Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 22 October 2018), April 1795, trial of JAMES FREERS (t17950416-17).

JAMES FREERS, Theft > grand larceny, 16th April 1795.

176. JAMES FREERS was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 11th of April , an unmade cloth coat, value 30s. and a pair of unmade corderoy breeches, value 5s. the goods of William Peacock .

WILLIAM PEACOCK sworn.

Q. Where do you live? - No. 43, Portpool-lane ; I keep a tobacconist shop , and follow my own profession, a taylor. I was coming along the lane, Saturday, the 11th of this month, returning home, within a few yards of my own door I observed a young lad coming out of the shop with these clothes, and the prisoner stood to receive them in a basket, and I went up to the man, and told him they were mine; and he said, that lad has stole them, take him.

Q. What sort of a lad was this in the house? - He appeared to be a stripling,between sixteen and eighteen years of age; as he stood within the door way, he put the clothes in the basket that this man held, and stood with his back in the door way, and held the basket within the door way.

Q. What things were they? - A superfine coat, and a pair of corderoy breeches unmade up. When I saw this done I called to him, and asked him what they had been about? and he turned to me, put his hand into the basket, and I took them out of the basket myself, and I said to the young fellow that took them out of the house, I will secure you; and he ran up a place called Bradshaw's-rents, belonging to Mr. Meux's Brewhouse, and I got hold of him, and the prisoner came up after me and said he would see me damned first, and struck me on the face; I brought him out of Bradshaw's-rents again into Portpool-lane, and I desired some of Mr. Meux's servants to take care of him; one of them said he would, and I delivered him into their custody, and they let him go, while I went to see for a constable, when I came back I asked where they were both gone? they said, the young lad was gone, and the prisoner at the bar was sitting in the public house; I found the prisoner at the public house in Portpool-lane, and took him there myself, and told him he must come along with me; says he, come along with you, what am I to come along with you for? says I, come along with me and you shall know, and we went to Hatton-garden, and got an officer, and he took him into custody, and he was taken to the office in Hatton-garden, and from thence to New Prison.

Prisoner. I want to know whether I was nigh his house, within fourteen or fifteen yards, when this matter happened? - Yes, he held the meat basket within the door, and received it from his accomplice.

Prisoner. This gentleman, when he came to me, he said, you know something of this young man, and he kicked me on the shin; and when the young fellow was gone, the brewhouse servants said, why did not you go away? the young fellow has gone; no, says I, I shall not, I shall go in where I came out of; and I went into the public house where he took me.

GEORGE LONGDALE sworn.

I know nothing further than I was sent for as an officer, to take charge of the prisoner. I have got the things, they were delivered to me by the prosecutor.

Prosecutor. They are my things.

Prisoner. I went to Kinghtsbridge, to the Swan, after a place of eleven shillings a week, and it was gone; I stopped there and watched a coach for six-pence. I came down Holborn, the nearest way to go to Clerkenwell-green; I goes into this public house, and had two pints of ale, I came out, and there were several brewhouse servants, and several drays, and I was talking along with them, and there came by a strange person that left a basket at my feet, and I took the basket up, and this prosecutor said that a lad had stole something out of his shop, and I gave him the things, and I went into the public house where I had before sat down, and the gentleman came in and said, you must go along with me, and I went along with him directly; he asked me where an officer lived? I told him of one Mr. Bridgeman, who lived in Clerkenwellgreen, I told him I was willing to go any where; I told him I was innocent, and I did not want to make any resistance at all, or else I could have gone away with all the pleasure in life. I have got but fewfriends, and they live a great many miles off, at Liverpool, in Lancashire.

GUILTY . (Aged 37.)

Transported for seven years .

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