Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 18 February 2018), September 1794, trial of RICHARD WATLEY ROBERT HILL (t17940917-93).

RICHARD WATLEY, ROBERT HILL, Theft > grand larceny, Theft > receiving, 17th September 1794.

551. RICHARD WATLEY was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 25th of August , nine pounds weight of spanish wool, value 1l. 13s. the goods of Samuel Bond : and

ROBERT HILL was indicted for feloniously receiving the same on the same day, knowing it to have been stolen .

DANIEL LYNCH sworn.

I work at Mr. Dolland's, the optician in St. Paul's Church-yard . That man in the black coat ( Richard Watley ) I see stealing the wool; on Friday, the 25th of August, about the hour of twelve o'clock, as near as I can tell, I was at Mr. Dolland's, and was standing against the window, washing my hands, and I saw this man going along, and he stopped nearly opposite to the school; I see him get up to the top of the wheel of the cart, and list up the middlemost bag in the cart, the cart was loaded with bags, there were three bags laid across the body of the cart; he listed up the middlemost of the three, so that he got into the cart, and let the bag rest on his shoulder; after that I see his hand move, as if he was drawing something out of the bag, I could distinguish he was taking something, but could not tell what; I kept my eye on him, and it seemed as if he was stowing it away to somewhere else in the cart, and then he seemed as if he was fastening the bag up again; I did not see him take the wool out of the cart till afterwards, he put the bag down in its place again, and got off the cart; I put my coat on, and ran down stairs immediately, and followed the cart immediately, till it got nearly between Queen's-court and Queen's Arms tavern, there he stopped his cart again; I stepped off the pavement, and went against the iron rails of the church, to see what he was going to do, and he got up on the top of the wheel, and he turned about, as if he was looking atme, and I thought that he saw me, and I turned my head away, and pulled out my watch, as though to see what it was o'clock, and I see him take the basket out of the cart, and bang it underneath the axle-tree of his cart; it is the basket they carry their hay in; after he had done that he went on, and I followed him down into Fleet-market, down at the Arrow public house, there he stopped, and called for a pint of beer, when he called for the pint of beer he drank once out of it, and this other man, that is standing there, he beckoned to him, and he came to him, Watley beckoned to Hill, they drank together, and tasked together for about the space of three minutes, after they had talked together a space of time, Hill went up as if he was going up towards Fleet-street way, and Watley went on with his cart, there was a cart at the Angel door, and there Watley stopped, and took the basket that was at his own cart, and put it to the cart that stood at the Angel door.

Q. Where was Watley at the time that Hill went towards Fleet-street? - He was going on towards Snow-hill; I took the number of that cart at the Angel, 25290, Thomas Potter.

Q. Did you then discover, or have you discovered since, who was the driver of that cart at the Angel door? - We had not discovered then.

Q. Was there any driver by it at that time? - Not any.

Q. This was between twelve and one? - Yes.

Q. What past after this? - After I see him put the basket up into that cart, I followed Watley down to the Swan inn, where this wool was going to be unloaded; as soon as ever he had got into that inn, he set his cart there, and went away and left it.

Q. Do you know what became of the basket after he put it to the cart at the Angel door? - I do not, I still kept following Watley, and left the basket to take its chance.

Q. You say he left his cart? - He left his horse, cart and bags, and all in the Swan inn, and went out of the yard.

Q. Did you see which way Watley went towards? - Fleet-market way, towards where he had left the basket; after I got into the inn, I asked the bookkeeper -

Mr. Knapp. I will not hear that.

Court. Did you stay to watch Watley where he left the cart, or give information to the inn? - I gave information to Mr. Palmer, the book-keeper, I went and asked him if he could tell me was the wool belonged to.

Q. Is he the book-keeper of the inn? - He is.

Q. He got up on the bags and looked at them? - Yes.

Q. Did you direct him to the middlemost bag? - I did.

Q. Did you see the middlemost bag when Palmer took it, and did you observe any opening of the bag? - It appeared to me that there had been wool taken out of it.

Q. How did it appear to have been done? - It appeared to have been opened at one side, by the string being cut where it had been sewed up.

Q. Did you see what the contents of the bag was? - Yes, spanish wool.

Q. Did it appear to you to have been opened and sewed up again? - It was a string run from one end of the bag to the other.

Q. How did it appear to you that the bag had been opened? - It appeared to me that the string had been cut, and drawed out so that it could be put in again.

