Last update:
September 13th

living room logo

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


4th July 1833

William Jones

Theft - extortion


803. HENRY TIDDIMAN. Aged 24, JOHN BENNETT. Aged 22, WILLIAM LAIDLER. Aged 24, JOHN JONES. Aged 24, and JOHN SULLIVAN. Aged 39, feloniously threatening Samuel Wyatt, to accuse him of having committed b-----y with said Henry Tiddiman, with intent to extort from him a valuable security.

Other COUNTS varying the manner of laying the charge.


MESSRS. BODKIN and COOPER conducted the Prosecution.

HENRY TIDDIMAN (the prisoner.) I was an omnibus conductor. I have known Bennett three years and a half - when I first knew him he was checktaker at the Adelphi Theatre - I had lost sight of him for five or six months, when he accidentally rode outside my omnibus - I had seen him and Sullivan five or six months or more before I went to Mr. Wyatt's, but had had no further communication with them than drinking with them - about fourteen months ago I went to Mr. Wyatt's shop with Sullivan -

I asked Mr. Wyatt for a cheroot - Sullivan said, "I will have one also," and I paid for one for him - he then asked for an ounce of bird's-eye tobacco; Mr. Wyatt served him - he went out, saying, "My friend will pay for it," meaning me - I said, "That is very fine" - I remained five or six minutes with Mr. Wyatt - I merely said it was a fine evening - I went out, and found Sullivan outside waiting for me - he said, "Harry, if that is not an old puff, my name is not Jack Sullivan, for you can see sodomy printed on his face" -

I said, "I do not think so; I do not understand such things" - he said, "Then you should come under my jurisdiction, and I will make your fortune," to which I made him no reply - I tried to pass the conversation off, and get rid of him as fast as I could - I then left him - next night I went to Mr. Wyatt's and purchased a cigar - we got into conversation - I stopped and took some gin-and-water with him, and smoked a couple of cigars - there was no light in the parlour, but there was the reflection of the gas, which was quite sufficient - half-a- crown passed from Mr. Wyatt to me on that occasion -

I then left the shop, and met with Sullivan - he said, "Ah! you have been into the old man's, and have got some money" - thinking that he had been watching me, I said I had - he said, "Then I'll have half" - we changed the half-crown - I had a pint of porter, and I gave him 1s. 2d. - he said, "If you will take my advice, we can make 20£. or 30£. out of the old man" - I said, "No, I'll have nothing more to do with him" - he said, "Then if you don't, I will have you nailed" - I made him no reply, but parted with him -

about a week or ten days afterwards I met Bennett, Jones, and Sullivan, between six and seven in the evening, in Coventry-street - Sullivan said to Bennett and Jones, "Harry (meaning me) has a good case that I have told him of; if you will pay attention to me, we can make a good thing of it" - I tried to pass the conversation off to something else - I heard no reply, and made none - Sullivan talked to Bennett by himself, but I did not hear - we all went to a public-house and had something to drink - we left there and went to the Catherine-wheel, in the Haymarket, but there was no more talk with regard to this -

about a week or ten days afterwards I met Sullivan and Jones somewhere in Leicester - square - Sullivan said, "Well, have you been to the old man's again?" - I said, "No, I have not" - he said, "Then if you don't, you must put up with the consequences; you have already extorted half-a-crown, and I have got you in my power" - about a fortnight afterwards I met Sullivan, Bennett, and Jones at the corner of Piccadilly, by the Bull and Mouth - Sullivan spoke to Bennett about it, but I could only catch a few words - he said nothing to me - we all went to Wyatt's - Jones said, "Mr. Wyatt, if you could oblige us with some money I should be obliged to you; you know what it is for, regarding you and Tiddiman; it is of no use to hesitate" -

Mr. Wyatt said he had not got it - Jones said, "We must have it" - Mr. Wyatt went into the parlour and fetched out some silver from a sideboard, - he was rather nervous - on receiving it we all left the shop - Jones gave me 2s. 4d. as my share - I did not see any money given to the others -

about a month afterwards I met Sullivan again in Lancaster-place, by Waterloo-bridge - he said, "Now Harry, will you come down to the old man with me and get some money?" - I hesitated about going - we went - I went into the shop, and Sullivan waited at a public-house a few doors off - I asked Mr. Wyatt how he was - he said, "Rather poorly" - I said, "If you could oblige me with a little more money I should feel obliged to you" - he said, "I have none" - I afterwards received some; I think it was a sovereign -

I left the shop, and went to Sullivan in the public-house - Sullivan said, "Well, how much have you got?" - I told him a sovereign - he said, "You ought to have got more, and I believe you have" - I gave him 10s. - he wanted me to go again, but I would not - I afterwards visited Mr. Wyatt's shop with Jones - I should not like to say it was more than once; it might be a week or ten days after the last transaction - Jones said, "Will you let me have any more money, Mr. Wyatt?" - Mr. Wyatt replied, "No" -

