Dirty money

A blacksmith and a needlewoman left the public- house shortly before 2 a.m. when the blacksmith noticed his purse was missing. 1 crown-piece, 7 half-crowns, and 7 shillings were inside the purse.

The prosecutor Andrew Lesley said the needlewoman Mary Smith stole his purse some hours earlier when they were in her room having sex.

Witness, watchman John Shields said the suspect did not attempt to run away. And, he had a tight grip on the twenty-year-old girl.

The prosecutor and witness marched the small girl to Blue gate Fields where the suspect’s basement flat was empty except for a stove. Shortly before 3 a.m. police constable Spencer arrived at the scene where he found the purse behind the stove.

The suspect claimed the prosecutor was drunk and had probably dropped his purse behind the stove when he undressed. Constable Spencer arrested the suspect. He reported the woman in tight-fitting corset to be a streetwalker and had seen her at The Prospect of Whitby Inn on many an evening.

At court the purse was produced containing a crown-piece, 2 half-crowns, and 4s 6d.

The Old Bailey  judge in black gown and white wig sentenced the needlewoman to transportation stating her punishment for theft from a person was life.

In what was described by an onlooker as a harsh sentence the girl was reported to have collapsed in the dock.

Items missing thirteen shillings.

MARY SMITH.Theftpocketpicking.15th February 1827

Published by roguesandmollsprisonvoices

I am a mature student studying English Literature and Creative Writing at Liverpool John Moores University. Blogging is a skill I have learned while researching Prison Voices Crime, Conviction and Confessions during 1700 - 1900 century. Connecting my work to Twitter and Facebook has been productive and exciting. Criminal literature and the historical context has been fascinating and I intend to keep studying .

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