Q. Had it been drawn up again? - Yes, but still there was the appearance of its having been opened.

Q. Did Palmer weigh the bag in your prefence? - Yes; I went with the person that went with the weight of the bag,and by their books it appeared it was deficient.

Q. Mr. Brookes is a wool broker, is not he? - He is.

Q. Did you see any thing of Hill afterwards, or Watley? - Watley came back again and was taxed about this wool, and denied it; I gave charge of him myself; Mr. Palmer taxed him about it; he said he knew nothing at all about it; he said I was a false man.

Q. Do you live with Mr. Dolland still? - Yes, I have been there these two years and a half.

Q. Did you see any thing afterwards of the basket or Hill? - I never see any thing of the basket after I see him put it on the cart. Mr. Palmer and I went to look after it, but the basket was gone.

Q. Where did you go? - To the Angel door; the cart was standing there, but the basket was gone.

Q. Did you give any information to Potter about the number of the cart? - I gave information to Mr. Brookes, I did not go to see after Mr. Potter.

Mr. Knapp. Lynch, you live with Mr. Dolland? - I work for him in his own house; I have worked so for upwards of these two years.

Q. This happened in St. Paul's Church yard, twelve o'clock in the day? - It was about a quarter after as nigh as I can guess.

Q. A great may persons passing at this time? - I did not look; I had my eye constantly on this man.

Q. Nothing else struck you at all? - Nothing else.

Q. Did not you think it was pretty odd that a man should get up in a cart in St. Paul's Church yard? - Whether it was odd or no he certainly did, that there side is not so public as the other side is.

Q. The carriages go all round by the school? - But I don't think that there was a carriage come by.

Q. You told me just now that you did not take notice where there were any carriages came by? - They might, but I did not fix my eye on them. I fixed my eye on this man, that was my object.

Q. This took up a consideraole time; you followed him down to the Arrow public-house; you must have passed a great number of persons in that space? - I kept close by the side of the cart.

Q. I know you stuck to that like a leech, but you must have passed a great number of persons? - Without a doubt.

Q. Though you see this business carrying forward, a man robbing his master, you did not mention it to any body in the course of that space? - No; I never stopped to speak to any body; I never mentioned it to any body till I got down to the inn, and then I mentioned it to the book-keeper.

Q. Watley came back to the inn, you tell us, and there he was apprehended? - Yes, he came back again after he went away.

Q. And then was taken? - Yes.

Q. And he was taxed with it, and denied it? - That was very impudent, after you had seen him do all this in open day.

Mr. Gurney. Come let us have a word with you. The first time you see the prisoner Hill was coming out of the public-house? - The first time I see Hill he was talking to Watley.

Q. Was he not coming out of the public-house as Watley was going in? - Watley never went into the public-house; he stood at the door.

Q. Did not you see Hill come out of the public-house? - I never saw him come out at all.

Q. Did not Watley and Hill happen to meet there at this place? - Watley went and beckoned to Hill, and then they came together and talked.

Mr. Knowlys. When you see Watley doing this you watched him to the place where he went? - I did.

Q. The reason that you did not stop him was, that you did not want to makean alarm, but to find out what he was going to do with it.

Q. Did Watley so far as you conceive, apprehend your design of following him? - I rather think he did when he see me in Fleet-market, by before seeing me against the rails in the church yard.

JOHN PALMER sworn.

I am the book-keeper of the Swan-inn, in Holborn-Bridge.

Q. Do you know the prisoner Watley? - I have seen him many times.

Q. On the 25th of August did he bring any load at your inn? - Yes, ten bags of Spanish wool.

Q. You received some information about this business from the last witness Lynch? - Yes.

Q. In consequence of that did you examine one of the bags? - Yes; it appeared to have been cut open, and property taken out of it.

Q. Did you weigh the bag after you had received this information? - Yes; one hundred three quarters and seven pounds was the weight of the bag and wool altogether.

Q. Did you in consequence of any information go to any cart? - Yes, we went to one near the Harrow public house, it is on the right-hand side about half way down nearly, not quite so much from Holbourn-bridge end; Lynch went with me and shewed me the cart.

Q. Did you find the basket there? - No, it was gone; I sent information to Mr. Brookes, the wool broker, to let him know that the bag was robbed.

Q. Was you present when Watley was taken up? - Yes; he was taken into the Swan yard, at the corner.

Q. Did you hear him say any thing? - He said that he had been robbed of the bag.

Q. How came Watley to the Swan yard? - He was the carman, and brought the wool down; he had a note with it from Mr. Brookes, the broker.

