Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 17 August 2022), September 1785, trial of ELIZABETH DALTON (t17850914-24).

ELIZABETH DALTON, Theft > shoplifting, 14th September 1785.

748. ELIZABETH DALTON was indicted for feloniously stealing on the 15th day of September last, fourteen linen handkerchiefs, value 14 s. the property of Joseph Earle , privily in his shop .

JOSEPH EARLE sworn.

I am a linen-draper in the Strand , on Monday the 12th of September I lost fourteen linen handkerchiefs, between the hours of five and six in the evening; the prisoner was in the shop when I came into the shop, I saw something about her hands and cloak as she went out of the shop, and I suspected her.

Court. Did you see her put any thing under her apron or cloak? - No, I cast my eye on a pile of pocket handkerchiefs, and observed it appeared as if some of them were gone, the top one appeared to be moved out of its place, I then stepped after her, she was then got about twenty yards from the door, I tapped her upon the shoulder, and begged her to come back, she came back, I desired her to sit down, then she run out again; says she, what business have you to desire me to stay here, or words to that effect; I pursued her, she ran very fast, and was got some distance before I could catch her, then I took her to the beadle's, and he examined her, and found nothing upon her.

JOHN JOHNSON sworn.

I happened to be coming across the street, I walked pretty fast, and I met this young woman full-butt; and in the meantime, the gentleman came up and tapped her on the shoulder, and told her to come back to the shop; while she was turning back, I saw these handkerchiefs drop from her, I picked them up, and followed with them, and gave them to Mr. Earle in the shop, and I thought she had bought them and lost them.

Prosecutor. These are the handkerchiefs that the black brought, some we charge at three shillings, and these eleven linen handkerchiefs were thrown down an area where she ran by; they were in the shop when she was in it, I put them in the window in the morning myself.

JANE HOLLOWAY sworn.

I saw these handkerchiefs tumble down the area, but I did not see who threw them; I live about a hundred and twenty doors off.

Court to Prosecutor. In your pursuit of this prisoner, did you pass Mrs. Holloway's house? - Yes, I suppose twenty yards.

DANIEL WILLIS sworn.

I was in the shop between five and six in the afternoon, this woman came in, and asked to look at some lawns, while I was shewing her some, I saw her with her hand in her pocket as if she was putting something under her apron.

Did you see these handkerchiefs in the shop at that time? - No, not at that time, I saw them in the morning, I did not miss them at that moment, I suspected her, and I kept her in suspence as long as I could, till somebody came into the shop; she told the price of some lawn, I told her it was two shillings and two-pence; she asked me to take two shillings. I told her I would cut her half a yard for one shilling; she went out of the shop, and my master brought her back, and she went away again, and the black brought the handkerchiefs.

PRISONER's DEFENCE.

I am sure I am innocent, I do not know who might take them out.

Prosecutor. I put them in the window in the morning, I do not recollect they were shewn to anybody.

The prisoner called two witnesses, who gave her a very good character.

GUILTY Of stealing, to the value of 3 s.

Transported for seven years .

Tried by the second Middlesex Jury before Mr. Baron HOTHAM .