James Shields, Charles Spinnel, Thomas Dent, Violent Theft > highway robbery, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 5th December 1739.

Reference Number: t17391205-27
Offences: Violent Theft > highway robbery; Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdicts: Guilty; Guilty
Punishments: Death; Death

28,29,30. + James Shields , Charles Spinnel and Thomas Dent . of Paddington , were indicted for assaulting. Joseph Read , and Elizabeth his Wife , on the King's Highway, putting them in Fear, &c. and taking from Joseph a fore Quarter of Mutton, val.18 d. and twenty Shillings in Money, and four Shillings in Money from Elizabeth , the Goods and Money of the said Joseph, Nov. 18 .

They were a second Time indicted for affaulting James Marlow , and Mary Marlow , Widow , putting them in Fear, and taking from the Person of James 18 d. and 18 d from the Person of Mary Nov 18 .

First Indictment.

Joseph Read . I am a Higler . On the 18th of November, between Three and Four o'Clock on Sunday Morning, as I was riding in my Cart from Clare-market, and going home to Wemly-Green, in the Parish of Harrow , two Men came up to me first, and another Man immediately after them. Shields had a Pistol in his Hand, and Spinnel (the old Man) had a great Stick: I did not see any thing the third Man had. Shields bid me deliver my Money, or he would kill me; he and Dent said they would turn our Cart Bottom upwards, and would smother us in the Ditch. The third Man was present at the same Time, and my Wife was in the Cart at the farther End. I gave them to the Value of 20 s. and they took likewise a fore Quarter of Mutton. They took some Money from my Wife, but I did not see what it was. Shields was the Person that had my Money; upon his threatening me, I toss'd it into his Hat; but at that Time Dent was gone to Marlow's Waggon , which was a little Way from us.

Jury. Was it dark or light?

Read. It was not very dark, for I could see them very plainly. When they had got my Money, they went to my Wife, and took what they could form her: Then they bid me go on, and they went to ( assist ) the other Man who was at Marlow's Waggon .

Jury. Which of the Prisoners took the Mutton?

Read, Charles Spinnel , the old Man. Marlow's Waggon was about the Breadth of this Court before us, till they turn'd us out of the Road. I can positively swear, that first and last, all the three Prisoners were with us. The two young ones I never saw before that Time, but the elderly Man

( Spinnel ) I had some knowledge of, - I had seen him before. We made an Outcry, and somebody heard us, for they were taken the same Morning; a Gentleman happen'd to come by, he heard us, and got Assistance, so the Prisoners were taken directly. Some of the People who had taken them, came after me, - I was got about two Miles from the Place where I was robb'd, - and they told me, the Men were taken; upon which I came back to Paddington, where I found Spinnel and Shields; they were taken together, but Dent was not taken till Sunday Evening. Money was found upon the two first, but how much, - I can't say. The Pistol, the Stick and two Knives, were likewise taken from them.

Elizabeth Read . I am Wife of Joseph Read : As my Husband and I were travelling home in our Cart, one of the Prisoners [Dent] stopp'd us, another of them stood at the Copses of the Cart, and the third Man stood behind the Cart. Shields damn'd me for a Bitch, and bid me give him my Money, so I took it out of my Pocket, and flung it into his Hat; 'twas about four Shillings he had from me. After this they swore they would over-turn the Cart, and I said, - Pray, Sir, don't over-turn the Cart! pray don't do us any Hurt, - you have got our Money! then the elderly Man (Spinnel) who was at the Tail of the Cart, told me, they would not do us any Hurt. This was between Three and Four o'Clock on Sunday Morning, and there was Marlow's Waggon just before us at the same time. I can take a safe Oath, that the three Prisoners are the Men, for 'twas light enough for me to see them. I did not go back to see the Prisoners when they were taken; the first Time I saw them was a Fortnight after, but I am positive they are the Men.

James Marlow . I was coming from Clare-Market (at the same time) with my Waggon: I was asleep in it, and a Boy was driving it along before Read's Cart . We were stopp'd first, and the Noise they made at the Boy wak'd me. I saw the Prisoners, Shields and Spinnel , at Read's Cart , the other kept at my Fore-wheel. I saw them at his Cart , and hend them threaten Read, but I was so fritt (assighted) that I don't remember what they said, nor can I say whether Read gave them any thing, or whether they took any thing from him. Shields and Spinnel were taken about Five or Six o'Clock at Paddington , which is half a Mile nearer London han the Place where we were robb'd, and I saw them after they were apprehended. Spinnel own'd the Fact , and said, the Man in the Cart told 'em, he hoped they would be merciful, because he had just lost a Horse; he mention'd the Money taken from me, but I did not hear him say what he had taken from Read. Dent stood at the Wheel of my Waggon, and damn'd me, and told me, he had a good Mind to cleave my Brains out with his Stick, and I thought he would have dash'd my Brains out, so I shut my Eyes, and am not so positive to him as I am to the other two. He (Dent) is like the Man, and I believe him to be one of the Three: He kept swearing at the Fore-wheel, and said, he would break all my Baskets and Hampers to Pieces. It was so light when they met us, and I saw the other two so plain, that I knew them the Minute I saw them again; but I could not be so positive to the other.