Jones said, "The fact of it is you must, for taking indecent liberties with Tiddiman - Mr. Wyatt went to the cheffioneer, and brought out half-a-sovereign and some silver - I received 3s., and the rest was to be divided with Sullivan - I did not see it shared - I knew Laidler first of all - one evening I was at a ball, 1st or 2nd March, with Bennett - Sullivan and Jones were not there - Bennett said, "Now, Harry, here is a young man," meaning Laidler, who we met there, "and he has no objection to set the part of a solicitor for us, to intimidate the old man and woman out of 40£. or 50£." -

Laidler replied that he would do so - Bennett proposed that Jones should act as clerk to the solicitor - two or three days alter, Jones and Laidler went us to Wyatt's; (but a week previous, or perhaps a little more than that, I met Sullivan, and he said it would be a good dodge for any one to go and act as solicitor, as there was a woman in the case) - Jones and Laidler went to Wyatt's; I waited outside with Sullivan, by agreement - Sullivan told Laidler to go in and get some money, and said we would wait till he came out; and said, "Mind you don't come out without it" -

Laidler came out and said he had got a sovereign, all he could get - Sullivan called him on one side, and whispered something to him - we went to a public-house, shared the sovereign, and parted - either the same night, or the next; we all met again, by appointment, at a public-house in Long Acre, and it was agreed that we should all go - Sullivan gave Laidler instructions to draw up an "I O U," for 50£., provided Mr. Wyatt had not got 50£. ready cash in the house; which, after some hesitation, Laidler agreed to do, not willingly - it was drawn out for 40£. first -

I made no reply, I was picking some cigars out of a cigar - case at the back of the bar - I think the publican's name was Purnall - I then went with them to Mr. Wyatt's - I believe Laidler walked on first, before Sullivan, Bennett, Jones, and me - he stopped a few doors before the shop till we arrived - Jones and Laidler went in, and me, Sullivan, and Bennett remained outside - in about ten minutes Laidler came out, and said to Sullivan, "I have told the woman all about it" - Laidler said to me, "Now, Harry, you must come in" -

I said I would not - afterwards, by the persuasion of Sullivan, I went in with Bennett - Sullivan was outside; he said he would not come in - Laidler went back with us - he and Jones talked to the woman in private - I saw tears in Mrs. Legg's eyes, and heard Laidler say, "It is a case not fit for a woman to be mixed up in, and this is the young man that can prove it," pointing to me - Mr. Wyatt was standing by the parlour, at the corner of the counter - he could hear what passed - he appeared rather nervous -

Laidler asked him for some money - I do not know how much - Mr. Wyatt replied, he had not got any - Laidler said, "Then I will draw up an 'I O U' for 40£." - one of them, (I cannot say which,) said, "No, it shall be for 50£." an "I O U" was drawn up by Jones, for 50£. - this is it (produced) - this is Samuel Wyatt's signature to it - there were two "I O U's" - one was for 40£. - after that Bennett asked for a sovereign - Mr. Wyatt said he had not got one, but he would see what silver he had - he gave Bennett 7s. or 8s., and gave Laidler a 10£.-note - I do not think Mrs. Legg was aware that the 10£.-note was given -

we all left the shop, and found Sullivan outside - we all went to a public-house, and then to a coffee-shop, where Jones said to Sullivan, "We have been to the old man, and made him give us an 'I O U' for 50£." - Sullivan said, "Then, of course, I stand in" - Jones and Laidler replied, "Yes" - next day I went to Wyatt's with Laidler, Sullivan, Jones, and Bennett - Laidler and Jones went in by themselves, the others remained outside - they came out and said they had got 25s. or 26s., which was shared amongst us -

Laidler and Jones called Sullivan on one side, and spoke to him privately - a few days afterwards I saw Laidler and Jones again, but I do not remember anything being said about the affair - after this we met of a night at Laidler's house - we kept meeting together daily - on the night I was taken, we all five went to Mr. Wyatt's - Laidler and Jones went in; we remained outside - Jones came out, and met me and Bennett half - way up the street, and said in Sullivan's hearing, "Now, then, you must come in; there is the money all ready waiting" - Sullivan came in afterwards - I said, "I would sooner have nothing to do with it, go in by yourselves; I will go my way, you go your's" - Sullivan said, "No, go on, go on," and I accordingly went in -

Mrs. Legg said, "Walk into the parlour, gentlemen" - I went in with Bennett - Sullivan stopped in the shop, we walked into the parlour - Mrs. Legg said, "Now, gentlemen, I want an explanation of the case; who is the solicitor in the case?" - Laidler said, "I am" - she said, "What demand have you upon my uncle?" - one, but I cannot say who, said, "24£." - I am sure it was not me - Mrs. Legg said, "Where are your chambers?" - Laidler said, "I have already told you; 5, Cecil - court, St. Martin's - lane" - at that, two officers came from behind the curtain, and took us into custody - that ended the transaction.

Cross - examined by MR. WOOLLETT.

