Thomas Faxton, Thomas Smith, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 23rd February 1732.

Reference Number: t17320223-31
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

36, 37. Thomas Faxton , and Thomas Smith , of Hackney , were indicted for assaulting William Davis on the Highway, putting

him in Fear, and taking from him a Hat, value 3s. and 9d. Half-penny in Money , the 30th of January last.

William Davis. On the 30th of January, between 9 and 10 at Night, as I was going from Hackney towards London , I saw the two Prisoners before me, for the Moon did shine as bright as Day; O law! thinks I, what must I do, here's a couple of Rogues ! and so they came up to me, and Faxton, who had a Knife in his Hand, held it to my Throat, and said, Stand, and deliver, or you are a dead Man! upon that I gave Smith a Silver Groat, and 5d. Half-penny, and then he took my Hat, and gave me another that was not worth 2d. and bid me go on, and told me, if I spoke a Word, I was a dead Man. Going along I met Wingfield (who is a Servant at the King's Head) and Mr. Oram [Oswald] with 2 great Dogs. I told them what had happen'd, Wingfield and I and one Dog went after them to London-Field, but not finding them, we came back to Mr. [Oswald] Oram. We saw a Man at the Salmon and Ball Door, and he told us 2 such Men as I had described were just gone from thence. Faxton, the tall Man, was in a Pea Jacket, and Smith, the short Man, in a brown Coat; we pursu'd them again to London-Field, but could not find them, and so Wingfield went home. But the Prisoners were taken the same Night by Wingfield, and Mr. Oram. When they were carried before Justice Norris, Faxton fell on his Knees, and own'd that the Hat was mine, and that he and Smith had robb'd me of a Groat. As they were going to Newgate, Smith said to Faxton, Ye whiddling Dog, now you have hang'd your self, and me too, but if I had a Knife, I'd cut your Throat.

Mr. Oram. Between 10 and 11 at Night, I call'd at the King's-Head, in hopes of finding Company to go over the Fields with. Wingfield told me, that a Man had been robb'd that Night, by two Foot-Pads, and offer'd his Service to go with me. We took a Dog with us, and went towards the place where the Robbery was committed. We saw 2 Men before us, one a tall Man in a Pea Jacket, and the other a short Man in a brown Coat. Says Wingfield, I believe, those are the Rogues, for they answer the Description. We stepp'd up to them, I took Faxton by the Collar, he trembled very much, and Wingfield seiz'd Smith. We charg'd them with the Robbery. Damn ye, says Faxton, do you think if we were Guilty, we would let you take us? No, says Smith, we'll fight the 2 brightest Men in Hackney. We carry'd them to the Shoulder of Mutton, but the People of the House were gone to Bed, and so we took them to the Buffaloe's-Head, in Hackney. Next Morning we had them before the Justice, and sent for the Prosecutor. The Room was full of People, but as soon as he came in, he fixt his Eye upon Smith, and said, That is one of them. Says some Body, who is the other? He look'd about, and presently pointing to Faxton, said, That's he, I'll swear. While the Mittimus was making, some Body advised Faxton to confess, and be an Evidence, upon which he came forward, and told the Justice, that he and Smith committed the Fact, and desired to be made an Evidence. With that, says Smith, I know I shall be hang'd, but he shall be hang'd too.

Wingfield. Mr. Oram and I took the Prisoners, as he has related. When they were before the Justice, Faxton fell on his Knees, and confess'd that he and Smith committed the Robbery, and that the Hat Smith then had on, was the same as they took from the Prosecutor; then Smith said, G - d d - n my Eyes, now we are both hang'd, but I shall have one to hang with me. As we were going away, Smith said to me, If you'll go to Oswald's Window-shutters, you'll find the Silver Groat that I thrust in there last Night. When I came thither, the Window-shutters were open'd, and it was fallen down.

Mr. Dennis. When Faxton was before the Justice, he was advised to confess in order to be made an Evidence. Upon which he fell on his Knees, and confess'd the Fact, and that the Hat Smith had on was the same they took from the Prosecutor, only the Loop was cut off, and another put on. He had scarce spoke when Smith doubling his Hands together, said, G - d d - n my precious Eyes and Limbs ! that Word has Hang'd us both! but I won't be Hang'd alone. If I had a Knife, I'd stick ye thus Minute, and will do it before next Sessions.

Constable. I heard Smith swear that he would stick Faxton; and he told us that he had hid the Silver Groat in the ledge of Mr. Oswald's Shutters.

John Davis , the Prosecutor's Father. As we were coming from the Justice, Smith said to me, Old Man! I am a dead Man, give me four penny-worth of Half-pence, and I'll tell you where the Silver Groat is. So when we came to Mr. Oswald's, at the Shoulder of Mutton, I changed a Shilling and gave him a Groat, and the Silver Groat was found according to his Directions. This is the same, 'tis a bended King William's Groat.

Prisoner. Smith. The Prosecutor could not swear to the Hat.

Mr. Justice Norris. Fallum confess'd the Fact before me, and as far as I know, it was voluntary. Smith was in a great Rage and Fury about it, and said he knew he should die, but the other should die with him. I desir'd him to let the Prosecutor look on the Hat to see if it was his, but he refus'd, upon which I order'd it to be taken from him. The Prosecutor looked on it, and said, I believe it is mine, but the Loop is taken off.

Richard Hoskins . I live in Lamb-Alley, without Bishopsgate, and make Bolognia Pudding, and Smith is of the same Trade.

Jane Hoskins , Smith's Aunt. The Prisoner has been at Sea several Years; his Mother makes Sausages, and he sells them for her.

The Jury found them both guilty of the Indictment. Death .


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