A Driver of the Norwich Mail. Convicted of stealing a Gold Watch sent by his Coach, 8th of April, 1809
AT the Old Bailey, on Monday, 8th of April, Henry Hunt was put to the bar charged with having stolen a gold watch, with a metal outside case, and two gold seals, valued at sixteen guineas, the property of a Mr James Bennett. There were other counts in the indictment charging this property to belong to Messrs Gooch & Co., watchmakers, and Messrs Boulton & Co., coach-owners.
It appeared from the evidence of Mr Gooch that he got the watch in question from Mr Bennett, who resided at Norwich, and that on the 5th of March he booked it at the coach office of Messrs Boulton & Co. for that city, and paid booking. Mr Bennett proved that it never came to hand.
It appeared that the prisoner was the driver of the Norwich mail, by which coach the parcel containing this property was sent, and that on the 11th of March he went to a public-house, known by the sign of the Bunch of Grapes, in Bow Street, and there stated that he wanted to have a watch, which he had lately bought, either altered or exchanged for a silver watch, and wished the landlord to find out the value of it. The landlord took the watch for that purpose, and the first person to whom he made mention of the fact, after showing it to a watchmaker, was an officer belonging to the public office, Bow Street, of the name of Salmon, who ultimately apprehended the prisoner, when he subsequently came to town, the moment he alighted at the Golden Cross, Charing Cross. The prisoner at first said he had bought it from a person known at Lad Lane by the nickname of "Long Jack," and the officer accompanied him thither; but it turned out to be a gross falsehood.
A witness of the name of Woodbridge was called to prove that he saw the prisoner buy the watch from a tall man in Lombard Street, whilst the coach was waiting for the mail delivery. But not only was the account which he gave of himself problematical, but his story as to the fact was so gross and contradictory that he was subsequently committed to take his trial for wilful and corrupt perjury, and he was immediately conveyed into Newgate by the officers of the court.
The jury, without hesitation, found the prisoner guilty. The indictment, however, was, through the lenity of the prosecutors, only maintained to the extent of larceny, by which means the prisoner was saved from a capital conviction; but the Court had the power of transporting him for seven years. He was sentenced to transportation for seven years.