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Old Bailey Proceedings - Trial Accounts
London's Central Criminal Court

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4th July 1833

William Jones

Theft - extortion

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1114. WILLIAM JONES, Aged 16, was indicted that he, on the 1st of July, at St. Bridget, alias St. Bride's, knowingly, wilfully, and feloniously, did deliver to one Robert Colley, a certain letter, without any name or signature subscribed thereto, and which was addressed to the said Robert Colley, by the direction and description of Mr. Roberts, New-steet, Shoe-lane, demanding of the said Robert Colley , with menaces and without any reasonable or probable cause, certain monies; to wit, 2; with a view and intent to extort and gain of and from the said Robert Colley his monies, and which letter is as follows.

London, July 1st, 1833.
"Sir, - I am veary sorry to trouble you a gain, but you know your situation is that, and I expect you wilt give me some recompence for wat you have don, you recollect you intised me in this house for your own purposes, I consider you acted a unnatural crime, sodomy, and therefore I shal expect you will lend me the sum of two pounds, and if you do refuse it, I will rite a letter to your master, for I am determined to have the money. I remain, with much respect, yours, &c. &c. - I want an answer, and will not go with out it. I have somebody close at and, that has got another letter for your master relating wat you have done."

2nd COUNT, like the 1st, only omitting the words printed in italics, and substituting the words following:- "Threatening to accuse the said Robert Colley of a certain crime punable by law with death, that is to say, the abominable crime of Sodomy."

ROBERT COLLEY. I am servant to Mr. Groves, of New-street, Shoe-lane. About four months ago, I was on my way home in Holborn, the prisoner came up to me and asked if I knew of any situation, I asked what situation he wanted, he said, an errand boy 's situation, or anything, for he was starving, I said, I knew of none; he asked me to relieve him, for he had been walking about all day, and wanted something to warm him; I said, if he would come home with me, I would see if I had any victuals; he pleaded hard for spirits - I took him into a gin-shop and gave him 11/2d. worth of gin -

I paid for it and left the house, and when he came out, he asked me to give him something to eat; I said, I was but a servant, and could not afford it, but I lived close by, and if he would come to the house, I would see if there was any victuals, and if there was, I would give it to him; I rang the bell, and went to get him some broken victuals which was left for my supper; I gave it to him -

I saw him following me along the passage - I said, I had told him to stand at the door; he made some reply - I went to the pantry and got the victuals; I asked if he had any thing to wrap it in; he said, no; I wrapped it in a paper and sent him off. He came again on the Saturday evening late, and my fellow-servant answered him - that was on the 29th of June; they told me had been - and he came again about eleven o'clock, and I asked how he dare come at that time of night - he asked me to lend him a sovereign, I refused, and said, I knew nothing of him;

he said, he had heard of a situation and wished to get a few things - I refused, and almost shut the door in his face, and told my fellow-servant if he came again, I would kick him away from the door - he has annoyed me ever since I relieved him; last Monday he came first about five o'clock and asked me to lend him money; I said, I would not, and told him not to come to me again; he came again in less than two minutes, and put this letter into my hand, and said he had somebody waiting for him, and would call on Wednesday for an answer, between twelve and one o'clock; I opened it and showed it to Clark, my fellow-servant - I afterwards showed it to the officer (looking at the letter) I can swear this is the letter.

Prisoner Q. Can you deny that I never stopped in the house all night one Friday last January, until Saturday morning? I went into the house and stopped there all night, and came out in the morning at half-past seven o'clock - I was going along, the young man came up to me at a picture shop, and jogged me by the arm; he went away - I followed him; he said, "It is a very fine night is not it?" and said, "Are you going this way?" I said, yes; he said, "We will walk together;" and he asked me to drink;

he walked down Blackfriar's-bridge to Bankside, and there he committed what was highly improper; he put my hand into his trousers, and said, he thought it was not safe in the street, but he would let me in for the night if I chose; soon after, we went over the bridge into a house, and came out with an old lady dressed in black - he said, "Come along, she is quite deaf and cannot hear a word;" he went with her to Great-turnstile, and he did a similar thing; and when he got to his house, he said, "I cannot let you in, the family are not all in bed, if you will wait and knock at the pantry window over the door when you see a light there, I shall be there" -

