Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 08 December 2022), January 1830, trial of ELIZA PROTHERO (t18300114-130).

ELIZA PROTHERO, Theft > pocketpicking, 14th January 1830.

363. ELIZA PROTHERO was indicted for stealing, on the 26th of December , 1 watch, value 6l.; 1 watch-key, value 6s.; 1 sovereign, and 3 shillings, the property of James Havard , from his person .

MR. PHILLIPS conducted the prosecution.

JAMES HAVARD. I am a carpenter , and live at Cockhill. On the 29th of December I went to a sale at the Two Mariners; while I was there the prisoner, whom I knew before, came over - the sale did not come on; I left at three o'clock, and went with the prisoner to No. 8, Vinegar-lane; I had been there many times before - I was not tipsy; I went with a young man who had been at the sale, and there were several persons there; we sent for some ale, and entered into conversation for the remainder of the afternoon - during that time the young man, the person who lived up stairs, the prisoner, and I got quite jolly: I went with the prisoner to another public-house, and in returning my foot stumbled, I fell, it being slippery, and knocked my head against the wall of the house - I then lost sight of the prisoner; I had been sitting on the sofa with her in the afternoon - she had been kissing me, and attempting to put her hand into my pocket; Richard Price, an acquaintance of mine, came up and helped me; the prisoner and I had been about one hundred or one hundred and fifty yards towards the Back-road - I had not my watch when I fell; I went with Price to the prisoner's house - she was not there, but another female was; in consequence of what the other female said, Price went out and returned with Mr. Fell - when they came, the prisoner came into the room and laid on the sofa - I was sitting by her; Price and Fell saw her hand in a situation it had been before -I did not see her do any thing; neither of them said any thing to her about my watch that I recollect - I was stunned by the blow; the officer has the watch.

COURT. Q. When did you see your watch before you lost it? A.About four o'clock; the prisoner was present then - I can swear that.

Cross-examined by MR. BODKIN. Q. What are you? A. A carpenter. I knew the prisoner first in the middleof 1825 - I was on the same terms with her that any man would be with a prostitute; I am married - my wife did not find out this till after I had the prisoner at thie Police-office - I told her of it myself; I had had some she rry and ale in the morning - I went with the prisoner about three o'clock - I saw Mr. Price about six o'clock; I was in a stupor from the fall - the liquor might have a little effect on me - I was not in a state of perfect drunkenness; what money I trusted the prisoner with I gave her - I never gave her a 10l. note - I never had one in her house in my life; I saw her perhaps six times in 1805, and not again for two years - I saw her perhaps six times afterwards; I did not find that she had got married - I had seen her the night before; I recollect having the watch, and missing it after I fell; I was at another house about one o'clock in the day, and a young man wound up my watch, as it was down, but that was not at the prisoner's - I took it out at her house to lend the young man my key; Price went for an officer, and I was sitting upright on the sofa when he came back; I did not speak to the prisoner - she was lying behind me; I had missed my watch and my money, and told Price who I suspected had taken it, and while he was gone, she came in, laid herself down, and was wanting to put her hand in my pocket; I was sitting by her when the officer came, but I was stunned; I was hardly capable of speaking - I do not recollect that I spoke to any one.

RICHARD PRICE. I am a builder, and live in Ratliff-highway, near Vinegar-lane. I found the prosecutor on the pavement and picked him up: he appeared to be quite stunned by the fall - he said he had lost his watch and money at No. 8, Vinegar-lane; I went there, but did not see the prisoner - I saw a female, and in consequence of what she said I went for an officer: I was sober - when I went out I saw Fell and his wife; I knew Fell and sent him for an officer - I went to the prisoner's house, and stood at the door till Fell and the watchman came; we then went into the parlour, and saw the prisoner lying at full length on the sofa behind the prosecutor, who was sitting up and appeared quite in a stupor: I did not hear any thing said to the prisoner by any one, but I gave charge of her to the watchman for robbing my friend of his watch and money- I am sure I mentioned the watch; the prisoner ran to the fire-place, took up the poker, and struck me in several places - she struck me in the small of the back with a three-legged stool, and followed me some distance out of the house; I did not hear her say any thing about the watch - she was taken by the watchman and some others to the watch-house - she might have said something about the watch without my hearing it, while she was hammering about me.

