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From: Julia Mosman <>
Subject: [CORNISH] West Briton 19 October 1855 Qtr Sessions, part 2
Date: Fri, 10 Feb 2012 17:27:10 -0600


WEST BRITON AND CORNWALL ADVERTISER, transcribed by J. Mosman


19 OCTOBER 1855 Qtr Sns pt 2

Wednesday, OCTOBER 17





(Before J.K. Lethbridge, Esq.)





A FEMALE HOUSEBREAKER - MARY STEPHENS, 29, had six indictments for robberies entered against her on the calendar. She pleaded GUILTY, after a former conviction, of breaking and entering the dwelling house of JAMES MARTIN, at Kea, on the 9th of June last, and stealing a stuff dress, pair of drawers, shifts, handkerchiefs, victorine, and basket. She also pleaded GUILTY of stealing from the dwelling house of ELIZABETH ROWE, at Redruth, on the 6th of July, a watch, two cotton dresses, a stuff dress, silk capes, shawls, stockings, and a bonnet. She next pleaded GUILTY of stealing from the dwelling house of EDWARD JOHNS, at Illogan, on the 3rd of August, a satin waistcoat, pair of trousers, satin apron, silk scarf, silk handkerchiefs, shawls, two books, and three gold rings.



To a charge of breaking and entering the house of WILLIAM VINE, of Kenwyn, on the 20th of July, and stealing a watch, a Cobourg dress and other articles, the prisoner pleaded NOT GUILTY. To another indictment for stealing, on the 26th of July, a shawl and silk dress from the house of HENRY PIPER, of Kenwyn, the prisoner pleaded NOT GUILTY of stealing, but said she had sold the articles; and she pleaded in a similar way to the sixth indictment, for stealing from the dwelling house of JOHN TIPPET, at Redruth, on the 29th of June, a pair of trousers and a waistcoat.



Mr. STOKES, who appeared for the prosecution, said as the prisoner had pleaded guilty to three of the indictments, he should not offer evidence on the other charges against her.



- WILLIAM GLASSON and EDWARD RICKARD were indicted for stealing a quantity of lead and iron from the Callington Mines, about the 18th of August, the property of ROBERT HANNAY and others, of the Furness Mining Company, in Lancashire. MR. J.B. COLLINS appeared for the prosecution; MR. SHILSON for the prisoner GLASSON, and MR. CHILDS for RICKARD.



After some evidence had been gone into, the case against Glasson for stealing iron was abandoned by the prosecution, but the charge was proceeded with against Rickard.


It appeared that the engine on the Callington Mines had been purchased by the Furness Company, and that MR. MATTHEW LOAM, an engineer, was employed to take it down. The heavier parts were removed to Cotehele for shipment, and the remaining portions were left in charge of Glasson, consisting of iron, lead, and other materials packed in boxes. Mr. Loam said he was on the mine about the 15th of August, when Rickard, who was there, offered to purchase some old scrap timber and lead, some cwts. of which were lying close by the other materials. He sold him some scrap timber, but declined to sell him any lead.



Afterwards, Rickard sold 2 ¼ cwts. of lead to JOHN BRENDON, a plumber at Callington, who said he thought the lead had come from a sale of materials at the Redmore mines in that neighbourhood, which occurred just at that time. The lead, however, was claimed by the Furness Company as having been connected with the engine they had purchased, and a portion of the lead from Cotehele was matched with some sold to Brendon by Rickard, the pieces being produced in court. It appeared that two or three other persons had also been charged with the robbery.



Mr. CHILDS, having Cross-examined the witnesses, urged that several sales had previously taken place on the same mine, and that Rickard might in this way have purchased the lead in question. Mr. Loam said Rickard had only bought scrap timber, but Rickard's own statement was, that he bought "scraps" in a lumping lot, such as are often sold at mines on such occasions, consisting of different materials, and that if he had carried off more than he had purchased, an action for damages should have been brought against him, and not a charge of felony.



He had sold the lead at Callington in open day, which did not look like the act of a thief, who would have sold in a more secret way. Mr. Childs also called three or four witnesses to give the prisoner a good character.



