Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 21 May 2018), December 1785, trial of JOSEPH LEONARD GEORGE WILSON otherwise JACKSON (t17851214-2).

JOSEPH LEONARD, GEORGE WILSON, Theft > burglary, 14th December 1785.

2. JOSEPH LEONARD and GEORGE WILSON otherwise JACKSON were indicted for burglariously and feloniously breaking and entering the dwelling house of John Dickins , about the hour of eight in the night, on the 2d day of December , and burglariously stealing therein, two cloth coats, value 20 s. one pair of black silk breeches, value 7 s. one black silk waistcoat, value 2 s. three pair of nankeen breeches, value 20 s. six linen shirts, value 20 s. one waistcoat, value 12 d. two linen waistcoats, value 3 s. one pair of iron shoe buckles plated with silver, value 6 d. one cotton gown, value 10 s. one petticoat, value 2 s. one white sattin cloak, value 2 s. one ditto, value 2 s. his property; two cloth coats, value 5 s. one great coat, value 2 s. one shirt, value 3 s. one handkerchief, value 1 s. one pair of napkeen breeches, value 1 s. two waistcoats, value 2 s. the property of Joseph Ball , in the same dwelling house .

A second court, For stealing the same goods, on the same day, in the dwelling house of the said John Dickins .

(The Case was opened by Mr. Silvester.)

ANN MURPHY sworn.

I am servant to Mr. Dickins the attorney , No. 8, Holborn-court, Grays-Inn , on the ground floor, between eight and nine I heard a double knock at the door, I went to the door, the prisoner Leonard asked me if Mr. Dickins was at home, the other prisoner was behind him, he did not speak to me; then Leonard asked me if Mr. Dickins was at home, I said, no, he immediately drew out a pistol, and I said, O Lord! and he said hush, immediately; then he laid hold of my arm, and told me to go in; I said I would not, and he told me if I did not, I was a dead woman; from thence we come into the room, and the other prisoner followed him, and then the prisoner Leonard held his pistol and stood over me in a corner of the room, and bid me stand still; then Wilson took a great coat that hung behind the door, from thence he went to the book-case, and took out two coats, one a green one, and the other a grey coat, and from thence he went to the desk, and took a black cloak and a pair of stockings, and ran up immediately to me, and told me he would tie my arms behind me, and stop my mouth if I was not quiet, and I told him he should not; and from thence he opened the bed chamber door, and went through the bed chamber door, and through the kitchen to the parlour door, then he took a pair of wet nankeen breeches off the line, and a striped waistcoat, and a wet shirt that was not finished, out of the pan; from thence he went into the bed-chamber, and opened three or four drawers, and out of one of them he took half a dozen shirts that were doubled up for ironing, he threw them down on the floor to make a bundle of them.

Did you see him do all this? - I heard him open the drawers, when I was in the next room; and he took a pair of black sattin breeches, and a black sattin waistcoat, and half a dozen neck handkerchiefs, and there was a new coat of my master's, and a black coat of my master's hanging up at the side of the bed-chamber, and a dark muslin gown.

Look at the two young men at the bar? - I am sure them are the two young men that entered into the door, I am very sure, because they bid me hide my face, and I told them I would not, and I looked in their faces all the time they were with me; the prisoner Leonard was brought back to me in ten minutes, I did not see Wilson till the next morning, but I am sure he is the same man.

Had you a light? - I had.

What became of the light while they were riffling the places? - There was another candle in the window, and he lighted it, and Wilson was with me while the other was in the bed-chamber with the other candle; they had nothing over their faces, I looked in their faces all the while, and I am sure of them; they might be in the chamber a quarter of an hour, but I am sure they were the men.

Was the door open or shut when they forced you in, and went in with you? - Wilson staid behind and shut the door, while Leonard held the pistol to me, that I should not make any alarm.

JOHN DICKINS sworn.

