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Monmouthshire Merlin 1857

Saturday April 4th 1857


(Before C.H. Williams and H. Levick, Esqs.)

STEALING MONEY FROM THE PERSON.-John Roberts, a haulier, living in the hamlet of Glascoed, charged Thos. Watts, a young man of decent appearance, with robbing him of £6 2s. The statement of complainant was that he went to the Royal Oak Inn, Goitre, on Friday week, having previously been to a sale of stock, at a farm near at hand. When he entered the Royal Oak he had in his pocket, in a bag, £6 in gold, and 2s. in silver. He remained there drinking with two or three persons, one of who was the prisoner, until nearly 3 o’clock in the morning, and fell asleep. In the morning he went home, and at breakfast he missed his money, and sent for the prisoner. He met him on the road, and asked him if he had seen his (complainant's) money. Prisoner said he had not seen it—he had only one sovereign in his pocket, and that he changed the night before. In cross-examination by Mr. Owen, complainant said he did not look at his money when he awoke at the Royal Oak, and had about £25 in his pocket when he went to the sale, where he bought some stock amounting to £17, for which he paid at the time. He went to the Royal Oak just before dark, and was drinking there about two hours. Could not swear he had not drank seven or eight glasses of beer at the sale; and might have drank two quarts at the Royal Oak. There was tossing for money going on in the house, but he did not toss for money, nor did he call upon the prisoner to name a sum of money he held in his hand, nor was anything said about a 2s. piece. He had given the prisoner eight half-crowns for a sovereign; the prisoner had been drinking with him, and was a little "fresh." —Thomas Roberts, the landlord of the Royal Oak, stated that the complainant came to his house a little before dusk, driving two cattle. Complainant had been drinking, and he tossed with the prisoner for some beer. He remained some time and fell asleep on the chair, holding in his hand a 2s. piece. Complainant dropped 3d. in copper out of his hand, and the prisoner Watts took it up and said, “This is mine." Witness replied, “Yes, it is"—meaning that Watts had won it of complainant in tossing. A man named Lodge, who was present, took up the 2s. piece, and was told by another man, named Jenkins, to put it in complainant's pocket, which be objected to do, and he (witness) put it by complainant's head as he fell asleep, and charged the servant girl to give it to him when he awoke. The witness further stated that he begged of the prisoner Watts to leave the house, which he refused to do, and said he would not go unless be was put out.—This witness was subjected to a close cross-examination, but his evidence was not shaken by it; he stated that all the gold he saw in Roberts's possession was one sovereign.-Elizabeth Hannah, the servant girl, was called. Her depositions, upon which the warrant for the prisoner's apprehension had been issued, were read over, and Mr. Owen cross-examined her, in the course of which it appeared that she saw Watts put the 2s. in his pocket, remarking "that he should do very well about that." Prisoner was not so drunk as Roberts, the complainant, and he went to sleep alongside the complainant, and leaned his head upon the complainant's shoulder and blew out the candle. She saw no gold with Roberts, and both prisoner and complainant left the house together in the morning.—Thos. Major, superintendent-constable, said he apprehended the prisoner on Wednesday last, and found on him a glove containing £9 10s. in gold, a 2s.-piece, a half-a- crown, and 4d. in copper. The prisoner said he had had a part of this money for about six months, and the 2s. piece he received from James Lodge, who took it up from the ground, and "this," the prisoner added, "is the 2s. in dispute."—Mr. Owen then addressed the Bench for the prisoner, and said he felt a great anxiety on behalf of his client, who resided with his father in the parish, and was a respectable man. The prisoner was well known to him, and he could truly say that a more hard-working and industrious young man did not live in the parish. He reviewed the evidence of the complainant, and said that the conduct of the prisoner in assisting the complainant to drive home his cattle was that of a kind friend, and he should be able to prove that the prisoner was in that position of life as to account in a satisfactory manner for the possession of considerable sums of money. He owned an entire horse with which he travelled, and had, besides, some sheep and cows; and because the prisoner had in his possession nine pounds four or five days after the alleged robbery, they were not to assume this was a part of it, and if the prisoner was in a position to command £9, then there was no case against him. He respectfully submitted to the Bench whether they had a prima facie case against his client, and he could produce witnesses who would prove the prisoner had money of his own. The magistrates said they would hear the evidence for the defence, and Mr. Owen called Thomas Watts, the prisoner's father, who stated that his son owned an entire horse, and that he knew him to have £30 of his own, for he had occasion to borrow £10 from him about a month ago. He was in the habit of attending timber sales with him, and on these occasions he paid for all the prisoner had. He was quite sure his son would have £10 or £ 20, and he had also a lot of sheep and a cow and horse. He had sold some lambs lately.—James Lodge said he was at the Royal Oak on the night in question, and beer and money were tossed for; they drank a good deal; he could not say whether he gave the prisoner the two-shilling piece or not. He had seen the prisoner with eight or nine pounds at a time, and he buys and sells for himself.-The magistrates consulted a few minutes, and Mr. Williams said that looking at the evidence, and to the facts spoken to by the servant girl, they felt it their duty to commit the prisoner for trial at the next Assizes, but they were willing to accept bail for his appearance, and Mr. Owen tendered himself as bail. The case was listened to by a crowded court, and occupied upwards of two hours.

