Dr Mike Baldwin : Organologist : Historian : Researcher : Writer : Harp maker : Restorer
Rebecca Kerr, theft of £20 from John Charles Schwieso, 27 November 1827

Old Bailey Online: t18371127-55

REBECCA KERR was indicted for stealing, on the 28th of October, at St. Ann, Westminster, 4 £5 Bank notes, the property of John Charles Schwieso, her master, in his dwelling-house.

JOHN CHARLES SCHWIESO . I am a harp manufacturer, and live in Soho-square, in the parish of St. Ann. The prisoner was in my service for one week as nursery-maid, and was discharged on Saturday, the 28th of October—she left about ten o'clock in the morning, and about ten minutes after she was gone, I missed four £5 notes from my waistcoat pocket—I had seen them there the night before, when I went to bed, and had put my waistcoat under my coat upon the sofa in my bed-room—the prisoner had come into my bed-room about seven o'clock on the Saturday morning, to dress the little child—I was in bed then with my wife—I had hand-bills printed, and searched every where, but could not find her that day—in consequence of information on Sunday evening, between eight and nine o'clock, I went to Mrs. Tabbs, in Windmill-street—I waited three quarters of an hour, and the prisoner came in—I asked her what she had done with my money-she said she never saw my money—Harwood, the policeman, who was with me, asked her to give up the keys of her box—she gave them to him, and I saw him open it and take out two £5 notes.

Cross-examined by MR. PAYNE. Q. Did you accuse her of having stolen your Bank-notes? A. Yes—sheat first said she had not—she said she found the notes in the passage of the house—she gave up the key of the box immediately—I was not at all in embarrassment at the time or in difficulties—I had a bill of 20l. to pay, and put this by to take it up next morning—that was why I put it into my pocket.

ANN TABBS . I live in Husband-street, near Little Windmill-street—the prisoner lodged with me for a week before she went into the prosecutor's service—she came to me on the Saturday morning that she left the prosecutor—(she came first on the Friday, and I recommended her to a situation at Mr. Creighton's, in Little Windmill-street, and she went there on Saturday morning)—on Sunday afternoon she came to me, and said she had found a £5 note, and asked me what she was to do with it—I told her to keep it till next day, as most likely it would be advertised—she was going to put it in her bosom—I said it was a very unsafe place, I would take care of it for her, and I kept it for her till Monday morning—I had an old box of her's at my house, but no clothes in it—her boxes were at her situation in Windmill-street—I gave that note to the policeman on Monday morning—I am sure it was the note; I received from her.

JOHN HARWOOD . I am a policeman. On Sunday evening I went to the prosecutor, and went with him to No. 9, Little Windmill-street—the prisoner came in about nine o'clock—I told her she was accused of robbing Mr. Schwieso of four £5 notes—she said she knew nothing about them—I asked her for the key of her box—I opened it in her presence, and at the bottom found two £5 notes—I asked her what she had done with the other two—she said she did not take more than two—I took her to the station-house, and next morning I went with the prosecutor, and received from Mrs. Tabbs another £5 note—I asked the prisoner at the station-house what she had done with the other two notes—she said she knew nothing about them—I said, "Why, I have received one from Mrs. Tabbs, you gave it her to take care of"—she burst into tears, and on going to the office she said, she had lent the other £5 note to a female, but did not know her name, nor where she lived.

Cross-examined. Q. Was your question, what had she done with the four £5 notes she took from Mr. Schwieso's pocket? A. No, I am not positive as to that—I will not swear I did not say so—I did not make a memorandum of the conversation between us—I did not caution her that her answers would be given in evidence.

MR. SCHWIESO re-examined. I lost four notes—I think I know a mark on one of these, but I am not certain—she had notice to leave on Saturday night—she was not in my sight while she was dressing the child as the curtain was drawn—I could not see her, but I heard her.

Prisoner. There were no curtains to the bed. Witness. There were.

GUILTY . Aged 15.— Transported for Ten Years.

Before Mr. Justice Park.