I live at No. 8, Holborn-court, Grays-Inn; on the 2d of this month, between eight and nine, I heard a double knock at the door, the girl came and asked me, if I should be at home to anybody, I told her not at that hour; she then went to the door and opened it, it was locked withinside, I then heard a man enquire if I was within, and in the space of a second or two, I heard the girl cry out, O Lord! I got from the chair where I was sitting by the fire, the door was close to me, and I saw the prisoner Leonard with a pistol at the girl's head, and I saw another man with him, but I cannot say it was the prisoner Wilson; for I did not observe him so much; the girl had a candle in her hand, I immediately thought of making my escape, there are two rooms, there was a bolt under the lock at each door, I bolted it, I then threw up the sash of the window, and got out into the Duchy Court, where my chambers look into, my chambers are on the ground floor, I then went into the Duchy office, and made an alarm from one of their windows which looks into Coney-court, and we called, porter, porter, a long time before we made anybody hear, upon their coming to us, I told them there were thieves in my chambers, and begged of them to come; I then went back to the window, and saw the candle on the table, and the door shut; in about a quarter of a minute I thought I heard the girl cry out, I sent somebody to put too my outward door on the outside, which had a staple and a hasp, and I understood afterwards, it was put too by a boy that was there, and I found the door made fast afterwards; in a few minutes afterwards Mr. Jones, the porter, and a lamp-lighter, went into the chambers at the window, and I went to the window and saw the prisoner Leonard come along very deliberately, he was in a scarlet coat, and had a pistol in one hand, he came up to the window, and said now for it, and held the pistol; he run into Gray's Inn-lane, in five minutes he was brought back again, Leonard got out and he run towards Grays Inn-lane, I saw the prisoner Leonard in my room, and I saw the property, it was my property part of it.

Court. The only view you had of the prisoner Leonard, was by looking through a key hole, and when you saw him in the window? - I have no doubt of his being the man I apprehended, these are my shirts but they have no marks, they have been in the possession of the girl ever since; they were not carried out of my chambers, only taken out of one room into another; I value the two coats at twenty shillings, and my shirts, I value at three shillings, a piece, here are almost a new pair of black sattin breeches, I value them at seven shillings, I believe I put in the waistcoat at two shillings in the indictment; I suppose upon the most moderate calculation the things are worth five pounds.

JOHN JONES sworn.

I am one of the porters belonging to Gray's Inn; on the 2d of December, about twenty-five minutes after eight, I heard the cry of porter; and as there had been some little time before, a depredation in a gentleman's chambers, I went to the Duchy office, I went to the outward door of Mr. Dickins's chambers, by their desire, and found the door secured; I then came round to the window with Mr. Stephen Hilton , and went through the two rooms, and opened two rooms, and opened a slide of the door, and immediately the prisoner Wilson presented a pistol to me, and told me if I stirred hand or foot, I was a dead man, I am very clear it was the prisoner Wilson, he had a candle in one hand, and a pistol in the other, I saw the other prisoner to my right, Wilson fronted me immediately, I could not defend myself, the men rushed by, and Leonard held a pistol at another man's breast, and they rushed from us out of the room, they went out of the window.

Court. Are you positively sure that these were the two men? - I am very clear to every thing that I have declared.

Did you observe the things that were in the room? - Yes, the room was strewed with things and linen, there was a quantity that was close to Wilson.

Were they in the two rooms, or in the room where they were? - In the room where they were.

STEPHEN HILTON sworn.

I am the lamp-lighter, I went into Mr. Dickins's chambers, I went to the window, and I went to the fire place, and got hold of a poker; Jones unbolted the door, and the maid came out of the bed room, which was the first room we entered into; and in a room fronting it there was a light, we went abreast of one another as near as possible, and as soon as ever the whole body was in the room, the prisoner, Mr. Leonard, presented a pistol at my side; and the other was with Jones, and he came to me, and he thrust me up against the wainscot, and made his escape out of the window, and the other ran after him.

Jury. You think no other but what these are the two men? - Think no other! I am sure of it, because there is nothing in the world against it, but what they are the men.

But has you an opportunity of observing it, that they are the men? - Certainly I had.

Have you any doubt of it? - None at all, one run into Gray's-Inn-lane, into a little court; he was taken first, that was Leonard.

GEORGE MILES sworn.

