Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 09 December 2021), January 1833, trial of BENJAMIN CLARKE (t18330103-137).

BENJAMIN CLARKE, Deception > fraud, 3rd January 1833.

389. BENJAMIN CLARKE was indicted for a fraud .

RACHAEL BARKER . I am a servant, but out of a situation. On Saturday, the 3rd of November, I was coming down Holborn , from the Institution in Bedford-row, between one and two o'clock in the day time, and the prisoner came by my side; I never saw him before - he instantly kicked his foot against a piece of paper; he said,"I am not in the habit of finding presents, but I may as well pick it up and see what is in it, very probably it may be a bit of tobacco, or a few old nails screwed up;" he stooped down, and picked it up, opened it, and there was a pair of ear-rings, and two rings in three different papers, one of which was a bill, charging the things 5l. 18s. 6d. - I saw the bill - he did not then tell me what it was; he said he supposed some lady had been at a jeweller's shop, and purchased these articles, which he supposed had fallen from her muff - he then said he was sure the articles were of no use to him, and I said I was sure they were none to me; he crossed over on the opposite side to the church, and said he was going to his employer, Mr. Clarke, and said, "If you will walk on slowly, perhaps, I may meet with you again;" I said it would be very uncertain whether he did or not - I had no idea of seeing him again; I went down Holborn-hill, and by the grocer's shop at the corner, a man in a brown coat came up to me - he was a thinner man than the prisoner; he also kicked his foot against a paper, but there was nothing in it - he picked it up, and said, "I suppose it is not a 5l. note;" I said I did not consider that 5l. notes were so plentiful; he said a man had picked up a parcel in Holborn, which contained a pair of ear-rings, and two rings, with the bill for 5l. 18s. 6d. - I asked how he came to know it; he instantly said, "Oh, there is a lady, who has just got into her carriage, and she is just going to advertise the jewels for 2l.;" (I was very much concerned that a lady should have such a loss) - the man said he was going towards Smithfield, and while I stood there the prisoner came by the side of me again, and said, "I did not think I should meet with you again;" he then crossed over the road with me into Farringdon-street, having the articles in his hand, and though he said before that he could not read writing, he then told me the amount of the bill, which he could not tell me before; he said they were 5l. 18s. 6d., and they were going to be advertised for 2l. - I said I was a servant, and had been out of place three months, and I was not able to purchase any thing of the kind, but if I did, it should be for the welfare of the lady; he said he would take a sovereign for them, and I gave the sovereign into his hand, and he gave me the things - he shook hands, and wished me much joy; he then crossed over to the man in the brown coat - I went home to my lodging very delighted, and carried the things about for a fortnight, thinking I should meet with the prisoner - the ear-rings turned out to be worth about 2s., and on Saturday week I saw the prisoner with seven or eight others, and gave him into custody.

Cross-examined by MR. J. ALLEY. Q. It was entirely to serve the lady you bought them? A. It was done with a good intention; I ran the risk of my sovereign, as I was out of place, and he said he was going to Brighton, and could not keep them - I thought the reward would be beneficial; he wore a brown coat, and blue apron like a butcher, and knee breeches; and when I took him he had a black coat - he told me he had changed his coat.

JOSEPH MARTIN . I am an officer - I have been a jeweller. I examined these things - they are worth 2s.; that is the utmost they are sold for.

EDWARD MATTHEWS . I am an officer. The prosecutrix pointed the prisoner out to me - I took him in charge, but found nothing on him.

GUILTY . Aged 39. - Transported for Seven Years .