Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 17 August 2022), September 1823, trial of GEORGE HARVEY (t18230910-7).

GEORGE HARVEY, Theft > animal theft, 10th September 1823.

998. GEORGE HARVEY was indicted for stealing, on the 1st of August , at St. Bartholomew the Great, one ewe sheep, price 30 s. , the property of Samuel Matthews .

SAMUEL MATTHEWS , JUN. I am the son of Samuel Matthews , a butcher , of Warwick-lane, Newgate-street . On Friday, the 1st of August, I saw this sheep in our yard, about half-past three o'clock in the afternoon; it was to have been slaughtered that day - I saw it last about half-past three o'clock in the afternoon.

THOMAS WOOD . I am a drover, and live in Field-court, Islington. I have known the prisoner a good while; he is a drover. On the 1st of August, Mr. Matthews bought thirty-nine sheep. Which I delivered to his drover, Charles Lynch ; six of them were marked M on the near side, and were ewes; they had belonged to Mr. Moore.

CHARLES LYNCH . I received thirty-nine sheep, for Mr. Matthews, from Wood, about one o'clock on the 1st of August, some marked M, some B, and some C. I put them into the shed, in Sharp's-alley; I took twenty of them to slaughter that day, and sixteen to Holloway, leaving three ewes in the shed about half-past four o'clock; they were very lame.

THOMAS HUGHES . I am a drover. On the 1st of August, between four and five o'clock in the afternoon, I went to Smithfield, and saw a sheep pass me; the prisoner was driving it; he had a string round its neck, and his left hand on it, and his right hand wielding the tail, forcing it on as fast as possible: it being after market hours, I thought it was something wrong, and followed him to the corner of Cloth-fair, he turned the sheep into Cloth-fair; and there marked it with ochre down the back and across - I was too far to notice whether there was any mark before. I followed him to a butcher's shop; he turned the sheep into the shop, then took the string off its neck and tied its three legs; it was taken round a screen, where the butcher stuck it; I heard the sheep struggling after having been stuck. I then called the prisoner, and said,

"Harvey, you wretch, whose sheep have you got there slaughtering? some poor drover will have to pay for that." He then used a hard expression, and threatened to beat my brains out. I went from the shop with him, and ordered the butcher not to touch it till I brought somebody to witness the brand-mark, ochre-mark. I went with the prisoner over towards the other side of Smithfield; he said the sheep belonged to Dibbens, a butcher, over the water - I said,

"God bless you, George, if it is his; but I will not leave you till I know the rights of it." He came with me from there to near Long-lane, where I saw a drover, and asked him to come with me to look at the marks on the sheep. I said, in the prisoner's presence,

"Joe, I consider there is a sheep that has been wrongfully dealt with here, by Harvey; will you come with me?" but he refused - I said then I would find an officer. I went up Long-lane, and the prisoner left me; I found Stanton, and took him to the butcher's, who took the skin in his charge.

JAMES BARNES . I am a butcher, and live in Cloth-fair. I have frequently seen the prisoner. On the 1st of August, between five and six o'clock, he brought me a ewe sheep - I had not seen him on that day before; he asked me to slaughter it for it was lame. It was marked down the back and across the loins; the ochre did not appear fresh exactly. I saw no other mark on it. I heard Hughes ask whose it was; he said it belonged to Dibbens. I do not recollect Hughes telling me not to meddle with it; but as he said it was some poor drovers, I did not proceed further with it. The officer took the skin away, and on Monday, the 4th of August, I was fetched to the office; the prisoner was in custody. I have known him as a drover some time. The officer had the carcase on Saturday morning.

JURY. Q. Are you in the habit of receiving drovers' sheep - A. When sheep cannot walk they are in the habit of leaving them where they can. I had stuck the sheep before Hughes spoke, or I would not have done it.

