WILLIAM COOPER AND WILLIAM DRAPER
Convicted of cutting off Trunks from a Gentleman's Carriage; the Former was transported for Seven Years, and the Latter imprisoned for Six Months in the House of Correction, 1810
AT the Lent Assizes, 1810, at Chelmsford, in Essex, William Cooper and William Draper, two soldiers of the barracks in that town, were indicted for grand larceny, in stealing from the chariot of the Rev. Joseph Jefferson two trunks, containing a considerable quantity of wearing apparel, a gold ring, some books, and other articles of value, the property of Mr Jefferson and his servant, Joseph Sharpe.
It appeared, from the evidence adduced on the part of the prosecution, that the Rev. Mr Jefferson left Chelmsford in his travelling chariot between seven and eight o'clock in the evening of the 22nd of January, intending to go to London. The property before mentioned was contained in two trunks strapped behind the carriage, the servant, Joseph Sharpe, following his master on horseback at a short distance. Half-way between Chelmsford and Ingatestone the servant met a tall man going towards the former place with a trunk on his shoulder, which, he remarked at the time, resembled very much one of his master's trunks. He did not, however, entertain any suspicion that his master had been robbed, but on the arrival of the carriage at Ingatestone he missed both the trunks from behind the chariot, and found that the straps which held them had been cut across. This occurrence he immediately communicated to his master, and also mentioned the circumstance of his having met a man upon the road with a trunk upon his shoulder. Mr Jefferson immediately set a diligent inquiry on foot, and after a considerable degree of difficulty traced the robbery to the two prisoners, who were private soldiers, and stationed in the new barracks, at Chelmsford, in whose room part of the property was found, and the remainder concealed in a ditch.
The prisoners strenuously denied the charge, but were both found guilty.
Cooper was sentenced to seven years' transportation but Draper, in consideration of former good conduct, was ordered to be imprisoned for six months only, in the house of correction.