Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 05 August 2021), April 1787, trial of MARGARET DARNELL (t17870418-61).

MARGARET DARNELL, Theft > shoplifting, 18th April 1787.

390. MARGARET DARNELL was indicted for stealing, on the 30th day of March last, one dozen of desert knives and forks, value 6 s. the property of James White , privily in his shop .


I am an ironmonger and cutler in Holborn, near Chancery-lane ; on the 30th of March in the evening, about nine, the prisoner came into my shop under a pretence of buying some knives; I was writing behind my counter; my man shewed her several sorts; they did not suit her; at last she wanted some tacks, and asked the price of them, he told her three half-pence a hundred; she said, that was too much; I said to the man, she does not want any thing; she turned round to go out, and my man missed the parcel of knives; they were done up to go away; he immediately seized her by the cloak and pulled her cloak off; she left that behind her; she almost knocked the man down; my man has the property.


I saw the prisoner come into the shop; I have no doubt but it is the same woman; she asked for some small knives; I shewed her the sort; she said, she thought they were too dear; I looked on the counter where the knives and forks stood; I saw them just before I reached out the drawer; when I looked the second time, I saw but one parcel; I caught hold of her, and asked her what she had under her cloak; she made no answer, but went towards the door; hercloak came off in my hand; I pursued and took her just on the outside of the door; just as I took hold of her, the things were thrown down; I picked them up and carried them into the shop, and found they were one of the two parcels that lay in the shop; she leaned exactly on that part of the counter; the cloak spread over the knives that I could not see her take them.

- PATRICK sworn.

I was going to the prosecutor's house with a pint of beer; I guarded her from dinging it out of my hand; I saw her throw something down; it was taken up immediately; that was the parcel.

(Deposed to by the prosecutor having his shop mark on it.)

Thomas. They were looked out that evening; one parcel were table knives, the other desert knives; she only took the deserts.

What is the value of these? - Six shillings.


I was sent for a penny-worth of nails; I went to this shop, and they charged me three half-pence; there were two women in the shop when I went in; they went out while I was there; as I was going out I saw the parcel lay; I never touched it.

Prosecutor. There was no other person in the shop.

Thomas. There was nobody.

GUILTY Of stealing, but not privily .

Transported for seven years .

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