Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 04 October 2023), June 1850, trial of WILLIAM ANDERSON (t18500610-1224).

WILLIAM ANDERSON, Theft > pocketpicking, 10th June 1850.

1224. WILLIAM ANDERSON , stealing 1 purse, value 6d.; 1 piece of foreign gold coin, 7s.; 11 sovereigns, and 8 half-sovereigns; the property of William Henry Alldis, from his person.

MESSRS. COCKLE and PRENDERGAST, JUN., conducted the Prosecutions

WILLIAM HENRY ALLDIS . I keep an eating-house, at 10l. Fore-street, Cripplegate. The prisoner came on Saturday, 23rd Feb., with a man named Saunders—he stopped at my counter about a minute—(I had seen Saunders the night previous)—we were very busy, and my waiter asked them to walk up-staire—they did so, and dined—they were up-stairs half or three-quarters of an hour—when they came down they asked if they could speak to me—I told them I could not then, I would in half-an-hour; and I asked them to come back—they said, "No," they would meet me at some neighbouring house—I said, "Next door," which is the Green Dragon—I met them there in half-an-hour—it was then about two o'clock in the day—the prisoner said he had been recommended to me by Saunders, and he had a nephew in the country who was possessed of 2,000l., and he was anxious to get him into business, and he had authorised Saunders to look out for nearly two months, and he knowing my house had recommended him to take it—he said his nephew was about to be married—he asked what I wanted for the house, and what furniture was in it, and I told him—he asked all the particulars that a person could ask if he wanted to take the house—he asked if my servants would stop—I said I did not know; I would ask them—I told him he had better let his nephew see it—he said, "It lies with me entirely," and he said to Saunders, "We must write' to my nephew this afternoon, to that

we shall get him up on Monday morning from Dover"—on Monday, the 25th, we met at the Albion, Blackfriars-road—I got there at four—in half an hour Saunders came—I was drinking a glass of cold sherry and water—in five or ten minutes I saw the prisoner looking in at the window—he came in and said to Saunders, "The moment I sent you out with that letter my niece came in; she came by the train, and I expect my nephew by the seven o'clock train this evening instead of to-morrow"—Saunders had produced a letter to me the moment before the prisoner came; I saw the writing on it—the prisoner then pretended he had dropped his spectacles, and went out for seven or eight minutes—I then said it was no use to wait there any longer, and the meeting was appointed at the same house at seven in the evening—I went there at seven, and found the prisoner—Saunders came in afterwards, and one other, and then a young man, who appeared to be very sober, with a small paper parcel, and the moment after a man who appeared very drunk—the drunken man began to talk—he said he had lost his lady, who had taken something like 2l. from him, but he did not care for that; if he could meet her again he would give her 2l. more—he pulled out a quantity of sovereigns, and said he had been making a bet with a party about throwing a heavy weight, and challenged Saunders—I told him to take no notice of him; we had met there on very different business; and as to throwing weights, I knew nothing about it—Saunders said he had thrown a heavy weight, and he thought he could do it with him, and he should like to try him—the prisoner then said he would go to the Surrey Theatre, and see his wife, who was to meet him there, and see whether his nephew had come up from Dover or no—the young man and the drunken man then left—the prisoner, and Saunders, and me, and the other man, left immediately after to go to the Surrey Theatre—the prisoner proposed going to a beer-shop in Webber-row—when we got there I found the drunken man that I had previously seen, and the other man was leaning over the counter—when we got in they began to talk about their bets, and about throwing heavy weights again—they proposed going to the skittle-ground—eight or ten persons came in from the skittle-ground, and the landlord said, "I have cleared the ground for you to go in"—they all went there, and they said there was nothing heavy enough to throw, but Saunders proposed to play the drunken man at skittles, which he did, and won many pounds of him, and Saunders said to me, "You may as well have 5l. out of this fellow as us; he has been and sold two cows, and you may as well have something"—he nudged me two or three times to put something down, but I would not do it—I had first thought that man was drunk, but afterwards that he was only pretending—I declined having anything to do with them—they then began to kick up a dispute about their bets, and shoved up against me several times—I cannot say that the prisoner shoved up against me, but he was near those who did—there were only five in the ground—they served me that way two or three times, and I got in amongst them—I then saw a purse in Saunders's hand—I put my hand into my pocket, and missed my purse—I said, "I have lost my purse out of my pocket"—I had known it was safe perhaps half an hour before—it had contained 15l. in sovereigns and half-sovereigns, and a gold Spanish piece—I said, "Why that is my purse," in the company of all of them; and a man got before me, and said, "Don't say that; don't make a noise about it; I shall lose my situation if I am known to be in anything of this"—that was one of the men that met us at the Albion, and accompanied us to the beer-shop—he kept me back, and there was a scuffle with two or three of them on the other side of the frame—the man who appeared so very much intoxicated