Q. When were you first applied to, to give evidence?

A. Yesterday - my counsel applied to me - I am to have no reward - no promise was held out to me - I swear that - I was advised to give evidence, and to speak the truth, the whole facts of my being led into the case - it was simply for the pure administration of justice - I have pleaded guilty, and confessed the whole matter from beginning to end, and the manner I have been led into it, and the tool I have been made -

Sullivan is old enough to be my father, and ought to know better - I was twenty-one when I first became acquainted with him - I was not aware they were that class of people - I solemnly swear, no reward or promise was held out to me - I saw Mr. Wontner, the solicitor for the prosecution, and gave him a statement - I was applied to to give evidence - my counsel did not tell me it would be better for me to do so - he asked me whether there was not one leader of it, and I said "Yes, Sullivan" -

the first time I was seduced, was fourteen months ago - I recollect the conversation that took place then, within a word or two - I am sometimes not very quick of hearing - there are no other transactions of this kind in which I have been engaged - I have never been in custody - I do not know Gardner at all - I can give no dates to any of these interviews, and yet I recollect the conversations - I was the first that took the half - crown, and that I was seduced to do - the next sum I took was 10s. - I cannot say exactly - I was seduced to do that - during the whole of these proceedings I have been led into it - I am quite a seduced man.

Cross - examined by MR. PRENDERGAST, JUN.

Q. The second sum from Mr. Wyatt was a sovereign?

A. Yes; if I swore it was 10s. it was a mistake - it was 10s. or 12s. on another occasion - I very much compassioned poor Mrs. Legg when I saw her with tears in her eyes - I wanted to get out of it, but I was intimidated by the threat; I was between one thing and another, and did not know what to do - Sullivan said unless I went on with it, he would have me prosecuted for extorting money from Mr. Wyatt - I do not know what he meant - he said, "If you do not go again, and get some more money, I will have you nailed" -

intimidated at that, I went again - I had done nothing then, only received the half - crown - that was the transaction he threatened me with if I did not go on - I had known Sullivan about twelve months before I went to Mr. Wyatt - I met him with Bennett somewhere about Coventry-street - when I first went to Mr. Wyatt's with Sullivan, it was between four and five o'clock in the afternoon, I was going to Fetter-lane to see a young man who drove a Parcels Delivery cart, and Sullivan walked with me -

we passed this cigar-shop accidentally - we both went in together - I cannot swear who went in first - I took a cigar first - I paid for them - Sullivan then went out - no mention had been made between us of a tobacconist - I had not been in the habit of going to the shop till that occasion - I had come from Fetter-lane - we went in there by accident, to get a cigar - I remained after he left, merely talking about a fine night, and I said to Mr. Wyatt, "One would not think this was a cigar-shop, the windows are so dark," or something of that sort, which took a minute or two.

Laidler Q. How long have you known me?

A. Before any of them - I first met you at a house in Silver-street, kept by a man named Harris, more than three years ago - I swear it was not ten years ago, or seven, it may be three and a half - next time I saw you I met you in the street accidentally - I said, "How do you do?" and we went and had a glass of something to drink - the third time I met you at Gurney's house, in Maddox-street, and you said you were a waiter in Fleet-street -

I saw you once in the street, dressed as a footman; you said you were in service - it might have been three or four months after - fourteen months ago was the first time I was drawn into anything of the sort - I know Mr. Protheroe, the member for Halifax - I first got acquainted with him eight years ago - I will swear it is not fifteen - I swear I was more than fifteen years old when I was first acquainted with him -

I have had money from him, I drove him every morning from Chapel-street, Park-lane, in a Metropolitan stage-carriage - I swear I have never been in his bedroom - I have never had gold from him in his house, only what he has paid me for driving him - he never took me into his house - I have never been into it - the last time I saw him, was eight or nine months ago - I swear that when I was arrested on this charge I did not send for him, and have money from him to defend me.

Q. Have you never taken persons to Mr. Protheroe; lads, youths, which Mr. Protheroe likes (you know the sort of persons to suit Mr. Protheroe), and shared the money between them and yourself?

A. Never in my life - I have never received gold or 5£. - notes from him - it was on a Saturday the "I O U" was procured - I said we went the next day and got a sovereign, but I have not been particular to a day or two - I never passed bad money in my life - I never tried to pass any on Mr. Wyatt when I went to purchase cigars - he never cut a half-crown in two - I have never been in custody for smashing.

MR. BODKIN Q. Do you know that Mr. Protheroe prosecuted a person for the same offence?

A. I remember reading an account of it in the paper - I heard nothing said by any of the prisoners about 12£ till the examination at the police-court - I heard Sullivan whisper once to Laidler and Jones, and say, "Ah, we have done Mr. Harry" - I forget when that was.

