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WEST BRITON, July 13, 1838:
published at the Trevan Family History website.
John KINSMAN, 23, was charged with having feloniously broken into the dwelling house of William TREVAN, and stolen therefrom 37 sovereigns, seven half-crowns, and three shillings.
Mr. E. Coode having stated the case called William TREVAN, who said that he lived in Will Town, in the parish of St. Dominick; he as a labouring man, and worked under the surveyor of roads. Had a wife, but no family, was in the habit of purchasing barley, potatoes, and other things for feeding pigs; his wife had been a very independent woman, and had contrived to save some money. In the month of April, prosecutor had 37 sovereigns, seven half-crowns, and three shillings; he kept it in a large red pocket-book, in a little box locked; it was kept by his bed-side; his house consisted of a bed-room, a room under the back house, a pig's house, and garden; there was another house under the same roof, occupied by a neighbour; there was a door leading from the kitchen to the back room, and another into the orchard; saw the money last on the 29th of April; his wife went to the box after that, and witness went on Sunday the 6th of May; the pocket-book then contained the money; remembered Wednesday, the 9th of May; having passed through the back-door, witness barred it, and let the dropper fall, to prevent the bar being pushed back; went to work at six o'clock, and left his wife at home; she was in the habit of going to work too; Wednesday was Callington market day, and it was arranged that witness and his wife should meet there in the evening; his wife was about nine years ago an inmate of the lunatic asylum; she recovered from that illness and remained well until now; witness left her at home; she had been confined three weeks, and was not able to come and give evidence; in consequence of what she told witness on Wednesday, he went home and examined the door of the back house; there was a great hole broken in about half way up the door that leads from the orchard, and which he had barred in the morning. Witness found the box in the back-house; the clothes were tumbled, and the box had been opened; did not find his pocket-book or money there; witness found two crooked sticks in the orchard, by which one of the doors could be opened after the hole was made. Knew the prisoner, he once occupied a room over the back house; he was in the habit of coming to witness' house a great deal, and knew the premises very well; he was there on the 5th of May, and witness did not see him between that day and the 9th. The prisoner was a miner.
Cross-examined by Mr. John - Witness left his wife at home; was quite sure that on the 6th of May, the prisoner did not rob the money, though it was on a Sunday night. Witness never showed the money to the prisoner, but his wife told the wife of the prisoner what money they had.
Re-examined: Was at home when the prisoner called on the 6th of May, and they both left together; the prisoner's wife left a waiter and umbrella for half-a-crown that prosecutor lent the prisoner to pay his rent; his mother came shortly afterwards to redeem the umbrella and left the waiter; the prisoner came on the 6th to know whether he might have the waiter and witness replied in the affirmative. The prisoner lived at Calstock.
Thomas Peters lived at Metherill, between Calstock and Will Town; recollected seeing the prisoner at Metherill on the day of the robbery between seven and eight o'clock in the morning; he went towards Callington where he said he was going.
Cross-examined: Metherill was about two miles from Will Town. It was the high road where the prisoner was, and witness had seen him there many times before.
Abraham BODDY lives at Metherill, and was at Callington on the day of the robbery; on his return, he met the prisoner, between eight and nine in the morning, at a place called Cleave, and said he would be going from Will Town to Callington; by going through a wood from Cleeve to Will Town, nearly half a mile would be saved, and the prisoner might have gone that way. The prisoner had his jacket off, and was walking at a pretty good pace.
Cross-examined by Mr. Bennallack - Mertherill lies east from Will Town, and Cleave lies between both.
Joseph COCKING examined: I live at Latchley, in the parish of Calstock; am captain and manager of Gunnis Lake mine; the last pay-day of April was the 28th; that was also a setting day; knows the prisoner; he came there on the 28th, and took a pitch on the mine; after the day was over, we had several who applied to have some money lent to them, and the prisoner applied for the loan of 5s. I refused to lend it, because he had not worked; he said he had no money to live upon, and I told him that if he would work a short time I would lend him some; he came to work after the 28th, and on the 3rd of May I went down with him. I came up with him on Monday the 7th, and I do not know that he again came on the mine till the next Wednesday, when I was sent for about ten o'clock; I was on the western part of the mine, and was sent for to come down to the smith's shop, where the prisoner was making a disturbance, having beat his wife and knocked down his sister; he had his clothes in a bundle; I told him he must leave the mine - that he should not work there any more; he said he would not leave, and I went to put him off the mine, and said "you have not a shilling to live upon, and why do you act in this way?" He said "I can show more sovereigns than you can." I said "where did you get sovereigns from - for it is very strange, as when you came here you were starving." He did not show me any; I had not paid him any wages between the 28th of April and that time.
Abel HARPER sworn: I am a miner living in Calstock, and working at Gunnis Lake Mine; I know a beer shop kept there by a person called Doidge; it is not very far from Gunnis Lake; I was there on the 5th of May, and recollect seeing the prisoner there about nine o'clock in the evening; he asked me whether I would go to Tavistock with him the next day; he said I should have a sovereign if I wanted it, to go along with him the next day; I saw one sovereign; I agreed to go with him; I went with him and his brother. On the road to Tavistock we stopped at different homes and took refreshments for which the prisoner and his brother paid; on the road between Gunnis Lake he showed me some sovereigns; when we got to Tavistock, we had plenty to eat and drink; we went to a shop where they sold drapery, and the prisoner and his brother purchased six silk handkerchiefs and two pair of stockings; saw the money paid, but can't say how much; we then went to a beer shop kept by Lamb, and the prisoner purchased a gun there; the price of it was two sovereigns, and he paid for it in sovereigns; then the prisoner also purchased the jacket he has on and a waistcoat and hat; he gave £1 for the coat; the hat cost 9s., and he paid for both. His brother is a miner. We then went home, and I had as much meat and drink as I pleased; he paid for all.
William CROCKER examined: I am a constable and farmer residing at Calstock; in consequence of the robbery I went in search of the prisoner with a person named Crab, and saw him in a public house at Calstock town; I told him that he was suspected of the robbery, as, the day before, he had had money lavishing pretty freely; he said he had not committed any robbery; he said nothing else to me; I took him into custody; I went out to look after my horse, and was absent about a quarter of an hour; on my return, Crab said the prisoner had said "this is the hand that got the money, and Trevan shall never have it." I don't recollect that the prisoner said anything to that; all he said to me was that he had not done it.
William CRAB corroborated the testimony given by Mr. Crocker, swearing distinctly to the confession made by the prisoner in Mr. Crocker's absence. The witness underwent a long cross-examination, by Mr. John, relative to his pursuits in life, from which it appeared he had twice been in the London police, but he had both times obtained leave to quit the service. He had, since then, occupied himself occasionally at his trade as a woolstapler, and had otherwise whiled away his leisure as a bailiff's follower. These things Mr. John did not forget to comment upon in his address to the jury, but the Learned Chairman afterwards said that there was nothing dishonourable in any of these pursuits when properly followed, as appeared to be the case in the present instance.
The last witness called was Susan MORGAN, the mother-in-law of the prisoner, who stated that on the 9th of May, the prisoner paid her 24s. which he had owed her for nearly twelve months.
Mr. John having addressed the jury, the Chairman summed up, and the jury found the prisoner guilty of the larceny but not of house-breaking. The Court sentenced him to seven years' transportation. On hearing his sentence, the prisoner said, with great nonchalance, "I'd rather be transported for life than go home to my wife."