took up his coat and went away in his shirt-sleeves—the prisoner and the others went as quickly as possible, leaving me and the man who was speaking to me—he said he knew Saunders, and if I would go with him he would take me to a place where he could find him—when the prisoner and the others went out, I wanted to go past to go after them, but the man would not let me—he said he held a responsible situation, and he would not have it known for the world—in two or three minutes I went out with this man, and he took me to two public-houses—I did not see the prisoner after I got out—I have not seen the last man, who told me he was in a responsible situation, since—this is my purse; I found it behind the boards in the skittle-ground, on the Friday morning following, I think—I had picked up the ring of it on the Monday evening—I know this piece of paper; it was written by the prisoner at the Green Dragon, next door to me—I put it in my purse, but I did not know it was there till the purse was produced—I had not drank anything with the prisoner and the other men; they requested me several times; I refused it—I had not played at skittles or betted—I took my purse out at the Albion—I thought I had some silver in it, and I had not—I put it into my pocket again, and felt in my waistcoat-pocket, and found I had two or three loose shillings—the purse was in my right-hand trowsers-pocket—I gave it and the ring to Goff.

Cross-examined by MR. O'BRIEN. Q. Do I understand you to say, you did not take anything from six o'clock till this occurrence? A. At four o'clock I took a glass of cold sherry and water at the Albion, and the same at seven—I never saw the man who keeps the beer-shop before—I understand his name is Dickinson—I left the beer-shop at half-past ten—I came back again that night—I saw the landlord in the bar when I was going out at half-past ten—I did not speak to him, nor be to me—I have seen Saunders since in custody—I appeared against him at the police-office—he was discharged by the Magistrate—he was the very man in whose hand I had seen the purse—I found the puree on the Friday—I had not been to the house between the Monday and the Friday, and I never was there before the Monday—the man who kept me back described himself as a lawyer—we were the last two that went out—we did not talk at all at the bar—we went right out—I came back again that night with the same man—I spoke to the landlord, and asked him if he knew either of those men that came in—he said, "No."

Q. Did he not ask you if there was anything the matter, and did you not say "No?"A. I do not recollect that—1 swear he did not ask me what was the matter—I did not say, "No, nothing particular"—I went with the policeman to the skittle-ground on the Friday following—I never said I found it as the people were going out, and they fell—I went with the two policemen to the end of the ground, and saw the purse among some straw, where I saw the man fall—the landlord was not there then—the officer showed the landlord the purse in my presence—it was found behind some boards six or eight inches thick, and there is straw behind them—it was in a place between the boards that you might put your band—1 was the first to find it—I saw the landlord again on the Monday night—I went back once after I had left it—that party stopped with me, and persuaded me to take a cab and go home—I gave him my address—I gave information next day, Tuesday, to the City Inspector of the Ward of Cripplegate—I think Saunders was taken the week following—I appeared twice against him—he was remanded, and was discharged the last time—this prisoner was not in custody then; he was not to be found—when the purse was produced, the landlord did not say anything to me—he did not say, "It is rather singular to find the purse there; I was

there a quarter of an hour ago, and saw no purse there"—I did not go to the house between the Monday and Friday; I was afraid—I went on the Friday morning—I do not recollect whether the policemen were in plain clothes, or in uniform—three men went into the beer-shop with me, and we found two there—they might have been half an hour or three-quarters playing at skittles—the prisoner said his wife was to be at the Albion at nine o'clock, and the time was expired, and he would go and look for her—I did not speak to any policeman that night—I got home about half-past eleven—I did not mention my loss to my wife, or to any one that night—I have been married twenty years—I did not wish to let her know my loss.

