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

Reference Number: t17320419-5
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Guilty

4. Thomas Beck , of Aldgate , was a 2d time indicted for assaulting John Davison on the Highway, putting him in fear, and taking from him a Silk Handkerchief, value 1s. and a Woollen Cap, value 8d. the 28th of March last.

John Davison . Between 10 and 11 at Night, as I was going home from my Work, the Prisoner came up to me in Rosemary-Lane , over against the Alms-Houses, and, Damn ye, says he, I have met you now, and I'll pay you heartily, for telling the Gentleman about the Hat, that Harry Whitesides was taken up for,* and so he knock'd me down with a short Stick, beat me, and kneeling upon my Breast, took my Handkerchief out of one Pocket, and my Cap out of the other, and thrust them both into his Bosom. It's very well, I know you Tom Beck, says I, and with that he sell upon me again, threw me down, fill'd my Mouth full of Mud, and stabb'd me with a Knife in the left Shoulder, and right Buttock; see here's the Wound in my Shoulder. I lost some Money too, but I will not take upon me to swear that he took it.

See the Trial of Whitesides below.

Prisoner. My Lord, this Fellow has a very scandalous Character, he will swear any thing for the sake of the reward. He has been a picking Pockets along with Peter Buck.

Court. You must not be suffer'd to vilify a Man's Character thus; 'tis easy for you to say such things of any other Man, but it will do you no Service, for whatever you say without proof, will pass for nothing. If you can bring any Witnesses to in validate his Evidence, the Court will hear them.

Prisoner. He told me himself, that Peter Buck was nail'd out of his Company ; nail'd, is being taken up.

Prosecutor. 'Tis false; I never was in Buck's Company in my Life, so as to drink with him. It's well known that I work hard for an honest Livelihood, I am a Shoemaker by Trade, I have work'd these 4 Years at Thomas Corks , who keeps a Cellar under John Lamb (the Sadler's) in Holbourn, just beyond Hatton-Garden, and I lodge at John Smith 's, at the Cheshire-Cheese and Pump, in Rosemary-Lane.

Prisoner. There's Harry Whitesides will give your Lordship a Character of this Man.

Court. Where is he? Prisoner. In Newgate.

Prosecutor. It's the Man that I was a Witness against Yesterday, for stealing a Hat in Cheapside, of which he was Convicted. Court. He cannot then be an Evidence.

Prisoner. The Prosecutor is very great with Sarah Whittle , that bought the Parson's Scarf, and because I swore it upon her last Sessions, + he has bore me a Spight ever since. But one Day when she had quarrell'd with him, and given him a Black-Eye, he came to me in Newgate, and, Damn me, Tom Beck , says he, how d'ye think the Bitch Whittle has serv'd me? She has given me a Black-Eye, and Damn me, if I a'nt, sorry to see you here, and if a Smack will do you any good it's at your Service, (a Smack is an Oath) and so he gave me a Quartern of Gin, which he would hardly have done, if I had robb'd him, and abus'd him, as he swears now.

+ See the Sessions-Paper, Numb. 3. P. 92.

Court. Can you prove all this?

Prisoner. Yes; there's Burton who now lies in Newgate for a Fine, he can prove so far as the quartern of Gin.

Court. Let Burton be brought hither.

Prosecutor. So far from it, that when I went to see the Prisoner in Newgate, while I stood without the Grate, he fill'd his Shoe with Water, and threw it at me. [Enter Burton.]

Court. Here! Burton, Did you see the Prosecutor treat the Prisoner with any Gin?

- Burton. No; I saw them talking together thro' the Grate, and the Prisoner fill'd his Shoe with Water, and threw it at the Prosecutor.

Prisoner. I thought I had been in New-Prison on the 28th of March, when he says this Robbery was committed; but I have enquired, and found that I came out on the 26th of March, but I was then very sick, so as it is not likely that I could be guilty of this Fact.

Prosecutor. It was but 3 Days after when he was taken up for Robbing Thomas Wiseman . The Jury found him Guilty .


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