The Chairman, in summing up, said there was much confusion with regard to the sales that had taken place on the mines; but the question was, whether there was any confusion with regard to this particular property which the prisoner was charged with stealing.



The jury had seen some of the lead produced, and there seemed scarcely any doubt that it was a part of the lead from the engine. They would then have to consider, from the evidence, whether any of the former sales on the mines were likely to have comprehended any portion of the lead which had been produced that day. The jury, after about ten minutes’ deliberation, found RICKARD GUILTY. GLASSON was discharged.


- GEORGE UGLOW was charged with stealing ten fowls and a water-pail, the property of WILLIAM JANES, a miller, in the parish of St. Stephens by Launceston. Very slight evidence could be given with regard to the fowls, but the prisoner was found GUILTY of stealing the pail.



- WILLIAM BORLASE, 18, was charged with stealing a ham, on the 11th of July, from RICHARD LEWARNE, of the parish of St. Austell. MR. BISHOP for the prosecutor, called several witnesses. Verdict, GUILTY.



-ROBERT HENRY NICHOLLS, 30, a tailor, was indicted for violently assaulting EDWARD FAIRBRASS, at Truro, on the 7th of October, and stealing from his person a silver watch, four sovereigns, and eleven shillings in silver. MR. STOKES appeared for the prosecution; Mr. SHILSON for the prisoner. The main particulars of this case have already appeared in our columns, when it was brought before the committing magistrates.



About midnight on the 7th of October, Mr. Fairbrass, a superannuated custom-house officer, and his wife, were going to their house at Richmond Hill, Truro, when, in Castle Street, they were knocked down with great violence. Mr. Fairbrass was robbed of his watch and money, and besides receiving a heavy blow on his head, injured his arm in falling; whilst Mrs. Fairbrass had her face so much cut that the blood streamed down over her clothes.



Two young men, called ATKINSON and JEWEL (who had been engaged late at the Saturday night's market removing things from a stall) gave evidence that they saw the prisoner, Nicholls, knock Mr. and Mrs. Fairbrass down; that they had previously seen Nicholls and a MRS. DART together, and subsequently had watched the parties, when they were joined by MRS. NICHOLLS, and had seen the assault committed (the women being also at the time near the spot), and that Nicholls fell down upon those whom he had knocked senseless to the ground, and after a lapse of a second or two, that he got up and ran down River Street.



WILLIAM JOSEPH NASH, superintendent of police, stated that when he apprehended Nicholls on the following Monday, and described to him the man whom he was charged with robbing, Nicholls said he thought he had seen the man at the White Hart on Saturday night. (Mr. Fairbrass stated in evidence that he and his wife were there that night.) Police Constable WOOLCOCK also said that he saw the prisoner and his wife going in the direction of their house at twenty minutes to one on Sunday morning, (the robbery having been committed about midnight.)



On the part of the prisoner MR. SHILSON closely Cross-Examined the witnesses, and for the defence represented that there were some discrepancies in the evidence of Atkinson and Jewel, on whose evidence the proof of the case rested, because Mr. and Mrs. Fairbrass were struck senseless to the ground, and did not know who struck them or robbed the prosecutor of his watch and money.



He remarked also on the strange conduct of the two young men, in seeing a man and his wife knocked down when no futher from them than the length of the assize hall, and not instantly running to their assistance; and more especially that when they did go up and speak to Mr. and Mrs. Fairbrass, and asked them where they lived and other questions, they yet did not tell them who it was that attacked them, though they now said they knew it was the prisoner. Further, they gave no information to the police, and said nothing about the matter on the following day.



Though no doubt an assault had been committed upon Mr. and Mrs. Fairbrass, he submitted that the evidence of the two young men was not entitled to such credit as to find thereon a verdict of guilty. The jury must be satisfied of the identity of the prisoner, as the man who struck the blows; and with regard to the loss of prosecutor's watch and money, as several persons had collected in the street, and one had accompanied him home, it was quite likely that some one else and not the prisoner had taken the property. When prisoner's house was searched, no part of the property was found therein.