MARY LEGG. I am niece to Mr. Samuel Wyatt, who keeps a tobacconist's shop in Lincoln's-inn-fields. I live with him, and help him to carry on the business - he is sixty-four years of age, and has been in ill health for some time past - about Nov., his manner was a great deal more depressed than usual, and I looked more attentively to him -

the first time I remember any one coming, was on New Year's eve - it was Tiddiman - he was between the parlour door and the shop door, which was slightly open - he had his hand in his pocket, and said to my uncle, "This settles it between you and me" - he afterwards left the shop - after that evening, my uncle became more depressed, and I kept my eye on him - about a week or a fortnight afterwards, Bennett and Jones came and saw my uncle - I heard nothing - I was at dinner in the shop, which is on the same floor - the middle door is never shut - they only remained a few minutes -

I saw nothing given to them - the same week, or the following, I was at supper, and Mr. Wyatt was shutting up the shop, Bennett and Tiddiman came, and I saw money pass from my uncle to them both - I heard nothing said - I did not hear the sound of money, but they received something from my uncle which they put into their pockets - I saw their hands in their pockets - at the time they came when I was at dinner, my uncle was dining with me; he went into the shop to them, and some conversation took place in a whisper - in consequence of observing that, I went into the shop, and found Bennett, Jones, and Tiddiman -

I asked them what was the matter, and why they annoyed us so - Tiddiman said it was not fit for me to know - I said, "There are money transactions passing between you and my uncle which I wish to know" - Tiddiman said there was not - Jones said, "You know nothing of me" - I said I did not, never having seen him before - I do not remember Bennett saying anything - they went away, after paying for their cigars -

on the evening of 2nd March, I was in the kitchen and heard a noise which brought me up - I found Laidler and Jones, with my uncle, in the shop - Laidler was reading a letter of some description to my uncle - they found I would not leave the parlour, and they left the shop after about a quarter of an hour - they left off speaking as soon as I appeared - between eleven and twelve o'clock that night, my uncle was shutting up the shutters, and Laidler and Jones came into the shop -

I said, "I am glad you are come, for now I will have an explanation of this business;" and hearing the others outside, I insisted on their being brought in - Bennett and Tiddiman came in - when they were all in, Laidler said it was a sodomite case - I asked, "With whom?" - Tiddiman said, "With me" - they followed my uncle into the parlour - what was said I do not know - I followed them in - I said I was very sorry for it, but I do not remember saying anything else -

Laidler said they wanted to get Tiddiman out of the country, and it was a very bad case; the vessel he was to sail in, was to sail on the following Thursday, and they wished for money for him to sail in that vessel - Bennett asked my uncle for money, and he said he had none - Bennett said, "You must have taken some in the course of the day" - he said he had not, I think - they said something in an under tone - they did not seem inclined to go - I think one of them, I will not say who, said, "We will not leave the house until we have some" -

the door was shut; I think one of them had his back against it, but I really was so excited I do not know - if it was any one, it was Bennett, but I do not remember - Tiddiman said he would have an "I O U" for 40£. - Bennett said, "I'll have fifty" - Tiddiman replied, "No, 40£. will do; I won't be too hard upon him" - Laidler asked me for a piece of paper - I said I had none - one of them took a piece from his pocket - there was a pen and ink on the counter, and one of them, I think it was Jones, wrote this "I O U" (produced) for 50£. - they all looked at it, and my uncle signed it -

I think it was Jones and Bennett put it before him - they said, when could they have the money; could they have it on Monday? - my uncle said, No; he could not procure it by then - this is my uncle's signature - it was not written in my presence; I was in the parlour, he was in the shop - Bennett said he would not go without he had some money - my uncle took some silver out of the cupboard and gave some of it to Bennett, but he snatched the rest, and said, "We may as well have all" -

they went away, and took the money and the "I O U" - this was on Saturday - after that my uncle became much worse, he kept his bed until the day the prisoners were taken - on the Monday afterwards, Jones and Laidler came about the middle of the day - my uncle was in bed - they inquired after his health - I said he was very ill in bed, they might satisfy themselves by seeing him, if they thought proper - they did so; he slept in the parlour - they asked me for some money - I said they could not have it, but if they would come next day we would see what we could do for them -

Laidler said he was a solicitor - the "I O U" was produced - I really cannot tell what was said about it, for it was produced so often, and so much was said about it - they said they would compromise the affair for 30£.; and I think it was that day that Laidler said he had been to the Docks to pay part of the passage-money, and that Tiddiman might start by that vessel - he said it was a most infamous affair, and, if it got into the papers, would cause more sensation than Greenacre's murder - I then said something to Jones about some other case - Jones mentioned some name, and said it was a similar case to the person in question, but he got him through it -

next day, Tuesday, Laidler and Jones came - they said they came for money, and they wished it very much to be settled - I said it was impossible, but I would give them part of it - Laidler spoke - I gave them a 10£.-note and two sovereigns, my uncle's money - the "I O U" was mentioned - Laidler received the money - I will not be certain whether I gave it him, or whether he took it up - when he had taken it, he said, "We consider this as our fees; do not tell Bennett or Tiddiman we have received any" - he said they might think they were compromising the affair; and I think he said something about indicting them for felony, and having Laidler's name struck off the roll of attorneys - I said I would not -

next day, Wednesday, Laidler and Jones came again - they came almost every day - they saw Mr. Wyatt in bed - Laidler said, could not my uncle grant me an undertaking to get the remainder of the money - he said he could not - Laidler said, if he would, he would take me to the Bank, either in his private carriage or in a cab - he would not, and they went away - next day they came again, and brought an "I O U" for 40£., but that was thrown away and burnt, as a forgery, it was not my uncle's writing - my uncle's name was to it -

