From the Northampton Mercury Aug 26 1871
KETTERING SPECIAL PETTY SESSIONS AUGUST 19TH - Before W.S. Rose Esq. (in the chair) and Capt. Tibbits.
Burton Latimer - John Buckby was charged with damaging plants, &c., in the garden of Rev. F.B. Newman, rector of that village. - Mr. Henry, of Wellingborough, was for the prisoner.
Edward Unwin Nunns said: I am gardener to the prosecutor. There is a greenhouse in the garden, also cucumber and melon frames in the kitchen garden; geraniums, fuschias, melons &c., were all growing within. I have charge of the garden, and left it safe between six and half-past on the evening of the 29th July, and took the key in my pocket. At half-past eight on Sunday morning I went to the garden and found the lights taken off the melon frames. Three lights were thrown against a bed of onions. One was standing against the frame. The melons were pulled up by the roots. Two dozen of melons were entirely spoilt. A number of cucumbers were spoilt to the extent of £1. I went into the greenhouse; it was locked, but I found 14 geraniums, worth 2s. each, spoilt. They were pulled out of their pots, and were lying on the floor; some were broken off. Ten fuschias, worth about 4s. others worth 2s. were in the same state; several liliums were also damaged. The vine was pulled down against the window. I afterwards found that the hothouse had been opened, and the garden gate as well. I saw footmarks upon the beds and borders near a pear tree. There were several footprints, but only from one man.There were other footprints about the garden, but there had been so much heavy rain that they were nearly washed away. The mould by the pear tree was soft.
John Woods said: I am a police-constable at Burton Latimer. On Sunday morning, about nine, I received information of the damage. I went to the Rectory garden, and the gardener pointed out the depredations. I saw Buckby about 12 midnight, on Saturday, near the Cross; he was sober. I took him into custody on the night of the 10th instant, at his father's house, on the charge of committing the damage at Mr. Newman's. He said, "I did not do it, and I did not see anyone else do it; I went to bed at a quarter-past 12. You recollect seeing me about 12 yourself.
Ezra Northern, shoemaker, said: On Saturday night, 29th July, I went home and retired to bed between 11 and 12. I went from Mr. Brown's. At about one or a little after I got up again and went down to my uncle's field. I thought I would go in search of watercress and mushrooms. I went by Orchard Cave up the Old Orchard, near the back of the Rectory garden. When I got there I heard someone talking, and when I turned the corner I saw three men pass the gate at the top going into Mr. Harpur's field. I went up the Old Orchard within thirty yards of the top, and saw John Buckby get out of the garden, and when on the wall he lit his pipe. The other people would be nearly 200 yards off then. I called out "John Buckby." He replied: "Hello, Ezra Northern, cock your beak; where have you been since I saw you at Mr. Brown's? said, "I have been home to bed, but I don't think you have." Someone then whistled, and he went directly to Mr. Harpur's field. I have not the least doubt about him being the man. I spoke to him on the Rectory wall, and have known him all my life. I saw him again on the 31st of July go into Brown's public house at half-past seven. I saw him, August 2nd, in Brown's yard. He said, "Northern, if you don't mention seeing me in the rectory garden, I will give you a sovereign." I said, "Go on, John, who were the other three?" He said, "I will tell you another time." I saw him again at Quincey's on the same evening. He followed me out and said, "Be sure you do not say anything." I told him I should give information if he did not tell me within a week who the others were. Saw him on the 10th. He came into my shop. My brother went out, and he said, "I believe you've told your brother Bill about the affair." I said, "I have not; what makes you think that?" Prisoner replied, "Because he looks at me so hard." I gave information to Police-constable Woods on the 10th. I saw him on the 7th at Quincey's. Prisoner came in and said, "'Cock your beak,' Ezra." I said, "Beware, I can make you 'cock your beak' about the rectory garden." He said, "You don't mean me."
Cross-examined by Mr. Henry: I was at Wright's at one o'clock on the day in question, and went to Brown's afterwards. I left there between eleven and twelve. He requested me to leave. I was not drunk. I had done three day's work that week. Joseph Whitney, my landlord, was not at home when I went in. I did not pay my lodgings because I had not got the money. Samuel Whitney paid it for me. I afterwards went to bed, but was not there above an hour. This witness was cross-examined at considerable length.
Police-constable Woods, re-examined, said Northern was so drunk on the 9th that he could make nothing out of what he said. He came on the 10th, and said he was sorry he did not tell him on the morning of the 8th, but he was afraid. Witness was out on the night of the 29th July: it was fine at midnight.
Joseph Westley, labourer, said he was at Quincey's public-house on the 7th instant. Buckby came in and said to E. Northern, "Cock you beak." Northern said, "Mind, or I'll make you cock yours: you are one of the party that did the damage to the rectory gardens."
The magistrates having consulted, said they had decided to dismiss the case. - A reward of £15 is offered to any one giving information against the offenders.