MR. COCKLE. Q. Have you any doubt as to the purse being found behind the boards? A. No; I have never said I had—there is no foundation, for what has been asked about what was said by the landlord—I was afraid to go back to the house, because I have heard such an account of the characters who frequent it—I went to the police next day, after I had done my business, about five or six o'clock in the evening—I did not complain to the landlord that night, because I was led to believe that the party who was stopping behind was my friend—he said he knew where to find Saunders, and would take me to the places.

FRANCIS ELEY . I was waiter to Mr. Alldis. The prisoner came to Mr. Alldis with Saunders—I had no conversatiop with the prisoner—Saunders said, "Good morning" when they came—I had seen him on the 22nd with a female.

CHARLES BURGESS GOFF (police-sergeant, L 8). Alldis came to me on Wednesday, 27th Feb.—he gave me this broken ring (produced)—on 1st March I went with him by appointment to the Flying Horse beer-shop, kept by Mr. Dickinson—we went into the skittle-ground, and I saw him put his hand in, and take this purse out from between two pieces of wood, which are put to keep the skittle-balls from going out—I took it out of his hand; this piece of paper was in it—there was only one ring on it—the broken ring given me by Alldis corresponded with it—I had spoken to the landlord before we went in the ground—I sent an officer to him—he came, and I showed it him in the skittle-ground, and pointed out the place to him where it had been found—the landlord, Alldis, and I, were in the skittle-ground together for seven or ten minutes.

Cross-examined. Q. You have before said that Alldis cried out to you, "Look here?" A. Yes, he did; I could not see anything, but he put his hand between two pieces of wood, and took the purse out—the landlord was not there then, but the officer Garford was—we did not separate in the ground—we went to a door, and then along the right-hand side of the frame till we came to the top—then Alldis went on to the top, and he said, "Look here!"—I had not searched—we looked about as we went—there were no persons in the skittle-ground—we showed the purse to the landlord—I do not remember that he said anything—he did not say to me that it was very queer—I heard him say that the persons that were there paid him 3s. for the use of the ground, and that Alldis did not play—he did not say to Alldis, in my presence, "Why did you not tell me when I asked you if anything was the matter?"—I saw Alldis on Wednesday, and made an appointment to meet him on the Friday—I was in plain clothes, but I was well known at the house.

WILLIAM HENRY ALLDIS re-examined. This is the piece of paper that was in my purse—the prisoner wrote it in the Green Dragon, "Meet me on Monday, at four o'clock, at the foot of Blackfriars-bridge"—he gave it me on the Saturday afternoon—I know it is his writing, but I should know the purse without that—this was in the purse when I lost it, and when I found it.

Cross-examined. Q. Is there any mark on the purse? A. No; one of my own children knitted it for me—it is torn—it was not torn when I lost it.

Witness for the Defence.

