Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 16 September 2021), June 1796, trial of WILLIAM PRUDENCE (t17960622-72).

WILLIAM PRUDENCE, Theft > grand larceny, 22nd June 1796.

445. WILLIAM PRUDENCE was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 28th of May , a piece of muslin, embroidered with gold and silver, ten yards in length, value 4l. another piece, ten yards in length, value 5l. a piece of printed muslin, ten yards in length, value 2l. a silk handkerchief, value 3s. and a piece of wrapper, value 1s. the property of William Sykes , and John Sykes .

Second Count. Laying it to be the property of Alpress Ashton .(The case was opened by Mr. Knapp.)

WILLIAM STAFF sworn.

I live with Mr. Alpress Ashton , at Wisbeach, he is a linen-draper .

Q. Do you remember any goods arriving from Mr. Stedman's? - A. Yes; the goods in the indictment were returned, not being approved of, I marked them of, I sent them by the carrier to London, directed to George Stedman and Co. they were in a truss, I saw them delivered to the waggon.

JOHN KIRBY sworn.

I am servant to Messrs. William and John Sykes, they keep the Catherine-wheel Inn, Bishopsgate-street .

Q. Do you remember the Wisbeach waggon bringing a truss? - A. Yes; directed to a person in Bow-church-yard, a Mr. Stedman; I put it into a cart at the Catherine-wheel inn, in Bishopsgate-street; I lost it between the Catherine-wheel, and Queen-street, Cheapside; I delivered some more things there, and found this truss missing.

Q. Are you sure this truss was in your cart? - A. It laid at the bottom of the cart, behind.

WILLIAM SYKES sworn.

I am in partnership with John Sykes, we keep the Catherine-wheel inn, Bishopsgate-street; I remember receiving this truss from Wisbeach.

SAMUEL HARPER sworn.

I am one of the Police Officers: on Saturday the 28th, about twelve o'clock in the day, or it might be after, I saw Mrs. Benjamin, and the prisoner at the bar, both in company together, walking along Shoreditch; I was afraid they would see me, and I went to Worship-street to call some officers, not so well known as I was; we got some officers, and went in pursuit of them, but they got into a public-house; some how, one of them knew where Prudence lived, and I left them.

WILLIAM PEACH sworn.

In consequence of an information I received from Harper; on Saturday the 28th of May, between twelve and one, I went down Shoreditch in pursuit of the prisoner; I went to his lodgings, in Old Cock-lane, it is the corner house of Old Cock-lane, Blackiter was with me; he lodges up three pair of stairs; I went up stairs, and Blackiter after me; I went into the room, and saw the prisoner in a room opposite, in looking behind the door, is a bed, and I found this property upon the bed; I then asked the prisoner if it was his property; he said, no, he did not know how it came there; he said, he had been out, and he supposed it had been left there while he was out; upon that I looked over the property, and found this large bill of parcels.

Q. Did you see Mrs. Benjamin there? - A. Yes; I saw her shove this bill of parcels under it; I asked her, in the presence of the prisoner, if it was her property, and she would not own it; then there was a Mr. Benjamin, her husband there; I asked him, and he said, he knew nothing about it, the prisoner did not deny that it was his room; I looked at the property, and searched them all, and searched the room for the wrapper, but I could not find it; then I took them to the office, and they were committed; I got the key of the room and went back again, and found a bill of parcels under the chair, which alludes to the remainder of the property.(producing them).

Q. (To Staff). Are these the things you sent? - A. Yes.

ANN BENJAMIN sworn.

I know the prisoner; I was going along Shoreditch with my husband; the prisoner came up to my husband, and told him he had got some things to sell, my husband said to me, in Dutch, that he would not go, and desired I would go; going along, I saw Harper; I am sure these things would never have come to light, but for me; Prudence asked me, if I knew that man, I said no; because I was afraid he would not take me to his house; he said, he was a trap at Worship-street Office; I went to Prudence's house, I knew Harper would follow me; I went up three pair of stairs and saw these things upon the bed, there was a bill of parcels he shewed me, I said, I could not read not write, and thenMr. Peach came, and said, Prudence, I went to speak to you.

Q. Are these the same things? - A. They are.

Q. Did the prisoner tell you where he got these things? - A. No; he said they were new things, and wanted me to buy them.

Prisoner's defence. I was going along, and met Mr. Myer's, and he asked me where I was going; I told him, I was going home, and he begged I would let him leave them at my house till his wife came in the evening for them; this woman said, her husband could not come, because he had got six gold watches that were got from the election in the Borough.

GUILTY , (Aged 49.)

Transported for seven years .

Tried by the London Jury, before Mr. Justice BULLER.