I waited and saw a light, and the watchman asked me the time, I said, it was about twelve o'clock; the prosecutor said, "Go round to the front door, and I will open it" - I went; he said, "Take off your shoes" - I did so; he went into the second door; he said, "I must put the chain up to the door;" he went in the kitchen, and said, "Will you mind having something to eat," and brought me slice of bread and cold mutton - I eat about a mouthful of it and left the rest till morning; he let down the bedstead out of the wardrobe, and we went to bed - I awoke about half-past seven o'clock; we got up, I eat the rest of the mutton, and went out; and that night he did similar to what he did before.

Prosecutor. I never went further with him than the shop to give him the drink.

Prisoner. You took the old lady to Turnstile, she asked who I was, and you said I was a friend of somebody named Sard.

Prosecutor. The old lady I took to Little-turnstile, not Great-turnstile - it was her son's; I relieved him before I took the old lady home - I took her to Princes-street; I never on my oath, let him into my master's house, no let him pass the night in the same room as myself.

Prisoner. I can describe the room to you.

Prosecutor. He came and asked me if I was alarmed one night about eleven o'clock going to bed, if I had heard somebody at my pantry window; I said, I did, and had heard them use very bad expressions, and I called my fellow servant up - I never let him in further than the passage - when he came to the end of the passage, I gave him the mutton and sent him off - he did not stop in the house five minutes - he came to the pantry window, I asked how he dare take the liberty; he said, he saw the light, and supposed it was me going to bed; and a person saw him get up and look into the room, and anybody looking through there, can look over my room.

Prisoner. He said to me in the morning, "You can call sometimes when you are at leisure;" and I called three times; and I asked him first to lend me sixpence, he said, he had not got less than a sovereign; I said, then he could not lend it to me; he said, he was obliged to maintain an old mother; after that, I was going down Holborn, I saw a young man who said, "Don't you know a person at No. 10, New-street, at the King's printing-office; I said, I did; he said, "His name is Robert, if you will have the goodness when you go there to take a note for me, and there is 6d. for yourself; and he gave me this letter.

Prosecutor. It is false; he says, I went to Great-turnstile with the old lady; I took her to Princes-street - he said the man's name was Bennett, who gave him the letter, and he would bring him forward.

Prisoner. A young man asked me if I knew the young man living in Shoe-lane - a lowish young man; and if I would take the letter, he would give me something to drink; I asked him what sort of a letter it was; he said, nothing particular, he should stay outside till I took it, and he did; he stood opposite on the other side of the way, while I took it in, and the prosecutor asked me who that young man was.

Prosecutor. On my oath, I did not ask him who the young man was; I did not see any young man.

Prisoner. He asked repeatedly who he was the young man stood close to the door; that was the person who gave me the letter for him; he said "There you can take the letter now," and I went and gave him the letter, and staid until he read it, and he said, "I have not got any money, if you want any recompense for what I have done, why not ask for it in an open way?" I said I did not write the letter, he said, who did - I said "Why that young man there - he says, if you don't give him money, he shall send somebody for it," he had said, "If you will call on Wednesday between twelve and one, I will give you 5s. that is all I can spare;" I said, "That is the young man who sent the letter," he said, "I know nothing of him," and when I went out the young man was gone; I asked where he lived he said in Cromer-street, but it is said no such person lives there.

Prosecutor. He did not tell me he received it from another young man, nor that a young man was waiting.

Prisoner. He asked me who sent the note, and said,"I will give you 5s. if you will come on Wednesday?"

Prosecutor. I never opened the note till he was gone, he said he would leave it, and he or somebody would call on Wednesday between twelve and one o'clock. I showed the note to a young man, and asked him, if I had not better have an officer in attendance? He said, by all means, and my brother-in-law wished me to go to the Lard Mayor; I went, but it was not office hours; the prisoner came for the money, and was apprehended; when he came to the door I asked him to come in, he would not; I asked him again, he would not, and then I asked him what he wanted of me, and he asked for some recompense for what I had done.

Prisoner. Did you not say you would give me some recompense for what you had done?

