Thomas Beck, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 19th April 1732.

Reference Number: t17320419-4
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

4. Thomas Beck , of St. George's in the East , was indicted for assaulting Thomas Wiseman on the Highway, putting him in fear, and taking from him a Hat, value 4 s. and a Wig, value 10 s. March 31 .

Thomas Wiseman. On Friday Night the last Day of March, I had been by my Master's Orders to carry a Bottle of Drops to Mr. Read in Burr-street, and about Ten o'Clock as I was returning homeward, at the top of Virginia-street I saw the Men leaning over the Rail of a Ditch. It was a Moon-light Night, the Moon was at full, and very little clouded, so

that I could see them clearly. The Prisoner, who was one of them, came up to me, and said, Stand and deliver, or you are a dead Man. I told him I had no Money, when presently another of them came behind me and knock'd me down. I cry'd out, and they repeated their Blows, so that I received 2 contused Wounds, and thought they had fractur'd my Skull. Then one of them took my Hat, and another my Wig, and the Prisoner examin'd all my Pockets, but he could not well get his Hand to the bottom of my Breeches Pocket, because in the Posture I lay my Knees were bent under me, so that I lost no Money; it was in a bye Place. I made a groaning Noise, and at last somebody open'd a Window, upon which they beat me again and made off. I got up, the two others escaped, but the Prisoner was not out of my Sight before he was taken.

Prisoner. Did not I ask you before the Justice if it was I that bid you stand? and you said No.

Wiseman. I remember no such Question.

Prisoner. Did not I ask you if I took your Hat and Wig? and you said No.

Wiseman. I don't say now that you took them, I say it was the other two Men, but you bid me stand.

William Minart , Exciseman. About Ten at Night as I was going on my Duty in Ratcliffe-Highway, about 40 Yards from Virginia-street, I heard a cry of stop Thief, and saw 3 Men running different ways, and one of them who was the Prisoner coming towards me on the shady side of the way, I seiz'd him suddenly. He ask'd me what I meant by it? I told him, if he was not the Man, he might easily vindicate himself. The Prosecutor soon came up, very bloody, and charged him with the Robbery.

Justice Phillips. When the Prisoner was brought before me, he deny'd the Robbery stifly. I ask'd him what Business he had near Virginia-street? He said he had been to see one Will Fleming at the Hercules-Pillar's, which lies anquitt contrary way, and had been shut up this Twelve month. Somebody that stood by me, said, that the Prisoner was the Man who was made an Evidence last Sessions, and gave the Parsons the Name of Smallcoal men*. This Instrument was found in his Pocket, one part of it is a Saw that will cut an Iron-bar, another is a Sharp Knife, and a third a Tool that they call a Mobock. He was so impudent, that when I order'd his Hat to be taken off, he threatned to swear a Robbery against me. The Prosecutor had two contused Wounds in his Head.

*See the Sessions Paper, Number 3. pag. 89.

Prisoner. That Instrument is for no use in the World, but to cut Cock-spurs with; 'tis a Cock-fighting Tool.

James Sturmy , Constable. The Prosecutor charg'd me with the Prisoner, and said he was one of the three that robb'd him, and was the very Person that bid him stand. The Prosecutor was very bloody.

Prisoner. Was I in the same Dress as I am in now? Sturmy. No, you was in a Sailor's Dress, with a Check Shirt. Prisoner. These Men swear against me only for the sake of the Reward. Prosecutor. On the 14th of April I received this threatning Letter by the Penny-Post.

For Mr. Wiseman, at Mr. Thompson, a Surgun, over against Old Gravel lane, Rattlif High way.

Newgate,

Our Friend is now starving in Prison but when he gets out we shall take a noportuniti for revenge but if you ar favourable in your Evidense. You may save his life and then we shall le willin to forgive you but if he dyes the Decil fly away with us soul and body if we do not shoot you and for the Eksize man that stopt him we will steal his head of before he is much older which you may tell him but if you are favourable you will prevent any mischief from coming to you both.

By God this is the resolushon of.

Number 2]

Court. You cannot swear that this Letter was sent by the Prisoner? Prosecutor. No, I believe it came from his 2 Accomplices. Court. Then it cannot be allow'd in Evidence.

Prisoner. Did not you say before the Justice that you would Hang me if it cost a hundred Pounds, because you would have me for an Anatomy? Prosecutor. No. Justice Philips. I believe I can set that Matter to rights. When the Prisoner was before me, Mr. Harris did indeed say, that he would endeavour.

to get his Body for an Anatomy, because he had made himself so remarkable, by bestowing the Name of Small-coal Men upon the Parsons. The Jury found him Guilty . Death .


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