Trial transcript of Jane Ison.
Sarah Loft, Ann Simmons, Elizabeth Rederick, Ann Dawson and Jane Ison were indicted for making an assault in the dwelling house of Ann Dawson, upon William Ellis on 22nd of November; and feloniously taking from his person and against his will, a silver watch, value £31. in monies of the said William Ellis.(the case was opened by Mr Garrow.)
William Ellis sworn.. I am a Welch-Drover. I lost my money on Thursday, the 2nd of November. I came to town the day before.
Q. How did it happen?
A. I will tell you the truth. I caught site of this young woman, Sarah Loft, at Cow Cross, in the street, coming out of a house there, between twelve and one O'clock in midday, I was sober; I had drank only one pint of beer that day. There were but a few passed between us then; but she took me down around the street, and carried me to the house of Dawson; I did not know then that it was her house; it is in Sharps Alley; When we went to the house, she took me upstairs, and the next I see, was Jane Ison, she came up into the room; but before that I and Loft we make an agreement of 6d. I took my 6d. from my waistcoat pocket, in a purse or canvas bag. When I had given her the money, then we had what you know, we laid down on the bed together; while I was on the bed I found my purse in her hand; as soon as I found my purse in her hand, I clapped my hand on it, and I got hold of one end of it, the empty end. She called out, the first name was Sukey, and Ison came up first; then she took me by the left arm; and I had the end of my purse in my hand, at the same time; so the other bit me in two or three places, in the hand, then the other two came up, Dawson and Simmons, they came up while I was still struggling, and my hand still holding my purse. When they came up, that Ann Dawson came and slapped her hand on my mouth, because I called out murder several times, I let go; at last they got me down on the bed, and I held the empty end in my hand, and so they cut the end off. Elizabeth Rederick was not there at all, the other four all assisted getting me on the bed, and while I was down they cut my purse, and while I was in the hobble with them, my watch dropped down to the floor, and the glass dropped out of it, as I had not yet put my clothes to rights, they took it, it was either Jane Ison or Ann Dawson, Sarah Loft had the purse in her hand the mean while; they cut my upper lip most shockingly, with what I can not say, after they had cut my purse, they all ran away directly. I stood at the door and cried there, and one mister Clarke came to my assistance. There was a pursuit made after the women, I saw two of them, Loft and Simmons the next day, or the day after, I did not see Dawson till lately. I am sure they are the four girls; I have not the least doubt of either of them.
Q. Did you ever hear from Dawson or anybody in her presence, who kept that house?
A. I did not.
Q. How much money did you lose?
A. I lost upwards of £31, and a silver watch.
Prisoner Simmons. He has sworn to three different sums of money at the Justices, he said when he took me, he lost £36. When he took Ison he said he lost between £20 and £30 and now he says £31.
A. I always said £31.
Q. Did you not say to the Justices, you did not know me at all?
A. I did not say so.
John Clarke sworn. I live in Sharp - Alley; on the second of November I heard a cry out of murder, for God's sake, help, I was going to bed. I am a watchman. I threw up the sash of my window; I saw a man at the house, which I understood to be kept by Ann Dawson; I said, my friend, what is a miss; he said, I am robbed and murdered; say's I, you can not be murdered for you are alive now, say's I, stop exactly where you are, while I get you assistance. I went and got an officer, and when we came down, he stood exactly as I left him, says I, this is the manner I left the man; you have a right to go in and search the house; I went into the house along with the constable; we found one girl there whom we understand is since dead; we went upstairs, I picked part of a purse and a pair of sleeve buttons, and the glass of a watch. The constable has got them. I had known the prisoner Dawson as much as two years, she had been backward and forward all the time. I know the other prisoners by sight, by resorting to her house. Dawson was the reputed owner of the house.
Prisoner Simmons. I am sure you didn't know me.
I know her extremely well, as coming backward and forward to the house.
Prisoner Dawson. Who told you that I keeps the house, Mr Clarke? Because she has said that nobody will get me out, because I can live rent free, if I like it.
Prisoner Dawson. He keeps a worse house than mine ? I alway's take such lodgers in, as are hard working people. I don't take it upon myself to say that all who come are married.
Prisoner Simmons. Did not Rederick lodge at your house ? I don't know, she might have been with Mrs Miller, but I did not approve of it, I told her if she would go away and take her company with her, I would for give her for what is due.
Sarah Wheeler sworn. I live in Mr Clarkes house; I get my bread in the street, with a barrow, I had just come home, between one and two, I heard a noise, and looked out of my window, and saw this man standing and complaining, and Jane Jaggers otherwise Ison, give something out of her bosom into Dawsons hand, what it was I don't know, I don't know all the people at the bar, I don't know how long Dawson has kept the house.
Q. Was this man at the door?
A. The man was at the door, and they were in the one pair stairs, close by the window.
Q. How wide is the distance between them?
A. About as wide as from you to me.
Court to the Prosecutor. Was the room in which you was robbed in, the one pair of stairs?
