Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 16 October 2018), February 1798, trial of MARY JENKINS JAMES AUSTIN MARGARET MORRICE (t17980214-32).

MARY JENKINS, JAMES AUSTIN, MARGARET MORRICE, Theft > grand larceny, 14th February 1798.

175. MARY JENKINS , JAMES AUSTIN , and MARGARET MORRICE , were indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 30th of January , a black silk handkerchief, value 1s. a white cambric handkerchief, value 2s. a pair of shoes, value 3s. a pair of cotton stockings, value 2s. a half-crown, a half-guinea, and five shillings and sixpence , the property of Joseph Holland .

JOSEPH HOLLAND sworn. - I am a soldier in the first regiment of Guards: I was robbed on Tuesday, the 30th of January, about half past twelve o'clock; on the Monday night I was rather in liquor, and I called for a lodging in Cross-lane, St. Giles's , the bottom of King-street, I agreed to give a woman two shillings for a bed, the woman was in the room I gave the two shillings to; when I fastened the door, I undressed myself, and the last thing I pulled off, was my breeches; I counted my money the last thing before I got into bed, I had half-a-guinea in gold, five shillings in shillings, half-a-crown and a sixpence; I wrapped the half-guinea up in a piece of paper, the half-guinea was taken out of my pocket, and the paper left in; Mary Jenkins was the person that dragged the breeches from under my head.

Court. Q.When was it you first missed it? - A.I had been asleep, it was in the morning when they robbed me, about half past twelve o'clock.

Court. Q. What time was it you went to this house? - A. I went about a quarter before eight o'clock, I made the discovery about half past twelve o'clock; I first saw Mary Jenkins drag the breeches from under my head, she went round the bed side with them, carried them in her left hand, and put her hand into the pocket, and delivered the money that she took out, to Margaret Morrice ; I saw her put her hand into the pocket, then she threw the breeches down close to Austin's feet, and she struck me several times with her clenched fist, while I was in the bed; she dragged all the clothes off me; and said, get up, you b-y b-r, or I will beat your b-y head off, you have no business here; then she and Margaret Morrice flew out of the room directly, and went into the other room.

Court. Q. What did they do with the breeches? - A. The breeches were thrown down as soon as she delivered the money to Margaret Morrice ; James Austin told me to get up, and turn out, and if you don't, says he, I will cut your b-y head open; I got up immediately, and James Austin went out of the room to the two women in the other room, he tried to pull the door to, but I put my hand to the door, so that he might not shut it; the watchman was going by, and I called out, murder! the watchman immediately came up, and Austin tried to run down stairs, but could not, and came into my room again; I gave charge to the watchman of him immediately; then I shewed him the two women, and he took charge of the women likewise.

Court. Q. Did they leave any money in the pocket? - A. No; I lost every farthing; they took all I had; I have never seen a farthing of it since; I lost two handkerchiefs, a pair of shoes, and a pair of stockings; I think one of the handkerchiefs was cambric, and a black silk handkerchief, and the shoes I pulled off, and a pair of ribbed cotton stockings.

Court. Q.Are you able to speak to them again? - A. I am.

Court. Q.The woman you gave the two shillings to, was she there before? - A. She was to go to bed, I was very much in liquor, as soon as I went to bed, I fell asleep.

Court. Q. Had you been in any other woman's company besides, that evening? - A. I had not.

Court. Had you recovered yourself, when you found you had been robbed? - A. Yes, I had.

ROBERT HAGGER sworn. - I am a watchman, I was calling half past twelve o'clock; I heard watch called, I immediately stopped and went up stairs, it was in Cross-lane, the bottom of King-street, I went up stairs, and I saw this soldier without his small-clothes, he immediately gave me charge of this sailor, James Austin , for robbing him, and going to murder him; he told me, there were two women also that robbed him, in the other room, I desired him to stop a bit, and I went down stairs and sprung my rattle, and got another watchman to help me; we carried them to the watch-house, the constable of the night discharged James Austin, and Margaret Morrice, and kept Jenkins confined; I went back and searched the bed, I found two handkerchiefs, a black handkerchief, and a white one, in the room where the women were; then James Austin came back into the same room, I asked him, who those two handkerchiefs belonged to, he said, he did not know who the white handkerchief belonged to, but the black one was his own, and he wrapped it up, and put it into his pocket; when the soldier came back, he was in a very bad situation, I told him about the handkerchiefs, and he said, they were his, and he would have James Austin , and Margaret Morrice taken back again to the watch-house, and I took them to the watch-house.

Court. Q.(To Holland.) Can you safely swear to that silk handkerchief? - A. Yes; I can swear to it, there being little holes in it, they came by sparks from the fire-working, smith's-work.

Q.What do you say to the white handkerchief? - A.That has been darned up in several places.

Q.Is your name upon it? - A. No.

Q.Is there any thing by which you can swear to it? - A. It is marked with red wine in several places, and it has been darned up in many places.

Prisoner Jenkins's defence. I live two or three doors from Margaret Morrice ; she came to me, and asked me, if I would go up stairs and give her a light, there were two doors joining together; I saw this soldier, and two women, I took no notice of either, Margaret Morrice laid down upon the bed, she was in liquor; James Austin came to me, and as I was going into the room, this man jumped up, and said, we were the people that robbed him, but he said, at the watch-house, we were not the two women that were in the room.

Prisoner Morrice's defence. Between seven and eight o'clock I had been drinking, and I went to Mary Jenkins , and asked her, if she would give me a light, and when I went up stairs, there was this soldier, and two girls drinking; I laid down upon the bed, and when I awoke the soldier came and said, we had robbed him.

Prisoner Austin's defence. I belonged to the Dover West-Indiaman, I came from my ship without any money; I had known Margaret Morrice before; I went up stairs to her, there are two rooms joining to each other; I saw this soldier in bed, I said, you had better get up, but he charged me with having robbed him, we were taken to the watch-house and discharged; when I returned back, there was a watchman searching the place, and I took off the bed to let him look; he asked me, if this black handkerchief belonged to me, I was took to the watch-house, and there kept.

Mary Jenkins, NOT GUILTY .

James Austin , NOT GUILTY .

Margaret Morrice, NOT GUILTY .

Tried by the first Middlesex Jury, before Mr. RECORDER.