The Chairman, in summing up, said he thought it likely, from some parts of the evidence, that more persons than the prisoner had been connected with this robbery; it was, however, for the jury to consider whether or not the prisoner was one of the parties involved in the crime. The jury deliberated for some time; and then one of them asked if they could find a verdict of assault only. The Chairman told them that they could not, under the present indictment. They then returned a verdict of GUILTY of the robbery. The Prisoner, addressing the court, said he knew nothing of it; he was not in the street at the time.



- MARY KELLY, 45, was charged with stealing twenty yards of satinette, the property of WILLIAM MORLEY JAMES, at Camborne, on the 13th of December, 1854. In a second count she was charged with receiving the property, knowing it to have been stolen by some evil-disposed person. Mr. CORNISH conducted the prosecution; MR. SHILSON the defence.



There was no evidence that the prisoner had stolen the property; but the case against her was proceeded with for feloniously receiving, after an objection by Mr. Shilson had been heard and overruled, to the effect that when property was not discovered until after so long an interval as in this case, the law does not call upon the party in whose possession it is found, to account for that possession.


It appeared that in December last, a considerable quantity of satinette and other goods were stolen from the shop of Mr. James, at Camborne. In consequence of information, in September last, Policeman WARD of Camborne, went to Kelly's house, and asked her if she had a satinette dress; she said yes, and that she had it from MR. LUKE, a draper, of Redruth. On this dress Mr. JAMES afterwards found his private mark in pencil, by which he discovered that it was a part of the satinette that had been stolen from him in December last but what he lost was in one piece. She told him she bought the dress of Mr. Luke in February or March last.



MR. LUKE, however, on being called, said it was on the 13th of July the prisoner purchased of him a black satin dress at 4s. per yard; he thought the dress he sold her was rather better than the one now produced, but he could not positively say whether the one in court was or was not the dress he sold her.



Another witness, ELIZABETH ROSEVEAR, of Camborne, deposed that she made the dress now produced, for the prisoner in April last, or he beginning of May, and had made no dress for her since July.



GEORGE NOBLE, constable of Camborne, said the prisoner told him she bought the dress of JOSEPH QUINTRALL.



MR. SHILSON then addressed the jury, urging that there was no concealment on the part of the prisoner, or anything to show a guilty knowledge, but that in all probability she had purchased the dress of some person, though she denies that she did so of Quintrall; and that in fact the prosecutor's pencil mark was not to be relied on, as other drapers might mark in the same way. After the Chairman's summing up, the jury returned a verdict of NOT GUILTY.



The same prisoner was then charged with stealing a flour sack, the property of JOHN HARVEY TREVITHICK, at St. Erth, on the 3rd of September; and another count charged her with feloniously receiving the same from another person who had stolen it. The latter count was relied on by MR. CORNISH, who said he should prove that she volunteered a statement before the magistrates, to which she affixed her signature, that she bought the sack of a woman named EUSTACE for sixpence. He should show that this statement was a false one.



Evidence was then gone into, and the prisoner a statement before the magistrates was produced to be read; but MR. SHILSON objected thereto, because it was headed "Taken and SWORN before me," &c., whereas persons accused are never sworn, but make only voluntary statements.



The objection was fatal to the document, and subsequently, on another objection by Mr. Shilson, that there was no evidence of larceny as to the article named, and therefore there could be no felonious receiving, the court directed an ACQUITTAL.



Another indictment against the prisoner, for stealing or feloniously receiving a sack, the property of HANNIBAL MILLETT and others, was not prosecuted.



- JOHN SPARKS, 23, pleaded GUILTY, after having before been committed for felony, of stealing, on the 15th of September last, from the account-house of MR. JOHN TAYLOR and others, at Cardinham, a quantity of brass. There was another indictment against the prisoner, for stealing brass bearings from an engine at Gavrigan Mine, in St. Columb, on which no evidence was offered.



The Grand Jury were discharged shortly after three o’clock this day, the Chairman thanking them, on behalf of the county, for their services.



NO BILLS - The following bills were ignored by the Grand Jury: Against JAMES MATTHEWS, charged with stealing a fowl from PHILIPPA ANDREW, at St. Austell. Against MARY ANN ROBERTS, indicted for unlawfully attempting to kill herself by cutting her throat with a razor, at st. Ive, on the 6th of August last.



