Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 17 January 2021), August 1851, trial of BENJAMIN LAWRENCE JOHN JONES JAMES MORTON (t18510818-1667).

BENJAMIN LAWRENCE, JOHN JONES, JAMES MORTON, Theft > theft from a specified place, 18th August 1851.

1667. BENJAMIN LAWRENCE, JOHN JONES , and JAMES MORTON , stealing 1 gold girdle, and other goods, value 85l.; the goods of Leonard Morse Cooper, in the dwelling-house of Ann Walter.

MR. RYLAND conducted the Prosecution.

ROBERT DUNN . I am butler to Mrs. Ann Walter, a widow, of No. 9, Devonshire-place, in the parish of St. Marylebone. Lawrence and Jones have lived in the service—Lawrence lived there for about eight months, and

left on 9th April—he returned on 8th May—he was a stable-boy; he slept in the house—he had not been dismissed; he left on his own account—he did not apply to come back; the ladies asked him to come back—he absconded on Sunday, 18th May; he went without notice; I was surprised when I heard he was gone—Jones came into the service on 9th April, and left on 8th May—he was in the same capacity as Lawrence—he came to take Lawrence's place—he slept in the house, and remained till 8th May, when Lawrence was asked to come back—I do not know Morton, only I had ordered him off the premises two or three times, when he was in the stable-loft with Lawrence—Jones did not leave without notice—his father procured him a preferable situation, and he wished to leave—there was some property in the house belonging to Major Cooper, who is son-in-law to Mrs. Walter—it was in a room called the laundry, which had not been occupied for some time; and was in boxes, chests, and drawers, which were locked—I had seen them all about a month or six weeks before 17th May—the boxes appeared to me to be locked—I had not the keys—on 17th May, the boxes appeared to hare been forced—I do not know what the articles consisted of—I had seen Lawrence in the loft on several occasions—I could not exactly say when was the last time—I dare say it might be three weeks before the robbery; I fetched down some iron bedsteads, and he assisted me—the 17th May was on a Saturday—I had been in that room three weeks before, but I took no notice of the property; it was all locked up—I believe I was twice examined before the Magistrate—Jones left on 8th May; I recollect being about to go out that evening, and Jones asked me if I would call on Mr. Price, the tailor, and tell him to send home a pair of trowsers that he had to alter—I called, but did not get the trowsers then—some time after, Mr. Price's servant brought them home—it was dusk; I could not see what colour they were—they were dark cloth; they might be blue.

Cross-examined by MR. BALLANTINE. Q. Do you mean to swear they were cloth? A. Yes; they were not light; they were very stout and dark—I should say decidedly they were dark-blue, by what I could see by the gas-light—they were not corduroy—my sight is not very good—I always thought Jones a very good boy while in the service; I have nothing to say against him—the ladies said they had a very good character with him.

CHARLES BATTERSBY (police-sergeant, D 4). I heard of this robbery on a Friday evening in May—I looked for Lawrence, but did not take him—I looked for Jones—I first saw him on 20th May, the day after I heard of the robbery—I told him a quantity of things had been lost from Mrs. Walter's—he said, yes, there were a number of things lost, he was aware; he had heard of it—that was all that passed then—I saw him several times after that; I have not got the dates—I saw him at his father's, No. 53, Lyallmews, about a fortnight after the first time I saw him—I asked him if he bad seen Lawrence, and I said I had been to Lawrence's brother, in Grosvenor-square, where he is in service—Jones said he had not seen Lawrence—I said I had heard that Lawrence had been over to him—he repeated that he bad not seen him—nothing more passed at that time—I saw him again about a week afterwards, and again asked him if he had seen Lawrence—he said he had not; and he then said, before his mother, that he knew nothing of the robbery—I saw Jones again on 23rd June, when Lawrence was taken into custody—I saw Jones at his father's, at 53, Lyall's-mews, Pimlico—I said, "Lawrence is in custody, and I must take you, respecting this robbery"—he said, "Lawrence had another bundle of things tied up, and I told him to take them back, or I would tell his mistress"—I am sure he said "another

bundle of things tied up"—I had not had any conversation with him about a prior bundle—I told him it was a pity he had not told his mistress at the time—he said, "Yes, it was a great pity I did not"—he said "Lawrence sold some things to a Jew for four shillings, and we had a shilling a piece"—I then took him into custody—nothing else passed—I never had Lawrence in custody, but I saw him about the 24th, when Spicer had him in custody—Lawrence said he was there when the boxes were broken open—he said, "We sold the breeches to a Jew; but we don't know anything about the lace, and the sailor-boy was with us"—on 25th June, I saw Morton at his father's stable, Devonshire-mews—I had known him before by seeing him in the mews—I told him I should take him for being concerned in the robbery at Mrs. Walter's—he said, "I did not take any of the things, nor I did not break the boxes open; but I was there when they were broken open; they were broken open by a horse-pick, a thing that they pick horses feet with; the sailor-boy was there at the time"—I took him to the station—he stated that the things were sold to a Jew for four shillings, and they bad a shilling a piece—in going to the station, I told him the things that were stolen—I mentioned a gold snuff-box, and gold lace—he said, "We had not the snuff-box, nor the gold lace"—I produce a pair of hunting-breeches, which I traced to the Jew, and the person be sold them to, and that person sold them to a performer at the Surrey Theatre—I have also a coat, which was given me by the butler.

