Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 29 January 2023), January 1804, trial of THOMAS SIMS (t18040111-62).

THOMAS SIMS, Theft > grand larceny, 11th January 1804.

122. THOMAS SIMS was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 8th of December , a chaise, value 35 l. the property of Thomas Harris .

(The case was opened by Mr. Knapp.)

THOMAS HARRIS sworn. - The prisoner at the bar came to my house, in company with Mr. Menou, on the 27th of October last.

Q. Who is Mr. Menou? - A. He told me he was a gentleman in the army; I have been told he is now in Tothill-fields; the prisoner came in, and asked me if I had a chaise I could let him for a month; I told him I had one; I shewed it him, it was a two-wheeled chaise; he approved of it; he said, what will you charge me for a month? I said, four guineas; he agreed to pay it me. Now, says he, if I should buy this chaise within a month, you will not charge me for the hire of it? I told him, no; he looked about the shop, and saw another two-wheeled chaise; he asked me the price of it; I asked him sixty-five guineas; he said he thought he should purchase it of me; he told me he would send a Mr. Purvis the next day for the chaise that he had hired with a note from me; he said, Mr. Purvis was a stable-keeper, where his horses stood. Accordingly, the next day, Mr. Purvis came; I asked him for the note the prisoner was to send; he told me he had lost it out of his pocket.

Q. Where is Mr. Purvis now, do you know? - A. In Newgate, I believe; I was not inclinable to let him have it without a note from Sims, and he came again the next day with a note from Sims, and I sent the chaise by Purvis.

Q. Is that the note that Purvis brought you? (shewing him a paper) - A. Yes, it is; I let Purvis have the chaise, in consequence of Purvis's recommendation of Sims; I was to call upon Sims the next day, saying he should probably buy one chaise or the other; I went and found him at No. 40, Brompton-row, Knightsbridge, it was a very elegant house apparently; he wanted to purchase that chaise, for which I asked sixty-five guineas; I told him the very lowest was sixty guineas, ready money. Nothing more particular passed at that time; he told me he was an officer in the army, that he belonged to a German regiment that lay in Hampshire; we did not agree, and then he sent me another letter.

Q. How soon after this did you find out who he was, and where your chaise was? - A. I heard that Mr. Gibbons, in Tottenham Court-road, had my chaise; it was about six weeks after he had it.

Q. When did you go to Gibbons? - A. I applied for a warrant, and found the chaise at Gibbons's on the 8th of December.

- BARNETT sworn. - I am an auctioneer: I had the chaise sent to me, I think, about the beginning of December last, from the stable to my auction-room, to be sold; it was a two-wheeled chaise, with furniture; it was the same chaise that Mr. Harris afterwards saw. An advance upon it was required by a man of the name of Sowerby, but I refused it; I said I would advertise it, and put it up in the first sale I had; the prisoner came the next day, and claimed it as his property; he seemed to say he should not sell it, and wished to have it away.

Q. Was any thing said to you about fifteen pounds? - A. He said it would not bring money enough at the approaching sale, and wanted to have it away; Sowerby said he had advanced money upon it, and claimed it as his, and Sims claimed it as his; I believe fifteen pounds was mentioned as the price of it by Sims; the chaise was sent for away while I was away, and half-a-guinea paid for the standing.

Cross-examined by Mr. Alley. Q. The chaisewas brought to you by a person of the name of Sowerby, and when Sims came to you, he desired you not to sell it? - A. Yes.

Q. Did you ever put it in any catalogue, or offer it for sale? - A. No.

Q. The half-guinea was paid for the mere standing? - A. Yes.

WILLIAM GIBBONS sworn. - I am a stable-keeper in Tottenham Court-road; the prisoner came to me, and told me he had a chaise, if I could find room for it to stand; that was somewhere about the 17th of November; he gave me directions where to go for it, to Mr. Barnett's, in King-street, an auctioneer, and I went to Mr. Barnett's; he was not at home, and I went the next day, and had the chaise; I paid ten shillings for the standing of it, I took it home about two days after; the prisoner asked me if I could lend him a little money upon the chaise; I lent him six pounds upon it; I took the chaise first to stand at eighteen-pence a week.

Q. Do you know Sims? - A. Yes, I know him by seeing him at different places, but I cannot tell what he is.

Q. Is he an officer in the army? - A. Not that I know of; I have known him these two years.

Q. And you have seen him backwards and forwards in town? - A. Yes.

Cross-examined by Mr. Knapp. Q. Did not Mr. Harris tell you he had sold the chaise to the prisoner for twenty-five guineas, and did you not reply to him that he had made a hard bargain with the prisoner? - A. No, I do not recollect that.

JOHN VICKERY sworn. - I am an officer belonging to Worship-street; I apprehended the prisoner at a lock-up house in White Hart-court, at Mr. Wilson's, under the sheriff's process.

Q. (To Gibbons.) Are you sure as to the time you went to Barnett's to get this chaise? - A. I think it was somewhere about the 17th of November.

Court. Mr. Barnett says it was sent to him the beginning of December.

Q. (To Barnett.) Are you accurate as to the time of the chaise being brought to your house? - A. I have a paper which Sims wrote two days after it came, and left in my accompting-house, and if that is dated, it will tell, (refers to it); it is dated the 16th; then it must have come to me about the 14th.

Prisoner's defence. I bought the chaise of him a fortnight after it was delivered to me; it is very unfortunate that I cannot get my witnesses here; he would not take my bill at a short date, but would give me credit for three weeks; after the expiration of the month, I called upon Mr. Harris, a few days before the chaise was returned, and told him I had been under the necessity of borrowing some money upon it, but he should have it again in a few days; Purvis is unfortunately a debtor on the other side of Newgate.

GUILTY , aged 36.

Confined one week in Newgate , and fined 1 s.

Second Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Justice Lawrence.