William Moreland, John Fellows, Jonathan Austin, Theft > other, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 28th June 1738.

Reference Number: t17380628-1
Offences: Theft > other; Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdicts: Guilty; Guilty
Punishments: Death

1. 2. William Moreland , and John Fellows , were indicted for stealing 4 cloth Coach-cushions, fill'd with Feathers , the Goods of Temple Stinton , in the Parish of St. Butolph Bishopsgate , May 26 . Both Guilty .

3. William Moreland , and John Fellows , were a 2d Time indicted with Jonathan Austin , of Christ Church, Spittlefields, for assaulting David Nix , in a certain Alley, call'd Smock Alley, near the King's Highway, putting him in fear, and taking from him a Hat, value 7 s. May 23 .

David Nix . On the 23d of May, I was passing from Widegate Alley, into Smock Alley , and saw 3 or 4 Fellows standing together. It was Moonlight, and as near as I can guess, about 10 o'Clock. I little thought they had a Design against me; but as I turn'd up by the Coffee House, the Prisoner Austin knock'd up my Heels, and took my Hat off my Head. I caught fast hold of the Skirts of his Coat, and held him, 'till the Mob subsisted (came) to help me: I never quitted my Hold, 'till the Constable came, and then I deliver'd him into his Hands. His Companions seeing me hold him, and hearing me cry out, - stop Thief, they took to their Heels and ran away, crying out - stop Thief too.

Joseph Miller . The three Prisoners and I met together the 23d of May, at Night, in Bishopsgate-Street, about 10 o'Clock. The Watch not being set, we dogg'd him out of Bishopsgate-Street, into Widegate Alley, and imagin'd he was fuddl'd. At the Gingerbread Baker's he lighted his Pipe, and then went towards Smock Alley; we follow'd him, with each of us a Stick in our Hands, and intended to knock him down; but Austin ran up to him in Smock Alley, and snatch'd off his Hat, and gave it the Prisoner Fellows. I ran to the Tenter Grounds, in Moorefields, and there he (Fellows) came to me with the Hat, which I kept all Night in my own Custody, and next Morning I pawn'd it, next Door to the two Horns, near Shoreditch Church. The Prosecutor Nix appear'd that Morning against Austin, before the Justice, and being positive to him he was committed. Three or four Days after this, I was taken up for another Robbery,

and then I made my Information. We went out together with an Intent to rob who we could; for Austin and Moreland having been out together a whole Fortnight, Night and Day, they had spent and made away with all we had to live upon, so we resolved to go out upon the Highway to get what we could. I was three Weeks in New-Prison, with Jonathan Austin , and had not put him into my Information, if I had not heard that he had confess'd the Fact before Justice Booth.

Austin. Did you see me take the Man's Hat off:

Miller. Before he ran from us toward the Man, he said he wou'd go and kick his Heels up; I was at some little distance from the Prosecutor, when the Thing was done, so I can't swear I saw him take off the Hat; and the Man seiz'd him directly, and cry'd out. When he cry'd stop Thief, I ran down Duke Street, and cry'd stop Thief too, or else I should have been taken.

Nix. The Prisoner Austin was the Man that took off my Hat: I asked him what was the Reason he did so, and he knock'd up my Heels directly; then some of them said, - knock his Brains out with a Brick-bat.

John Briggs . I am the Officer that took Moreland Fellows, and the Evidence Miller. He told me the Prosecutor went into a Shop in Bishopsgate-Street, for a Half-p'orth of Tobacco, and they seeing him pull out a Handful of Silver and Half-pence, and thinking him to be fuddled, they resolved to follow him and rob him. Accordingly they dogg'd him into Widegate Alley, where he went in at the Gingerbread Baker's to light his Pipe; from thence (he said) they follow'd him into Smock Alley, to rob him.

Robert Hill . I have only this to say: I took the Evidence and two of the Prisoners; and on Monday last I was with them in Newgate; they told me the Evidence was a Black-Guard Rogue, and that they were sorry they must die for such a triffling Thing, and had not done something whereby they might have maintain'd themselves in Jail.

Mary Keddit , Pawnbroker. I know nothing of the Prisoners, but on Monday there was a Hat fetch'd out of Pawn, which lay in Moreland's Name for 18 d.

Henry Davis , Constable. A Quarter before 11 o'Clock at Night, the 23d of May, the Prosecutor brought the Prisoner Austin to my House, and charg'd him with robbing him of his Hat. I ask'd him if he could swear he was the Person that stole it? No, says he, but he was one of the Company, and he attempted to trip up my Heels, so I lay'd hold of him. I went with him before Justice Dennet the next Day, and there he swore he saw him take off his Hat, and give it to another, who ran away with it.

Benjamin Leonard . I am a Watchman belonging to this Officer; and the Night the Robbery was committed, I went to call him up, to take charge of Austin. The Prosecutor told him, he had lost his Hat; the Officer asked him if he could lay the Felony to him? No, says he, but he was one of the three, that threaten'd to trip up my Heels, and so I seiz'd him.

Daniel Perrington . I live in Three Tun-Alley, and saw the Constable, the Watch, and the Prisoner Austin together, between 11 and 12 o'Clock at Night, the 23d of May. I went down with them to the Tower Jail, and there the Prosecutor said, he was not the Man that took his Hat off; but next Morning before the Justice, he swore he did take it. He said indeed (the Night before) that he was one that belonged to the other Fellows, and before we went to Justice Dennet with him, one of their Company came down, and propos'd making the Matter up, and the Prosecutor seem'd willing to do it.

Elizabeth Wood confirm'd the Constable's Evidence, with Relation to what pass'd at his House.

Richard Webb . The Prisoner Austin was my Servant ; he work'd with me till the Saturday before he was taken up. He lay in the Shop, where I weave rich Brocades, and have had great Quantities of Gold, Silver and Silk; I never knew that he wrong'd me while he liv'd with me. He quitted my Service the 13th of May, on account of some Words which he had with his Mistress; but what the Quarrel was, I can't tell.

John Graves , John Swift , Joshua Wright , Charles Bromfield , and Benjamin Griffith , knew the Prisoner Austin from a Child, and never heard any ill Character of him, 'till he was charg'd with this Fact.

The Jury found all the three Prisoners Guilty . Death .


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