James Johnson

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 6.0, 27 September 2011), March 1839, trial of JAMES JOHNSON (t18390304-968).

Dated: 4th March 1839

James Johnson, Theft from a specified place.

JAMES JOHNSON was indicted for stealing, on the 18th of February, 130 squares of window glass, value 12s., belonging to a certain building; and 1 window casement, value 3s.; the goods of the Eastern Counties Railway Company.

MR. DOANE conducted the Prosecution.

WILLIAM PONSFORD . I am agent to the Eastern Counties Railway Company. They have a house at No. 11, Phoenix Street, Commercial. Road.  We had an officer there on the 18th of February.

Cross-examined by MR. PRENDERGAST. Q. This house was taken to be pulled down, not as property that was to be kept? A. No, it was an oldish house. I do not know whether any of the windows were broken.  One side of that street has been purchased by the Company, and Harper had the charge of it.  He had no charge to sleep in that street at all. The house was empty.

JOHN HARPER . I am a constable of the Eastern Counties Railway Company, and am paid by them.  I was directed to look after these houses. On the 18th of February I left No. 11, about six o’clock in the evening, the leaden window frames were then all safe, and all the doors.  I had nailed them up that afternoon.  The squares of glass were all safe.  I went there the next morning, and found two casements taken out, which I had seen safe the night before, and more than one hundred panes of glass were missing out of different parts of the house.  I should think them worth 1d., or 1½d. a pane.

Cross-examined. Q. Could you get that for them? A. They charge 2d. when new, some of these were cracked.  The back of the premises was open to a garden, a person could not get in without breaking the doors or windows.

WILLIAM ROWLAND (police-constable H 120.) I was on duty at a quarter to eight o’clock, on the 18th of February, in Phoenix Street.  I heard a noise at No. 11, and found the back first-floor window open.  I got in at the window, and found the prisoner in another back room apparently asleep.  I asked him what he was doing there, he said he had seen two men the night before, taking away some glass, and he thought he might as well have some himself.  I found a glazier’s diamond, a putty knife, pincers, two screw drivers, and some glass in his pocket, and a box of lucifer matches.  I called in another officer.  I then found two leaden casements, which had been taken out, and a hundred and thirty squares of glass, tied up in a bag, and in a handkerchief that he had by his side.  A number of squares of glass had been taken out of different windows, where the casements were not taken out, these casements fitted into the window-frames.

Cross-examined. Q. There is a garden behind? A. It has been a garden, it is a kind of yard now.  These houses appear as if they were to be pulled down.

HENRY SNIGER (police-constable H 148.) I was called in, and took the bag, containing this glass.  These are the casement-frames that were out.

(The prisoner received a good character.)

GUILTY . Aged 84.  Confined Three Months.