William Flemming, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 6th September 1732.

Reference Number: t17320906-67
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

84. William Flemming was indicted for assaulting Thomas Oulton on the High-way, putting him in Fear, and taking from him 3 s. in the Parish of St. George in Middlesex , August 5 .

Thomas Oulton. About 8 at Night, I was sitting on my Coach-Box at Thread-needle-Point, by Stock's-Market. The Prisoner and another looked up at me as they past by; and returning in a little time, looked at me again; I ply'd them. They asked what I'd have to St. Katharine's. I told them 18 d. Come down Cockes, says Flemming, we'll give it you. So I drove them to the lower End of the Minories, and then they call'd to me to drive to old Gravel Lane . When I came to the End of the Lane, they call'd again, and bid me drive to the Magpy Ale-house in that Lane. I did not like my Chaps, for I was afraid (by their bidding me drive from one Place to another) that they wanted an Opportunity of jumping out of the Coach, and bilking me of my Fair. I watch'd them, and at the Magpy Door I stopp'd and open'd the Coach, the Prisoner pretended to be drunk and asleep; we got him up, he staggar'd against a Post, and stood with one Hand in his Pocket, and the other at his Codpiece, as if he was going to piss. I demanded my Money; they said; they wanted something from their Aunts, who lived down farther, but did not care that she should see them; and if I would go and fetch it, they would shew me the Door, and if I did not go they could not pay me. I left my Coach, and

went with them to the lower End of Farthing I there they run into a little Ground-Room, in which I saw nothing but a Counter, a Case Knife, and 2 Women. One of the Women said to the Prisoner, Dear Billy, I am glad to see you ; but he up with the Case Knife, and holding it to her, felt a damning her, and asked if she had no Money? She told him, No; but if he would go to such an Ale-house, she would make him drink. So they went through several bye Alleys, and he sell a singing a Song of, The Miller and the High-way-Man, till we came to the end of King-street in old Gravel-Lane, and there he knock'd an Oyster-Woman down, and run into an Ale-house among some Whores, and swore he would dance a Horn-pipe; but he and the other Man soon came out again, and went along Green-Bank and Brew-house-Lane. I followed him at 2 or 3 Yards Distance. The Prisoner came back to me, and said, Damn my Eyes, what do you follow me for? I told him I was the Coachman, and only followed him for my Money; and if he would pay me, I should soon leave him. Damn your Eyes, says he, what Money have you about you? I told him 3 s. or 3 s. 6 d. Damn my Eyes then, says he, deliver. So I pulled it out of my Pocket, and he took it out of my Hand, and then he damn'd his Eyes again, and took me a knock, and bid me go that way. So away I run to the bottom of old Gravel-Lane, there I met 2 Sailors, and told them I had been robb'd, but they would not follow him. Then I went to the Oyster-Woman that he had knock'd down, and asked her, if she knew who it was that gave her a knock, and she said, Yes, very well, it was Will. Flemming. I went back to my Coach at the Magpy Door, and the Landlord told me that he knew the Prisoner.

Court. Did he threaten you before he took your Money?

Oulton. He damn'd his Eyes, and said, he would knock my Brains out, if I did not deliver; but he did not strike me till after he had my Money. The little Man that was with him, said, Don't serve him so Will. don't rob him.

Prisoner. Jo. Williams the Thief-Catcher took me up, and he afterwards brought the Prosecutor to see me in the new Goal, and said to him (pointing to me) That's the Man.

Oulton. No Soul shew'd him to me, I pick'd him out my self from among a great many Prisoners in the Yard, tho' he had changed his Cloaths.

Prisoner. It's a likely story indeed, that I should go to rob a Hackney Coachman of 3 s. the very Day that I came out of Newgate! why did he not bring the Oyster-Woman to prove that I was there.

Oulton. I did not think there was any need of it.

John Lee . I am a Hackney Coachman too. I was standing at the Top of old Gravel Lane, when the Prosecutor stopp'd and came off his Box, and asked me for the Magpy Alehouse. I directed him. I wish, says he, you would go with me, for I have a couple of loose Chaps, who, I am afraid, will bilk me. So I got on the Coach-Box, and he got up behind. We stopp'd at the Magpy, he let them out, and one of them pretended to be drunk. It was so dark, that I could not see their faces, but one of them was a little Man. They had some Words about the Fare. The Prosecutor told me he was going down with them to get his Money, and desired me to mind his Coach the while. He returned in half an Hour, and said he had been robb'd of 3 s.

Anne Davis . I live at the Magpye. We were at Supper when the Coach stopp'd; I went out with a Candle, and one of the Men in the Coach said, Damn you Bitch, what do you bring a Candle for? we want no Light. When they came out, one of them said to the Coachman, you must go down with us, or else we cannot pay you, He went, and came back in half an Hour, and said he had been robb'd. I can't swear to the Prisoner's Face.

Prisoner. I never saw the Prosecutor, nor he me till I was taken up; but Jo Williams hearing I was out, came to me,

and swore he would not give me a Week before he had me in again. He offered 5 Guineas to Will. James the Drawer to swear against me, and afterwards he procured this Prosecutor, who has as bad a Character as my self, by what I have heard among his Brother Coachmen.

Robert Sloper . I heard Cartwright (who belongs to the Burough Counter) says that he heard a Man proffer 5 l. to another to swear the Fact.

John Hooper the Executioner. I heard Cartwright and Kurwls say so.

Court. What they said is no Evidence, they should have been here to have sworn it.

Prisoner. Jo Williams told me in New Prison, that he would have me hang'd, guilty or not.

Jo Williams. I was with him in New Prison 5 or 6 Weeks ago, and he shewed me his Effigies (that he had drawn upon the Wall) hanging in Chains, with his Name over it. I told him I thought it was very presumptuous to make a Jest of such Things, for he did not know how soon he might come to such an End in Earnest. Damn my Eyes, says he, if I do but live to see Bartholomew Fair , and Southwark Fair over, I don't care if I am bang'd. After he got out of Prison, it was talked about, that he had robb'd a Coachman. Willi. James the Drawer told me of it. We saw the Prisoner cross the Water, and we followed him to Horsly-Down, then we made a Push at him. He clap'd his Hand to his Pocket; but not finding a Pistol readily, he cry'd, Damn my Eyes, am I mistaken. We seiz'd him, and all the Way he went, he swore, Damn his Eyes he was a Street Robber; and when we carried him before the Justices at Margaret's Hill, he damn'd their Eyes too, and call'd them Sons of Whores.

Court. Had you seen the Prosecutor before you took the Prisoner? Williams. No.

Court. And how came you to take him up upon such a random Report?

Williams. It was reported by a 100 Coachmen; it was general Talk among them. Prisoner. This Fellow makes a Trade of taking up People; he took up 6 this Sessions, and he took up County Bob. Williams. But I got nothing by the Bargain. Prisoner. Did you not take up 2 People at Kingston, and procure Witnesses to swear against them. Williams. I own I did assist in taking those People. Prisoner. Yes, and when you brought the Prosecutor to see me in Prison, you pointed with your Finger, and said, that's the Man.

Oulton. Williams and others were with me in the Prison, but no Body told me which was you, for I look'd over the Hatch, and pointed you out my self.

The Jury found him guilty . Death .


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