John Purdey, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 6th July 1737.

Reference Number: t17370706-7
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

8. John Purdey , of St. Mary le-bone , was indicted (with Robert Meredith , not taken) for assaulting Emanuel Slater , in a certain open Field near the King's Highway, putting him in Fear, &c. and taking from him a cloth Coat, value 10 s. 6 d a Pair of brass Buckles, value 2 d. a Pair of leather Gloves, value 2 d. May 29 .

Emanuel Slater. I was coming from Tottenham High-Cross, into the Town, and had bought a twelve-penny Loaf, and eight-penn'worth of Cheese. This was on Whitsunday in the Afternoon: So I sat myself down to eat some of my Bread and Cheese, and two Fellows came up to me, and asked me, where my Place of Abode was? I told them, at Tottenham Then they ask

ed me what Business I follow'd, and what I got a Day? I said, I work'd at Hay-making , and earned 14 d a Day. They told me, if I would go with them, they would help me to a Master that would give me two Shillings, and they said, they were my Countrymen. Then they asked me for some of my Bread and Cheese; I gave them some, and they thank'd me. After this, they said, they would go to a Master of theirs, who ow'd them fifteen Shillings, and see if they could get any Money from him, and they pretended they would treat me. I told them I had no Money, and desired they would not make me drunk, so they had me to the Prisoner in a Cellar at the Seven-dials, and after they had spent all my Bread and Cheese, they desired me to go with them to their Abode at Marybone; it should cost me nothing, and I should go to work with them the next Morning. Upon this, I went with them into Marybone-fields , and there they laid Violence upon me. I said, pray don't make a Hand of me, - I have nothing for you now: But they damn'd me, and bid me not say a Word, - if I did, they would knock me on the Head.

Q. What did they take from you?

Slater The Prisoner threw me down, and stripp'd (with Violence) the Coat off my Back, and they took my Buckles, and a Pair of Gloves from me. I count the Buckles were Brass, - they were wash'd over.

Q. How was the Prisoner taken?

Slater. After they had robb'd me, I enquired my way back to the Seven Dials, and I li't of a Friend and told him my Story. He bid me be easy, and said he would direct me to them; they are villainous Fellows says he, and they live by cheating young People; so he help'd me to a Man that lives at St. Giles's Pound, who took up the Prisoner on Suspicion, and had him before Justice De Veil, and I swore to my Coat and to the Man.

Q. What did the Prisoner say, when he was before the Justice?

Slater. Why he told him that I pull'd off my Coat, my self; and that I gave it to them to pawn, and the Justice said, - how could he pull it off to pawn in Marybone Fields? there's no Pawnbroker there; - there's no Pawnbroker in Marybone Fields, - these were his very Words, so the Justice committed him to a Place of Abode 'till next Day, and then the Pawnbroker was brought in, - I don't know his Name, but he's here in Court now.

Prisoner. I never was nigh him; I was in a Gin-Cellar at the Seven Dials, and two Bricklayers who had pick'd him up brought him there to me.

The Pawnbroker. The Prisoner at the Bar brought me this Coat; I ask'd him if 'twas his own? Do you question me say'd he, - 'tis not my own, - 'tis my Brother's; he is lately come from Exeter, and is in distress for a little Money; but we must have it again, (says he) in two or three Hours, therefore don't put it out of the way. I did not mistrust the Prisoner, if I had, I would have secur'd him. The Coat lay but a Day in my Hands, they came with the Prosecutor to ask for the Coat and I shew'd it them directly, and carried it to Justice De Veil's. - I never loved to detain any Thing, - that's base, - I have not liv'd fifty Years in the Parish of St. Martin's to do that. - This is the very Coat the Prisoner brought to me.

Slater This is the very Coat the Prisoner took from me.

Prisoner. Two Bricklayers pick'd him up by Newington, or Shoreditch, and brought him to me; and one of them gave me his Coat to pawn. They drank thirty Quarterns of Gin, and were all drunk. The Prosecutor pawn'd his Bread and Cheese, and the Bricklayer's pawn'd their Tools. The Thief-takers at St. Giles's Pound, have had him in Hand ever since, and have tutor'd him to swear my Life away.

A Keeper. Mr. Goddard and another Person has been 2 or 3 Times in the Gatehouse to see the Boy (the Prosecutor) and they had some Talk with him, but I don't know what it was about. Guilty . Death .


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