Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 06 December 2023), December 1789, trial of THOMAS DAVIS (t17891209-94).

THOMAS DAVIS, Theft > shoplifting, 9th December 1789.

95. THOMAS DAVIS was indicted for stealing, on the 5th of December , one thickset waistcoat, value 10 s. one child's thickset coat, value 3 s. the property of John Williams , privily in his shop


I am wife of John Williams , who keeps a clothes shop , in Fore-street on Saturday the 5th of December, I was behind the counter serving a young woman with a blue apron; and the prisoner and another (who was taller) came into the shop: the tall one asked for some stockings, he said, he was very particular in colour, they must be pepper and salt, with a small rib; I reached one pair to the tall one; the prisoner was behind; the prisoner said, Sir, if you like them, have them; the woman gave me half a guinea to pay for her apron; the tall one asked the price of the stockings: I said, three shillings; and I heard something move behind the tall prisoner and the young woman, as I was weighing the money; that was the prisoner; he was behind the tall one till that time; I never saw his face; I looked up from weighing the money, and the prisoner went out; the tall one threw down the stockings, and ran out; and I missed the property; the prisoner was brought back in ten minutes; I am sure the prisoner is the same man; the prisoner has been at our shop before.


I was in the shop: I felt something at my back, and I instantly turned round and saw the prisoner with something under his left arm.

Did not you see them moving? - No, I did not; he was going off the threshold at the door, about a yard and a half from the shelf; I saw the colour of the things, but whether they were both there, I do not know; I do not know what became of the other man; I am sure this is the man that was brought back, which was in ten minutes.


I took the prisoner and brought him to the prosecutor's house; nothing was on him; there were some things brought in by somebody, but who I cannot tell.


I am one of the marshalmen; I live near the prosecutor; I heard the cry of stop thief; I ran out; the prisoner was just stopped; I brought him to the house; and soon after I was there, this property was brought back, all over dirt.

Prisoner. My master is here: I was coming from my father's house; there was a cry of stop thief; and they stopped me, and took me.

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


The prisoner's father appeared and promised to take care of him.

Court to the Father. You are very much obliged to the Jury.

The prisoner's Father to the Jury. Gentlemen, I am your most obedient humble servant.

Tried by the London Jury before Mr. RECORDER.