Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 03 December 2023), October 1895, trial of HENRY SMITH (24) GEORGE COPELAND (21) (t18951021-827).

HENRY SMITH, GEORGE COPELAND, Violent Theft > robbery, 21st October 1895.

827. HENRY SMITH (24) and GEORGE COPELAND (21) , Robbery with violence upon John Brown, and stealing from him 5s. 3d. his money.

MR. BLACKWELL Prosecuted.

JOHN BROWN . I am a labourer, of Crossingham's lodging-house, Dorset-street—about twelve on Saturday, 5th inst., I was crossing Dorset-street to go home—I had had two or three drinks, but was perfectly well—as I was stepping off the pavement I was seized by the

throat by Copeland—I recognized him when I got loose—I ran after him—when I was seized, somebody put his hand in my pocket—I had a two-shilling piece, three separate shillings, and three-pence bronze—I was caught by the arm like that—I was hurt in the struggle, I wanted to get a grasp of him, but could not succeed, I was hurting myself and goggling in my throat—the prisoners kept hold of me till they had rifled my pockets, then I was let free, and I made for Copeland, but Smith struck me a heavy blow on the left cheek, which hurt my eye—that knocked me down—then two of my nephews came up and a policeman, and I was taken into the lodging-house—I made a complaint to the constable—then I discovered my money was gone—the constables afterwards brought me to the station—I charged the prisoners—I am certain they are the men—I had not seen them before—I had been at Mile End concreting a garden. I am a bricklayer.

Cross-examined by Copeland. I could not call out, I was pinned by the throat—as I was let tree I recognised two old men from the lodging-house—two constables came to the lodging-house, and said, "We want you to come to the station, we have got these two prisoners who knocked you about"—I did not tell the constables about the robbery.

FRANK BEVIS (Sergeant 124 H). Shortly after 12, on 5th October, I was on duty in Dorset Street—I was with John Smith, constable 305—I saw the prisoners in Dorset Street, about 50 yards away, take hold of the prosecutor outside a shop—I saw the prosecutor fall to the ground—we then went towards them, and the prisoners went into McCarthy's shop—both officers were in uniform—I followed the prosecutor into the lodging-house, and had a conversation with him—I came out and told the other constable to detain the men—I said I should take them into custody for assaulting and robbing a man of 5s. 3d.—Smith said, when taken into custody, "Do you think I would rob an old man like him? but there, if I get a drag I must put up with it"—the prosecutor was not then in sight—we went back to the prosecutor, and had some difficulty in getting him from the lodging-house; the prisoners' confederates tried to keep the prosecutor there, so as not to prosecute—I searched them; on Copeland I found Is. 10 1/2 d., and on (Smith 1s. 6d. silver and 4 1/2 d. bronze—I did not know any robbing had taken place at first, but thought it my duty to keep observation.

Cross-examined by Copeland, We two constables had been together five minutes—our duty was to be on that beat together—I saw the prosecutor fall—the struggle lasted about half a minute—it was on the pavement—you went in the eating-house—you walked away from us.

Re-examined. The prosecutor received a blow on the right side of his face, and was covered in mud.

JOHN SMITH (305 H). Shortly after midnight on Saturday, 5th inst. I was with Bevis—I saw the prisoners struggling with the prosecutor, who was knocked down—he was taken into the lodging-house by some of his friends—the prisoners went into McCarthy's eating-house—I kept observation on the shop while Bevis went into the lodging-house—he came out as the prisoners left the shop, and stood in the roadway, and said in their hearing, "Datain them"—I detained them—I told them I wanted them—they said, "We have done nothing"—then the nephew came out, and said. "Hold them; we want them; they have knocked the man down, and robbed him of 5s, 3d."—I told Copeland I should take

him into custody on the charge of robbing this man of 5s. 3d.—I made a note at the time—he said, "We can't get more than a stretch"—that is twelve months—a "drag" is three mouths—I searched him—I found three separate shillings in his pocket—the prisoners were about two minutes in the eating-house, not time to get refreshments—a man and woman were in the shop.

Cross-examined by Copeland. We constables came from the bottom of Dorset Street—we were 45 to 50 yards off when we saw the scuffle—it continued 15 to 30 seconds, both in the road and on the pavement—you walked into the shop—that would becoming towards us.

By the COURT. The lodging-house is almost facing the shop—it would be difficult to say accurately at that time of night whether they were coming towards us or going from us.

GUILTY . SMITH then PLEADED GUILTY to a conviction of felony at the Thames Police Court in April, 1892.— Twelve Months' Hard Labour and Twenty Strokes .

COPELAND was further charged with a conviction on 23rd September, 1893, to which he declined to plead.

HENRY HANCOCK (Detective H). I was present at Guildhall Justice Boom on 23rd September, 1893, when Copeland was convicted in the name of John Merson, and sentenced tosix months' hard labour for stealing a gold watch and chain from the person—he was concerned with three others.

GUILTY.— Fifteen Months' Hard Labour, and Twenty Strokes with the Cat.