Q. Have you the note that he delivered? - No.

Q. Did he deliver it to you? - Yes.

Mr. Knapp. So then he brought the wool to his master Brookes's direction, and when you charged him with the robbery he denied having any thing to do with it.

Court. Then he came back to the Swan Inn, where he was taken? - He went out first and had his dinner, and came back again before he was taken.

Q. Was the wool weighed in the presence of Watley? - No; I think it was in his absence he went to dinner.

Mr. Knowles to Lynch. Was the bag weighed in the presence of Watley? - Yes, he saw the bag weighed.

Jury. If Mr. Palmer missed any, why did the prisoner go away before his cart was unloaded? - That I cannot say, the carman left the cart and returned again after a time.

Jury to Martin. Was the prisoner present when the wool was weighed? - I don't recollect that he was.

THOMAS MARTIN sworn.

I am clerk to Mr. Brookes, the wool broker. I attended on the part of the buyer and seller to see the wool weighed, at a warehouse in French Horn yard, Crutched Friars.

Q. Were these ten bags delivered to Watley to carry in the cart? - I see two or three in his cart, and I gave orders of them bags to be put in his cart, and to be forwarded to the inn to go into the country. I have not seen the bag since I weighed it in the scale at the warehouse. I took the weights at the time, and see the weights in the scale. I received the mark of the bag of Mr. Palmer from the inn, No. 15, S. C. Jones, and I find a deficiency of nine pounds. The weight that I took in the warehouse is one hundred three quarters and sixteen pounds; the weight I received from the inn was one hundred three quarters and seven pounds.

Q. What is the value of nine pounds of Spanish wool? - It is worth three shillings and eight pence a pound.

ANN BOND sworn.

I am the wife of Samuel Bond; he is a carman; he keeps carts; the prisoner Watley was a driver of ours.

Q. Is your husband bound to make good for the proprietor any loss that may happen while goods are in his carts? - He has made good this loss.

Mr. Knapp. The prisoner Watley has been in your service for some years? - Yes.

Q. During that time he bore a very good character? - A very good character, an honest lad; he has got a wife and five children.

JOHN SKEATES sworn.

Q. Did you find any basket that contained wool? - Yes, behind the upper stone in the yard; behind the horseblock of the Angel yard, in Fleet-market.

Q. How did you find the wool there? - I found it in the basket as I was coming into the yard.

Q. Was there any thing over the wool? - Yes, a bit of ragged cloth.

Q. How much was there of it? - I don't know.

Q. Who did you deliver it to? - To Mr. Palmer; the basket with the wool weighed twenty-one pounds.

Q. Is it the basket? - Probably it may.

Court to Palmer. Is that the basket you received from Skeates, the last witness? - I delivered it to a porter in the yard to go to Mr. Brookes, and Mr. Brookes paid him for his trouble; he is not here; he is out of place now.

Court. Is it like the basket? - It is.

Mr. Knapp. It is like every other basket of the same sort I suppose? - It is.

Mrs. Bond. I believe that to be one of my baskets; it is marked S. B.

Q. Are your baskets marked S. B.? - Yes; but there is another person marks his baskets S.B.

Q. Do you know whether Wader brought home a basket? - I don't know.

Q. Do you know whether you have missed such a basket? - I do not.

Q. How is the S. B. done? - Painted.

Q. Do you know the mark of the S. B.? - I do not.

Q. Have you ever seen the other gentleman's baskets that marks S. B.? - Yes, I believe they are both made by one basket maker.

Mr. Knowlys. Pray what is the number of your cart that Watley drives? - 407.

Q. Look and see if that hath the No. 407 on it or not? - It is.

Mr. Knapp. And other people may have the same number, and S. B. on it? - No; that is impossible.

THOMAS POTTER sworn.

Was the prisoner Hill employed by you on the 25th of August? - Yes; I believe he was taken out of my cart, or very nearly on it.

Q. What was the number of the cart which Hill drove? - No. 282, which he drove for me.

Q. There is the copse number? - Yes, there is, but there is no man knows his copse number.

Q. Where does the copse number appear? - On the copse of the cart over the horse's loins, and the caroon number on the side of the cart.

Prisoner Watley. I leave it to my Counsel.

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

Jury. Lynch was the prisoner taxed with the robbery previous to the bags being weighed? - Yes, he was.

Both Not GUILTY .

Tried by the London Jury before Mr. RECORDER.