1855 : Pluckrose the Waiter

Title: The Times
Date: 15 December 1855
Place: London


(Before Mr. Serjeant ADAMS, Assistant Judge, and a Bench of Magistrates, at the Guildhall, Westminster.)

Samuel Stiffe, 36, was indicted for having unlawfully conspired with other persons to defraud Joseph Green of divers moneys.
Mr. Payne prosecuted; Mr. Duncan appeared for the prisoner.
The prosecutor said, - I am a butcher, and live at 7, Howard's-place, Hackney-road. On the 5th of November last a man came to me and entered into a conversation with me about some pigs which he said a friend of his had for sale, in consequence of which I went with him to Laburnum-terrace. We there met the prisoner, and the man said to him, "I have brought this butcher to buy those pigs." The prisoner said he had just sold them, but invited me to a publichouse opposite. I went with him and the man there. The prisoner called for a pot of ale and paid for it, and we drank it in the parlour. The prisoner gave the man half-a-crown for his trouble in fetching me. After I had been there a few minutes a respectable-looking man came in and called for a glass of ale, and inquired if we had seen a lady with a green bonnet on. We told him we had not, and he then said he had given the lady 5L. and she had promised to meet him there that morning. The prisoner heard this. The respectable-looking man then said he had had 10,000L. left him by an uncle, and should have more soon, and did not care what he did with it. He then pulled out some gold and a roll of notes, resembling bank-notes. The prisoner asked him if he could play at knock-'em-downs. He answered he did not know what that was, but if it was fighting he could not fight. The prisoner explained to him what the game of knock-'em-downs was; and we all then went into the skittle-ground. The prisoner asked me if I could play at skittles; and I said I could play a little. He then said, "How much money have you brought with you?" I said I had only 2s. 10d., and he asked me if Icould get any more, and mentioned 50L., which I said I had. I then played at skittles with the stranger, and lost my 2s. 10d. The prisoner then lent me a sovereign to play with, and I lost that with the stranger. The prisoner said he had no more money, and said his wife and family were starving. The man who at first took me to the prisoner about the pigs accompanied me towards home, but on the way I saw a friend and borrowed 3L. We then went back towards the same house, when we met the prisoner and the stranger I had played with, and we then went to the Royal Oak, in the Hackney-road, kept by Mr. Sharpe. We all had something to drink over the bar, and then went into the skittle-ground. I told the prisoner what I had borrowed, and that was all the money I had, upon which he said "I will go you halves, and you play him for 6L." I then put my three sovereigns into his hand, but I did not see him put three to them. I then agreed to play the stranger for 6L. a-side; we played at skittles and I lost. I did not see the prisoner pay the money over to the winner. The prisoner then said to me "If you can go and fetch 20L. I will back you for 50L." I told him I would go and fetch it. I then went home, accompanied by a man who came into the skittle-ground while we were playing. I furnished myself with 20L. and went back with the man to the skittle-ground. The prisoner and the stranger were still there, and I played again with the stranger for 5L., the prisoner holding the money, and I lost. The prisoner did not, as I saw, pay the money over to him. We then had some brandy and water brought in by the waiter, whose name was Pluckrose, in one tumbler. I drank some of it, and put down five more sovereigns to play for, and the prisoner took them up. I then became confused; all I remember is that they all came about me, and that I went into the parlour. After being there a short time I put my hand in my pocket and found my remaining 10L. all gone. The man I first saw was the only one of the party who was there then. I went away pretending to go home for more money, but returned with a policeman; however, they were all gone, except the man who fetched me about the pigs. I should know him and the stranger again if I saw them. I next saw the prisoner and another man in custody on another charge, and then Iaccused him of this. The prisoner said, "If you do not prefer the charge you shall have every farthing of your money back again." I lost altogether 23L. 2s. 10d. When the men went away the potman locked me in the place.
In cross-examination, nothing was elicited to alter the above statement. It comprised the whole case.

Mr. DUNCAN having made an address to the jury on behalf of the prisoner,
the ASSISTANT-JUDGE summed up, and the jury immediately found the
prisoner Guilty.


| Search & Site Map | Contact me: | ©2011 Derrick Porter