Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 27 September 2022), May 1812, trial of JOHN BUNN (t18120513-4).

JOHN BUNN, Theft > pocketpicking, 13th May 1812.

433. JOHN BUNN was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 23d of April , a watch, value 5 l. the property of Thomas Johnson , from his person .

THOMAS JOHNSON . I live in the Old Jewry, Cheapside. On the morning of the 23d of April, about half past two o'clock, I was coming home, the prisoner met me and my friend as we were entering the arch of Temple Bar , on the foot path; the prisoner came right in front of us, I was arm-in-arm with my friend, John Brown , and the prisoner, when he was going to get past me I saw his hand coming before me, he seized hold of my seals and chain, and rapidly pulled my watch right up, and took it over my shoulder.

Q. Took it over your shoulder, do you say - A. Yes. In consequence of the watch glass being broke I had turned the face of the watch downwards to secure the hands, the outer case fell on the pavement; I said to my friend, stop; and loosened my arm, and said, this man has taken my watch; I saw it in his hand, and I saw the watch go away; I saw it come out of my pocket.

Q. The case fell upon the pavement - A. Yes. I turned sharp round, I saw the prisoner going away with the watch in his hand, I pursued him, and I catched him by the skirts of coat, his coat gave way; I halloaed out, and the patrol was coming up to assist me, and as he came to me the watch I saw it in some person's hand, whose hand it was I cannot say, and as soon as I seized the watch it came into my hand.

Q. In whose hand was the watch, was it in the prisoner's hand - A. I cannot say.

Q. How do you know that the person that moved his hand towards you was the prisoner - A. I never lost sight of him.

Q. Will you take upon you to swear positively that the person you met, and who took your watch, was the prisoner - A. There was no other in the way.

Q. You got your watch did you - A. Yes, and I returned and found the case, and picked it up myself.

Q. You say the prisoner got away from you - A. He got away from me; he was taken at a little distance on the Westminster side, the contrary way I was going; he was seized by James Pearson .

Q. How long was it after you saw him - A. Not a minute.

Q. You are sure the person that was taken and brought back was the person that took your watch - A. That was the person that took my watch.

Q. Was any body with the prisoner - A. No.

JAMES PEARSON . I am a patrol of St. Clements Danes. There were four of us patrols standing together on the opposite side of the way, it was a moonlight morning, we could distinguish the other side of the way well.

Q. What day was it - A. The 23d of April. We were standing in conversation, there had been no person pass through the bar for near ten minutes; we observed Johnson and his friend attempt to go through, as soon as they entered under the arch way on the foot path I heard some one exclaim, my watch is gone, or something similar to that; I ran across the way, and the prisoner, John Brown, had gone about twenty yards from where the fact was committed. I took hold of him, and three of the patrols with me assisted in taking him to the watchhouse. I fetched Mr. Johnson back to go to the watchhouse to give charge; Johnson said he had lost his watch.

Q. You seized the prisoner - A. I did.

Q. In his hearing did Johnson state that he was the person that took it - A. Yes, he did; the prisoner said he was innocent of it, he was willing to go to the watchhouse.

JOHN BROWN . Q. Were you walking with the prosecutor on the evening they have been talking of near Temple Bar - A. Yes, it was the 23d of April, about half past two in the morning, Johnson and me were walking arm in arm conversing together on; entering the arch of Temple Bar, Johnson said, stop, I have lost my watch; he put his hand to his pocket, and felt for it; he said, it is gone, that man has taken it; I heard something drop at the time; he immediately ran after him; I stopped at the corner of the bar until the prisoner was seized at a little distance.

Q. Are you sure the person that was seized was the person that met Mr. Johnson, and you - A. I am certain of it; Mr. Johnson came back after the prisoner was seized, and looked round and found the watch-case.

Prisoner's Defence. I have only to say I was passing by at that time, Mr. Johnson said, I had taken his watch, he laid hold of me, I said I had not, neither did I. I knew nothing of him or his watch.

GUILTY , aged 28.

Transported for Life .

First Middlesex jury, before Mr. Justice Grose.