Laidler asked me if it was my uncle's writing - I told him, "No," and he then burnt it - he said it had got into Bennett's or Tiddiman's hands, one of the two, I do not know which - he said they picked hit pocket of it, and they could sell it for 30£.; as any one would give them that for an "I O U" with Mr. Wyatt's name to it - he said to Jones, "If you will endeavour to get it back from them, I will give you a sovereign" - Jones said, "I don't require that, I dare say I can do it without" -

on one occasion, Laidler said if the money was not paid, the Sheriffs officer would come and take the things away; to the amount, I suppose - on the Friday, Laidler and Jones came again, and saw my uncle in bed - I said I wished to settle altogether, for I was very much annoyed, and my business was injured, as I was obliged to shut my shop up as soon as it was dark, to pacify my uncle, who was almost in a state of madness - Laidler said, "You can keep open with safety till nine o'clock at night, as your house is protected till then" - he said he paid a man 5s. a day to watch the house, and pointed out Sullivan, who was coming up the gateway opposite -

he sent Jones to fetch Sullivan, who came back with Jones - Laidler said he would not be answerable for my shop after nine, as his man went off then - they all three went into my uncle's bedroom - Sullivan only asked him how he did - nothing was said there about settling - as they went away they asked me if I could settle it - I said I could not, it was not in our power - they went away somewhere about one or two o'clock - Sullivan said, as he was going away, that my uncle appeared very ill, and it was a pity it could not be settled - then they left -

about eleven o'clock, after the shop was shut, I was alarmed by a very great noise, as if the shop-door was beat with sticks - (they used to enter at the private door) - it continued two or three minutes - I did not go - I was in the parlour - I heard a voice call my uncle's name, and ask if he did not mean to open the door - it was not a noise as if people wanted to come in - I did not open the door - it frightened my uncle very much -

next morning Jones came - he saw my uncle, and said he was very sorry to see him so ill, and of course he wanted money - I told him they would have had the money if it had not been for the riot the night before - Jones asked me if I would give him a paper to satisfy the others that he had been there, and what was the cause of their not receiving the money - I consented - this is the paper I gave him (produced) - it is in my writing - he then asked if I could give him some money - I afterwards gave him and Laidler 4£,

on Friday the 8th - he denied having been there the night before - I said it was of no use, for I heard their voices - he said they had nothing to do with it - (paper read - "Gentlemen, - Through your coming last evening, my uncle is much worse; if you will let the matter stand over till Monday at six, the 30£ shall be forthcoming, M. Legg") - the same afternoon, Laidler and Jones came together - an agreement had been spoken of before, and Laidler said it had been altered to my wish, and he brought it with him - this is it (produced) -

I had desired an alteration in it, a day or two before - it then had no stamp - he said it could be stamped for half-a-crown - I said I would consider of it, I think - I gave Jones half-a-crown the following day, Saturday, to get it stamped - it was brought to me on Saturday, by Laidler and Jones - I said I did not know the names - there were only two, that I recognised, Laidler and Roberts - they said those were the proper names of the other men - Laidler read it - (read) -

"Memorandum of an agreement made and entered into between Samuel Wyatt, of Great Queen-street, Lincoln's-innfields, on the one part, and Henry Roberts, John Evans, John Smith, Charles Harrisson, and William Laider on the other. I, the said Henry Roberts and others, by this agreement, disclaim all future demands of the said S. Wyatt; and the said H. Roberts and others do hereby declare that we will never annoy or molest, or cause any person or persons to annoy, the said S. Wyatt.

Now this agreement is binding on both sides, that is, providing the said H. Roberts and others do not annoy, or cause any person or persons to annoy, or molest the said S. Wyatt; he, the said S. Wyatt and Mary Legg, niece of the aforesaid S. Wyatt, do undertake and solemnly swear that they will never prosecute or cause any information to be given to any person or persons which may lead to the apprehension of any of the said persons whose names and signatures are in this agreement.

And this agreement further showeth that I, the said S. Wyatt, and Mary Legg, niece of the said S. Wyatt, are willing that this case should be compromised; that is to say, that we have this day paid the said H. Roberts and others the sum off 30£. on an "I O U," which the said H. Roberts and others hold, having been given and signed by the said S. Wyatt, in the presence of Mary Legg, niece of the aforesaid S. Wyatt, for a settlement of the presence case.

And should either of the said persons whose names and signatures are to this agreement, annoy or molest, &c., the said S. Wyatt, upon their so doing, he, the said S. Wyatt, shall be at liberty to prosecute either of the said persons so doing according to the form of the statute in such case made and provided. And should either of the said persons in this agreement annoy or molest, &c., him, the said S. Wyatt and Mary Legg, his niece, do solemnly swear that they will only prosecute the one so annoying him, the said S. Wyatt;

that is to say, if one of the persons in this agreement should go and annoy or molest him, the said S. Wyatt, he shall be at liberty to prosecute him only; and he the said S. Wyatt does undertake that he will not interfere by word or deed with any of the persons named in this agreement with the exception of the one so annoying him. Dated this 12th day of March, 1850. Signed, Henry Roberts, John Evans, John Smith, Charles Harrison, William Laidler, - signatures of S. Wyatt and Mary Legg, his niece (left blank)"

