William Ward, Violent Theft > highway robbery, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 4th April 1733.

Reference Number: t17330404-47
Offences: Violent Theft > highway robbery; Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdicts: Guilty
Punishments: Death

56. William Ward , of Stepney , was indicted for assaulting John Wightman , on the Highway, putting him in Fear, and taking from him one Guinea, and 6s. 6d. Feb. 27 .

He was a second Time indicted for assaulting John Lloyd on the Highway, putting him in Fear, and taking from him 7 s. Feb. 27 .

Mr. Lloyd. On Tuesday, the 27th of Feb. about a Quarter past 7, in the Evening, as we were coming in a Coach from Ilford , the Coach was stopt a little on this side the turning that goes to Stepney . I let down the Glass, and the Prisoner came to the Door, and presented a Pistol within the Coach. Pray Friend, says I, take away your Pistol, which he did. Mr. Wightman, who sat on the other side, said, What's the Matter? Why, don't you see his Pistol? says I. Upon that Mr. Wightman starts up, and says, I have got two half Guineas, and some Silver, and I'll give them you presently. Mr. Wightman gave him something; but not satisfied with that, the Prisoner would search him, and then making me stand up, he searched me.

Court. Are you certain that the Prisoner is the Man? Had you any Light to see him by?

Mr. Lloyd. Yes, a Servant attended the Coach with a Moon, and I saw the Prisoner plainly by that; I look'd full at him all the Time. The Moon was a little way off, as far perhaps, as from your Lordship to me; but it was so placed, that it cast a Light into the Coach. After the Prisoner had robb'd us, my Coachman leaning from his Box, I heard a Pistol go off, at which the Horses started and run forward. Next Morning I went to Newgate, and desir'd the Keeper to let me see the Man who was committed. the last Night for such a Robbery; the Person who went to show me the Prisoner, told me, I should not see him singly, because it was a Case, in which a Man's Life was in Danger. This I thought was Humanity; and as it was what I little expected to find in Newgate, I was the more pleas'd with it, and gave the Man some Money. He brought me to a Place, where the first Man I happen'd to cast my Eye on, was the Prisoner: I knew him immediately, and said, That's the Man that robb'd me. The Prisoner answer'd, I am sorry that I ever saw you.

Prisoner. Mr. Lloyd has been to Mr. Akerman, the former Turnkey, to know if I had not been in Jail before.

Mr. Wightman. When the Coach was stopt (as Mr. Lloyd has Sworn) I ask'd what was the Matter? Mr. Lloyd said, Don't you see? And I then perceiv'd the Prisoner presenting a Pistol in the Coach. Says I, pray be civil, I have a Guinea and some Silver. I gave him two half Guineas, and he took half a Crown and some Shillings out of my Pocket. I desir'd him to leave my Keys, and he said he had. He ask'd me, for my Watch, and I told him I had none. My Man rode before the Coach with a Moon, that had 3 Candles in it. But there was another Highwayman, who brought my Man back with the Moon, to the Head of the Wheel-Horses, so that by that Light, I had a full view of the Prisoner, for he had no Mask, and am as positive, as I can be of any thing, that he is the Man who robb'd us.

Richard Bulkley . I was in the Coach with Mr. Lloyd and Mr. Wightman, when they were robb'd; but they turn'd so directly to the Coach-Door, that I could not see that Highwayman's Face, and for the same Reason, I believe, he hardly observ'd me; but I saw the other Highwayman bring the Moon back near to the Coach, and stand over him, to prevent an Alarm. I had got my Money ready to deliver, when the Coachman getting off his Box, fell upon the Highwayman next us; I heard one cry, Shoot! Shoot! and presently a Pistol went off, which I suppose, was fir'd by the other Highwayman; the Horses started at the Noise, and ran to the Turnpike.

