George Richardson, Laurence Grace, John Smithson, Violent Theft > robbery, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 12th September 1733.

Reference Number: t17330912-35
Offences: Violent Theft > robbery; Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdicts: Guilty; Not Guilty
Punishments: Death

43, 44, 45. George Richardson , Laurence Grace , and John Smithson *, were indicted for assaulting (with + Thomas Whithy, otherwise Woodby , not yet taken) John Gordon in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields , putting him in Fear, and taking from him a Hat, a Wig, half a Guinea, and 5 d. July 28 .

*Smithson was an Evidence against William West and Andrew Curd , for a Burglary in February last. See Sessions Paper. Numb. III. Page 67. and in May following he and others were try'd for robbing John Violane of a Hat, for stealing John Frazier 's Coat, and for stealing Rich. Cock's Gown and Petticoat; and + Thomas Whithy was an Evidence against them it, those three Trials, but they were acquitted. See Sessions Paper, Numb V. page 148, 149.

The Witnesses (at the Desire of the Prisoners) were examined a-part.

John Gordon . On the 28th of July, just at Midnight, as I was crossing Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, I was set upon by five Men; it was a very clear Star-light Night, and I could see very plainly. Grace came up first, took me by the Collar, and said, Damn you, you Dog, stand, and deliver your Money; if you speak a Word you are a dead Man. I look'd him very hard in the Face. Two others then rifled my Pockets, and while they were taking my Money, a short Man in a Cap and a blue Jacket, whom I take to be Richardson, came behind me, struck me on the Arm and took my Hat and Wig. - I look'd over my Shoulder and saw him. - Him and Grace I remember, but I don't know Smithson. - Grace held me fast, but took nothing from me.

Grace. How long was it after the Robbery before you saw me?

Gordon. It was about a Fortnight. You were then before the Justice.

Alexander Watson . The Prisoners and I and Tom Whithy agreed to go to Lincoln's-Inn Fields together. Richardson, indeed, did not agree to rob, but Grace swore by God he'd attack the first Man he met, and that prov'd to be the Prosecutor. Grace collar'd him, and Whithy and I search'd his Pockets. He took half a Guinea, and I took 5 d.

Court. Who took his Hat and Wig?

Watson. I took them, and Grace struck him over the Hand with an Oak-Stick.

Gordon. I am positive it was the Man in the Cap and blue Jacket that did both.

Watson. Its true, Richardson was in a blue Jacket, but he would not have had us to have gone a Robbing that Night.

Court. Did he leave you then before the Robbery?

Watson. No, he was with us. - He was behind the Gentleman.

Court. How far distant ?

Watson. He was within Reach of the Gentleman.

Gordon. Yes, I look'd behind, and saw him take my Hat and Wig.

Watson. This was about twelve a Clock on Friday Night, and about one a Clock next Morning we attack'd a Man (Mr. Spencely) in Holborn, and were taken by the Watch, and sent to Clerkenwell.

Roger Leak . I am Watchman at the upper End of Bedford-Row. I heard Mr. Spencely call out, Watch! stop'em! - Richardson, who was in a Linen Cap and blue Jacket, came running along, and I stopp'd him between the upper End of Featherstone-Buildings, and the upper End of Hand-Alley, and carry'd him to Mr. Spencely, who had taken Watson himself. This was about One in the Morning.

Samuel Slack . And between One and Two I found this Hat and Wig hard by the Place where Richardson was taken.

Gordon. This is my Hat and Wig.

Richard Shorter . Watson declar'd to me in New-Prison, that Richardson was not in this Robbery.

Watson. I said he was in the Fields with us, but was not willing to rob with us.

Shorter. He, indeed, said so at last, - and I ask'd him why he did not put Richardson in his first Information; and he told me he was willing to save him.

Smithson. I think I have drank in Watson's Company, and he being taken up, his Wife, Peg Yately , told me, that he had inform'd against me; so I went to see him in New Prison, and gave him half a Pint of Gin, and he assur'd me he had nothing against me; I was taken that Night, but I was not in his first Information which he made before Justice Robe.

Watson. I told Justice Robe's Clerk, that we all went to a Night-House in the Strand, then another House in Shug-L ane, and so to Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, and I nam'd all their Names to the Clerk, but he forgot Smithson, and so his Name is interlin'd.

Smithson. I have no Witnesses, for I have been under Misfortunes before.

William Cross . I have known Richardson from a Child; his Parents live in Eagle-street, Soho ; he follows no Employment, but lives with his Father, who has an Estate to support his Family; I know no Ill of him, - but I han't seen him much for these last six Months.