SECOND COURT - Before C.B. GRAVES SAWLE, Esq. M.P.


- JOHN WARREN, 44, pleaded GUILTY of stealing 1 ¼ lb. of grain tin, 3 lbs,. 1 ½ oz. of bi-chromate of potast, and a variety of other articles, the property of PHILIP BLAMEY, at Perranarworthal, on the 3rd of October.



- SAMUEL JOHN SOUTHARD, 44, pleaded GUILTY of stealing a piece of ash timber, value 3s., the property of JOHN HOCKING, at Truro, on the 30th of August.



- JOSEPH WILLIAMS, 19, a miner, was found GUILTY on very plain and simple evidence, of breaking and entering the dwelling-house of JOHN WHITFORD, at Carnmarth, in Gwennap, on the 27th of July, and stealing part of a loaf of bread, about a quarter of a pound of butter and a pasty, the property of the said JOHN WHITFORD. The prisoner, it appeared, is a relative of prosecutor's wife, and committed the robbery during the [family's] absence at Redruth market.



- CHARLES HILL, 25, railway labourer, was charged with stealing a waistcoat and a pair of stockings, the property of JEREMIAH LEE, also a railway labourer, at Lostwithiel, on the 11th of September.



The prosecutor and prisoner both lodged at the house of LOUISA HARRIS, wife of a railway ganger, at Lostwithiel. In the morning of the 11th of September, Mrs. Harris went to Bodmin, leaving the prosecutor's waistcoat and stockings up stairs. On her return in the evening she found that those things were gone, and went on the Cornwall Railway and informed Lee. Lee went the same evening to Liskeard, and found the prisoner at the Fifteen Balls public-house, with the missing waistcoat on his person. Lee sent for the constable - HUMPHREYS - who took him in custody and found on him a pair of stockings, which Lee identified. Verdict, GUILTY.



The prisoner was again indicted for stealing a watch, a silk handkerchief, a waistcoat, and a flannel shirt, the property of THOMAS SMALL, also a railway labourer, lodging at Mrs. Harris's, in Lostwithiel. The robbery was committed on the same day as the last; and the discovery and apprehension of the prisoner was made at the same time and place as in the preceding case. Verdict, GUILTY. Mrs. Harris, who had known the prisoner for two years, gave him a good character for honesty.



- MICHAEL MACDONALD, 42, an Irish hawker, was charged with stealing four pair of children's socks, three pinafores, a skirt, and a shirt, the property of JAMES PHILLIPS, at Liskeard, on the 22nd of August. MR. CHILDS conducted the prosecution; MR. STOKES the defence.



MARY PHILLIPS, wife of the prosecutor, stated that her husband keeps the Victoria Inn, at Liskeard. Between three and four o'clock, on the 22nd of August, prisoner came there and asked for two pennyworth of gin, with which she served him; and he sat down, in the window, about ten minutes or a quarter of an hour, between his own bundle and a bundle of her own containing the articles named in the indictment. A short time after he left she found that these things were missing. When he came to the house he appeared to be quite sober, and two pennyworth of gin was all he had there.



RICHARD HUMPHREYS, policeman, stated that in the after part of the day mentioned, Mrs. Phillips sent for him, and in consequence of information she gave him, he went to the Farmers' Arms, in Barn Street, where he found the prisoner, in a bedroom up stairs, very drunk. Witness asked him if he had a bundle; and he said he had, and that the landlady had it below stairs. Witness fetched it from below and untied it in the prisoner's presence, and found in it the articles named in the indictment. He charged the prisoner with having stolen those articles from Mrs. Phillips. The prisoner's answer was - "They are not mine, but I don't know how they came in my bundle."



For the defence, Mr. Stokes suggested that, as the prisoner had himself stated when pleading, at the same time he put these articles in his bundle, he must have done so by mistake, when in a state of intoxication.



MICHAEL OLIVEY, also an Irish hawker, who came from the same parish in Ireland as the prisoner, had known him for twenty years at least, gave him a excellent character for honesty, and said he never knew any thing against him except as to drinking, which he said, was the ruination of many. The Jury were a long time in consultation, and their discussion was sometimes of a very earnest and rather noisy character; and at length agreed on a verdict of ACQUITTAL.