A. Never on my oath- he told the Lord Mayor, Bennett wrote the letter, (letter read, for which see indictment).

WILLIAM MARCHANT. I am superintendant of the nightly watch. The prosecutor came to the Mansion-house, last Tuesday evening, and showed me the letter - I consulted the Lord Mayor about it, and he desired me to take the man into custody; I went to the house about eleven o'clock on Wednesday morning, and staid till about half-past twelve, when the prisoner came to the door, and the prosecutor said, "Come in;" he asked him twice;

he refused to come in; he then said, "What is it you want of me," he said, "I want some money for what you have done to me," and at that moment, I went and took him; I examined the outer part of the house, which leads to the prosecutors bed-room - any body could get up by laying hold of the rails, and see all over the room when he was going to bed;

he don't shut the window shutters, because there is a dead wall facing his bedroom; and he says he never shuts his shutters because it should not be dark in the morning; his bed does open with folding doors right opposite the window, anybody can see it by looking in at the window; I did not ask the prisoner any questions; I delivered him to another officer; I knew nothing of him before.

Prisoner. There is no iron rails that side of the house, and it is too high to reach without a ladder; the foot of the bed comes nearly to the window; there is folding doors in the counter, and two cupboards on each side of the fire place.

Witness. Anybody can see over the window with the greatest ease and see all over the room.

Prisoner. There is no hole in the wall where any body can put their foot in and get up.

Witness. The window is about five feet ten from the floor; anybody laying hold of the window to raise themselves up can see it.

Prisoner. There are spikes outside.

Witness. That I don't know, I tried myself to get up to the window, and did, and could see with case all over the room.

Prisoner. You could not see inside the kitchen by looking in at that window, for the kitchen is not in sight.

Witness. The kitchen lies on the left; the prosecutor sleeps on the right; a person can see all over his bed room.

Prisoner. I could not get up there; I was not out of the house till half-past seven in the morning.

JURY to MARCHANT. Q. Did you go into the young man's bed-room?

A. Yes, I did and then viewed it from the outside - the bedstead opens with folding doors, and lies down right opposite the window.

Prisoner. I could see the drawers which are under the beadstead, there are two large drawers under the bedstead, and I could not see them when the bed was down - nobody could see them because the bedstead being down would hide them.

WILLIAM MARCHANT. Before the bed is let down they can be seen; but after the bed is down, I should say they could not be seen.

Prisoner. I could not see into the kitchen, which was facing the door, it is on the ground-floor, there is very large old fashioned clock there.

Witness. There is a Dutch clock in the kitchen.

Prisoner. I was at the kitchen door, when he fetched the light to go into his room.

Witness. The clock could be seen from the kitchen door.

Prisoner's Defence. I can say nothing further than I have said which is all perfectly true; and what the young man says is perfectly false, every syllable of it - I saw nobody when I left the house; but when I went home I was asked where I had been all night, and I said I had been at Paddington - my mother asked where I had been to - I said I had been to a theatre at Paddington - the officer says, I asked for money, when I went - I said I wanted some recompense for what he had done - I never mentioned money.

WILLIAM MARCHANT. When the bell was rang the prosecutor went, and opened the door, and said, "Come in," and he said "No, I wont come in;" he asked him twice, he would not come in, and he then said, "What do you want with me" - he said, "I want some money from you, for a recompense for what you have done to me."

Prisoner. I rang the bell; the young man asked me to walk in, and I said I would rather not, being in a hurry, he said "You had better walk in," and I said, no I would not, and he said, "What do you want with me;" I said, I wanted some recompense for what he had done; the officer said, walk in, and I went in the parlour, and the officer said, "You are in custody;" I said very well.

WILLIAM MARCHANT. I took him into the parlour certainly, and my brother officer who was with me, said,"You are in custody."

Prisoner. When I was in the parlour, a woman came in, and began kicking up a row; and when I went on the Saturday night, they said, he was out, and would not be home till late, and when I saw him, he said, I should not have come so late, he said, "When you come this way you can call again," and he has made one or two appointments to meet me.

WILLIAM MARCHANT. The maid servant certainly did call him a brute.

[Verdict: Guilty - Punishment: Transported for Life]

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