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Joseph Hoy Old Bailey

GEORGE LANE, theft: burglary, 21 May 1817

GEORGE LANE was indicted for burglariously breaking and entering the dwelling-house of John Reasby, about two in the night of the 20th of April, with intent to steal, and burglariously stealing therein one watch, value 3l.; two casks, value 5s.; one till, value 1s.; one book, value 6d.; one picker, value 2d.; one bleeding-phlem, value 2d., and three shillings in copper monies, his property.

JOHN REASBY. I live at Cock Fosters, in the parish of Hadley; I rent the whole house, and nobody lives in it but my own family. On the 20th of April, about six o'clock in the morning, I came down stairs (I was not alarmed), I was the first person that came down-it had been day-light sometime; I missed my till with about 3s. in halfpence in it, and a silver watch, which had been left with me, I was answerable for it. I also missed the other things stated in the indictment. I found some of them the same morning just inside the gate of Mr. Schneider's premises - A boy gave me information, which made me go to the place - They were just by the gate, and strewed about the ground, just by the road-side, any person might have seen them. I found the picker, the bleeding-phelm, the till, and the exciseman's check-book. I never found the watch. Drinkworth told me where they were.

THOMAS BEALE. I live at Cock Fosters. I and my fellow-servant had been with some beast-as we were returning, we smelt a place very strong with liquor - We met the prisoner - my fellow-servant knew him, but I did not - I know him now-it was on the 21st of April, about three o'clock in the morning William Slow was with me; we had been driving some beast, and were coming back - We saw the prisoner just by Mr. Cumming's park-gate - I did not see any thing with him.

WILLIAM SLOW. I was with Beale, and saw the prisoner that morning by Mr. Cumming's park, which is near a quarter of a mile from Reasby's-it is close to Schneider's - I spoke to him - I did not see him with any thing. When we were coming back, he came into the road, and sat down just opposite where the liquor was - He followed us a little way, and turned back.

JOSEPH HOY. I live at the Crown, at Southgate. The prisoner was at my house, on the 20th of April, and brought a hatchet with him - I took it off the table, and asked him if it was his - He told me it was - I gave it to him, and he put it in his basket - He took it away with him at five o'clock in the afternoon.

JOHN REASBY. I found a hatchet, with the rest of the things. I produce it.

JOSEPH HOY. This is the hatchet. I will swear that I had it in my hand; I knew nothing of him before.

Cross-examined by MR. ADOLPHUS. I only saw it that afternoon-it was Sunday - I took it off the tap-room table, and particularly observed the marks on it - I can swear to it-there is a notch cut at the end, and it is split in the middle of the handle - He had been at my house ever since two o'clock; he had as much as would do him good. I only know that it was in his possession. Schneider lives about a mile and a quarter from me.

NICHOLAS DAWKINS. I am a horse-patrol belonging to Bow-street Office. In consequence of the report of the house being broken open, I and Propstring examined the premises. The bill was found among the property; I fitted it to the marks on Reasby's house; the marks exactly fitted. The bar had been attempted, but not opened; I tried the marks there; they corresponded. The shutters had been forced open. I tried the bill, and fitted it to those marks; it appeared that they went out at the door, and entered at the window, by breaking a pane of glass, after forcing the shutters.

REASRY re-examined. There was a little liquor gone; the casks were broken in the road near the place where I found the other things. There were two casks taken from my premises; it was a gallon cask of rum, and a two gallon cask, with some brandy in it; they were stone casks, marked Nos. 1 and 2; I found part of one of them near the place.

WILLIAM SLOW re-examined. I had known the prisoner a great many years. He lived about a mile from Reasby. When I first saw him, he was close to where I smelt the liquor, between that place and Reasby's. I took no notice of it to him; it was just getting day-light when I saw him, and was about three o'clock. I thought he came over where I was because I should not take any notice of it; there was somebody with him under the pailings. I thought he wished to see who I was, but did not wish me to see him.

Cross-examined. At this time I was going towards Reasby's; I had passed the place where I smelt the liquor before I saw the prisoner; he was also going towards Reasby's: they followed us after we got by. I do not know whether there was one or two more with him. I did not see them so as to know who they were. I did not see any thing about the prisoner; the other two men were pretty near to Schneider's.

Court. Q. Where did the smell appear to come from - A. Near the gate leading to Schneider's. After I got by, they followed me about one hundred yards, and then turned back; they followed us as far as the road that leads to Reasby's; when they got as far as there, we saw no more of them.

FREDERICK PROPSTRING. I know no more than Dawkins has told. I took the prisoner into custody on the 26th. I could not find him before. I began to look for him on the 23d.

JOHN REASBY. The watch was worth 3l. I would give 3l. for such a one; the other things are of little value; the liquor was worth ten or twelve shillings. The window was safe when I went to bed.

Prisoner's Defence. I am innocent. I know nothing of it.

GUILTY. - DEATH. Aged 45.

Second Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Justice Bayley.