Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 24 January 2022), July 1786, trial of ROBERT HICHLEY , otherwise ECCLES (t17860719-23).

ROBERT HICHLEY, Theft > grand larceny, 19th July 1786.

583. ROBERT HICHLEY , otherwise ECCLES , was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 26th of June last, one canvas bag, value 1 s. and eleven guineas, value 11 l. 11 s. the property of Charles John Pugh .

(The witnesses examined apart.)

CHARLES JOHN PUGH sworn.

On Monday the 26th of June, I lost a bag with money in it, there was eleven guineas in it as my wife told me; I am a painter by profession; I have known the prisoner a considerable time; he is not of my profession, but being in distressed circumstances, I have employed him several times; on Monday the 26th of June, I had occasion to employ the prisoner; in consideration of his necessity I permitted him to breakfast, and I sent him for some colours, and having no change in my pocket, I took out of a drawer in a chest of drawers, a bag with gold in it, which I gave my wife, and she gave the prisoner half a guinea for the colours, he went, and returned with the change and the colours; my apartment consists of three rooms, the middle room, in which the property was placed in the drawers, and a front room and back room, the prisoner was employed with me in the front room, my wife went out between eleven and twelve, and the prisoner sometime after complained that the colours we used affected him, and he begged of me to give him a penny for a glass of gin, after he returned he continued for some time, and then said he must go to the necessary; he went out of the middle room door, which he had no occasion to do, there was a door out of the front room which would sooner have taken him on the stair-case, I went and searched for my money, and found it gone; nobody could have taken it but the prisoner possibly, because there was no other person could possibly have access to my apartment, nor knew where the money was but the prisoner; a fortnight after a guinea was found upon him, which I could not identify; he did not return that day; I took out a warrant, but could not hear of him for a fortnight.

Did he see you give your wife the bag of money? - It was in his presence.

Did you stay in the house while he went for the colours? - Yes.

How soon after his first return with the colours was it before your wife went out? - A very short space of time; I continued in the front room.

Mr. Knowlys, prisoner's counsel. You had a good opinion of the prisoner? - Yes.

Mrs. PUGH sworn.

There were thirteen guineas in a bag, I gave him half a guinea, the bag was given to me, I kept it about an hour and a half, my husband took it out of the drawer, when it was out of my hands, I laid it upon the table, and put my clothes on to go out; I took a guinea and a half out for my own use previous to my going out, then I put it in the drawer it was taken out of; he returned with the paint in about twenty minutes.

Did you stay all that time in the middle room? - Yes; I went out and was gone about half an hour or three quarters, the prisoner was in the middle room when I went out drying a brush by the fire, I heard of the loss as soon as I got home; I shut the drawer; it was not locked.

Mr. Knowlys. Are there any other lodgers in the house but yourselves? - No.

There is a master and mistress live below? - Yes; they have no servant; there is a master and mistress three children and a niece and a nephew, I have the first floor.

What trade are the master and mistress of the house? - Brewers.

Where do they carry on their busi ness? - At the sun brewhouse, in Baldwin's Gardens.

They have many people call on them in the course of their business? - Yes.

Have you ever made any application to this young man, or do you know any person that has about this business? - No, Sir, we never made any application, he has offered himself to give a note for the money before the constable, I was present.

FRANCIS UMPAGE sworn.

I am an officer; I had the prisoner in my custody some time, I searched him, and found a guinea in his mouth, he begged that Mr. Pugh would not prosecute him, and he would give him a draft for the remainder of the money.

Mr. Knowlys. You are a runner to an office I understand? - I do not know what you mean, I very seldom run.

That will not content me; I ask you upon the oath you have taken, whether you do not understand the meaning? - I do not go by terms of runner; I do not understand terms.

I ask you upon your oath, do not you understand me? - What do you call a runner, I cannot answer you any such question, I tell you, Sir, I am an officer.

Do you understand me, Sir, when I ask you if you are not a runner to some office? - I have heard them talking of runners and walkers.

Do not you understand the meaning of a runner to an office? - Upon my word you ask me such a question that I cannot answer, you tell me and I will tell you.

With that answer I am not contented; now I ask you what office do you belong to? - I attend Bow-street office.

How long have you so attended? - For these six years.

The last session when you was here what office did you say you belonged to then? - I attended Justice Walker's.

How long have you attended Justice Walker's? - Bow-street and Justice Walker's I have attended six years, I am an officer belonging to a parish.

That is a little different account you know to your being an officer belonging to Bow-street: to what parish do you belong as an officer? - The parish of Clerkenwell.

What office did you attend at last? - I attend now at Bow-street.

You say you have attended at Bow-street six years? - At Bow-street and Justice Walker's six years.

Have not you within the knowledge of the gentlemen within my eye given an account of yourself as attending at all the other offices except Bow-street? - There and at Bow-street for six years.

Have you never from this place been committed to Newgate by this Court, though not prosecuted, for perjury? - No, Sir, nor never will.

Can you say so, Sir? - I tell you no, nor never will be for perjury.

Have you not been committed by this Court within these two sessions for some offence in the face of this Court? - No, Sir, never in my life.

You stick to that? - Yes, Sir, I scorn any person to bring a bad matter upon me.

Have you ever before this session given an account of yourself as an officer attending at Bow-street? - I attended from my first beginning at Bow-street six years, never at no other, only at Justice Walker's and Bow-street.

You have never given an account of your attending at any other office? - Never, I never gave an account of attending Justice Blackborow's.

Are you employed by Sir Sampson Wright? - I go there as a constable, no further than to serve a warrant, or any business that comes in my way.

Prisoner. I sent over to this man yesterday knowing that he had money belonging to me, he came over to me, I said, Frank, it is a hard thing for a man to lay in gaol with only gaol allowance, give me a part of my property, give me a shilling; says he, if you say any more, if you do not slash the matter, says he, I will do you.

Court to Umpage. Did you say so? - Says I, Bob, the guinea I must produce in Court that I took from you, you have had eight shillings, and I cannot give you any more.

Court to Pugh. Was it in your presence that the prisoner offered to give him a note? - It was in my presence, voluntarily offered.

The prisoner called three witnesses, who gave him a very good character.

GUILTY.

Transported for seven years .

He was humbly recommended to mercy by eleven of the Jury.

Tried by the second Middlesex Jury before Mr. Justice ASHURST.