Another. He came from Sea eight or ten Months ago, and had the Misfortune to fall into this ill Company.

Some others depos'd, that they had never heard any Ill of Richardson before this Time.

Watson. I have known Richardson several Years; he and I were three Months in Clerkenwell Bridewell for a Street-Robbery, but there being no Indictment we were discharged - After I had made my first Information before Justice Robe, several Thief-Catchers, - there's George Vaughan , alias my Lord Vaughan, for one, - came to me in New-Prison, and made me drunk, and would make me make another Information before Justice Midford, who came down to me in New-Prison. - These Thief-Catchers will do any Thing for Money.

Court. Upon your Oath was Richardson in the Robbery?

Watson. Yes.

Court. Was Green ?

Watson. Yes.

Court. And Smithson?

Watson. Yes; they were all three present.

Court. You have appear'd very willing to screen Richardson. Has Nobody endeavour'd to persuade you not to swear against him?

Watson. Yes, there was an Attorney came to New-Prison, and enquir'd for me; and when I was brought to him, he call'd for a Bowl of Punch, and bad me sit down and

drink heartily, and when that Bowl was out we had another. He told me that Richardson's Father was a good 'Sponsible Man, and if I would clear Richardson, and leave him out in my Information, it should be better for me than I could expect. I told him, I was willing to do any Thing that I could, without hurting myself; and, he said, I might save him without hurting myself, if I would but say he was not in the Robbery; and that he would not offer to bribe me, but it should be better for me than I expected. - And others came to me afterwards on the same Account.

Court. An Attorney do this! What was his Name?

Watson. It was a cramp sort of a Name, I can't remember it just now, but I know the Man; he's a tall Man, I saw him in the Court a little while ago. - He stood in that Place.

Officer. Was not his Name Wimpry ?

Watson. Yes, that was the Name.

Court. Call him into Court.

Officer. Mr. Wimpry, an Attorney! - He don't answer.

Court. Go, see if he's in any of the Publick Houses hereabout.

Then an Officer went out and brought Mr. Wimpry into Court.

Court. Here, Sir, you are charg'd with endeavouring to suborn Evidence. This Witness swears you treated him with two Bowls of Punch in New-Prison. and told him it should be better for him than he expected, if he would clear the Prisoner Richardson.

John Wimpry . My Lord, I never had any such Design, nor ever told him any such Thing. - Indeed I call'd for Punch, but it was in publick Company; there were 40 People present.

Court. Why did you treat him then?

Wimpry. It was only out of Curiosity.

Court. Are you an Attorney? Wimpry. Yes.

Court. You ought to be struck off the Roll for this; and if, before you go out of Court; you don't find Two to be Securities for your Appearance here at next Sessions I'll commit you.

Thereupon Mr. Richardson (the Prisoner's Father) and another offer'd to be his Securities, and were accepted. The Jury found the three Prisoners Guilty . Death .

George Richardson , and Lawrence Grace , were a second Time indicted, for assaulting Francis Spencely , on the Highway, putting him in Fear, and taking from him a Linen Handkerchief, value 6 d. July 28 .

F. Spencely. Between 12 and 1 in the Morning, as I was going by the End of Brownlow-street in Holbourn , I was attack'd by three Persons, I am not positive that Grace was among them; but Richardson, who was in a blue Jacket, and my Lord Watson - this little hump-back'd Evidence - run against me, and one of them struck me with a Stick. I reel'd against a Stationer's Bulk, but presently recovering my self, I miss'd my Handkerchief, and follow'd them up Brownlow-Street, and at the Upper-end of it, next Bedford-Row. I took this little Hump-back.

Watson. After the Robbery in Lincolns-Inn-Fields, we some how lost John Smithson . And seeing the Prosecutor, we run against him, and Richardson pick'd a Handkerchief out of his Pocket, and then he was knock'd down. We seeing that, and some People being not far off, we run for it. Grace got clear, but Richardson and I were taken; he by the Watch, and I by the Prosecutor. Richardson afterwards told me, that he had nail'd the Call of his Wipe, and ding'd it down, and was afraid, God damn 'em! that some of 'em had nail'd it again - That is, he had taken the Man's Handkerchief, and drop'd it, and was afraid that some of the Watch had taken it up again.

The Watchmen then depos'd, as in the former Trial, that they found the Handkerchief, near the place were Richardson was taken. And the Prosecutor swore the Handkerchief was the same he lost, and that he knew by the Duty-stamp upon the Corner of it. The Jury acquitted them.


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