Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 16 June 2021), November 1834, trial of THOMAS HOBBS, alias Holmes (t18341124-4).

THOMAS HOBBS, Theft > burglary, 24th November 1834.

4. THOMAS HOBBS, alias Holmes , was indicted for burglariously breaking and entering the dwelling-house of William Simmons, about the hour of twelve in the night of the 18th of October, at St. Giles-in-the-Fields, with intent to steal, and burglariously stealing therein, 24 boot-hook handles, value 20s.; 48 button-hook handles, value 2l. 8s.; 3 oz. weight of silver, value 15s.; 12 pearl handles, value 4s.; and 24 teeth instruments, value 20s.; the goods of the said William Simmons.

WILLIAM SIMMONS . I live at No. 3, Tower-street, Seven Dials, in the parish of St. Giles's. I am a steel-worker. On Saturday, the 18th of October, about twelve o'clock at night, we heard somebody in the work-shop—a young man was with me who works for me—my family consists of my wife and child, and a servant girl—I had made the house safe myself at eleven o'clock—the workshop is situated at the back of the premises, not on the ground floor, but higher—there are four windows to it, which open—I fastened them about nine o'clock—my young man went into the workshop on hearing the noise—we have a room even with the workshop—I did not go into the workshop—I fastened the window with a large wooden button, which keeps two close—there is a tiling by the window—a person could get into the window from the tiling—the window goes on hinges—it does not lift up—when I left the workshop at nine o'clock, I left a quantity of unfinished work on my bench—large button-hook handles and ivory—I made my way to the street door—I found it safely locked and bolted—I went into the workshop about an hour after and observed a 9-inch file sticking into a drawer, as if to prize it open—the file had broken in doing it—the file was mine—I had left it on the bench—I walked farther into the shop, and found a square of glass broken in one of the windows, which was open—that was not broken at nine o'clock when I left the workshop—a hand put into that square would turn the button—I then went into the tower shop on the ground floor—they communicate by a step ladder—I found a padlock broken off the cellar door—I keep my ivory in that cellar—the door had been opened, and all the ivory was gone—the box it was kept in was empty—there might be three or four dozen pieces gone—I then made to the street door, and found it fast as before—I called a policeman to have the place searched—the policeman did not come—my young man went into the front parlour—the street door commands a view of the parlour—on his going into the parlour, I hallooed out "Police"—my young man opened a large cupboard door, and I saw the prisoner in the cupboard—he worked for me as journeyman for four or five weeks—I have not a doubt of his being the man—he got out of the cupboard—I said, "You d—d scoundrel, what brings you here at this time on Sunday morning?"—he said, "I came here for my wages"—I said it was a pretty time to come for wages—he came to the street door while I was calling "Policeman," and knocked me down on the pavement—I followed him, but lost sight of him in Monmouth-street—on returning

to my house, in one corner of the cupboard where he was concealed, I found about three dozen pieces of ivory tied up in a handkerchief—I can swear, on my solemn oath, it is my property—it is ivory I had cut up myself—it had been in my cellar.

Cross-examined by MR. DOANE. Q. Had you seen any ivory in the cellar the same day? A. No; not the same day. The prisoner has been employed by me—he asked me, on several occasions, for his wages—I fastened up the place, about nine o'clock, on Saturday night—both the shops—nobody was in my house but my young man, who has been with me nineteen years—he sat with me the whole evening—I had bolted the shop door, not locked it—I did not meet the prisoner on the Tuesday after in Seven Dials—I had not seen him at all after this occurred, before he was taken into custody—he had asked me several times for 5s., which were coming to him—he knocked me down as he ran out.

WILLIAM SWINBOURN . I am in the employ of Mr. Simmons. On Saturday, the 18th of October, about twelve o'clock at night, I was with Mr. Simmons, in his room, and had been with him since I left work, which was about eight o'clock—while I was sitting with him, I was alarmed by a noise in the workshop—I went there, but did not take a candle with me—I heard a noise of foosteps hurrying down stairs, when I went into the shop—I came out again, and told my master somebody was there—I got a light, and went down into the front parlour—master was with me, and told me to open the cupboard door, which was shut—I opened it, and found the prisoner in the cupboard—master asked what business he had there—he said he came for his wages—he passed me, knocked Mr. Simmons down, and ran away—I went into the workshop with master afterwards—I found the window unbuttoned, and a square of glass broken quite close to the button—I knew the prisoner before—he worked there about five weeks—I have not a doubt of his being the man.

Cross-examined. Q. It appeared as if somebody had got in from the roof? A. From the tiling of the next shop. Our shop is not at the top of the house; it is the top of the workshop—the tiles are at the side, by the windows—the windows open on to the tiles of the next workshop—I heard the noise a little after twelve o'clock—I was with master all the while—I did not hear a noise at eleven.

GEORGE JOHN RESTIEAUX . I am a policeman. I received information of the robbery, and after four days' search, found the prisoner in Baldwin's-gardens, on the Wednesday—I produce thirty-seven pieces of ivory, in a handkerchief, which I got from Mr. Simmons—the prosecutor's house is in the parish of St. Giles-in-the-Fields.

Cross-examined. Q. Did you search the prisoner? A. Yes.—I found nothing but some bits of rag, and a key on him.

MR. SIMMONS re-examined. I know this ivory. This is the handkerchief it was in, which I found in the cupboard.

MARY SIMMONS . I am the prosecutor's wife. I know that handkerchief perfectly well—it is the prisoner's—I know it by using it in my husband's shop, in polishing ivory—I only used it once—I took it off a box in the workshop—the prisoner took it from my hand, and put it in his hat, saying it belonged to him.

Cross-examined. Q. Did you sufficiently notice it, to swear to it? A. I swear it is the same. There is nothing particular in it—I do not often polish ivory with a handkerchief—I did not know whose it was at the time,

but he said it belonged to him—I know it is the handkerchief—I could pick it out from five thousand.

(George Findley, cutler, Blackmore-street, Clare-market; Edward Perks, bracelet-maker, Turnmill-street; and Joseph Black well, Tash-street, Gray's-inn-lane, deposed to the prisoner's good character.)

GUILTY. DEATH .—Aged 26.

Before Mr. Justice Park.