Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 05 December 2021), January 1794, trial of LYON LEVI otherwife LEVY LEVI (t17940115-29).

LYON LEVI, Royal Offences > coining offences, 15th January 1794.

97. LYON LEVI otherwife LEVY LEVI was indicted for that he, on the 25th of November , a piece of false seigned, and counterfeit money to the likeness of a halfpenny, unlawfully, and feloniously, did make, coin, and counterfeit .

Indicted in a second COUNT with feloniously, making; and coining in like manner a farthing.

(The indictment was opened by Mr. Cullen and the cafe by Mr. Feilding.)

JOHN COOKE sworn.

I am an officer of the police; I know the prisoner at the bar, he lives in the parish of St. Botolph, Aldgate, in Lower East Smithfield. On the 25th of November last, I went to a house in Lower East Smithfield , from the information I received there was coining there, I went about seven o'clock in the morning.

Q. Was it the prisoner's house? - I cannot say that, he was there; I, in company with West and Riley, went into the barber's shop, they are two officers belonging to the same office; the prisoner at the bar was in the shop, and another man, standing by the fire.

Q. Where did you find them in the barber's shop? - Below stairs.

Q. Is the prisoner a barber? - Yes, I told him to shut his front door, he said he would, but desired I would not make a noise, I told him I had information that there was coining in his house, supposing it to be his house; immediately we secured the man that was standing by the fire and him, and took them along with us; we took them both into the back room on the same floor; in the interim of time there came a third man to the back door.

Q. Describe that back door? - There is a passage that leads through by the side of the shop, and there is a door behind, but you must come in at the front door first before you can come to the back door; on the right hand is the door of the shop, and then you go along the passage by the door of the shop. He came into the back room, into the same room where we were and we secured him. I acquainted the prisoner that we must find the cellar, I asked for the key of the cellar door and which way we should get in it? he hesitated some moments, but at last he went up stairs as I thought to bring the key, but he came down without it, in about a minute not exceeding more; then Mr. West insisted he would tear the floor openif he did not shew him the way into the cellar; says he, hold your tongue and I will, he then opens a closet door, in the same back room where we were, and shews us a trap batch door at the bottom of the closet, we then lifted the trap batch up, there was no stairs to go down into the cellar, but a chair at the bottom; I dropped down on the chair with a candle, and there I perceived the implements for coining which I now produce; these two dies I found in the press, these farthings I found some in the box and round the press; the other dies were about the press, close to the press, and I found a quantity of blanks, I suppose they were for halfpence, and likewife a quantity of blanks for farthings; I then put them all together and proceeded to take down the press and get them up in the back room, in the mean time the prisoner at the bar escaped, that is all I can say.

Q. Did you go up stairs? - I did.

Q. Who did you find there? - I did not go rightly into the room, I saw a woman and some children in the bed.

Q. There is a further door at which the third man came in, did it go into the shop or only into this back room? - It goes into the back room, and from thence into the shop.

Q. Between the back room and the shop there is a door that communicates? - There is.

Q. Is there any light at all, except what you carried down, in the cellar? - No, there is nothing but a front place that they may open, which comes into the street.

Q. The door that communicates with the shop was not locked? - It was not.

Q. Do you know how long that man had lived there? - I do not.

Mr. Knapp. You have told my lord just now that you don't know whose house it was? - I do not.

Q. Do you know whether the man, the prisoner at the bar, was a journeyman or a master hair dresser? - I do not.

Court. Did it appear to you that the man was carrying on business for himself there? - It did.

Mr. Knapp. Did you understand that he had a room up stairs? - I understood that his family was up stairs.

Q. He was an hair dresser you know? - He may be an hair dresser for what I know, I know he shaved a man while I was there.

Q. There are two other tenants in this house I understand? - I understood there were some people up stairs.

Q. Did you understand at the time that all the part of the house that this prisoner had, was the shop in which he performed his business, and that his bed room was up stairs? - I understood that he occupied the whole, being the landlord he might let it out.

Q. We understand then that he was the very person, when you told him your business, that gave you all the information; he went down with you in the cellar? - No, he did not.

Q. Did all the officers go down at that time? - Only me and Mr. West, John Riley was left up stairs.

Q. You have been speaking of three men, one of them came in at the back door, and another was sitting by the fire, do youknow whether these men occupied any part of that house? - I do not know either way.

Q. One of my learned friends asked you just now, whether there is not a communication between the shop and back parlour? - There was, they were both on a floor.

Q. Whether he occupied that parlour or had let it out you cannot say? - I cannot say.

Court. I understood you to have told us that West insisted on rising up the floor, if the prisoner did not shew you the way into the cellar; and with that theprisoner said hold your tongue, and that he, the prisoner, opened the closet door, and shewed the hatch; nobody else shewed it? - Nobody at all.

JOHN WEST sworn.

I went with Cooke and Riley the 25th of November, to search the cellar under this man's premises.

Q. Does it happen to you, to know any thing of the prisoner? - I know that he occupied them premises for many months before; I can say, ten; I know he acted as master of the shop, and he even told me so himself, in the summer time.

