Police Report of JANE KERR, 25 July 1827

JANE KERR, a prisoner of the crown for 14 years, was brought up on a charge of robbery. Mrs. MARGARET TURNER, the complainant, deposed that between the hours of 7 and 8 on Saturday night last, JANE KERR, whose profession is that of a laundress, came into her shop for payment of certain monies due to her.

Mrs. TURNER walked straightway into her bed-room, whither JANE KERR accompanied her, and there Mrs. T. opened a drawer containing between 40 and 50l. in dollars; out of the drawer she took a sufficient sum of money to pay the prisoner her demand to the uttermost farthing, and while she was counting the particular sum due, the laundress was said to have pronounced this remarkable prediction, “you have hard earned that money and you should take care of it.” Being paid her money the laundress walked away; but shortly after Mrs. T. having occasion to go into the same room, and on a similar business, viz. to obtain monies, opened the treasury and discovered that the whole of the money had migrated—there had been no soul to be saved in the room, to witness’s knowledge, since JANE KERR left it, and her suspicions were in consequence excited against that person.

Witness went immediately to the suspected one’s house, which was hard by, and taxed her with the theft; but JANE solemnly denied all knowledge of the robbery. Witness was induced to make known the circumstances of the case to a constable, who immediately searched the prisoner’s house, and found therein in a box about 10l. in dollars. The account given by the prisoner of the way which she became possessed of this money was to the satisfaction of the bench; which, in the course of a further investigation elicited that between the moment of the complainant leaving her money safe in the drawer, and that of the discovery of its having been stolen, an assigned male servant, who lives in the same house, was seen peeping into the bed-room; in a few minutes after he was missed from the house and had not since returned. One of the constables stated that the man had been seen in company with a notorious bad character on the Rocks in the course of Sunday afternoon.

The Bench dismissed the charge against the prisoner [JANE KERR]; but learning that she was illegally at large, ordered her to be returned to the Factory.

See Original: “OFFENCES,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW: 1824 – 1848), Wednesday 25 July 1827, p.3