Mary Marlow . I was then traveling home in the Waggon with my Son, and saw Shields and Spinnel go to Read's Cart. I don't know what they took from thence, but I heard them say, they would overturn his Cart, and would kill them, if they could; and after they had stopp'd him, they drove it out of the Way, in order to throw them over into a Ditch. I heard them tell Read and his Wife, - if they did not give them more Money, they would throw his Cart over; and Read told them, he had given them all he had. Shields and Spinnel were two of them, but I am not so positive to Dent.

William Newman . As I was going home the 18th of November, about Four o'Clock in the Morning, I heard Marlow (the Woman) cry out in the Road, - don't kill me, I have given you all the Money I have in the World. Upon this I went up towards the Cart from whence the Cry came, and saw a Man stand with a Pistol in his Hand, and heard him say, - Damn you for a Bitch, if you say a Word I'll blow your Brains out. This was on Westbourn Green , about half a Mile beyond Paddington . I knew the Woman before, and then knew her Voice, so I intended to have rode up to her Assistance, and to have knock'd the Man down, but seeing the Pistol I retreated, and rode to Mr. Godfrey's ; but I could not get in there, so I went from thence to Mr. Russel's at Paddington , and call'd them up: A Watchman happening to come by at the same time, I likewise spoke to him, and bid him get another Man, for a Robbery was committing on Marlow's Waggon . As soon as Mr. Russel was got up, he and I, Joseph Greenfield and George Harrison , took the Horse way, and we agreed to take

different Ways when we came to the Ponds; but we had not gone on above a Pole, before we met three Men all together by the Ponds on Paddington-Green . It was pretty dark, so I call'd out,-Who's there! No Answer being given, I turn'd my Mare, and kept close to the two hindmost, and call'd out, - Knock 'em down! shoot 'em dead, if they offer to resist! Spinnel and Shields were immediately taken; and I told Mr. Russel, I saw three of them, and ask'd him, what was become of the third Man; he told me the third Man was under his Gun, and, says he, if he offers to get away, I'll shoot him. I got off my Horse, and laid hold of Spinnel, telling him, if he offer'd to wag, I'd knock him down: He had been knock'd down before, and he desir'd me to let him get up; but I assur'd him, if he offer'd to wag one Jot, I would down with him again, because Russel was at a Distance from us, keeping Dent under his Gun. At the time we took Shields and Spinnel , a Quarter of Mutton dropp'd on the Ground, but I cannot tell which of them dropp'd it. He who was under Mr. Russel's Gun got away, but Shields and Spinnel we secured, and brought them to Mr. Russel's House, where Shields own'd the Robberies, and told us, the third Man's Name was Dent ; Spinnel likewise confess'd the same. Dent was afterward taken (the same Day) and I saw him, and heard him desire to be made an Evidence before Colonel De Veil. Both Spinnel and Shields (when they own'd the Facts) mention'd particularly the robbing the Cart and the Waggon; and Shields said, the Man in the Cart desired him to be merciful , for he had lost a Horse but just before. The Pistol was taken from Shields, and this Club from Spinnel.

Robert Russel . Mr. Newman rode into my Yard at Paddington , and call'd me up, and told me, he had seen some People robbing Mr. Marlow's and Read's Carts. He knew both Parties, so he desired my Assistance to take the Men. He said, he heard one of them swear he would blow Mrs. Marlow's Brains out, which gave him Reason to believe they had Fire-arms, else he would have assisted them then. Upon this I call'd my Man Harrison, and one Greenfield to assist us; and we agreed that Newman and I should take the Horse way, and the other two the Foot-way, if we did not meet them by that time we came to the Ponds. Before we came to this Place, we met them at the Turn-stile, coming on the Green. Mr. Newman was before us, and it was dark; but I perceiv'd his Horse stop, therefore I imagin'd he saw somebody; whereupon I levell'd my Piece, and ask'd, Who's there! Newman cry'd, these are the Men, attack 'em! knock 'em down! shoot 'em! Greenfield and Harrison immediately push'd by me, and caught Spinnel and Shields; and Greenfield call'd out, and told us, one of them was slipp'd away. I said I saw him, in order to 'fright him, tho' I did not see him, and that I would shoot him if he attempted to get off. Mr. Newman then got off his Horse, and knock'd down Spinnel, telling him, he would knock him down again, if he would not be quiet; and I pull'd my Garters off, and ty'd his Hands. I am sure Spinnel and Shields are the Men we then took, for before we went off the Spot, we had a Candle and Lanthorn, by which we look'd at them. I told them then, that we took them on Suspicion of a Robbery, and they then made little or no Defence; but when we had got them to my House, they confess'd they had committed a Robbery, and said it was the first Fact they ever had committed. I ask'd Shields the Name of the third Man who had escaped; he told me, - Dent , and gave me Directions to go after him to the Coal-yard, to his (Shields's) Lodgings. Accordingly Greenfield and I went thicher , and enquir'd of Shields's Wife, (who is Dent's Sister) where Dent was; she told us, he had been there about two Hours ago, but was gone. Shields having directed us to Dent's Lodgings, (if we should not find him in the Coal yard) we went according to his Notice, first to Golden-Lane, and then to an Alley in Whitecross Street, and to several other Places, but could not find him. At last we came back to Shield's Wife, and told her, if she would tell where Dent was, it might save her Husband: Upon this she told us, he would be in Newtoner's Lane in the Evening, and when he did come there, she got one Smith, a Constable, to apprehend him.