They took that away with them - I did not pay Laidler anything after that - I had paid him 4£. just before - I received this memorandum from Laidler - it was written by Jones, and signed by Laidler - I gave 2£. on the occasion of its being signed, and on the day it bears date, the 8th, it does not say what month - (read - "Received of Mr. Wyatt, in part payment of "I O U," 2£., 8th, 1850. William Laidler") - Jones gave me a memorandum for the 4£ - the signature was in his writing - he signed Laidler's name to it - (read - "Received of Mr. Wyatt, in part payment of "I O U" for 30£., 4£., William Laidler, Mar. 11, 50") -

Laidler was not there, only Jones - I had those written receipts, because they said it was in part payment of the 30£, and I asked for a memorandum - on the same afternoon, Monday, Bennett and Jones came - Bennett asked me if I could give him 5£. - I said, "No" - he asked me if I could procure it by the following Friday, as he had three guineas to make up the rent - I said I did not know, I would see what I could do, but the money should be paid whether my uncle was dead or alive -

on the Tuesday I complained to the police, Jones came between eleven and twelve o'clock, and asked how my uncle was, and if he could have any more money - I said I had none to give him then, but if he would call at four, I would see - he came again at four with Laidler, but during that time I had given information to the police -

they asked how my uncle was, and I said I was very sorry I had not got the money then; I had sent a person out to endeavour to procure it, but if they would come at nine, I would see what I could do, and I wished all of them to come - either Laidler or Jones said, "All?" - I said, "Yes, all" - they wished me good afternoon, and went away - at nine Laidler and Jones came -

I then had the police in the house - I asked where the others were - they said did I wish for them all - I said, "Yes, I told you so," looking at Jones - Laidler said, "I dare say you will find them at my chambers, or at the corner" - Jones then went out - Laidler remained in the shop, and smoked a cigar, which he paid for - Jones was not gone more than ten minutes - Bennett, Tiddiman, and Sullivan came back with him - I showed them into the parlour, and said, "Gentlemen, I wish for an explanation of this affair; what is your demand on Mr. Wyatt?"

Laidler then answered, "Twenty-four pounds" - I said, "Is that your demand?" and one and all answered, "Yes" - I cannot say whether Sullivan spoke, but several said, "Yes" - I said, "Who is the solicitor in this affair?" - Laidler said, "I am" - I said, "Are you a solicitor?" - he answered, "Yes" - I said, "Where are your chambers?" he said, "It is affixed either to the bond or the agreement," I do not know to which, "but you have my direction, for I gave it you" - I said, "I have lost it" - he said, "My chambers are at No. 5, Cecil-court, St. Martin's-lane" - I said, "Do you all expect something out of this?" - Sullivan said, "I do not," and left the parlour - he was stopped in the shop by inspector Pearce - two policemen who were behind the curtain in the parlour, came out, and took the other four into custody.

Cross - examined by MR. WOOLLETT.

Q. On 2nd March, you say you have a very imperfect recollection of what occurred?

A. Yes; I was so much excited and so much hurt, I do not know what I said.

Cross - examined by MR. PARNELL.

Q. Was Tiddiman to go away in the vessel?

A. Yes; so Mr. Laidler told me - I never saw Tiddiman come there except once, during the whole of that week, and then he was sent for - he was one of the party claiming part of the 24£. - it was not said why he was to be sent away - I am quite certain they said it was a sodomitical case - they were all present then but Sullivan - I only saw him twice.

Cross - examined by MR. PRENDERGAST, JUN.

Q. All Sullivan said about the matter was, that it was a pity it was not settled?

A. Yes; he said nothing more that I in the slightest degree remember.

Laidler Q. When the "I O U" was given, did not I tell you, if you were annoyed by them to give them in charge?

A. You did - I was to give them in charge and send for you - on the Tuesday, when you came, you told me it was a case you did not like; such a case as you had never been mixed up in before, and you did not wish to have anything more to do with it - I did not tell you I would not harm you - it was the farthest from my intention, for I should have had no idea of prosecuting you - I did not say I would do you no harm if you would stand by me - I did not say, "If you stand by me, and there is no other man in the house, you shall not be hurt."

MR. BODKIN Q. Was what he said about giving them in charge, and sending for him, after the "I O U" had been given?

A. Yes; he did not say that was to be the case in consequence of my having given the "I O U" - the "I O U" was given to get rid of the annoyance - I cannot say, if it was to protect me from further violence.

