Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 02 December 2023), May 1828, trial of HENRY JONES WILLIAM RICE (t18280529-17).

HENRY JONES, WILLIAM RICE, Theft > burglary, 29th May 1828.

Before Lord Chief Justice Best.

1093. HENRY JONES and WILLIAM RICE were indicted for feloniously breaking and entering the dwelling-house of Esther Ann Freeman , on the 16th of April , at Tottenham , and stealing therein 1 piece of linen, value 1s.; 4 shifts, value 8s.; 1 pair of sugar-tongs, value 4s.; 1 spoon, value 2s.; 1 thimble, value 6d.; part of a bracelet, value 5s.; 1 pair of sleeves, value 6d.; 1 seal, value 1s.; 1 piece of foreign coin, called a dollar, and 2 sixpences, her property; 1 thimble, value 15s., and 2 forks, value 20s., the goods of Elizabeth Susanna Chapman , spinster ; 1 thimble, value 1s., and 1 spoon, value 6d., the goods of Eliza King , spinster .

MR. BODKIN conducted the prosecution.

MISS ESTHER ANN FREEMAN. I live in White Hart-lane , in the parish of Tottenham. On the night of the 16th of April I was the last person up - I saw the windows communicating with the gardens, at the back of the house, fastened; an iron bar crossed them, and was put into a nook with a spring; there were two windows in the room; all the shutters had similar fastenings; there is a cabinet in that room, with six drawers to it, four of which were locked. I was not alarmed during the night; I saw Offerd, who is Mr. Alexander's gardener, soon after six o'clock in the morning - he is also my gardener. I went down to the room in question, in company with him and my servant; I found every drawer in the cabinet opened and drawers out- the scrutoire was broken open, and everything turned out; the window and the shutters were wide open; the bar was unfastened - it is attached to the shutter at one end, and swings on a pivet; there was a small hole in the shutter, as if it had been bored with an auger; there are bolts on the parlour door, communicating with the passage and the rest of the house - there was a hole made in the door sufficient for a hand to pass through and unbolt it; the door was open, and the bolt drawn; the lock of a cupboard in the hall was forced - I missed a variety of property from that cupboard and other parts of the premises. I am single, and rent the house.

ELIZABETH WEBSTER . I am in Miss Freeman's service, and was with her and Offerd on the morning in question, when the premises were examined; I did not see the rooms before my mistress came down; Miss Chapman lodged at the house; I put two silver forks belonging to her into the kitchen drawer, on Tuesday night, the 15th; she did not dine at home on the 16th, and the forks were not used. I missed them from the drawer on the morning of the robbery.

ELIZA KING. I was in the prosecutrix's service on the night in question, and had a thimble and caddy-spoon; I left them in a work-box in the kitchen cupboard the night before the robbery - they were gone in the morning.

SARAH WILSON . I am in the service of Mr. Alexander, who lives next door to the prosecutrix. On the morning of the 17th of April, I saw the prosecutrix's parlour window open, and part of the shutter open; I told the gardener when he came.

JOHN HAMMET . I am a watchman of Tottenham, and was so on the night in question; my box is not a quarter of a mile from Miss Freeman's house. An alarm was given that night, at Mr. Alexander's house: about half-past four o'clock that morning, (after that alarm) I saw both the prisoners up against Scotland-green, which is nearly half a mile from the prosecutrix's house; I was on one side of the road, and they on the other. I went over to them, and said to Jones, "Good morning to you - ayn't you the young man whom I spoke to before this morning;" he said No; I said, "I think you are;" he said, "Ayn't there a little job been done down there to night?" pointing towards the prosecutrix's house; I said Yes - he said, "You never saw me down here before;" he said, "There has been several little jobs done down here lately, and it is time to look out," and he said he would make me remember stopping him on the road; he had stood and talked to me about three minutes, but I had not laid hold of him - he then went away; Rice had gone away, leaving him talking to me; they were both together before: when Jones left he went in the same direction as Rice: he turned out of the road. Soon after this I saw Griffiths, the constable; I followed Jones while he talked to me, and as he was going away he said he would make me remember stopping him on the road; Griffiths and I followed them down into the marsh; we went towards Chingford, to the mills there, and went on to Ponder's-end mills; we did not get sight of them till we got to Ponder's-end; we saw both of them there - Hummerstone was then with us, and he took Jones; Rice left him, and ran away up into Ponder's-end.

Cross-examined by MR. PHILLIPS. Q. It was half a mile from the prosecutrix's house that you first met Jones? A. Nearly so; I had heard then that the prosecutrix's house had been robbed; an alarm had been given of the robbery - there were a great many people about.