Cross-examined. Q. Where was Jones when you took him? A. At his father's stable, in the service of the Marquis of Ely; and I believe he has been living there since—he was out on bail—I do not remember the date when I had the first communication with him—I do not exactly know the day on which I was first examined—it was the day after Lawrence was takes—Mr. Broughton investigated the case—I was examined again on the 25th, and then remanded for a week—I was examined three times—I had not half-a dozen conversations with Jones, no more than I have stated—I saw him three times before he was taken—I am not quite certain whether I wag examined three or four times—I had no conversation with Jones after he was given into custody on 23rd June—every thing that I know to-day I knew at the time I was first examined—I was examined four times—I went to No. 53, Lyall-mews; I cannot tell the date; I knew the date when I was examined—I cannot say whether I went there the day before I was examined—I think it was the day after I had been examined in the first instance, I went over there again.

Q. Was it the day before your examination that you went for the first time and saw Jones? A. I think it was a day or two previous to the examination—I told him what I came about—he said he knew there was a bundle of things tied up, ready to be taken away, and he told Ben. to take them back, or he would tell his mistress—this is my name to this deposition—(This being read did not state that Jones had said the things were sold for four shillings, and that he had received one shilling)—I might have omitted that on the first examination, but I am quite certain I heard him say so—if I did not mention it, I must have forgotten it—I am confident I did forget it, if I did not state it.

COURT. Q. Did he say a bundle, or another bundle? A. He said there was another bundle of things tied up to take away, and he told him to take them back.

Q. Before the Magistrate you only mentioned a bundle, and now you speak of two bundles? A. He said one bundle was sold to a Jew—he mentioned

about the shilling after I had said to him he was very foolish that he did not take the bundle to his mistress.

THOMAS PRICE . I am a tailor, of Devonshire-street, Portland-place. I think the prisoner Jones came to my place with a pair of trowsers to be altered, about the 4th or 5th May—I had never seen him before—I believe they were dark-blue trowsers—some stripes or braiding had been taken off the sides of them, and they were torn, as if in taking off the stripes—I think there had been two stripes on each side; there was a double mark, and a little space between—I measured the boy for the trowsers—I was paid for altering them two or three days afterwards by his father—I had never seen the father before—he represented himself to be the father of the boy—the boy did not call again—he was not with me above three or four minutes—I only know Mr. Dunn from seeing him once or twice about this affair—he called and desired me to take them home, and he called to let me know the father's address, as the boy had not paid for them—my niece took them home; she is not here.

Cross-examined. Q. Did these appear to be livery trowsers? A. I could not tell whether they had been livery or uniform trowsers—I cannot say at this distance of time whether I shortened them.

ALFRED SPICE (policeman, V 47). I am stationed at Clapham. I searched for Lawrence, and found him in Clapham-road, on 23rd June—I said, "Ben, I want you about this robbery at Marylebone"—he said, "I did not commit the robbery, the three other boys committed the robbery, and sold the things for four shillings, and I had one shilling of the money"—he did not describe what things they were—I understood they were something of wearing-apparel.

Cross-examined. Q. I will read you what you said before the Magistrate—"He said I did not steal them, some other boys stole them, and sold them to a Jew?" A. He said three, and I said three; if it was not put down it was not my fault—it was read over to me.

ELIAS MOSES . I live in Sandys-row, Bishopsgate, and deal in secondhand clothes. I bought some articles of Lawrence, in May, but I cannot tell the day of the month; Morton was with him—I bought of him four pairs of old breeches, one pair were leather, and one pair white velvet; I gave four shillings for them; Lawrence took the money; it was in the coach-house, at No. 9, Devonshire-mews—I have been down there for twenty-eight years—I cannot exactly say whether it was near Mrs. Walters—I met Lawrence on the day before, and he asked me whether I would boy some old breeches—I said, "Yes," and I appointed to call the next morning—I went, and before I bought them, I asked Lawrence whether they belonged to him—he said, yes, they were given him to buy a pair of shoes with—Morton said, yes, it was all right; it was half-a-crown for the leather breeches, and sixpence a pair for the others—I sold the leather breeches again for four shillings, at a public market—I do not know to whom—I cannot exactly say whether this pair of velvet ones is one of the pairs I bought.

LEONARD MORSE COOPER . I am a major in the army. I am a son-in-law of Mrs. Walter, No. 9, Devonshire-place. Some twelvemonths or more ago, I left a military chest and some property in her possession—there was a gold snuff-box, worth 6l. or 7l., some riding-breeches, a great many undress coats, trowsers, and overalls, with two stripes of lace on each leg—they were all in good condition—they were blue riding-cloths, and of a thicker material than is generally used—I left them all safe in my military chest, under lock and key—about 20th May, I heard of the robbery—I examined, and found a

greet many things were missing, and almost everything turned upside down, and scattered—I had some breeches like these; I dare say six or eight pairs, but I cannot swear to these; they are moleskin—I know this coat to be mine by one of the sleeves being split down, when I had a bad fall in hunting.

COURT to THOMAS PRICE. Q. Had the stripes been taken off the trowsers? A. Yes; there was more than one stripe; I think there must hare been two on each side, but I am not quite sure of that—there was a double mark, and a little space between them, as far as I can recollect, but I cannot say, not taking particular notice.

MAJOR COOPER re-examined. One hundred, guineas would not replace what I have lost—I am most anxious to get my Waterloo medal back.

(The prisoners received good characters)

JONES— NOT GUILTY .

LAWRENCE— GUILTY . Aged 16.

MORTON— GUILTY . Aged 16.

Recommended to mercy by the Prosecutor.— Confined Six Months.