Victorian London - Crime - Violence, murders and assaults - vandalism

QUEEN-SQUARE - On Saturday morning two fashionably dressed young men, named Alexander Cochrane and Augustus Alexander Hooke were placed at the bar, charged with having on that morning attempted to wrench the knockers off the doors of different houses in Cadogan-place, Chelsea. Police-constable Simpson, 59 B., stated, that whilst on duty in Cadogan-place, about 2 o'clock on Saturday morning, he saw the defendants go up to the doors of different houses, and endeavour to wrench the knockers off, by twisting them from side to side, but without being able to remove them. After having watched them for some time, he went up and took them into custody; but, in a moment, the defendant Cochrane escaped from him and ran off. He, however, sprang his rattle, and another constable coming up, he was immediately secured and both the defendants were taken to the station-house.
    Mr. GREGORIE asked if any damage had been done by the defendants? The policeman replied that they had done no injury, but that they had tried their utmost efforts to wrench the knockers from the doors.
    Mr. GREGORIE. - Well.
    Inspector Moran, of the B division, said, he felt it his duty to inform the worthy magistrate, that on the previous night, no less than three knockers had been forced off the doors of houses in Cadogan-place, and that that being the station of the constable Simpson, he was bound by order to appear before the Commissioners of Police, and would no doubt be directed to pay the amount of wilful damage done on his beat whilst he was on duty.
    Mr. GREGORIE said, that he could not perceive by what means he could connect the offence committed on the Friday night with that then charged against the defendants.
    Inspector Moran said, he merely mentioned the circumstances in order to show that the offence was one of common occurrence, and that the policeman on duty was likely to suffer severely, if he did not apprehend the delinquents.
    Simpson, the constable, said, that he had late on the previous night seen both the defendants in Cadogan-place.
    Mr. GREGORIE said, that even taking this to be so, still it would be too great a stretch of suspicion to suppose that the present defendants were the perpetrators of the previous offence alluded to. He wished to know if the parties were intoxicated at the time?
    The constable replied that they were much so.
    Mr. GREGORIE asked the defendants what they had to say to the charge?
    Mr. Cochrane denied that either he or his friend had committed any offence. They had dined and spent the evening out, and were returning home quietly when they were seized upon by the constable, who dragged them to the watch-house, where they were put into a cell so damp and cold, that at this inclement season of the year it was enough to give any man his death. He had offered to send for bail, but his offer was refused. The stench in the cell, arising from a place of accommodation open to all the persons confined within the same dark and dreary hole, was so insufferable, that he and his friend, towards morning, begged to be allowed to walk, if even for a few moment, in the yard; but this favour was denied to them.
    Mr. GREGORIE asked if the defendants admitted the charge of having been in a state of intoxication when taken into custody?
    They both admitted that they were so, and were ordered to pay 5s. each, which sum must be paid.
    The defendants were locked up, but the fines having been paid in the course of the day, they were liberated. 

The Times, December 12, 1841