Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 04 October 2022), January 1873, trial of WILLIAM ROBERTS (16) JAMES THOMAS (17) (t18730113-137).

WILLIAM ROBERTS, JAMES THOMAS, Theft > pocketpicking, 13th January 1873.

137. WILLIAM ROBERTS (16), and JAMES THOMAS (17) , Stealing a purse and 2s., the goods and moneys of William Black, from the person of Catherine Black.

MR. HOLLINGS conducted the Prosecution; and MR. MONTAGU WILLIAMS defended Roberts.

BAXTER HUNT (City Policeman 599). On the night of Christmas Day, I was in the neighbourhood of the Mansion House—I saw Roberts there—he was alone—I watched him—he went over to the Royal Exchange where the 'busses pull up—while there he was joined by Thomas and another man not in custody—they went behind some 'busses going eastward—I saw them go behind a Blackwall 'bus where a lady and several persons were endeavouring to get in—Roberts went on the right-hand side of the lady, placed his

hands against her dress, and he was covered by Thomas and the man who, is not in custody to prevent observation—they suddenly left, went towards Cornhill, and stopped there about two minutes altogether—they then went over into Threadneedle Street—I did not see whether the lady got into the 'bus—I got upon the top of the 'bus first and asked if there was any one who had lost anything—I then went to the lady, and in consequence of what she told me I went round the Exchange and there saw the two prisoners and the man not in custody all three standing together—I caught the two prisoners, but the other man escaped—I told them I should take them into custody for robbing the lady, and they struggled very hard and tried to get away—I took them to the station and charged them—I then went back to the spot where I apprehended them, and, just opposite the doorway of the Royal Exchange Bondage Vaults, I picked up this purse (produced).

Cross-examined. The omnibus was standing still—it was almost 11. 45—there were about six or seven passengers going by it.

Roberts. Q. Did you see us do anything besides what you have stated before you took us into custody? A. Nothing more than speak to one another.

CATHERINE BLACK . I am the wife of William Black, of No. 54, East India Road, Poplar—on the night of Christmas Day I was spoken to by a detective in the neighbourhood of the Mansion House—this is my purse—I did not know that I had lost it until the detective spoke to me.

Cross-examined. There were a few shillings in it—my pocket was cut.

Roberts. I know nothing about the purse.


Both prisoners also PLEADED GUILTY to previous convictions.

THOMAS**— Seven Years' Penal Servitude.

ROBERTS**— Five Years' Penal Servitude.