Oxton Chapman. I carry'd the Moon, and coming thro' Mile-End, at the End of the Dog-Row, a Highwayman rode up to me, and said, if I offer'd to open my Lips he'd shoot me thro' the Head directly. While the other was robbing the Coach, the Coachman

jump'd off, and knok'd him down. Then I got off my Mare, and help'd the Coachman, till farther Assistance came, and the Prisoner was not out of my Possession, till he was taken into Custody.

James Price , Coachman. When the Highwaymen stopt the Moon-Man, I thought it had been a Quarrel, and cry'd Hai! what would you be at? I shall make one among you presently! With that, the Prisoner comes up to me, and says, You saucy old Rogue, I know you well enough, and I have a good mind to shoot you thro' the Head - Stand! And my Master called to me and said, Stand, James! The Prisoner went and robb'd the Coach; and the Light being betwixt me and the other Highwayman, I thought he could not well see to shoot me, and I knew the Prisoner could not, because his Head was in the Coach, and upon that Consideration I struck at the Prisoner twice, and knock'd him down dead.

Court. But he came to Life again ?

Price. Yes, yes; for at the second Blow he call'd to his Comrade and bid him shoot, and shoot he did; Aha! says I, * thee hast mist me, but I have hit + thee.

* To the Highwaymen who fired.

+ To the Prisoner.

Court. Are you sure the Prisoner is the Man you knock'd down?

Price. Sure? yes; I mark'd him well enough to know him again, besides he was never out of my Custody till he was carried before the Justice, and so sent to Newgate.

The Prisoner's Defence.

George Bird . Coming between Stratford and Bow I saw the Coach stop, and saw the Coachman make a Blow at the Prisoner, and knock him down, and I went to assist, and no Body meddled with him but the Coachman and I.

Court. Is this the Prisoner's Witness? He confirms the Prosecutor's Evidence; the Prosecutor should have call'd him.

Bird. The Prosecutor would not have me call'd, because his man should have all the Reward, tho' I ventur'd my Life as well as he when the Pistol was fired. I pick'd up a Pistol where the Coach stood.

Prisoner. Was no Body knock'd down but me?

Bird. Yes, Mr. Vanghan, who came to assist too; but I believe, the Coachman mistook him for one of the Highwaymen.

Prisoner. The Moon-Man said in Smithfield, that he'd hang me right or wrong, for the Reward, and he own'd he never see me before that Night.

Court. But it appears you was taken in the very Fact, carry'd directly before the Justice, and committed to Newgate. There can be no Pretence that you are not the Person.

Prisoner. I was vastly in Liquor, and coming by the Coach I was knock'd down.

Roger Smith . I have known the Prisoner these 20 Years, his Father and Mother were People of honest Character, and he himself was well educated at Exeter, and put Apprentice to a Painter, I never heard any Ill of him before.

Court. Has he follow'd his Business lately?

Smith. Yes.

John Williams . The Prisoner has dealt in Hors es for three Years past.

John Porfit . I keep the White-Hart Inn in High-Holbourn, the Prisoner sometimes us'd my House, I have known him about a Year; I always took him to be a civil, sober, sedate Man, and did not imagine he would be guilty of any such thing as this.

Mr. Wightman. I beg leave, my Lord, to ask Bird, if he knew the Prisoner before the Night he was taken?

Bird. Yes, when I came to see his Face.

Prisoner. When they search'd me before the Justice, they took 4 Guineas and a half, of my own Money, and they can't say that they found any other Money about me.

Mr. Lloyd. He put the Money that he took from Mr. Wightman and me in his Mouth, and I have since heard, that some Money and a Pistol was found in the Road where he was taken.

Court. Sir, you must speak no farther than your Knowledge; what you heard is no Evidence.

Prisoner. I hope your Lordship will order that I may have my own Money again, or that my Wife and Children may have it.

Court. The Court can give no Order about

it till the Jury have brought in their Verdict, and if they find you Guilty, the Money is forfeited. The Jury found him Guilty . Death .


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