I keep a green-stall in Gray's-Inn-lane, No. 36, about half after eight, the 2d of this month, I heard the alarm of stop thief; I heard the thief was gone down Pinner's-court, which is about twenty yards from Gray's-Inn gate, I went down with a lanthorn, and I saw Leonard coming up, the court is no thoroughfare; Leonard said to me that the man was gone over the wall; I held up the lanthorn, and said I believe this is him; and presently Captain Smith in the Inn, at whom he snapped a pistol, said he was the man; I said there is a pistol in his pocket; the gentleman took it out of his pocket, and snapped it, but it did not go off; this is the pistol.

Was the pistol loaded? - Yes, with slugs, two slugs, but no powder in it; there was nothing but the two slugs and some paper.

Court to Murphy. Are these the pistols? - I cannot be sure whether these are the pistols, but I know they held pistols to me.

- LLOYD sworn.

I live in Fox-court, Gray's-Inn-lane, I took the prisoner Wilson on December the 2d, between eight and nine, going from work, between Fulwood's-Rents and Gray's Inn gate; I heard the cry of stop thief about thirty or forty yards from this place, I saw the people run across towards Middle-Row, and I immediately ran after them, and when I came to Staple's-Inn-buildings, they said he was gone up there, I then proceeded up the buildings, and the prisoner was among the crowd; a young man said that is the man, he has a pistol in his hand, I did not then see the pistol; I immediately seized hold of his left hand, and asked him what he had in his hand; he said nothing; I immediately took the pistol out of his hand; the pistol was loaded with slugs and powder, I did not see the priming, but a gentleman the corner of the court said, I will draw out the priming in case they should do one a mischief.

- PARSONS sworn.

I found these buckles and these stockings on the prisoner Wilson, on the 2d of this month, in his right-hand pocket.

(Deposed to.)

Prosecutor. I am positive to the buckles, I know them by one of the teeth of the chapes, I had a pair of such buckles, they were in my shoes in my chamber; I had my boots on then.

Murphy. I am very sure these are the buckles that I saw Wilson take out of my master's shoes, I told him they were not silver, he had no occasion to take them, and he took out another buckle, and I told him the same, and he dropped one of them, and put these buckles in his pocket, and these stockings; he came and told me he would tie me, and put his hand over my mouth; I told him I would not be tied by him, nor yet my breath should not be stopped by him; I am sure they are my master's stockings.

Prosecutor. I am sure they are my stockings, I know them by the mending.

PRISONER LEONARD's DEFENCE.

I have only to say, I know myself to be guilty of the fact; and as this is the first time I ever committed anything in my life, I hope your Lordship will grant me some mercy, and some little time to repent of my sins.

Mr. Justice Willes. What way of life have you been in? - I have been a gentleman's servant .

- FAIRBANK sworn.

The prisoner has lived with a friend of mine, Mr. Meggison, in Hatton-Garden, I think upwards of two years, he behaved then very honest; he has been at my house I suppose 150 times; I told Mr. Meggison to come here, but he declined it; I looked in just by chance, and hearing that declaration from the prisoner, it had an effect on me. I believe he has left Mr. Meggison about six or seven months.

EDWARD SMITH , Esq; sworn.

He was in my service seven months lately, he left it the 1st of November; I have intrusted him with valuables in bank notes and other matters, and money; I had not any doubt of his honesty till this circumstance; I should have given him the character of a perfect honest man, there seemed an indolence about him, which I attributed to his suffering in America; he suffered in his health, and he could not ride well, these are the reasons for which I parted with him; but I kept him in my service nearly two months after I wished to part with him; because I conceived him a worthy man, and that he should not be turned out of service at a time when the town was empty; and when he left my service, I gave him permission to come and take his victuals at my house till he got into service.

What part of the town do you live in? - Charlotte-street, Portland-place; I had an equal good character of him from Mr. Meggison; and he has only served two since his return from America, or in the West-Indies; and he was an officer's servant in America, and has been serving in the navy; I understand he was led away by an improper connection after he left me.

Court to Prisoner Leonard. Was you enlisted in America? - No, my Lord, I was an officer's servant.

Court to Prisoner Wilson. Have you any thing to say? - My master is gone abroad about two months; there was a gentleman said he would come, but I believe he is not come.

BOTH GUILTY , Death .

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