening, I came to Queenhithe and I made the barge fast to go to Finch-lane, coming along I heard the cry of stop thief, and that gentleman accosted me and said he believed I was the thief, because I was the foremost person, that is all that I know.

How came you by these spoons? - I know nothing at all concerning the spoons.

Nor the tobacco box? - Yes, I own to that, I had it in my pocket.

How came you by tinder in your tobacco box? - It is a necessary that I make use of on board the barge, I had witnesses last week and yesterday, I had two when I was called up last night on my trial, and they went away, and are not here now, I know nothing of this prisoner, I never saw him before; as to that man swearing that he look the spoons from me it is false.

Court. He is a witness who is above all suspicion, who says he saw the man take something from you which he concealed and put into his pocket.

Court to Jury. Gentlemen, for the boy I am afraid he has been instructed that it would be of service to him to go so far as he has done, with respect to some future explanation.

Court to Jury. Gentlemen, that there was a burglary by two men is proved to a demonstration, I think, because the door was safe at half past eight, or a quarter before nine, and very soon afterwards the street door and parlour door were open, and the parlour door forced, and things taken out of the drawers of the bureau in that parlour, and when three spoons were actually missing, there can be no doubt but somebody had found means to enter that house by some false key, for the purpose of plundering the house, and had gone some length towards doing it, for the spoons were actually taken away, and the moving the things but an inch is a feloniously taking; the taking the things out of the drawer, and laying them down with intention to convey them away, is a felonious taking, and there is no doubt but the two men who run down stairs, one of whom struck Delport, were the thieves; the only question is, whether the prisoners are the men, Burne is sworn to by the prosecutor as the man that struck the blow; and in confirmation of his evidence, this blow being struck with iron, you find when B urne was apprehended in Falcon-square, he threw something from him which appeared to be an iron crow, he had pick-lock keys in his pocket, one of which actually opened Mr. Delport's door, but the circumstance of the crow sticks to him: I think there is no doubt with respect to Burne; the evidence is different with respect to Barton, Mr. and Mrs. Delport, and Whittingham, do not take upon themselves to swear to Barton, but each say he was in a light coloured great coat, and the evidence is, that Barton had on a light coloured great coat, and he was taken running in the same track, and when taken to the compter and searched, there was found upon him, if you believe the Jew, three silver tea-spoons, which tea-spoons are positively sworn to by the prosecutor; and the prisoner judges well for himself in saying that he knew nothing of the spoons, as he did not get rid of them, and he tells you that the Jew swore falsely; the real complexion of the Jew's conduct is, that he had a wish to finger these spoons, that I am very much inclined to believe, but though he did not deliver them before, he did deliver them, and how should he come by them, he was a prisoner himself before, and Mr. Freer saw him take something from the prisoner Barton, which he did not shew to them, but put in his pocket, he produced the spoons the next day; I think now it would be too much to entertain any serious doubt whether these spoons were found on the prisoner Barton, and if they were found upon him, it is better evidence than fifty people swearing to the identity of his person.

PATRICK BURNE , CHARLES BARTON ,

GUILTY Death .

Tried by the first London Jury before Mr. Baron EYRE .