- SUSAN WATERS, 29, was charged with stealing eight sovereigns, and a half-sovereign, and about 13s. and 6d. in silver, the property of NICHOLAS REED, from his person, at Truro, on the 1st of August. Mr. SHILSON conducted the prosecution; MR. STOKES for defence.



The prosecutor, a farmer of Constantine, was at Truro market on Saturday the 1st of August, and in the evening was at the Barley Sheaf Inn, which place he left about eight o'clock, for the purpose of walking to the King's Head to take his horse. Having occasion to turn aside near the School-room, the prisoner came up to him and spoke to him. He told her to be off, and that he wanted nothing of her. She, however, came close to him and put her hand in his waistcoat pocket, where he had his watch. He put up his hand to protect his watch; and immediately, he felt a slight-of-hand twick at his watch fob in his breeches pocket, where he had his gold in a bag; she then made off, and he instantly felt that his bag and money were gone.



The prosecutor's evidence was corroborated by JOHN BOLT, a horsekeeper in the employ of MR. PENFOUND, who witnessed the whole transaction. At half-past seven the next morning, JOSEPH WARD, then a policeman at Truro, went with prosecutor to prisoner's house; the prosecutor identified her, but she positively denied that she had ever seen him. (The money and bag had not been found; the prisoner, it was suggested, had had abundant time and opportunity to get rid of it.)



Mr. Stokes addressed the jury for the defence, suggesting doubts as to the possibility in the dimness of the evening, of proving the identity of prisoner, together with the probability of prosecutor's having dropped the money; and the jury, after some consideration, returned a verdict of NOT GUILTY.



- ALEXANDER LARK pleaded GUILTY of stealing a quantity of bed furniture, the property of THOMAS THOMAS, of Sancreed.



- CATHERINE VINCENT, 39, dressmaker, was charged with keeping an ill-governed and disorderly house at Camborne. MR. CORNISH conducted the prosecution. Evidence in support of the charge was given by THOMAS RUNDLE, constable at Camborne, and by two elderly neighbours of the prisoner - JANE HOCKING, a widow, who lived next door, and WILLIAM MARTIN. Verdict, GUILTY.



- EMMA TOMS, 19, a servant, was charged with stealing on the 23rd of May, one shawl, the property of SAMUEL GRIGG, mercer, draper, &c. at Liskeard. She was also charged with feloniously receiving. MR. CHILDS conducted the prosecution, MR. SHILSON the defence.



A variety of circumstantial evidence was brought forward to show that the shawl must have been taken by the prisoner, but Mr. Shilson urged that the evidence as to the identity of the shawl was not such as to warrant conviction. Another feature of the case was that the shawl was missed in May, and it was not till the last day in July that a shawl was found in the prisoner's possession; and, even assuming that this shawl was the one which prosecutor had missed, the length of time was too great to render the prisoner accountable for her possession of it. The jury returned a verdict of NOT GUILTY.



The prisoner was then charged with stealing a metal teapot, the property of THOMAS STRONG, shopkeeper at Liskeard, on the 26th of April; also with stealing a scent bottle, the property of JOHN BOTTRELL, shopkeeper at Liskeard, but also ACQUITTED on these, on the ground of insufficient evidence.



The Chairman, in ordering her discharge, cautioned her seriously against such practices as those with which she had been charged, stating at the same time that there could be no doubt in the world that she had stolen the property, though it had not been legally brought home to her, and, under the circumstances, the jury had properly acquitted her.



- JOHN JONES, labourer, 54, late of the parish of St. Sampsons, was charged with killing a ewe sheep, the property of THOMAS GRAHAM, Esq., at St. Sampsons, with intent to steal the carcase thereof. Mr. Childs conducted the prosecution; Mr. Stokes the defence.



