Newgate Calendar - FRANCES PEARCE


Convicted of Privately Stealing, in October Sessions, 1778, at the Old Bailey, and Sentenced to be Imprisoned for Three Years

            THE following case, though not capital, we insert in order to show that, as well as the numerous gangs of men depredating upon the public, females also associate for the same purpose. This woman, along with Ann Arrogany, and Catherine Davis, were tried for robbing Henry Kitchen, Esq. of bank notes to the amount of 550l. and other bills and securities to a considerable amount.

            Mr. Kitchen deposed that he was passing on foot along the Strand, about ten o'clock at night, and that near the New Church he was surrounded by three women, who picked his pocket of his pocket-book, containing bank notes, and other securities, to the value of 14 or 15,000l. He saw four hands held up; he cried Watch and Stop Thief! and instantly secured Peace, but did not see the pocket-book in her hand. The other women ran away.

            Elizabeth Mills, an unhappy woman of the town, deposed, that she saw Simpson and Arrogany near Mr. Kitchen; that there were one on each side of him. This deponent saw there only two women at that time. When Mr. Kitchen came near the New Church, Davis ran away, and the other fell down in attempting to run off, Mr. Kitchen cried out, "Stop thief—I am robbed." Five or six women standing near the church, he seized one of them, and said, "I have got you; I have got you." On the cross-examination, this evidence said, that the woman had walked with Mr. Kitchen from St. Clement's church-yard, arm in arm; and that when he came near the New-Church, five or six women were standing together; and he said, "I have got you all." To invalidate the testimony of this witness, Samuel Price a bailiff, was sworn, who deposed, that he had known her ten years, and that he did not believe she was such a woman as deserved credit on her oath. Mary Hayes likewise deposed, that she was a very abandoned woman, that she had assumed several names, and ought not to be believed even under the sanction of an oath. Amelia Burchell swore, that she saw the prosecutor seize Pearce, and that he said he was robbed; and Elizabeth Thompson deposed, that she had likewise heard him say that he was robbed; that she saw Davis having hold of his arm; that Arrogany was four yards behind him, but at what distance Pearce was she did not know.

            The jury having considered the whole evidence, acquitted Arrogany and Davis, and found Pearce guilty of the charge, in consequence of which she received sentence to be imprisoned three years.

            The notes thus stolen from Mr. Kitchen were passed into the hands of some Jews; but, by the diligence of the peace officers, about half of them were recovered.


Previous   Next