A. It was, it looked opposite to these persons window.
Q. Mrs Wheeler, was what you saw after the cry of murder?
A. It was.
Jury. Are you certain that the prosecutor was at the door of the house, at the time you saw something was given from Ison to Dawson?
A. He was standing by the door and holding by the staple. I never left my window at all, till after the constable came.
Q. Is there any other way out of the house?
A. I can not say, but I have heard there is a back door.
Witness Clarke. I met all the women as I was going for a constable, I overtook them at the top of Sharpes-Alley, about sixty yards from the house where they lodge, I spoke to Ann Dawson, and say's Ann Dawson, you have done such a daring thing at noon today, I can not put up with it.
Prisoner Dawson. He met me, Mrs Dawson say's he, I will hang you if you had a hundred necks. That was within two doors of the officers house.
James Wheeler sworn. I am the husband of the last witness, I live opposite Mrs Dawsons house, I came home about one O'clock at noon, coming home my wife had sat down to light the fire, we heard a terrible noise of murder, I got up and opened my window, and I saw Ann Dawson taking something out of another body's bosom, but I can not swear which. I heard Clarke speak and I ran downstairs, and they could get out the back door.
Prisoner Dawson. Did you ever go out the back door?
A. I have.
Q. Did you ever know that was my house?
A. I did, because you wanted to let an apartment to me.
Thomas Wright sworn. I live within half a stones throw from this place, I know nothing of the robbery, I am a city officer, I went in pursuit of them, on the 2nd of November in the afternoon, we went to the house of Ann Dawson, we found the house fast and a padlock on the door, we searched many suspicious houses, particularly public houses of ill fame, but could make no apprehension that night.
Q. Do you know Dawson?
A. I do.
Q. Do you know she keeps that house?
A. I do.
Prisoner Dawson. How do you know I keep that house?
A. She has got the freehold, and I have known her to come to Mr--------------, to borrow money to pay the Kings taxes, and he has wanted to have the key.
Mr Garrow. It is part of the world where possession goes with the key?
A. It does.
Prisoner Simmons. Pray did you not hear the prosecutor say, he knew nothing about me?
A. I know he swore positively to Loft, and then he swore positively to Ann Dawson, and then he swore positively to Jane Jaggers or Ison, that she cut the purse from his hand.
Q. Whether before the magistrate he did not say he did not know me?
A. He swore to them all before the magistrate, that was the reason that the magistrate thought it proper to bind me over.
Q. No he has not sworn to all, there is one he has not sworn to (meaning Redderick)
Willey sworn. I am a patrol officer, I was on a trial here on the 2nd of November, I took Jane Jaggers myself, I know nothing of the robbery, I searched her, I was before the justice. There was a guinea found on Ann Loft, and half a guinea on another, I am not certain which.
Thomas Appleyard sworn. I searched Ann Dawson and Ison, nothing was found upon them. In the room where the robbery was committed, this half purse, sleeve buttons and a watch glass were found. (Produced and the purse and sleeve buttons deposed to.)
Prisoner Loft. I never saw the man in my life until I saw him at the Justices.
Prisoner Simmons. When I was taken to the Justices, I was just done with my work, and was standing at the bottom of Mutton-hill, the officers came up and say's, you are the woman that I want, I went with him to the Justices, the prosecutor swore to Sarah Loft, and they asked if they knew anything of me, no he said, he had no further to say against me, than that he did not know me, with that the Justice said fetch the woman, (that is another woman) say's the Justice, think it will be necessary to commit them all, till the other is taken, and then he swore to 36 guineas, and his watch, The man that took me, when he was taking me down stairs, say's, I don't know what they have committed you for, for the man has not sworn to you now.
Witness Willey. When I was before the Justice they proved to be in the house, Simmons and another, who is dead, but the prosecutor could not attempt to swear that it was them that used the violence, that they took any active part in the business.
Q. Did he say whether they were in the room?
A. I can not say.
Mr Garrow. Have you known the prisoner Simmons?
A. I have known her for many years.
Mr Garrow. I thought so.
Witness Willey. Ison was taken on the 3rd of November. She was bought up to the Justice and discharged, because the country man was not in town. I was hunting about for her again, till last Monday, when I took her out of Golden Lane.
Prisoner Dawson. I don't belong to the house, nor did I ever see the man before I was taken.
Prisoner Ison. Ever since my husbands decease I have been at Canterbury, and had only come up that evening as this gentleman took me. I was taken up for this same affair, and this same woman (Wheeler) came against me, that there woman came into the little room and told me if I would make her a present of a small trifle, that neither she or her husband would appear against me on Wednesday.
Mrs Wheeler. I never said such a thing to her upon my oath.
Prisoner Dawson. Did not I see you on Wednesday evening, and then you asked me for the money?
A . It is not true, I did attend on Wednesday.
The Prisoner Simmons called one witness to her character.
Sarah Loft, guilty, Death.
Ann Simmons, guilty, Death.
Elizabeth Redderick, not guilty.
Ann Dawson, guilty, Death.
Jane Ison, guilty, Death.
Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Mr Justice Ashurst.