Q. Now on this day when you went, tell us what you have done, or what you did? - I went into the shop in the morning about seven o'clock, he was sitting by the fire with one that we suspected to be one of the coiners; I knew him to be a Jew, and knew him well; I took the candle that was burning out of the sconces, and could not find any door to enter into the cellar; I was a little struck at that; I insisted on knowing the way into the cellar, and the cellar door that came out into the street was barricadoed up. It was a slap barricadoed up altogether, fastened on purpose to work by candle all hours of the day; we saw a glimmering of light the Sunday evening before, and they were at work as we imagined. This was Monday morning we found them. On Sunday evening, passing by here, we observed the glimmering of a light, we went on purpose then to make the search. I was desirous of finding the way into the cellar from within; as soon as I insisted on going down, or pulling up the floor, the prisoner said, be easy and quiet, you will hurt my business, and pointing to the two men, signifying that they were the two coiners; the one that sat in the room inside, and the other that was by the fire side when we came in, and said, you are right, he went up stairs, and down again, in less than a minute, and when he came down, he opened the closet door, which was in the room, where he, and his family cohabits and lives.

Q. What part of his family were on the premises? - I don't know, he has got a wife, and a child or two, I believe.

Q. Was his wife there? - Not then.

Q. At any time before, did you ever know his wife to be there with him in that room? - I cannot say, I did. When he came down, he went to this closet where the drop door was, and he opened the drop door to the best of my knowledge.

Court. Was it fastened by a lock and key? - No, it opened without.

Q. Was there any lock to the closet-door, out of which closet led to the trap-door? - Not that I saw. Cook went into the cellar with me.

Q. What became of the prisoner, did he come down into the cellar with you? - No. We staid in the cellar, I suppose, twenty minutes; I cried out to Mr. Riley, stop them two men, don't suffer them to make their escape! The prisoner, however, made his escape; the other man, we took before the magistrate. And I found these things in company with Cook, and a great deal more.

Mr. Knapp. You have been in court while the other witness was examined? You heard what he said? - I did.

Q. You heard him, perhaps, say, that he did not know, whether this back parlour belonged to the prisoner, or no? - I know his wife lighted a fire before I came away.

Q. Did not you understand that where his wife and family lived, was up stairs? - I don't know that, I understood that he kept the whole house, and let it out in lodgings.

Q. Did not you understand, that he had a room up stairs, where his wife and children were? - I never was up stairs. I understood him to keep the whole house.

Q. Did not you understand, that helet out the house in tenements to different people? - I did.

Q. Then, whether he occupied the back parlour, you don't know? - I have seen him there many a time, it looks as if he occupied it.

Q. Perhaps, it looks as if you would have a reward, if these men were convicted? - I know nothing of a reward. I know it now, you have told me.

Q. With respect to the room? - His wife was not there then. There were some women that came down, his wife, or his sister, for what I know.

Q. You immediately told the prisoner what you came about, that there was coining in the house? and then he said, be easy, don't hurt me? - He said so, he was about two yards distant from me. Hush, says he, be quiet, and I will let you know, and then he pointed to the two men.

Q. Those were the two men that were given in charge? He himself pointed to the trap door which led to the cellar, and every thing where the things were found? there he staid, and shewed you? - Because he could not help himself, and because it could not be there without his knowledge; if he had not, I would have pulled up the floor; I went up with that intent.

Q. However, he did tell you, and shewed you where you wanted to go.

JOHN NICHOLS sworn.

Q. Be so kind as to look at them particular things, and explain them before the Jury? - The farthings are counterseits; there can be no doubt, but these dies are what stampt the farthings. There are no halfpence finished, only cut out into blanks.

Court. Is that apparatus completely sufficient for the purpose of coining halfpence and farthings? - They are compleatly sufficient.

Prisoner. I have nothing to say further, than that I work for Mrs. Bare, at hired work, and she pays me fourteen shillings a week; that is all I can say in my defence.

Mr. Knapp. I think, this is not evidence sufficient to go to a jury; there is no evidence of the back room being his.

Court. I think there is sufficient to the judge's satisfaction.

GEORGE DICKSON sworn.

I know the prisoner at the bar.

Q. Do you know any thing of any house of Bare, and where is it situated? - I am rent gatherer of an estate in Upper East Smithfield.

Q. Do you gather rents at a house, where the prisoner has an apartment? - I do.

Q. Who do you get the rent or taxes from? - From Frances Bare, her husband's name was Lewis Bare, and after he died, she has kept the house on, and I have received the rent of her.

Q. You have not received rent of any other person but her? - I have not.

Q. Will you be kind enough to look at these receipts? - They are my handwriting.

MARK LETTICE sworn.

I know the prisoner at the bar.

Q. Where does he live? - In Haydon-yard in the Minories.

Q. Do you know where the prisoner used to work? - In Mrs. Bare's shop.

Q. Do you know, whether there are any other tenants in the house? - I don't know who lived there.

Court. Pray, is Mrs. Bare living? - Yes.

Q. Do you know what part of the house the prisoner occupied? - I don't know that he occupied any other place, no farther than he shaved there.

MICHAEL MYERS sworn.

I live in Jury-street, Aldgate; I ama glass-cutter. I know the prisoner at the bar, he had the first floor at Mrs. Bare's in East Smithfield, he was a hairdresser there; he took the premises of Mrs. Bare; he was journey man to Mrs. Bare.

Do you know where his wife and family were? - I do not.

Mr. Cullen. You say the prisoner occupied the first floor? - Yes, he did.

Mr. Knapp What was his character? - A hard working young lad.

HENRY MOSES sworn.

He used to buy things at my shop, and paid me very honett; he is a journeyman barber .

GUILTY . (Aged 21.)

Imprisoned in Newgate for twelve months and fined 1s.

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