Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 15 October 2018), December 1785, trial of GEORGE DUNSTAN (t17851214-3).

GEORGE DUNSTAN, Theft > housebreaking, 14th December 1785.

3. GEORGE DUNSTAN was indicted for feloniously breaking and entering the dwelling house of Elizabeth Bagshaw , widow , she being therein, about the hour of twelve at noon, on the 24th of November last, and feloniously stealing therein nine pair of silk stockings, value 54 s. and ten pair of ribbed cotton stockings, value 30 s. her property .

ELIZABETH BAGSHAW sworn.

I live in North Audley-street, Grosvenor-square ; I keep a hosier's shop , I was at home the 24th of November last, I was in my parlour behind my shop, my shop door was fastened, I was just got in from the shop into the parlour, to sit down by the fire; this was about twelve at noon; the door was on the latch, it was not locked, it is a whole door, a folding door.

Court. The whole door was latched? - Yes; I heard mention of the door being open, I immediately rose up and went into the shop, and I saw the prisoner with two of my bundles of stockings in his hand, just taken off the window; they contained what is mentioned in the indictment.

Court. What may be the value of the stockings? - Three pounds: I immediately ran to the door, and another man attempted to hinder me from coming out; I said you rascal, and ran out, and cried out stop thief; the boy was stopped with the stockings.

JANE LOW sworn.

I saw the prisoner come out of the shop with the two bundles in his hand, I was on the area steps, I was going down from the area steps, I swear to the boy, I saw him run away with the bundle.

Prisoner. I never was in the shop, a man gave them to me to carry.

THOMAS RANNS sworn.

I was coming along North Audley-street, and I heard this gentlewoman halloo out, stop thief! and I followed him, and I took him with the stockings.

(The stockings produced and deposed to.)

THOMAS WATERS sworn.

I saw the boy when the stockings were upon the ground: he was taken in the passage; that was the bundle; here are two bundles.

- BUTCHER sworn.

I heard the prosecutrix had been robbed, I came out of my own shop, and went into her's, and the prisoner was taken to the watch-house, with the bundles; and from thence to the rotation-office; he was searched in the watch-house, these are the bundles: the bundles were opened at the watch-house, about twelve at noon.

Court to Boy. How old are you? - Almost fourteen; my father had sent me out with some work to sell, and as I was coming along home up this street, a young fellow was at the door, and he had on a striped coat, and he called me on one side, and he asked me to carry them to the public-house at the corner, and stop for him; I was going along, and I heard the cry of stop thief; I never was in the shop.

THOMAS APLETREE sworn.

I have known the prisoner upwards of three or four years.

What is his father? - A child's pump maker; I never knew any thing dishonest of the boy in my life, I would trust him with untold gold; I have trusted him at houses where I have been at work; I take him to be fourteen or fifteen.

HENRY STEEL sworn.

I have known him about eight or nine years, I always took him to be as pretty a boy as ever went of an errand, he worked for me; his father is a shoe-maker.

MARTIN JONES sworn.

I have known him from a child, I never knew him guilty of a dishonest thing in my life; he worked with his father.

What is his father's character? - A very honest man; he has lived in the place now thirty years.

SARAH ROUND sworn.

I know him to be a very honest lad, I have known him seven or eight years, I am a child's pump maker.

MARY WILSON sworn.

I have known him about five years, I never heard anything against him.

ELIZABETH APLETREE sworn.

I have known him ever since he has been in petticoats, I remember when he was christened; I always knew him to be a very honest lad, and worked very hard, and his parents are honest too.

GUILTY, Death .

He was humbly recommended to mercy by the Jury, and the Judge added on account of his age, and as it appeared that he acted at the instigation of another person .

Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Mr. Justice WILLES.