JOSEPH THOMPSON (police - sergeant, F 11). On Tuesday evening, 12th March, I went to Mr. Wyatt's with Brown, another policeman - we concealed ourselves behind a curtain in the back-parlour, adjoining the shop, and remained there about half an hour - at nine o'clock, Laidler and another, who I believe to be Jones, came - Laidler spoke to Mrs. Legg - she said, "Where are the other gentlemen? I thought I told you they were all to be here" - he said they were close by, he would send for them - he spoke to the other, and sent for them, and in the end the four other prisoners came -

after some conversation we came from our hiding-place - I took Laidler and Tiddiman - on Laidler I found this agreement, and "I O U," and a letter signed M. Legg - going along Queen - street, he said, "Is Sullivan taken?" - I said, "I believe he is" - he said, "Ah! b------y old fox, I am glad he is taken; that is the General; with all his generalship he is taken at last; I do not care about myself, Mrs. Legg will clear me; I only did it to stand her friend" -

at the station he gave his address, "Laidler, 5, Cecil-court, St. Martin's-lane" - I found a key on him, which he said was the key of his box, and that his landlord's name was Morriss - I went there according to that direction - a box was pointed out to me by the landlord - it was locked - I found in it this agreement, and the fly-leaf of a brief, and a letter - I have seen Bennett before this, once dressed as one of the Life Guards, blue, and another time in the suit of an hussar.

Laidler Q. Have you ever seen me in company with either of the prisoners?

A. Yes; on one occasion with Bennett and Jones at the masquerade at Drury-lane Theatre - I am not quite certain whether Sullivan was in your company, but he was a short distance off.

WILLIAM WEST (police - sergeant, F 7). On 12th March, about a quarter-past eight o'clock, I went to Mr. Wyatt's - I saw Jones and Tiddiman on the opposite side of the way, walking to and fro, and looking on the other side - I afterwards saw Jones and some one else go into the house - Jones came out again - I met Sullivan at the door, took him, and handed him over - I then went into the room and took Jones and Tiddiman.

JAMES BROWN (policeman.) I accompanied Sergeant Thompson - I was concealed behind the curtain - I afterwards took Bennett - on the way to the station, he said, "I am let into this secret; I wish I had stopped at home."

SAMUEL WYATT. In March last, I carried on the business of a tobacconist, at 13, Great Queen-street, Lincoln's-inn-fields. I am sixty-four years of age - one evening, about seven months ago, Tiddiman came and asked for some tobacco - I gave it him - he squeezed my hand and pressed up against me - I was behind the counter, and came to the front of it to take a glass of gin - and - water which I had made - he left in five or ten minutes.

COURT Q. Did you sit down at the outside of the counter, and take your gin-and-water?

A. Yes; I asked him to take a little of it - that was before he squeezed my hand - I went round and sat by his side, with the gin-and-water on a chair between us - he squeezed my hand when I laid the tobacco on the counter - he had not tasted the gin-and-water before I put down the tobacco; he squeezed my hand, both before and after - I noticed nothing particular in his conduct towards me - I thought it very strange his squeezing my hand, for a stranger - some time afterwards he got up to go; he got two or three Cuba cigars, which he paid for - he did not touch me after squeezing my hand - there was nothing extraordinary in his demeanour but that - I made no complaint to him before he left.

MR. COOPER Q. Afterwards did he repeat his visits again and again?

A. Yes; the second time he came, I gave him some money - I did so several times - he afterwards came with Bennett and Laidler, they both said they must have some money - I do not recollect whether Tiddiman was with them - it might be a week after Tiddiman came the first time - I gave them some money - I do not give money to every one who comes into my shop and asks me, but they threatened me with an assault on Tiddiman -

I never committed it - they all three said they would accuse me of an indecent assault on Tiddiman - Tiddiman was with them then; I gave them, I think, two or three sovereigns - my niece did not make her appearance on that occasion - they left after that - the three came again, but Tiddiman came principally - I remember Jones coming again, that is him (pointing to him) -

on 2nd March they all came again, except Sullivan - they said they would have a note for 50£. - I said I could not give it - they then said they would have one for 40£; they then offered to take 30£. - they had a bill for 40£. drawn up by themselves, which they destroyed - they said it was nothing of mine - they then made out an "I O U" for 50£., and I signed it - I calculate that I have paid them about 50£. at various times.

Laidler Q. On the first night you saw Tiddiman, when he had the gin-and-water, and pressed your hand, did you invite him into your bedroom?

A.A. No; I sleep in the back parlour - I swear I did not sit on the bed with him - he walked in there himself that night - he did not go into the parlour on any other occasion.

COURT Q. The first time you saw Tiddiman, did he go out of your shop till he left?

A. No; I have no other room but the parlour; I have no smoking-room - he walked into the parlour just inside the door - I believe my bed was down, because I have it made generally about eleven o'clock - the shop and parlour open one into the other - I certainly followed him into the room, because it was strange that a stranger should go into the parlour - I told him to go - I am certain of that - nothing particular struck me in his conduct at that time - I was surprised at his squeezing my hand, and walking into my bedroom -

I felt disposed to kick him out of my house - I told him I never suffered any one to come in there - he did not stay five minutes after that - I did not go on with my gin-and-water after that - the shop was open, any one passing could see into it - when the room-door is open, any one can look in by the light of the shop - as far as an open view goes, it is a public place - the door is glazed as well as the window, the shop is nearly half as wide again, and half as long again as the dock of this Court - I was near the parlour with the spirits-and-water - that was not where I served him with the tobacco - I served him behind the counter, and then came forward to take the remainder of the refreshment - I take gin-and-water every night, because I take no malt liquor.