Mr. Childs having opened the case, called the following witnesses:

WILLIAM MUGFORD - I am hind to MR. GRAHAM, who resides in the parish of St. Sampsons, and has a farm there. [On Saturday, the 27th of January, saw and counted the sheep there; they were all right then on Torfrey Farm; the next morning, found a ewe sheep missing. He and MR. MAYNARD, who occupies and adjoining farm, conducted a search, but found nothing. On Monday Mr. Maynard gave him the skin and head of a ewe sheep, which he knew by particular marks on the ears. I afterwards procured a search warrant and searched prisoner's house in St. Winnow, about three miles from Torfrey farm. Constables EVIL, of St. Winnow, and RUNDELL, of Lostwithiel, were with me at the search. I saw them take out some mutton from a clothes box upstairs, in which was some clean linen; there were two legs, part of two shoulders, and a loin. Butchers,in my presence, compared the mutton with the skin I had brought with me, and found it corresponded.



JAMES EVIL - I am a constable at St. Winnow. [he corroborated evidence given above] I then took the prisoners in custody, and took him to the Earl of Chatham Inn - in the parlour till bed time, and then I put him up stairs; in the morning he was gone, and I saw nothing more of him till Mr. Nash produced him to me on the 20th of September. After the mutton was found in the prisoner's premises, I saw it compared with the skin produced by Mugford, and it corresponded exactly.



RICHARD RUNDELL - I am a butcher and also a constable for the borough of Lostwithiel. [corroborated the above testimony.] I took the mutton discovered in the clothes chest, covered over with clean linen, laid in as neatly as could be. I took it from the box and compared it with the skin and head produced by Mugford, and found them to correspond exactly. In the off leg, a piece had been cut out about the size of a penny, and I found in the skin the piece wanting; the tail of the sheep remained with the skin, it had been severed at a joint, and it matched exactly with the tail part at the prisoner's house. I have been a butcher six years, and have slaughtered thousands of sheep; and I am certain that the mutton found in the prisoner's house belonged to the skin produced by Mugford.



JOSEPH STEPHENS, a butcher living at St. Winnow, who had carried on business for two years, and had been accustomed to killing and dressing sheep for ten years, confirmed the evidence of previous witnesses as to the complete correspondence of the parts.



WILLIAM MAYNARD - [he is a farmer living in St. Sampsons; on the 28th of January, he searched for a missing sheep with Mugford. On Monday morning he searched further, and in a plantation adjoining the bottom field found one of the trotters, and then the three other trotters, severed from the skin; we then found the skin under fagots by a pile of wood, and the head thrust into some fagots; we also saw the place where the sheep's throat had been cut. I saw the identifying marks on the head and skin, then gave them to Mugford.]



WILLIAM JSEPH NASH - I am inspector of police at Truro. At the Assizes in July last, I had a communication with the constable Evil, concerning this case, and in consequence I went to Chester with a warrant for apprehending the prisoner. I was absent about ten days, and then succeeded in apprehending him at Chester, on the 13th of September. I brought him down to Lostwithiel, and showed him to the constables Evil and Parkin, and they identified him. I then placed him in custody of Parkyn.



ISAAC PARKYN - I am one of the constables of Lostwithiel. On the 20th of September, Nash brought the prisoner to me. While the prisoner was in my custody, MR. RUNDELL, the butcher, came to see him, and identified him. Just after Rundell left, the prisoner said to me, that was the only man he feared. I asked him what man, and he said, "that butcher gone out." Prisoner then held out his hand and said "it was a bad job; my hand was bad seven weeks, and I could get no money, otherwise, I should not have done it."



JOHN WILLCOCK, a labourer, stated that between three and four o'clock in the afternoon of Saturday, the 27th of January, he saw the prisoner about two fields from MR. GRAHAM's farm; a boy, his son, was with him carrying a cloth or bag.



MR. STOKES addressed the jury for the defence; and after a careful summing up, the jury instantly returned a verdict of GUILTY. (We may mention that the Chairman, and both the advocates spoke most highly of the energy and vigilance which MR. NASH, the inspector of Truro police, had displayed in bringing the prisoner to justice, after an escape which he had made from the constable at Lostwithiel. Mr. Stokes spoke of him as one who always appeared to sleep with one eye open, and as being, certainly, one of the most vigilant and excellent officers ever brought down into this county. Ed. W.B.)



The Court then rose.



The remainder of the trials, and the sentences of the prisoners, shall be given next week.




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