Cross-examined. Q. Had you seen the prosecutor before he was on the ground? A. No, not for several days- I did not consider him drunk; he told me very sensibly and clearly, that he had lost his watch - he was three or four yards from the door: I did not see that he was bleeding - when the watchman came the prosecutor was sitting on a sofa; he did not attempt to put his hand into the prisoner's bosom in my sight - I did not hear her say,"I have the man's watch, and I will give it to no one but him, when he is sober."

COURT. Q. Did he tell the same story he has to-day? A. Yes, it varies very little indeed.

ROBERT MANN FELL. I am a glazier. I was passing with my wife; Price came and spoke to me - I got a watchman, went to the house, and Price gave charge of the prisoner for taking the watch and money; she made no reply, but got the poker and began to hit Price - I heard her say out of doors, that she had the watch and would give it to no one but him.

Cross-examined Q.Then she did admit that she had it? A. Yes, in the street; I cannot say that she had been out of the house and returned - I cannot say she was sober.

WILLIAM SUMMERS. I am watch-house-keeper; the prisoner was brought in custody of the two last witnesses, and a watchman - the prosecutor was not there at the time; it was stated that she had robbed a gentleman of his watch and some money; I asked her for the watch - she said she had not got it, and should not give any answer; I went to search her, and from some part of her person she took the watch - I forced it out of her hand; I found on her 19s. in silver, and 4 1/2d. in copper - I was sober and am positive she denied having the watch.

Cross-examined. Q. Did either of the witnesses tell you she had acknowledged having it in the street? A. No; when I said, "I must search you, where is this watch?" she said, "I have got no watch;" she afterwards took it from some part of her person, and it was in her hand - Fell and Price both appeared in a state of alarm, and said they never saw such a violent woman.

MR. PHILLIPS to JAMES HAVARD. Q. What did you lose? A. A silver watch, a sovereign, and, I think, 3s., but I will not be positive - I told Price I had lost a watch and a sovereign.

Cross-examined. Q.You say there were several persons in the room? A. There was a woman who lodges there, Fletcher, a (man who associates with her) a young man who was in possession at the Two Mariners, the prisoner, and myself - none of them are here; I returned to the house after I missed the watch, and the prisoner was not there - I do not know whether she could have got rid of the watch; she had not been out of the house.

COURT. Q. Did the other woman tell you who had the watch? A. Yes; I would not bring such a woman as that here - her evidence would not be believed.

Prisoner's Defence. This gentleman gave his watch into my hand at three o'clock, to wind Mr. Fletcher's watch up, as it was down, and his own key would not do: he said, "This person drew up mine last night, and perhaps she can yours" - I bit the key and made it do; I returned the prosecutor his watch - my lodger then said, "Will you lend me 5s.?" he said, "I have but 3s., will that do?" she said No - he pulled out a sovereign; I went out, got change, and brought in half a gallon of ale, and 1s. worth of gin - they drank it, and then the others went up stairs; I was going out, and said to the prosecutor, "You had better give me your watch to take care of, I don't know who may come in;" he laid on the sofa, and my washerwoman put two pillows under his head - when I returned we drank again, and he asked me for the change; I said, "You slept with me last night, and I think there is not a great deal due to you" -I wanted him to go home to his wife, but he would not as he was jealous of the other man, and he said he would not do it - he knows he took me out of life, and first drew measide; I was acquainted with him four years before; I knew he had a wife - I then went to sea with a captain who was single; the prosecutor found me out twelve months afterwards, and used to come and drink with my husband, and told him I used to live with him - my husband got very suspicious of him, and used to ill-use me; I put my husband twice into the watch-house - I could not keep the prosecutor away; he dined with me on Christmas-day, and the next day he beckoned me over to the Two Mariners -I went there, and had a glass of brandy; then he came to my house, and drank till three o'clock - he gave me the watch and sovereign.

GUILTY . Aged 32. - Transported for Life .