Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 21 February 2018), February 1792, trial of JOHN LEWIS ROBERT PEARCE, alias ARNOLD (t17920215-7).

JOHN LEWIS, ROBERT PEARCE, Theft > housebreaking, 15th February 1792.

113. JOHN LEWIS , and ROBERT PEARCE, alias ARNOLD , were indicted for burglariously and feloniously breaking and entering the dwelling-house of George Baker and Richard Baker , on the 20th of January last, and feloniously stealing therein three pieces of thread lace, value 20 l. the goods and chattels of the said George and Richard, and in their dwelling-house .

(Mr. Garrow opened the case.)

FRANCIS DETERNEAU sworn.

The prosecutor lives in St. Paul's Churchyard : on the 19th of January, about eight o'clock at night, I fastened all the shutters; I was alarmed about four or five in the morning, and when I came down the house was broke open.

WILLIAM TULLY sworn.

I am a watchman: I saw two men near Messrs. Bakers; I was on the South side of St. Paul's Church-yard; I went round my beat; I saw nobody; I put my light under the table of a Mrs. Hannah Sheppard ; I went round my beat again, and saw nobody; I turned to my left; I pushed smartly up to the Tobit's-dog, in the corner, where they water the horses; I saw two men standing there; I asked them what they wanted; I did not know the men; these are not the men; they knocked at the door, and asked for some beer; I told them they could not get any; they went away; I went and got my lantern; I got up to Mr. Baker's shutters, and found them loose, next to Mr. Wells's door; I drawed myself off, and sprung my rattle twice round, and I heard the windows rouse open; I saw the prisoner Lewis come out; I dropped my lantern, and pursued him; Stannell struck at him; we then pursued him to Pater-noster-row, and Francis Coles stopped him; he ranabout a hundred yards; he had no hat on; we conveyed him to the watch-house; Stannell offered him a hat, he asked the prisoner if it was his hat; he said, yes, it will fit my head.

HENRY STANNELL sworn.

I am a watchman, in St. Paul's Churchyard: I heard a rattle; I saw Lewis coming out of Messrs. Bakers' window; before I could get across the way, he was running towards me; I made a blow at him, and tried to hit him across the shoulder; I found his hat under Messrs. Bakers' window; I went into the watch-house; I said, friend, is this your hat? he said he believed it would fit his head.

Jury. Did he say it was his own? - No.

FRANCIS COLES sworn.

I am a porter at the water-side; I had carried a load to Newgate-market, and was returning to bring another; I stopped Lewis.

Prisoner Lewis. That evidence before the Lord-Mayor could not then swear to me. - I did.

- HARRINGTON sworn.

I am a patrol: I found twelve pieces of lace on Lewis; and an iron crow was found very near him.

JOSEPH GREEN sworn.

I am a watchman; I was in the watch-house; I took a piece of lace out of Lewis's pocket.

JAMES M'GUIRE sworn.

I was constable of the night on the night this robbery was committed; I produce what was taken from Lewis; there was nothing found on Pearce.

GEORGE BAKER sworn.

I am in partnership with my brother; I was alarmed between five and six in the morning; I jumped up, and ran into my brother's room, and said to him, I fear the house is broke open; I went down into the warehouse, and found a bag packed up; the contents was lace, and worth, perhaps, 100 l. there was also in the warehouse a dark lanthorn, and a crow; my windows have folding shutters; the hinges were broke, or wrenched off, and they got into the warehouse by those means. (The lace produced.) The prisoners were both in custody. The lace is our property.

RICHARD BAKER sworn.

These goods are the property of me and my brother.

JAMES MORRIS sworn.

I am a coachman; I came to the stand in St. Paul's Church-yard about a quarter before five in the morning; there was another coach waiting, opposite Dean's-court; I turned into the rank, first coach; I saw three or four people by the coach, near the horses heads; one had a sailor's jacket; there was a signal given, that Gaby would not stand (if they call me Gaby, it is a nickname); I jumped off the box; I gave the watchman alarm to mind my coach; I was going to breakfast; two or three minutes after, coach was called; the saloop-woman told me I was called; I drew my horses down to the curb-stone; Mr. Pearce was ready to get into my coach; then he said, coachman, you must drive me to Holborn-bars; then I was putting on my box-coat, and he said, coachman, don't go any further than Hatton-garden end; when we came near Shoe-lane, he stopped me; and when he got out, he said, coachman, I am going for a midwife; he gave me two shillings; I had a strong suspicion of him; I returned to St. Paul's, and saw the coach described before, standing as first coach; but it drove off immediately, and I turned in first coach again, and somebody said, Gaby was come back again; and then somebody said, we shall all be done; then Bob Pearce came from Mr. Baker's window; I desired Tully to lay hold of Pearce, and I gave charge of Pearce; I went and got some coffee; when I went to the watch-house, Pearce owned me; he said, here is my coachman; then, says I, I will charge you, becauseyou said you were going for a midwife; I had catched him: I have been fired at twice in going round St. Paul's Churchyard, and I would give a hundred guineas to be out of this mess; my life is in danger day and night.

