Joseph Picken, Thomas Packer, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 15th January 1725.

Reference Number: t17250115-24
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

Joseph Picken and Thomas Packer , of Hornsey , were indicted for assaulting Charles Cooper on the Highway, putting him in Fear, and taking from him a Knife, a Fork, and a Pair of Scissars, value 2 s. 6 d. one Carolus, a Half Guinea, and 56 s. 6 d. in Silver , on the 19th of December last. Charles Cooper deposed, that on Saturday between 9 and 10 at Night, as he and John Knight (of East-Barnet) were riding down the hollow Way beyond Highgate (between the Pump and the Brick-Kilns) they were attacked by the two Prisoners, who bid them stand, made them dismount, searched them, and turned their Horses loose. They found no Money upon Knight; but Picken took from this Evidence a Knife, Fork, and a Pair of Scissars, all in one Sheath. He said he would keep them for Luck; and then taking some Money from him, he left him to Packer, who rifled him of the rest, the whole amounting to between 5 and 6 l. Charles Hussey , Constable, deposed, that between Twelve and One the time Night, a Watchman called him to go to the Six Cans in Monmouth-Court, Holborn, where two or three Men were quarrelling. He went thither, and Picken, as soon as he saw him, said, I charge you with that Fellow, for he's a Pick-pocket, pointing to one Henry Hudson . Sir, says Hudson, I charge you with those two Rogues, (the Prisoners) for they are a Couple of Highwaymen; I have taken these two Pistols from them. Upon this, he searched the Prisoners, and found the Knife and Fork upon Picken, and several Parcels of Money upon both of them. Then Picken told him that he rented the Tap at the Mermaid at Windsor, and came to Town to pay 50 l. to Sir John Tash ; that Packer was his Friend, and only came to bear him Company, and that they brought the Pistols for their own Security. However, he carried them to the Round-house, and from thence before Mr. Justice Ellis, where they were desir'd to shew the Receipt for the 50 l. paid to Sir John Tash. Pickers said it was in his Pocket-Book, which was in the Coat that he pluck'd off when he shifted himself at the Round-House; and that Packer's Wife had taken that Coat to her Lodgings in Parker's-lane in Drury-Lane, or else to his own Lodgings in Cross-Court, which was not far distant from the other. A Man was sent to search at both Places, and a Pocket-Book was found, but no Receipt in it. This increasing the Suspicion, the Justice order'd them to be examin'd apart. They both agreed, that they hired the Horses of Mr. French at the Pavior's-Arms by Smithfield-Bars to go to Windsor, for 4 s. and that they set out between 3 and 4, and rode to Brentford. Picken said one of the Horses was a Grizzle-grey and the other a Bay; and that it growing dark when they came to Brantford, they changed their Minds, turn'd their Horses, and rode directly back again, without once alighting, or stopping to drink either at Brentford or any other Place upon the Road. But Packer said that both the Horses were says, that they slope to drink at several Places on the Road, and at Brentford alighted, drank Ale and Brandy, and staid about half an Hour. The Prisoners were committed to New-Prison; and several Countrymen that used Smithfield Market having; been lately robb'd, the Knife and Fork that were taken from them were left at Joseph Winsmore 's ( the Lock and Key in Smithfield ) to see it any body would own them. There they were found by the Prosecutor. The Knife was branded in the Handle with C.C. It was produced in Court, and sworn by the Owner to be the same that the Prisoners took from him. J. Winsmore deposed, that he went with the Prosecutor to see if he knew the Prisoners in New-Prison. They saw Pickner hast, who said, I know what you come about; I am a dead Man: I was advis'd to make myself an Evidence against Packer. I might have done it last Sunday; but now it's too late. - French deposed, that on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, the Prisoners hired two Horses of him, one a Grizzled-grey, and the other a Bay: At each time they came about 4 in the Afternoon, and always told him they went only to the Upper Flask at Hampstead. They commonly return'd between 10 and 11, as in particular they did that Saturday Night the Robbery was committed, and came in then very dirty and splash'd. The Prisoners said nothing in their Defence, only Picken told the Court, that he found the Knife in Smithfield. Elizabeth Mason deposed, that the Prisoners came into her House at Cow-Cross one Minute before 10 o'Clock that Saturday Night: She remember'd the Time exactly, because Puken ask'd for her Husband; and she look'd upon the Clock, that she might tell her Husband at what Time Picken had been to enquire him; and that she did not observe that they were dirty when they came in. The Jury found them both guilty . Death .


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