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Author Topic: Wool Theft at Newington 1861  (Read 1732 times)

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Offline Leofwine

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Wool Theft at Newington 1861
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2012, 04:14:34 »
Kentish Gazette - Tuesday 16 July 1861

Magistrates' Clerk's Office, Monday—(Before Dixon Dyke, Esq., and the Rev. G. B. Moore.)
John Shepard, general dealer, residing at Newington was brought up in custody, charged with stealing 55 fleeces of wool, value £23, the property of Mr. Richard Knight farmer, Bobbing, on the 6th June. — Thomas Lockyer, shepherd to Mr. Knight, deposed to having shorn 170 sheep at the Pond and Cranbrook farms, in the parish of Newington in the occupation of Mr. Knight. He had made 169 fleeces in all, one of them having become so much torn that he could not make fleece of it. 70 fleeces were placed in the oast-house at the back of the Bull Inn. They were under lock and key. The key was given to the bailiff on the 28th June, his master ordered all the wool to be brought from Newington to Bobbing. — William Busbridge jun., bought the wool and said there were 111 fleeces. He counted them and made 113, and not being satisfied, counted them again and found there were only 111. He inquired of the bailiff at Newington for the other fleeces, and he said that he thought he had sent them. He then inquired of the bailiff at Bobbing, and finding that no more had been sent, he informed his master. The whole of the fleeces were then counted over, and 55 found to be missing. On the 6th July, he accompanied Superintendent Green to the warehouse, of Messrs. Benecke Brothers, at Milton, and there identified ten or twelve of the missing fleeces. The fleeces produced were some of them. He could swear to them by the "winding." He never saw any one else do it the same manner. - William Busbridge, bailiff to Mr. Knight, at the farms at Newington, deposed to the wool being under his charge, and that he had sent it to Bobbing at the desire of his master. He did not count the number of fleeces. On being told some were missing he searched the oast-houses but could find no more. He then looked over his books to see if any had been sent on a former occasion. He was satisfied that he had not sent them or they would have been duly entered. The lock on the door at the Bull oast was somewhat torn and was loose. He knew the prisoner, having been employed at the farm seven or eight days at intervals prior to the 24th May. Prisoner's premises were about forty yards off, but his wife's father's garden adjoined the oast-house. Complaints had been made to him of the prisoner going through the farm premises and getting over into his father's garden. — Mr. Frank Prentis, agent to Messrs. Benecke Brothers, wool merchants, Milton, said on the 6th June last, the prisoner brought a quantity of wool to the warehouse at Milton, for sale, and asked what they gave for wool. He examined the wool and made enquiries as to where it was grown and prisoner replied in the neighbourhood of Brompton. He told prisoner it was good wool, and that it was fed well, and he could afford give the top price for it. It was then weighed, and ther was found to be 135lbs. for which he offered him 1s. 5d. per lb. Prisoner went into the counting-house, and gave his name as Robert Nye. He wrote out check for £9 11s. 3d., making it payable to the order of Robert Nye, erasing the word bearer. He then endorsed the check, writing the name, Robert Nye, in his presence. The cheque produced, marked A. was the one he gave to the prisoner. Early in the morning of the 10th of June, the prisoner came again to the warehouse with more wool. He asked where it came from, and prisoner replied from William Finnis, a neighbour of his, who thought 17d. was a good price for wool. He enquired how it was he came so early, and prisoner replied that he had to load back. He examined the wool and found it very similar to the other. - Mr. Dyke: Then Finnis was as good a feeder as Nye. — Witness: Yes. — ln answer to his questions, prisoner said it was grown in orchards adjoining his own. The wool weighed 190lbs. He then wrote a cheque for £13 19s. 2d, making it payable to William Finnis or order, erasing the word bearer as before, and told him to get his neighbour to endorse it. The cheque marked B was the same. The wool was stored with other wool the warehouse. A few evenings after the 10th June, a lad came to witness with Mr. Wood's compliments, and would be obliged if he would exchange a cheque (the one marked B) for one not payable to order, as there was some informality in the endorsement. Knowing Mr. Wood, he wrote the cheque then produced, marked C, and gave it to the lad in exchange for the other. then examined the cheque B, it was endorsed as it was then, and not liking the manner which that was done, (prisoner had commenced to write one name and then erased it, afterwards signing his own name), he tore it in four pieces and put it drawer thinking he might hear more of it. He afterwards gave the cheque to Superintendent Green, and informed him of having purchased wool of the prisoner. On the 6th July he picked out of the stock of wool ten or twelve fleeces that he purchased of the prisoner. The witness Lockyer examined the fleeces which he had laid aside and identified them as the property of his master. Lockyer identified them by the "winding," and opened other fleeces in his possession and pointed out the distinction. Lockyer also picked out some fleeces from the general stock. The fleeces produced were one of each purchase. There were between 50 and 60 fleeces. — By the Bench: I paid him 10s. too much, and did not discover it until he was gone. — By prisoner: You had a little bay horse, or mare, in an old cart, which you said you had borrowed, having had an accident with your own conveyance in taking straw to Maidstone. I cannot say how you were dressed, but I can swear to you by your face and conversation. — Harvey Scattergood, a man in the employ of Mr. Prentis, also deposed to the identity of the prisoner, and fully corroborated the evidence of his master. He also said that he was in conversation with the prisoner nearly three quarters of an hour on the second occasion before his master got up. He was quite certain that the prisoner was the man. — Superintendent Green said, on the 3rd instant he received he cheqne marked B, from Mr. Prentis, and then went to Newington, and saw the prisoner. Having cautioned him, he showed him the cheque, and asked if the signature, "John Shepherd," was his, and he replied that it was. He then requested prisoner to accompany him to Mr. Prentis. As that gentleman was not at home, be went to Messrs. Valance and Baring's bank, where he received the cheque, marked A, now produced, from Mr. George Payne. He then went with prisoner to the King's Head Inn, Chalkwell, when Mr. William White pointed out the prisoner as the person of whom he had received the cheque. He then charged the prisoner with stealing the wool and took him into custody. — William White, assistant Mr. Redman, King's Head Inn, Chalkwell, said, on the 8th of June the prisoner came to the house and asked him to cash a cheque. Prisoner showed it to him, and seeing it was one of Mr. Prentis's he cashed it for him. Prisoner purchased four trusses of hay, some ale, and bread and cheese, which he deducted and gave prisoner the balance in cash. The cheque produced was the same. He had known prisoner three four years and was certain he was the man. He paid the cheque to Mr. Jarrett. — The cheque was then traced from Mr. Jarrett to Mr. John Peters, senior, assistant to Mrs. Reynolds, from him to his son, and thence to the bank, where it was paid to Mr. George Payne. — The prisoner was then remanded until Friday.
FRIDAY. — (Before the Rev. G. B. Moore, and J. Dixon Dyke, Esq.) John Shepherd, who was remanded from Monday last, was again brought on charge stealing wool. A mass of evidence, tracing the cheque given in payment for the second lot of wool, purchased by Mr. Prentis, was produced, also other witnesses tending to implicate the prisoner were examined. — The prisoner was fully committed to take his trial at the ensuing assizes.

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