Carlisle, January 2, 1844.
James JOHNSON (aged 22), Dennis MANION (aged 24), and James MANION (aged 18), indicted for stealing a canvas purse and a sovereign from the person of John ATKINSON, 19th December last.
Mr. GREIG appeared for the prosecution, and called:
James GRAHAM -- I am the landlord of the Star public house in Penrith; I know the prosecutor, John ATKINSON; I remember his being at my house on the 19th of September last; it was on a Tuesday, which is the market day. He was at my house between eleven and twelve o'clock, and went out; it was about twelve when he returned; I saw him then in the passage leading from the yard into the back-kitchen; I saw several other persons there at the time; I saw the three prisoners at the bar there; I noticed the dress of the boy, he had a blue cloth cap with tassels on one side. I am sure the prisoner is the boy I saw there. The prisoners had previously been in the kitchen, a minute or two before they were in the passage. I have not the smallest doubt that the prisoners are the men. I cannot say I saw them in the passage doing anything at the prosecutor; but they were there at the same time. The prosecutor complained to me that he had been robbed, about five minutes after I had seen the parties in the passage. I gave a description, in consequence, to SLEE the constable, of certain people I considered suspicious characters. The prisoners were the parties I described; the prisoners had left my house then, and they never came in again.
Cross-examined by Mr. RAMSHAY, who appeared for the defence -- I had never seen the prisoners before that day. Our house was a gaily throng at the time I have alluded to. The prisoners were not many minutes in my house; they were hawking, some selling combs, and some pencils; I saw them last going in the direction of the door, along the passage; I did not see them do anything; the passage is rather dark.
Re-examined by Mr. GREIG -- The prisoners had left my house before the prosecutor complained of being robbed, and I gave the description of them to SLEE, from my recollection of what I had seen of them.
John ATKINSON -- I reside at Kirkland, about ten miles form Penrith; I was at Penrith on 19th December last; It was on Saturday. (The witness corrected himself and said Tuesday.) Tuesday is the market day at Penrith. I went to the Star Inn about eleven o'clock, and then I went out to buy some groceries; I paid for them in the shop; I took my money out of my pocket; It was in a purse; After paying for the groceries a sovereign remained in the purse; It had a horse upon it, and was wrapped up in paper. There was a good deal of silver besides; it was open at the top; it was made of yellow canvas; I had it a long time; There was a little spot on it like a bit of grease. I buttoned my pocket up after I put my purse back into it; I then went back to the Star with my groceries; I went straight there; I spoke to nobody between the grocer's shop and the Inn, I went to the back kitchen and put my groceries into a poke. I came out into the passage and a man spoke to me. Some other men in the passage fixed me up against the wall. There were 4 or 5. One of them was a boy. While I was squeezed against the wall, I found a hand against my pocket. I could not get loosed as they squeezed my, but they let the boy go out, and they would not let me go; I groped my pocket and then found that my purse was gone with its contents; the passage was a dark one; I could not see the faces of the men who fixed me against the wall, so as to know them. The boy was dressed in a dark coloured jacket; he had a cap with tassels on. I recollect the boy being brought before the magistrates; I said I thought he was the boy I had seen before the magistrates; I went again before the magistrates and said I thought the boy was not the same; I cannot say now that the prisoner at the bar is the boy I met with, but I do swear that my purse was in my pocket when I went from the back kitchen into the passage.
( James JOHNSON (aged 22), Dennis MANION (aged 24), and James MANION (aged 18), indicted for stealing a canvas purse and a sovereign from the person of John ATKINSON, 19th December last.
Examined by Mr. RAMSHAY -- I had the purse in my pocket. (The witness would not say how he knew he had it.)
Elizabeth ATKINSON -- I am 77 years old; I live near the Infant School in Penrith; I remember the 19th December, it was a Tuesday; I recollect standing at my own door between twelve and one o'clock. I observed a man and a boy; the prisoner Dennis MANION is the man; the boy in the dock is not the boy I saw, or if he be, he has not the same clothes on; I don't know how the boy that passed me was dressed; I can't describe the colour of the boy's clothes, but he had not a round coat on. The boy I saw gave Dennis MANION something that looked like a purse; after he had done so I saw two other men go by; the prisoner was one; they were going in the same direction as the man and boy. I saw Dennis MANION pitch what I thought was a purse over the wall; the party then all joined, and went up towards the town head; when they had gone I stepped over to Mary BELLS. Bella ALLCOCK was there, and I spoke to her. I returned to my own house, and after some time I met Bella ALLCOCK and a little girl; she gave me a purse; the place where I saw the man throw something over was Tyson HODGSON'S fold; I can't say whether the purse Bella ALLCOCK gave me is the one the man threw over the wall. I produce the purse that Bella ALLCOCK gave me. I am sure the two men at the bar were those I saw, there was another but he is not here.
Examined by Mr. RAMSHAY -- I did not know the prisoners before they went by me; I challenged them when I saw them next.
Isabella ALLCOCK -- I recollect being in Mary BELL'S house on the 19th Dec. I remember the purse; the one produced is not unlike it, but I would not like to say that it was the same. I gave it to the last witness; the distance from Mrs. ATKINSON'S to Mr. TYSON'S fold gate is under or above (about) 100 yards.
John ATKINSON -- I identify the purse produced by marks; it is the one I had my money in on the 19th Dec., and that was taken from me.
Julia FOREST -- I keep a lodging house at the Town Head, Penrith. I recollect the three prisoners lodging at my house. I can't speak positively as to the middle man, (JOHNSTON) but I can say to the boy and the far man, (Dennis MANION) that was on the 18th December; they came to my house together with a woman; the men and boy went out in the market next morning, with their bundles to hawk; this was between ten and eleven o'clock. The boy had on a surtout coat and a "Shanter" bonnet, with tassels on one side on his head; I saw them again between twelve and one. The boy was then dressed in the same way; he went out again in about half-an-hour. The boy did not go out in the same dress as he came in; he doffed his surtout and went out in a jacket; he wore the same bonnet as at first. The boy came back again; he came in by the front door; he remained five or ten minutes; he did not change his dress this time; he went out by the back door; it leads into a yard. There is no way out without scaling the walls; the wall is rather high. I did not see the boy again at my house.
Benjamin SLEE -- I am a constable at Penrith; I remember James GRAHAM, landlord of the Star Inn, giving me some information. I apprehended James JOHNSTON and caused the two other prisoners to be taken also. ADDISON apprehended Dennis MANION in my presence. The men were standing near the White Hart door. They had each a pack. I saw them together, but before I got to them they parted; I searched JOHNSTON; he had three sovereigns and some silver. I saw Dennis MANION searched by ADDISON; he had five sovereigns.
This close the case for the prosecution.
Mr. RAMSHAY replied in a speech of two hours' duration.
The Chairman summed up with great minuteness, going carefully over all the evidence that bore upon the case, after which the jury retired, and after an hour's deliberation, they found Dennis MANION and James MANION, guilty, and acquitted the prisoner JOHNSTONE.
The case occupied the court from about half-past four o'clock until nine, after which the Jury were locked up for an hour before they agreed upon their verdict.
Sentence: Six calendar months' imprisonment, with one month solitary, each.
This completed the criminal business of the Sessions.