HENRY JOHN DICKINSON . I live at 1, Webber-street, Blackfriars-rotd, and am a beer-shop keeper. On the night of 25th Feb. the prisoner came to my house by himself—Alldis came with a man named Saunders—the prisoner came in after them, and had a glass of something to drink; and hearing the skittles go, he asked me if there was anybody in the skittle-ground—I said, "Yes, I think there is"—the prisoner went into the skittle-ground—I served the persons in the skittle-ground with a pot of ale—I was not paid for it then—I should say there were five or six persons in the skittle-ground—in half an hour another pot of ale was called for, and a cheroot—I took them in—I was not paid then for them; but as Mr. Saunders and Mr. Alldis went out, Mr. Saunders put the money down—Mr. Alldis went out an hour, or a little less, after he came in—Mr. Saunders and several others that were in the ground went out with him—they all came out together, and Mr. Saunders and Mr. Alldis stopped behind, and put down 3s. for me to take my reckoning—they never stopped to take the change—I saw Mr. Aldis again that night, in about a quarter of an hour afterwards—the prisoner was with him—Mr. Alldis said to me, "Are you the proprietor of this house?"—I said, "I am"—he said, "Do you know this man?"—I said he might have been in, and had a glass of ale, but I did not know him—I said to Mr. Alldis, "What is the matter?"—he said, "Nothing of any consequence;" and they both went away together—this was on the Monday; and on Tuesday morning I saw Mr. Alldis again—he had two policemen with him—Goff asked if they could go and have a game at skittles—I said, yes, if they liked—they went and played for a pint of ale; and while they were playing, Goff came running to me, and said, "Look here what we have found in the skittle-ground"—I will not say for certain whether that was on the Tuesday or on the Friday—it was the next time I saw him—Goff came to me with this purse in his hand—they pointed out to me where it had been found—I said it was a very curious thing, when a quarter of an hour before I was looking in that very hole for a hammer, and I saw no purse there—any persons who were in the skittle-ground could very easily see the purse in the place in which it was found—I have many persons come into the skittle-ground in the course of a week.

Cross-examined by MR. COCKLE. Q. Had you ever seen. Mr. Alldis before that night? A. Never; he had never been in my shop that I know of—the prisoner might have been there before, but not that I am aware of—I had seen Saunders before, he is a neighbour of mine—I saw no man come in with Alldis but Saunders—after they were in the skittle-ground, I went in and asked if there were any orders—the prisoner was not there then, to my recollection—he came in in a quarter of an hour, asked for a glass of ale, and asked if there was any playing—I told him, "Yes"—I did not see the prisoner and Mr. Alldis in conversation—I should say there were five or six persons in the skittle-ground—there was a man sticking up skittles—there were several persons that I had seen before in the skittle-ground—they had two pots of ale and some cheroots—it came to 1s. 8d. or 2s.—they put down 3s.—I said, "You will take your change"—they went away without waiting for change—they never said that what was paid over and above was for clearing the skittle-ground; I did not understand so—I have been fined for having two men playing at cards—one of them turned out to be a thief afterwards, but I was not aware of it—I remember giving bail for a man named George Green—he was committed for picking pockets at Greenwich—I was bail for him, and I would for anybody else in distress.

Q. Has there not been a similar transaction to this when Mr. Raby, a broker in Kent-street, was robbed in your skittle-ground of 10l? A. I heard of it—I do not know whether his name was Raby—I was never charged with having anything to do with it—I was never charged respecting the robbery of Mr. Sexton, who was robbed of 25l. in my house—I know there is such a man as Mr. Sexton, but I do not recollect his coming to my place—if he was robbed it was unknown to me—when Alldis and Goff came next morning, I asked him if there was anything wrong—he said, "Yes, I think there is something wrong"—I asked him what was the matter—he said, "I have been robbed of my purse"—Goff was not present; he was gone, and his friend, to play a game at skittles—I said to Alldis, "How came you to lose your purse?"—he said, "The last pot of ale you brought was drugged; I was the only person that drank of it, and the rest was chucked into the next ground"—I do not think Goff was present when he said this; he was gone through to have a game at skittles—now I come to recollect, I think the policeman was present when he said he had been drugged in the ground—the policeman said, "I want to have a game at skittles"—I said, "You can go if you like"—they went, and I thought they had been there long enough—I went in, and they called for a pint of ale, and then he cane and said he had found a purse.

MR. O'BRIEN. Q. He was out about a quarter of an hour, and came back with the prisoner? A. Yes; I said, "What is the matter?"—he said, "Never mind; no consequence; nothing particular," and he went away—the next time he came with the policeman, and then he said he had lost his purse and he was drugged, and the rest of the ale was chucked over into the next ground.

(The prisoner received a good character).