JAMES SALE . I am a drover. About a quarter to seven o'clock, I had these sheep to take from Matthews's stall to Newgate-market; there should have been thirty-one of them. I counted them directly I got them out of the shed, and there was only thirty. I drove them to Newgate-market. The officer produced a skin to me on the Saturday - It was then marked along the back and across; it was not marked so when master bought them - I know it to be the skin of one of the sheep, as I had marked the three lame ones on the rump with ochre, which mark was on it then; I couldsee a little of it, and swear to it being the skin of one of the three lame ewes, for it slipped aside while I was marking it, which made the ochre slip aside.

JAMES ROCKETT . I am a drover. Mr. Dibbens employed me on the 1st of August to drive four sheep out of the market; he was taking them home himself; I drove them out, and the prisoner put himself forward to help us oat with them - we got down Cow-lane; two of them ran back into the market, and one was run over. Dibbens told me to take it to Carpenter's, the butcher, to be killed, which I did, and persuaded him to take the other three home in a cart. I saw them put into the cart, and he went in the cart with them, being in liquor. This was about four o'clock - I went home, and came out about half-past six, and Harvey said he wanted to speak to me - he said he had picked up a sheep; I said that was nothing to me; he said it was all right, it was a gift - I said that would not do for me; I was going away, he called me back and said, Dibbens had four sheep, and if I would say he had five that would do, and he would see Dibbens, and if Dibbens would say there were five that would clear him. I said I would have nothing to do with it, and walked away - he wanted to talk further with me, but I would not. I heard Matthews's man (Lynch) the same night enquiring about it, but did not tell him what I had heard, as I did not know that it was his sheep.

JAMES STANTON . I am a constable. On the 1st of August, in consequence of what Hughes said, I went to Barnes, the butcher, and found a sheep stuck; It was skinned in my presence, and the skin delivered to me. I shewed it to Sales, who said it was Matthews's - he shewed me a mark on the rump, which I think slanted. On Saturday morning I found the prisoner in Mr. Carpenter's slaughter-house, with Dibbens - as soon as I went in he said,

"Stanton, here is a pretty bother about this sheep" (Dibbens's sheep then hung in the slaughter-house) he said

"Here is the owner of it, and I have done with it." I told him he must account to me for the sheep he found in Cloth-fair - he said that was Dibbens's; Dibbens said nothing to it. I asked Dibbens how he marked his sheep; he said sometimes one way and sometimes another. He shewed me the skin of the sheep at Carpenter's, and said that was his mark; it was not like the skin at Barnes's in the least - but Dibbens said he sometimes bought from different people, and then he marked them with their mark. I asked him whether the sheep I had got in Cloth-fair was his; he then pointed to the one which hung up, and said,

"That is mine;" that was all he would say; but he said the one at Carpenter's made up his right number, for he had but four. I told the prisoner he must go with me - he said he would not, and resisted a good deal, but I got assistance, and took him by force to the Compter. I have the skin, Matthews and his son both claimed it.

SAMUEL MATTHEWS . I saw the skin on the Monday after it was lost, and am certain it is my father's - there is the letter M on the side, and a brand mark; the ochre mark is drawn over it. We bought nearly two hundred sheep that day, but left only thirty-one in the shed.

JAMES SALES . This is the skin of one of the three sheep - here is a trace of my slant mark.

Prisoner's Defence. About half-past two o'clock I stood by the Ram Inn - Dibbens came, and said he had four sheep, and wanted me to take them home for him - I said I could not. Rockett came up, and said he would help him in with them, as the constables were clearing the market; he tied these four sheep down, and got drinking till near four o'clock. I told him to take his sheep home; he was so drunk he could hardly walk. I helped him with the sheep; two ran back, and one was run over - he said he had bought two more, and that he bought them of Veal, but did not know what was become of them. I found this one in the pens, and thinking it was his, I took it to the butcher to kill.

GUILTY . Aged 40.

Sentence of DEATH Recorded, but not Passed .