Q. Was Jones alone when you spoke to him? A. They were both together; Rice went on - Jones remained behind talking to me for two or three minutes; I had mywatchman's coat on and my rattle and cutl ass - Rice had turned out of the road into Scotland-green, and was out of my sight; there are houses on both sides of the road, there was nothing to prevent my giving an alarm - Jones did not appear anxious to get away; he said if I would follow him, he would tell me where he lived - it is a public place, the houses extend for a quarter of a mile; I saw Jones searched, nothing was found on him that was claimed; he had a little money, no picklock-keys or angers - it rained a little, and was rather a gloomy morning.

MR. BODKIN. Q. Do you mean to say that at the time you saw the prosecutor, you had heard of Miss Freemen's robbery? A. No - I had heard of Alexander being robbed, the prisoners did not come over to me - I went over to them.

COURT. Q. You say Rice was out of sight before Jones left you? A. Yes because he turned out of the road, I saw him turn out of the road; we found them both together afterwards, I saw them go by Tweed's-mill-field.

THOMAS HUMMERSTONE . I am a shepherd. On the 17th of April, about ten minutes before six in the morning - I saw the two prisoners in my master's field - the field belongs to Tyler's farm, and is near Endfield-mill; they were both running when I saw them - I asked what business they had that way, and told them it was no thoroughfare; one of them said something - I cannot exactly say what - they went on, and I tried to meet them; I had my crook in my hand - they went into Mr. George's premises - I followed; they got over his fence, and jumped into a brook of water; I jumped in also, and after I got through the water; I ran up the field, put out my crook, and caught Jones by the leg; I collared him - after I had secured him, I saw Hammet and Griffiths come up: I gave him into their custody; when I took hold of Jones I saw a shift drop from him, and there was a little bit of linen, which I suppose was an old shift - I gave them both to Griffiths, the constable; Rice ran away after I took Jones.

Prisoner RICE. Q. What did you say to us when we were crossing the fields? A. I told you it was no thoroughfare; whether you heard me or not I cannot say - the shift dropped from Jones, whether it was from his pocket or from his clothes, I cannot say; I told him he had dropped something - he said that was not his - I picked it up and put it into my pocket.

Cross-examined by MR. PHILLIPS. Q. How near was Rice to you when you picked up the shift? A. He was gone away; Jones dropped it - it did not lay in the road Rice had gone - I cannot say that he had gone over just that spot.

Q. This was a hazy wet morning? A. It might be; I was standing still, when I took it up - I had been running about ten minutes before.

Q. What had you been doing for ten minutes then? A. Sometimes walking and sometimes running; I cannot say how long before I had been running - it might be a minute before.

Q. Was Jones walking? A. No - he was getting away as fast as he could; he was nearly exhausted - I could walk nearly as fast as he could run; I had not been walking above a minute - I had not heard of any robbery at that time.

MR. BODKIN. Q. This was about six o'clock? A. About ten minutes before; it was broad day light; Rice had got quite away when I picked up the shift - I am certain I saw the shift drop from Jones's person.

MR. PHILLIPS to JOHN HAMMET. Q. What time did you first hear of Mr. Alexander's house being broken open? A. It wanted about ten minutes to three o'clock; I met the prisoners about half-past four - they were not above half a mile from the house when the alarm was given- Mr. Franklin and others were about.

CHARLES BAYLIE . I am a gardener, and live with my father at Edmonton. On the 17th of April I found part of a shift which had been torn, by the side of a tree near Tweed's-mill - I gave it to Griffiths at the Just ice-room.

JOHN VERDON . I live with my father, a barge-master, at Edmonton. On the morning of the 17th of April I joined in pursuit of the prisoners - they went by our place; I followed them all the way to Ponder's-end - they both went through a ditch, and I saw Jones throw a shift or a bundle into the ditch; I went into the ditch, and found a shift and a pair of sleeves - I gave them to Griffiths; the prisoners were then close together, running.

Cross-examined. Q. At the time the shift and sleeves dropped they were both together? A. Yes, as close as they well could be in the ditch; I was about twenty yards from them, and running - they were not touching each other; I found the shift in the ditch through which they both passed; it was a gloomy morning and darkish, but not raining.

MR. BODKIN. Q. How soon after Jones threw the shift down did you see him stopped? A. About two minutes after - I knew him to be the person who had thrown the shift into the ditch.

THOMAS THIRGOOD . I am a carter, and live at Ponders-end. On the 17th of April, about 6 o'clock in the morning, in consequence of what passed between me and Verdon, I stopped Rice at Ponder's-end - he was running; I pursued him about fifty yards before I took him; I delivered him to Griffiths; I afterwards searched in the direction he had ran, and found a thimble and a seal, which I gave to Griffiths at the office.

Cross-examined. Q. Did you see Jones searched? A. No.

