David Grimwood

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 6.0, 23 January 2012), April 1885, trial of DAVID GRIMWOOD (t18850420-501).

Dated: 20th April 1885.

DAVID GRIMWOOD (29), Stealing a tarpaulin of George Haslam, in a barge on a navigable river.

MR. CULPEPER Prosecuted.

GEORGE JUDGE . I am a constable of the Lea Conservancy, at Bromley—on March 30th, about 10 o’clock, I was near the Three Mills Bridge Distillery with the night watchman of the Three Mills, and saw the prisoner approaching on the towing-path, carrying a tarpaulin—I asked him where he got it—he said that a man under the bridge gave it to him, and promised him twopence to carry it up there—I waited some time and no man came—having known the prisoner some time, I said, “You had better go and fetch the man”—he went, and returned with another man, and said that some volunteers had given it to him, and had gone down the path singing—he said to the other man, “Didn’t you see them?” he said, “I saw six or seven; I shall wish you goodnight,” and went away—while the prisoner was gone I examined the tarpaulin and found a large letter “H” on it, and “490” in a corner; it had two handles, a kind of loop—I put it over the Distillery garden wall with the aid of my stick, while the prisoner was still by my side, but the watchman had gone—this is it, but it is only a portion of a tarpaulin—I went and made inquiries, and went back in an hour and a half and the tarpaulin was gone—on 4th April I went to Millwall Docks, went on board the barge Nella, and found a tarpaulin which had been cut, and on 11th April I took this piece to it which the watchman gave me, and it matched; they had both been one cloth—this piece has “h” on it, which is the finishing letter of “Smith”—that is the piece I examined with the watchman.

Cross-examined by the Prisoner. You put it on the stones—you did not say that the man that gave it to you was talking to some volunteers, that he promised you twopence to carry it there, and you should not carry it further—there was a lamp and it was moonlight.

DANIEL GILLMORE . I am night watchman at the Three Mills Distillery.—I was near the bridge, and saw Judge speak to the prisoner—I have heard his account, it is correct—I examined the tarpaulin, and saw “H” on it and two loops or handles—I saw no number—I saw Judge again between 11 and 12, and between 1 and 2 a.m.—I picked up the same piece of tarpaulin at the overshot, and about 4 o’clock I called the constable and gave it to him—we examined it and found it was the same piece—it was in the water about 100 yards from the bridge.

Cross-examined. You did not come on the bridge and say “Good-night, Judge”—you were not there at that time—you went down the hill before I attempted to go across to Judge—we examined the tarpaulin—the clock struck 10 and I said, “I must be off;” you were not there then.

RICHARD BOLTON . I am a bargeman on board the Nelly, belonging to Mr. Haslam—I left her at Bromley Lock at 7.30 with some sacks on board, covered with a new and perfect tarpaulin—it was marked with the maker’s name and “490”—on April 11 went on board the barge and found the tarpaulin out and a piece missing—I have compared this piece; this is part of it.

GEORGE HASLAM . I am a corn-merchant, and owner of the barge Nelly, which was lying at Bromley Lock—this piece of cloth is part of that which was on board, here is the “h” in the name of “Smith on it.

 WILLIAM FINCH (Policeman). On April 4th I went with Judge on board the Nelly, and came to the conclusion, by certain marks, that this piece had formed part of the tarpaulin—on 14th April I saw the prisoner in Three Mile Lane, Bromley, and requested him to accompany me to the station—he said “All right, I will go with you”—going there he said “I suppose it is something about a tarpaulin, but I never saw a tarpaulin, and don’t know the meaning of it”—I had not mentioned a tarpaulin.

JAMES HOWLETT (Detective K). On 14th April I found the prisoner detained by Finch—I said I should charge him with stealing a tarpaulin from the barge Nelly on 30th March—he said “I was walking along the towing-path when a man asked me to carry it, and said he would give me 2d.; we walked along some distance, and he said ‘If you will come as far as the Fishing Boat I will give you another pint'”—I asked him who the man was—he said “That is where you do me, I don’t know him; when I got into the lane I was stopped by George, who asked me what I had got; I told him a piece of tarpaulin; he said ‘That is not the piece they got out of the water, it was not so big as that'”—I had not mentioned the water—he said “The piece I had was not big enough to cover a good sized rabbit-hutch”—I took him to the station.

The Prisoner’s Statement before the Magistrate. “This is not the piece of tarpaulin I was carrying; the piece I was carrying would not cover a rabbit-hutch. Judge took it on his stick and put it over the wall; he could not do that with the piece he now produces.”

GEORGE JUDGE (Re-examined). The spot where I had the conversation with the prisoner is about 500 yards from the barge.

Prisoner’s Defence. “This is not the piece of tarpaulin I carried on my head. I know nothing about this piece. When I met the constable I put it on the stones and walked 100 yards and back, and found it just where I left it, and he put it on the end of his stick and put it over the wall, and I went and had half a pint of beer. I know nothing of this tarpaulin whatever.”

GUILTY .— Two Months’ Hard Labour.


See a picture of Constable George Judge.