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1854 - Proceedings of the Old Bailey

Date 1854
Topic Deception and fraud committed in public house in Robin Hood Lane, Poplar.
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Robin Hood Lane, Poplar.

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2018-06-13. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2018-06-21.


[3 Jul. 1854:]
HOMER MORRIS. I am a seaman, and live in Grundy Ann-street, Poplar. On 19th Dec. I was coming down Ratcliff-highway, in company with a ship-mate named Johnston—we got into conversation with the prisoner—he said he was the owner of a ship—we all went to a public house in Wapping—the prisoner called for a pint of ale, and paid for it—there were three other persons in the room when we went in—shortly after we went in two of them went out, leaving the prisoner and another man there—another man came in after awhile, and he got in conversation about a dog that he had—there were then five of us in company—the last man came in soon after we got there—he said he had come up from the country to receive some money; that he went to an hotel, and had left a favourite dog of his there; that the dog was stolen, and that they had left a little lock and a string—he showed us the lock, and said there was no man in London who could open it—he said he gave a guinea for it—the prisoner was then in our company, sitting alongside of me—the man showed us the lock, and handed it to the prisoner, and then went out of the room—the prisoner then said that we would bet him a glass of brandy and water round that we would open it, and the prisoner and I opened it together—he said to me, "Take hold of it, and see if you can't open it," and between us we opened it—I opened it three or four times after that, and then the prisoner said, "We will bet him a glass of brandy and water round, if it is agreeable to the company"—the man that the lock belonged to then came in, and said, "I will bet you any amount of money that no man in the room will open the lock"—the prisoner took out a sovereign, and said, "There is a sovereign, I will stake this"—he asked me if I would bet anything—I said, "I have only half a sovereign about me, but I will bet that that I will open it"—I took out the half sovereign, and gave it to the prisoner—he handed it, with the sovereign that he had, to the man that the lock belonged to—that was after I attempted to open the lock—I attempted to open it and could not—it was to be opened while the man it belonged to was to count ten—he counted ten, and I could not open it, and the prisoner handed the money to him, and the prisoner then said to me, "Have you any more money? will you bet any more?"—I said, "I have no more money about me"—he said, "Can you get any more?"—I said, "I have a little more money at home, but I am living down at Poplar New Town, which is away from here"—he said that he would go and get some money from a friend of his, it was all in his way—we all five went out together—we went to Blackwall, and I went home and got a 20l. note—I got it cashed at Mr. Luff's, and afterwards joined the prisoner and the others in the East India-road—we went to a public house in Robin Hood lane—the man to whom the lock belonged then said, "Now we will commence"—one of the party that was to open the lock took out a note—there was a bet made—the man that was to open the lock said, "Give me the money, and I will keep it"—I betted 15l. with the man that the lock belonged to—I handed my money in, but the others did not put their money down—the prisoner betted—I do not know how much, he did not produce any money then—I handed my 15l. to the man that was to open the lock, and he gave it to the prisoner, who was to hold the stakes—the man who was to open it said, "Bet any amount of money that you think fit, I will forfeit my head but I will open the lock"—that was the stranger that I had found sitting there when I first went into the public house—I at first offered to bet 10l., but the man that was to open the lock said, "Now bet any amount of money that you have got"—I said, "Well, I will bet 5l. more, that is all I will bet"—he tried to persuade me to bet more, but I would not—he was to open it while the man it belonged to counted ten—he commenced trying to open it, but could not, and when about five had been counted he handed it to me, and said, "Try if you can open it"—I could not—the man that tried to open it then said to me, "We will see you again in a few minutes," and they all three went out—I had paid my 15l.—the prisoner held the stakes—they all three went out together and never returned—I did not see anything more of the prisoner until a Friday in the early part of June—I then saw him in company with one of the other men—the other got away—I gave the prisoner into custody—when we were all in the room, one of the parties put down a note and took it up again—that was the man that was to open the lock—the prisoner was in the room at the time—I did not see what the note was, I do not know whether it was good or bad.[1]

Source notes

IRHB has silently regularized the use of spaces before punctuation marks in the quotation and corrected the HTML text at Proceedings of the Old Bailey from the PDF of the original printed edition.



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