JAMES GRIFFITHS . I am constable of Tottenham. I was coming off duty about twenty minutes before five o'clock, and saw Jones talking to Hammet, the watchman; I afterwards went in pursuit - I never lost sight of Jones; I pursued him about four miles and a half - they got as far as the mills at Ponder's-end; I was not present when they were taken into custody, they were afterwards given into my charge by Harrison and Thirgood; I searched Rice before I took him to the watch-house, and found in his hat a shift and a pair of sleeves - I found a silver crown piece and part of a bracelet in his waistcoat pocket, and a phosphorous-bottle and matches; in his coat pocket I found this chiseel and gimblet, nothing else - I have since applied the chissel to the outside part of the prosecutrix's premises, and to a closet in the drawing-room - it corresponds with the impression made on them; I produce several parcels which I have received from Hummerstone and Verdon; a silver thimble and seal from Thirgood - a shift from Baylie; on our way to the watch-house with the prisoners, I had not held out any threat or promise whatever to them - Jones said, 5l., 10l., or50l. would be no object if I could make it right, and not take him to the watch-house; Rice said nothing - he was by his side at the time; I afterwards went with them to gaol - when they were committed, Jones said, he supposed the might get lagged, but he should not mind, for he had had five years upon the salt-water - I suppose lagged to mean transported; Rice said, he did not mind if he was not topped - I do not know the meaning of that.

Prisoner RICE. I should not have used such an expression as that. Witness. I declare positively he did say he should not mind if he was not topped.

Cross-examined. Q. Was Jones in a sailor's-dress as he is now? A. No, he had a surtout coat on: I searched him accurately, and found a case-knife on him and 16s. or 18s.

MR. BODKIN. Q. Were any sixpences found on Jones? A. Yes, several sixpences, shillings, and half crowns.

THOMAS IVES . I am a barge-master, and live at Ponder's-end; I assisted in conveying the prisoners in a cart to the watch-house, and on the road, I heard Jones say, he wished not to go to the cage, and that 5l., 10l., or 50l. would be no object to him, not to go to the cage - I said, I should have no compromising there.

WILLIAM FENSON . I am a labourer, and live at Ponder's-end; about seven o'clock on the morning in question, I found a coat in the long mead, which is over the hedge of the Eighteen-acres field, it is the next field to it; I picked it up, and found in the pockets of it two silver forks, and two screw-drivers - a woman named Shadbolt picked up a stock and centre-bit, which I put into the pockets of the coat, with the screw-driver and forks, and gave them to Mr. William Boards; the coat was near the hedge of the field.

JAMES GRIFFITHS re-examined. They both ran through the Eighteen-acrcs field, and went through the hedge described.

CATHERINE SHADBOLT . I was at work in the Eighteen-acres field on the morning in question, and found the stock of a centre bit close against the hedge; I gave it to Mr. Boards, my master, in Fenson's presence.

WILLIAM BOARDS . I am a farmer, and live at Ponder's-end; Fenson and Shadbolt are in my employ - the coat was given to me; I believe I took it off the ground - I gave it to Brooks in the same state as I received it.

CHARLES BROOKS . I received a coat from Mr. Boards with these articles in the pocket; I gave it to Forster in the same state as I received it.

JOSEPH FORSTER . I am a constable. I produce the coat which I received from Brooks; these things in the pocket were there then - here are two silver forks, two screw-drivers, and the stock of a centre bit.

JAMES GRIFFITHS. I was present when the coat was claimed; this examination of the prisoners is signed by Mr. Robinson, the magiatrate (read.)

"The prisoners being asked if they had anything to say, Rice says, the great coat now produced belongs to him."

JAMES GRIFFITHS. This was the coat I produced.

MISS FREEMAN. (Looking at the shift found in Rice's hat.) This is mine, and the sleeves also; I have no doubt of them - here is my mark on them, and this shift that was found on the ground, that has my mark on it.

THOMAS HUMMERSTONE. That shift dropped from Jones.

ELIZABETH SUSANNA CHAPMAN. I resided with Miss Freeman: these forks are mine and were in her house at the time in question - my initials are on them; I had a work-box which was left locked the night before the robbery - it was found open in the morning, but every thing left in it except a gold thimble; I had also a desk which was forced open - I found a match in that desk, which I produce: I do not know that it was inside the desk, for every thing was turned out on the floor - I found it in the house among the things.

JAMES GRIFFITHS. This match is exactly of the same description, and the same length as the others which were found on Rice.

THOMAS THIRGOOD. I produce a silver thimble which I found in a field at Ponder's-end where I took Rice.

ELIZA KING. This is my thimble, I have not found the spoon.

JONES' Defence. I am innocent of the charge - I have got my living at sea for the last seven years, and have only been a short time on shore; I had every thing prepared to go another voyage - I went down to Enfield to see my aunt, and on my return being rather intoxicated, the watchman stopped me - he asked me what he says, and I gave him the answer he says: as to my saying a bit of a job had been done, it is false, he has added that himself.


RICE - GUILTY - DEATH . Aged 22.

Recommended to Mercy by the prosecutrix as no personal violence was used.