James Bird, John Hemp, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 8th December 1725.

Reference Number: t17251208-35
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

James Bird , and John Hemp , of Wapping ; were indicted for Assaulting on the Highway Mary Sutherland , and taking from her a Gown, a Petticoat, a Pair of Bodice, a Stomacher, a Camblet Pocket, and 15 d. in Money , on the 22d of November .

Mary Sutherland thus depos'd. On Monday the 22d of November, betwixt 1 and 2 in the Morning, as I was going along Ratcliff-Highway to wash at Mr. Savages's; I saw a Ladder rais'd against the Side of a House, and a Man going up it. I had not gone far before Hemp over took me, and asked whither I was going. I told to my Daily Labour. What says he, is it a rich House? I can't say much to that, says I, they pay me very honestly. Have they Men Servants or Maids. Both, says I. How far off is it, says he, I'll go along with ye. O God bless ye Master, says I, (in hopes to get rid of him) 'tis a great Way off, and what should you give your self that Trouble. By this Time the other Prisoner Bird, was come up to us. D - ye for an Old Bitch, says he, what makes ye carry a Candle at this

Time of Night, and then they stript me of all my Cloths but my Shift, and that they pull'd over my Head, and tore it. I heard a Woman's Voice, say, G - D - ye, kill the Bitch, if ye think she knows ye. They beat me, and used me in a very barbarous and indecent Manner. I cry'd out Murder, and then they were going to tye my Head betwixt my Legs, and lay me in the Cart-Way; but a Watchman's Dog coming up, they stampt upon me, and left me for dead. - I am so weak that I can speak no more.

Roberts the Watchman confirm'd the Woman's Evidence, as did Richard Stevens , who added, that seeing Bird and Hemp in the Watch-House, and conceiving them to be the Persons that had committed the Robbery, he look'd stedfastly at them, says Bird, Sir, do ye know me. - I believe I do, says I, was you not near Well-Close Square 'tother Night. Hemp changed colour, and faintly answer'd, Yes. - And did not you strip a poor Woman there, says I. Why Yes, Says Bird, we did, and what is it to you, or any Son of a Bitch alive? As soon as Mrs. Sutherland saw Bird, - Ay, says she, That's the Rogue that I scratch'd in the Face. Bird immediately answer'd, G - D - in the old Bitch, is she not dead yet. - I thought I had done her Business.

As they were going before the Justice, Hemp appeared inclinable to make a full Discovery, which Bird perceiving, says he, with a great Oath, have ye a Mind to hang us both.

William Hill , a Watchman; deposed. There was a House in Princes-Street, in Wood-Street, Spittle-Fields; that I had for a long Time suspected to be a Harbour of Rogues. And on Tuesday the 23d of November, about 1 in the Morning, as I was going by this House, I heard a great Noise of Quarrelling. I went and inform'd the Parish Watch and Constable, and they came back with me; when a Woman squawl'd out, and swore in a vile Manner; Ye Son of a Bitch, you know ye I can hang ye when I will; - How often have I saved ye from the Gallows and be d -'d to ye. - you have well enough ye Day, how you came to me for shelter, when you had murder'd the Man upon Tower-Hill. - Hush! Hush! says somebody else, but she repeated the Words, and swore it was nothing but what was true. Then we broke in, and carry'd them to the Watch-House.

The Prisoner Hemp call'd several to his Reputation, and two to prove that he was in another Place at the Time the Robbery was committed, but they contradicted themselves, and one another. Both Guilty . Death .


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