Morris, Powell and Lowther
The Burglars of No. 538 Mile-end-road, Bow, Poplar, London, England
Home of William Plaskett
Friday 12 July 1878
Extensive Burglary at Bow
Published: Saturday 13 July 1878
At the Marylebone Police-court yesterday William Morris, alias Coaly, aged 22, a labourer, Arthur Powell, alias Linton, 34, a butcher, and Edward Lowther, 19, a gasfitter, were charged with being concerned together in burglariously entering the premises, No. 538, Mile-end road, and stealing there from articles of jewellery valued at £700 and about £34, In money, the property of Mr. William Plaskett, jeweller. Last week the prisoners were committed for trial for burglaries committed at 31, Chalk Farm-road, and 133, High Street, Camden town. Mr. William Plaskett, the prosecutor, stated that on the night of May 24 his premises were all safe when he retired to rest, and when he came down the next morning, at half-past seven, he found that the back door leading into the house had been violently broken open, and on-going into the shop he found everything in disorder, the entire stock of watches and jewellery having been stolen.
The ring produced was in his shop on the night of the robbery, as were also the links produced. The value of jewellery stolen was over £700 and £34 in money was also taken. There were about 120 gold and silver watches, and about 216 gold rings among the property.
Detective Serjeant Howlett, K division, said that on the morning of the 25th May he went to the premises, and after a careful examination found that an entry had been effected through a washhouse window, which had been left open, and the forcing open of a door in the back room. Last week he found that the marks on the door corresponded with the jemmy produced. Lucy Bunyon, who had been associated with the prisoners, stated that the jemmy produced was identical with that belonging to the prisoners, and which they used to keep between the mattress and bed. On the 24th May they left her, saying they were going to Bow, on a jewellery robbery. They came back on the following day. On the latter day she saw two girls named Collins and Lacey, also associates of the prisoners with a number of rings on their fingers. She saw the prisoner Morris that morning, and he said he had a good deal of money, as they had had a good “bust” (meaning burglary) that night. The Prisoner bought new clothes on that day, and Morris gave her half a sovereign. The latter told her that he had met a lamplighter that morning, and asked him for a light, and he wondered that the lamplighter did not notice that he had some of the stolen property about him. Joseph W. Brown, the lamplighter in question, stated that on the morning of the 25th May, at about three o’clock, he was in a thoroughfare at the rear of Mr Plaskett’s when a man like Morris called out to him to give him a light, and he told him he had not got one, and went away.
Mary Collins said she used to keep company with Powell, and sometime ago he gave her a ring, which she pawned at Mr. Solomon’s in Gray’s-inn-road, in the name of Buckley. (The Witness seemed afraid to give evidence, as the prisoners kept addressing her in a threatening manner. On Mr. Mansfield saying he would have them removed to the cells they desisted.) The Witness, in answer to questions, said she did not remember the prisoners bringing home a quantity of property. An Assistant to Mr. Solomon having proved that the ring produced, and which was identified by the prosecutor as his property, was pawned by the last witness on May 28. Detective Sergeant Lucas deposed to finding the links in Powell’s cuffs when he was taken in custody. When he took Lowther in custody he asked him to account for his time on the night of the 24th May, and he said he should take time to consider. None of the property had been found except the ring and the links. The prisoners denied being the owners of the jemmy. Mr Mansfield committed them for trial. Throughout the hearing they kept continually laughing, interrupting the witness, and behaving in a disorderly manner. It was incidentally stated during the hearing that the bulk of the property had been disposed of in Whitechapel.