Saturday May 23rd 1857


(Before C.H. Williams, Esq.).

THE PIG CASE.—Our last number contained some particulars of a singular case respecting the sale of some pigs in Pontypool market, and their ultimate recovery by the original owner, whose “rejoicing," however, it seems, was of brief duration, as Superintendent Roberts. having been called upon to interfere, took possession of the pigs. Today Mrs. Watkins and her husband, to whom the pigs belonged, and Mr. Coleman, of the Prioress Mill, near Usk, the purchaser, appeared before the Bench to claim the animals; and though it was intimated that Mrs. Watkins should be charged with obtaining possession of them by false pretences, yet the accusation was not formally preferred, neither did she take her place in the dock. Mr. Greenway appeared for her. Mr. Charles Coleman having been sworn, deposed that he was in Pontypool market on the previous Saturday; he bought nine small pigs, and shortly after a man came to him, asking him to buy four pigs which he had to sell; the man at first asked £4 10s. for them, but witness subsequently bought them for 22s. each; the man assisted to place the pigs in the waggon of witness, who sent them home; on witness arriving home himself, he discovered that the pigs were in possession of the wife of George Watkins, of Glascoed. -Andrew Burnall a pork butcher, said on the day mentioned he saw the pigs in the market, which appeared to be in charge of a man and the woman Watkins; witness talked to the man in the presence of the woman, and attempted to deal for the pigs, but unsuccesfully, the price he offered was a guinea a piece; two or three hours afterwards, he saw the man by himself with the pigs he again offered them to witness. Cross-examined: The woman made some remark I think it was about the price, but I won't say what it was.- John Williams, who conveyed the pigs from Pontypool for Mr. Coleman, said, when he had got a few miles on the road, Mrs. Watkins accosted him, and asked him if he had not four spotted pigs; he replied in the affirmative; she said she wanted them, as the man had sold them at too low a price, and she sent a policeman to make the man deliver the money back to Mr. Coleman; she further asserted that Mr. Coleman had sent her for the pigs; witness gave them up accordingly.-P.C. Clark's evidence was to the effect that the woman spoke to him about the loss of four pigs; he told her to go with him they met a man as they were walking along the woman pointed him out as the man who had the pigs; the man replied—" All right, I've sold the pigs." The woman then went away with him, telling the policeman she was quite satisfied.-It appeared that the man offered the money he had received from Mr. Coleman to Mrs. Watkins, but she refused it, saying the pigs had been sold for less than she wished. Mr. Greenway said he was willing to submit the matter to any gentleman or respectable farmer, and to abide by his decision. He suggested Mr. Williams, of Llangibby.—Mr. Coleman said he would prefer to have the Magistrates' adjudication to any arbitration.—-Mr. Williams said he was disposed to take a lenient view of the case, as the woman might have acted in the manner she had under a misapprehension of the powers she had delegated to the man; but it seemed to him, notwithstanding, that the pigs had completely passed to Mr. Coleman's possession and he thought he should be doing right to order them to be handed over to Mr. Coleman, leaving Watkins to bring an action in the County Court. The man, it seemed, had a right to sell them. If a misapprehension existed at all, it was on the part of the woman.