HANNAH SHEPPARD sworn.

I am a saloop-woman; I sit at Mr. Carr's, the corner of St. Paul's Church-yard; I have known the prisoner Pearce three years; I saw a gentleman like Mr. Pearce stand, with his back towards me, on the pavement; the watchman put his lantern under the table; that was before I saw Pearce; I stood about two yards from him; he did not speak to any body, but went across the way, round the corner; there were two coaches in the yard; one was at a distance, the other was first coach, and was Morris's; then somebody called, coach! and I called Mr. Morris; the person who got in I did not see; I believe the man got in on the coach-stand: Mr. Baker's house is about twelve yards from my stand: I saw the man run; I saw another man cross the way to Newbery's; while the gentleman was standing by me, he made a cough, or hem! and the other went to him; then one came back; I believe the person who went hem! was the prisoner Lewis, that came out of Mr. Baker's window, but I cannot swear to him; I believe that Pearce was the man who stood by me, I think so by his clothes.

Mr. Garrow. Did you never say that Pearce was the man who stood by you? - I never could say so positively, only by his clothes: I did not see any two people walking together: in the watch-house he asked me if I saw him walking; I said, yes, Mr. Pearce, I saw you just now cross the way, and stand before the stall; I had no doubt but he was the man who stood before my stall.

Mr. Knowlys. It was a very dark morning, and the lamps almost out? - Yes, Sir.

Did he come up Ludgate-hill? - Yes, Sir.

LUCAS DAVIS sworn.

I am an optician's glass-grinder: on the morning of this robbery my wife was in labour; I was in St. Paul's Church-yard, an' please your Highness, I was near Mr. Baker's shop; I saw Pearce, he had a hat on with what they call the knucklers cock; I saw them go over to the church-rails; I went down Ludgate-hill, and came back again; then I saw Pearce and another man standing by Newbery's; one of them spoke, I don't know which; I went between them, and walked on as far as Mr. Thompson's, in London-house yard; I went to the Goose and Gridiron, and came back again; I walked about the place some time, and on turning round I saw the prisoner Pearce, and a man in a blue jacket, standing; then I saw Freeman, the patrol, and I told the watchman I had some suspicions; about ten minutes after, I went down Ludgate-hill, and at the corner of Ave-Maria-lane I saw Pearce coming down, and he went over to Creed-lane, and there was a man in a blue jacket; I told the watchman there was one of the men who had been lurking about for some time; then they laid hold of Pearce, and as soon as they laid hold of him I heard a rattle; I ran towards the Tobit's-dog, and saw Lewis run over the way; I am positive as to Pearce; I had never seen him before; the lamps gave a very good light, the night itself was dark; I did not speak to Pearce, or Pearce to me; the first time I saw him might be five-and-thirty minutes after four in the morning.

THOMAS PURVIS sworn.

I was working from Paul's-wharf to Newgate-market; I am a porter.

(This witness was desired to look at the bar, and Owen and another were ordered to stand up; but the witness declined swearing to either of the prisoners.)

COLIN MENZIE sworn.

I am a watchman: upon the 20th of January I saw Pearce and Lewis about a quarter past five; I saw Pearce opposite to Mr. Wilson's, near the railing; I took notice of Pearce; Freeman and Weir came up together to me in London-house-yard; up came Pearce again; I knew him again; we wentround again towards Newbery's, and to the foot of Ave-Maria-lane; Fitzgerald laid hold on Pearce at the corner; I saw Lewis secured; I am certain of the man.

RICHARD FITZGERALD sworn.

I was with Menzie; we took Pearce; I went with Davis down towards Ave-Maria-lane; I saw Pearce cross the street; I secured him, and took him to the watch-house; an alarm was given, and the other prisoner was taken.

DANIEL BEER sworn.

I am a watchman: I was with Freeman; I saw Pearce, and another man close by, in a blue jacket; they were in the Tobit's-dog corner; I am sure he is the man; I saw him a quarter of an hour before Lewis was taken.

- FREEMAN sworn.

I do not know either of the prisoners.

HENRY WELLS sworn.

My house was shut up at the time the alarm was given of Messrs. Baker's robbery.

Prisoner Lewis. I do not know any thing of it.

PRISONER PEARCE's DEFENCE.

My Lord, I had been drinking in Newgate-market, and about two o'clock I came with a woman to St. Paul's; she said she would go with me if I would call a coach; I called a coach, and went to Holborn, and from thence to Gough-square; the woman did not go with me, so I thought it was as well to go to somebody that I knew; when I got to Gough-square, I could not get in; therefore I walked back to Creed-lane, No. 2, a place well known: before the aldermen none of the watchmen could swear to me, or even say they knew me.

(The Jury withdrew about ten minutes.)

JOHN LEWIS (Aged 28), ROBERT PEARCE , alias ARNOLD (Aged 40),

GUILTY , Death .

Tried by the London Jury before Mr. COMMON SERJEANT.