THOMAS MADDOCKS, Theft of a harp from Mr Delveau’s home. 29th May 1828

Before Mr. Justice Holroyd.

THOMAS MADDOCKS was indicted for stealing, on the 8th of May , at St. George, Hanover-square , 1 harp, value 50l., the goods of James Delveau , in his dwelling-house .

MR. CLARKSON conducted the prosecution.

JAMES DELVEAU. I live at No.28, Conduit-street , in the parish of St. George, Hanover-square. I left my house about seven o'clock in the evening of the 8th of May, leaving my harp quite safe in the first floor front room; I returned about eleven o'clock the same evening, and missed it. The prisoner was in the employ of Jennings, my gilder, and very often came to and fro to my house; Elizabeth Davis is servant to the people who lodge on the ground floor of the house.

Q. Do you occupy the house? A. The house belongs to some orphan children, of whose father I am executor - I have lived there five years; it was let out before I became executor; the rents are paid to Mr. Dawson, the house-agent; the taxes are paid to the agent appointed by the Court of Chancery; I received the rent before the agent was appointed.

Q. Did the deceased person ever live in the house? - A. Yes, but he did not die there; he died in the country- I lived there long before he died, as a lodger. I must account for the rent for the lodgings to the Court of Chancery; the deceased's name was John George Boehu; I have paid no rent since his death. I occupy the first floor- the persons on the ground floor pay rent to us as executors; we are accountable to the receiver for the rent of the whole house; the other executors do not live in the house, nor do the orphans - they are at school; my occupation of the first floor is entirely distinct from the other lodgers.

Q. There are nobody but lodgers in the house besides yourself? A. No; we used to carry on business with the people below, for the children; but the partnership has been dissolved by the Court of Chancery; there has been no change whatever in the occupation since the testator's death. The harp was in my own room, on the first floor; I found it on the Sunday following, in the possession of Twigg, at a house in Rose-street, Long-acre - it was worth fifty guineas, and was my property; fifty guineas is a moderate value.

ELIZABETH DAVIS. I was in the service of Mr. Smoat, who lives on the ground floor of the premises occupied by Mr. Delveau, in Conduit-street. On the 8th of May, about seven o'clock in the evening, or a few minutes afterwards, the prisoner came to the house - I let him in; he asked me if Mr. Delveau was at home; I told him I did not know - I had frequently seen him at Mr. Delveau's before, and I told him he had better go up stairs and see; he went up; I went down stairs, and saw no more of him - I was at home all the evening, and am certain nobody else called for Mr. Delveau.

MR. DELVEAU. I never gave the prisoner authority to take the harp to be gilded, or for any purpose; it had been gilded about two months before; no part of the house is occupied by the other executor; neither he nor the children used any part of it.

THOMAS TWIGG . I live at No. 10, Rose-street, Longacre, and also rent the house No. 9, but let that out in lodgings. On the 8th of May I was going home about eight o'clock in the evening, and saw a person taking down the parlour window shutters of No.9; I do not know who he was - it was not the prisoner; I saw a harp there; I put some questions to the person, and in consequence of what he said I refused to deliver it up to him; it stood in parlour of No. 9; he did not rent the room.

WILLIAM HENRY JENNINGS . I am a gilder, and live in Berwick-street, Soho. The prisoner was my apprentice in May; the prosecutor was a customer of mine, and I was in the habit of sending the prisoner to his house very often. On Sunday, the 4th of May, he left my house as usual - I did not see him again till he was in custody; he had no authority from me to fetch Mr. Delveau's harp, on the 8th of May, or at any time; he had been three years with me; I believed him to be honest.

GEORGE AVIS . I am an officer. I went to Tothillfields prison on Sunday, the 11th of May, in company with the prisoner's mother; I had some conversation with the prisoner - I had used no inducement or threat to him - on the contrary, I cautioned him; I showed him a printed bill, offering a reward for the recovery of the harp; he said he did not wish any more of those bills to be distributed, nor yet to put the gentleman, or his master, to any expense - his mother said nothing to induce him to confess- I have one of the bills here; he said, "I am the person who took the harp, and I will tell you where you can find it - it is at Rose-street, Long-acre; I asked if he was sure it was there - he said it had been detained there by the landlord, because they could not give a correct account of the number and maker's name, and that it was there still; I directly went to Rose-street, with his mother; Mr. Delveau came there afterwards - I there found the harp now produced; Twigg was there - the prisoner did not mention the number of the house, but described it as well as he could: I went to No. 10, near a gateway, where Twigg resides; I waited till he came home - I showed him the bill; he said he had got the harp, and showed it to me in the parlour of No. 9; Delveau claimed it; he mentioned the number of it before he saw it - it has been in my possession ever since, and is here. The prisoner was detained on the charge.

MR. DELVEAU. I know the harp to be mine, by the number and maker's name; it is engraved on a brass plate.

ELIZABETH DAVIS re-examined. I had not been in Mr. Delveau's room from the time he went out till he returned, nor had any one else, to my knowledge; the harp was not missed till he came home.

Prisoner. I throw myself on the mercy of the Court.

Three witnesses gave the prisoner a good character.

GUILTY - DEATH . Aged 17.

Recommended to Mercy by the Jury and Prosecutor, on account of his character.


Dr Mike Baldwin : Organologist : Historian : Researcher : Writer : Harp maker : Restorer