MR. PARNELL (with MR. WOOLLETT) contended, that upon this evidence, there was no case for the Jury that any threat of the precise nature alleged is the indictment had been made to the prosecutor; all that took place with him, pointed only to a charge of indecent assault, which would not support this indictment (See Reg. v. Middleditch, 1 Denison's Crown Cases, p. 92);

that the expression used to Mrs. Legg could only be received as evidence to explain the nature of the previous threat to the prosecutor, there being no charge that by any threat to her, money was sought to be obtained from him; and that it had been held that the very term used to her "sodomitical" was of too vague and uncertain a meaning to support an indictment.

See Reg. v. Bower, 3, Queen's Bench Reports, and Reg. v. Orchard and another, 3, Cock's Criminal Cases, 238. MR. BARON PLATT entertained no doubt whatever that there was evidence for the Jury.

Laidler's Defence. I left my situation as waiter at the Hanover Tavern on the last day of February; I met Tiddiman in Stacey-street, Soho; we drank together, and made an appointment for the next day, and I was taken to Mr. Wyatt's; Mrs. Legg demanded the nature of the case, and I asked him, and told her it was a case of an indecent assault; that is the only time I was in the house; it is quite false that I was there seven or eight months ago; when the "I O U" was got, I said I would have nothing more to do with the affair, which she will acknowledge; she begged me to stand by her, and she would hold me harmless;

on Saturday, 9th March, she sent me half-a-crown to get the agreement stamped; I afterwards showed it to her; she said it was what she wished; I am mistaken for another person, Gardner, alias Harrisson, of the Lock Hospital; I have been quite drawn into it by Tiddiman; whenever they were going for money themselves, they drew me into it;

I have been to the East and West Indies in ships, and have certificates of character; Mrs. Legg kept me in the case after I had said I would have nothing more to do with it; she said if I would stand by her till the case was settled she would hold me harmless; the 12£. I received of Mrs. Legg, which she said were for fees, was given over; I used no deception in the case; I gave no false name or address either to the police, at Somerset House, or to Mr. Wyatt; I considered I was doing nothing more than acting as a friend; I want Thomas Miles called.

THOMAS MILES. I keep the Hanover Tavern, Hanover-street. Laidler lived with me as waiter, I should think eight months - I do not recollect his leaving the house seven months ago, in the afternoon, between three and four o'clock - I cannot pretend to say he did not - it is usual for him to be there in the afternoon - I do not recollect him being absent in the middle of the day, about two months before Christmas.

COURT Q. When did he leave your service? A. About a month ago - he was in my service in September - if he asked for an hour he would be allowed to have it.

The JURY found the prisoners GUILTY upon all the Counts, and were of opinion that the prisoners threatened to accuse the Prosecutor of the crime stated.

MR. PRENDERGAST, JUN., on behalf of Sullivan, in moving in arrest of judgment, urged that the indictment was defective, in as much as it did not allege that the security sought to be obtained, was the property of the Prosecutor, and refered to the case of Reg. v. Parker, where such an omission was held to be fatal.

MR. WOOLLETT, for Bennett, and MR. PARNELL, for Jones, made a similar notion, and referred to Reg. v. Norton, 8 Car.& Payne, 196. MR. BODKIN, is reply, contended that as this was a charge not of obtaining, but of endeavouring, by means of threats, to obtain, it was not necessary to show whose property the security was. See Reg. v. Clark, 1 Car. & Kir. 421.

MR. BARON PLATT (having taken until Monday to consider the point) in giving judgment, stated that the question was, whether the indictment, which charged the prisoners with making the threat in question with intent to extort from the Prosecutor a valuable security, and did not state whose property that security was, could be supported or not. The statute on which the indictment was framed was 10 & 11 Vic., c. 66. s. 2, which made it an offence to accuse, or threaten to accuse, any person of the offence specified, with a view or intent to extort or gain from such person any property, money, or security.

The words of the statute were exceedingly important, because one of them, viz. "extort," had a certain technical meaning which was defined in 2nd Salkeld's Reports; and when a man was charged with extorsively taking, the very import of the word showed that he was not acquiring possession of his owntion would be found in 2 Burn's Justice; and the language showed that it was not at all necessary that the thing extorted should be stated to be the property of any person, if it was wrested from the party upon whom the extortion was effected; and if that was the case, the present indictment was sufficient.

In a case referred to (Reg. v. Norton) it appeared that the property was described in the manner contended for by the prisoner's counsel; but that was an indictment under another statute, which made it necessary that the party charged under it should actually obtain the thing sought to be obtained; that was not so in the present case, because, whether anything was obtained or not, the crime was complete; and whether the property belonged to the person threatened, or not, was quite immaterial; the offence was committed immediately the accusation was made with the evil intent stated in the indictment.

TIDDIMAN was recommended to mercy by the Prosecutor -

[Verdict: Guilty - Punishment: Confined Two Years]


[Verdict: Guilty - Punishment: Transported for Life]



navigation map
If you can't use the map, use these links.
HALL Lounge Living Room Memorial
Our Bedroom Guestroom Library Workshop
Links Awards Map