On the first Thursday of December 1857 Mary Ann Harrington, a teenaged servant girl to Mr & Mrs. Aston, who lived in a dwelling on Fishergate close to New Cock Yard, was up early to attend to her chores, but as she was about to enter the sitting room at about 8 o'clock she heard noises from within and durst not enter for a good while.
Hearing the sound of drawers being opened she eventually built up the courage to enter she found the door was fastened, so she burst it open and discovered a man taking things out of a drawer. She called for her master and the man scowled at her, and leaving the bundle of clothes he had gathered behind, climbed upon a chair, clambered through the window and departed.
Miss Harrington would relive her ordeal a day later when Samuel Hornby, aged 29, appeared before the magistrates charged with breaking and entering the premises of Mr. Aston, a dealer in china and earthenware, and attempting to steal a large quantity of clothing. Mr. Blackhurst led the prosecution and called her to testify. She told the court that although she had not known the man's name, she recognised him as living down the nearby New Cock Yard.
P.S. Topping testified that acting upon information received he had seen the prisoner mixing mortar in a yard off Avenham Lane later in the morning. He then brought the girl to the spot and as the man left the yard she had assured him that he was the culprit.
Joseph Melling, a young lad who had been walking along Fishergate on his way to work at Mears brush makers, testified that he had seen two men on the roof of Mr. Aston's premises at about 8 o'clock and was sure one of them was the prisoner. the brothers slept, on entering the room fg fgf ffg fgfg fg f g fgf gf gfg fg fgf gf gf gf f gfg fg fg fg f gfg f gfg f gfg fg