Friday, 11 January 2013

11th January 1813: The trial of Job Hey, John Hill & William Hartley, accused of burglary

The second case heard on Monday 11th January 1813 was that of Job Hey (aged 40, a waterman), John Hill (36, a cotton spinner) & William Hartley (41, a tailor), who were accused of a burglary at the home of George Haigh at Skircoat on 29th August 1812. They all pleaded Not Guilty.

James Alan Park started the case by saying that he hoped the trial would not last as long as the previous one.

Park set out the details: that George Haigh, a wool-stapler living at Copley Gate near Skircoat, was in bed when he was knocked up between 11.00 p.m. at night and 1.00 a.m. in the morning on Saturday 29th August. The men on the other side of the door said that “my master, General Ludd, has sent me for your fire arms”. Although Haigh protested he had none, the men were insistent, and one of Haigh’s servants called Tillotson advised him to surrender his guns – although he had many more, Haigh gave only a musket and a pistol. It was the pistol that Park contended was now in the possession of a witness to the case, albeit in a modified state. The men outside demanded entrance and banged the door, so much so that one of them  broke the stock of his musket doing so, the remains of which were left behind. During the raid, Tillotson was told that his master should lower the price he sold his milk for.

An accomplice who had turned King’s Evidence, Joseph Carter, stated that William Hartley was the leader of a group that had met at 10.00 p.m. that evening for the raid, and that it was Job Hey that had broken the stock of his musket on the door. Park contended that a pistol later retrieved from Hey’s house was the one taken from Haigh during the raid that night.

Park read out the confession that all three prisoners had given as to their taking part in the raid that night. He assured the Jury that they had not been neither intimidated, threatened not given any promises.

Mr. Justice Le Blanc summed up the case, and then George Haigh was the first to give evidence in detail about what had happened that night. He remained on his staircase throughout and could not identify any of the prisoners.

Haigh’s servant, Tillotson, gave detailed evidence about the raid next, stating that the musket given over had no ramrod.

Next, the accomplice, Joseph Carter a cotton-spinner from Greetland, was called and stated that he, the three prisoners and up to 6 others took part in the raid. The evidence given corroborated that given by Haigh and his servant Tillotson.

Sergeant Thomas Clarke of the Suffolk Militia was next to give evidence. He had gone to arrest Hey early in December and had found he was storing just over 3 lbs of gunpowder at his house. He also admitted to storing a pistol in his house. The pistol was produced in Court, and examined by Haigh and Tillotson: Haigh had only owned his pistol for 6 weeks, and examining it, they were reluctant to swear it was the same one, as this pistol was scratched and well-used, although it was of the same type.

Two witnesses, a Mr Bradbury and a Mr Hollingworth spoke for the character of John Hill, describing him as industrious, honest and sober. Bradbury also spoke for Job Hey, who he described ‘fair’.

The Judge summed up the case and the Jury immediately announced that they found all three prisoners Guilty.

This is from Howell (1823, pp.1137-1147).

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