John Smith , Constable. I took Dent in a Cock-loft, under the Roof of a House, where he had conceal'd himself, flat upon his Face, with his Arms extended, in Newtoner's Lane . A Man in the House discover'd where he was conceal'd, by pointing to the Place with his Finger, upon which I got hold of him, in the Cock-lost, and jump'd down with him ten Feet, into the next Room. Having heard of this Robbery at Paddington , I sent to let Colonel De Veil know that I had got the third Man: He orderd me to bring him before him, add there he desired to be admitted an Evidence. Mr. Harrison was present, and having Spinnel's s great Club in his Hand, he ask'd him, if

he knew any thing of that Stick; yes, says he, 'tis the old Man's Spinnel's. Marlow ask'd him, if he was not on the Top of his Waggon last Night, and if he did not tye his Horses together with a Piece of Cord; he said, no, he was on the Side of the Cart, and only ty'd the Horses on one Side of the Cart.

Shields. What these Men accuse us of, is wrongfully, I will give you my Word. We had been out to see for Work that Night, and having met with two or three of our Trade, they gave us some Beer, and we being be-lated were making the best of our Way home, when we met these Men, and it being dark, we did not see them till they were just upon us, and one of them catch'd fast hold of me.

Dent. Mr. Russel clapp'd the End of his Piece directly against my Breast, and told me, if I stirr'd he would shoot me, but I ran away, and was afterwards taken by Mr. Smith the Constable.

Spinnel . We had been out to see for Work, and having Maid drinking till it was late, we were making the best of our Way home when these Men met us. They seiz'd Shields, and knock'd me down twice with an Iron Bar. You may see how they us'd me.

William Hanning and Mary Squire never heard of Shields's Dishonesty before.

George Robinson said, the Prisoner Dent us'd to buy Bread and Cheese at his Shop in Long-Lane, while he was employ'd in building Booths in Smithfield , and he took him to be a very honest Man.

Mr. Russel . I took the Pistol from Shields that Night to the Dark. This is the Pistol; 'tis loaded with Shot and Powder. When we had him in the Publick House, we searched him, and found 4 s. and Sixpenn'orth of Halfpence, in one Pocket, and sixteen Pence three Farthings in another.

The Jury found all the Prisoners Guilty , Death ,

Second Indictment.

James Merlow . I know two of them verywell, Shields and Spinnel . They wak'd me with swearing at the Lad that drove my Waggon. Shields came first up to me with a Pistol, and swore if I did not deliver my Money, he would blow my Brains out. I said, indeed, Sir, we have no Money; but he swore he would kill me, so I put my Hand in my Pocket, and gave him 17 or 18 Pence, in Halfpence. Then the other Man ( Spinnel ) came to me, and said I had more Money, and if I did not deliver it, he would beat my Brains out with a great Club, which he had in his Hand. This is the Stick (as near as I can guess.) Upon Spinnel's threatening me, I gave him two or three Halfpence more. Then they went to Read's Cart; and one of them told me, as they were going away, if I did not bring more Money the next time I came, they would kill me on the Spot. The other Prisoner (Dent) is like the third Man, but he never was so near me as the other two. He came by me with a Stick in his Hand, and threatened to dash my Brains out, so I shut my Eyes, and did not see so much of him. He asked me if I had a Watch about me, or any Geese in my Baskets or Hampers? I told him no, I had nothing but the Cloths. The Man that kept at the Fore-wheel of the Waggon, search'd my Boy, and took away a Tinder-box from him. I asked Dent when he was before Col. De Viel, what he had done with it? and he told me it was good for nothing, and therefore he had thrown it away. Shields and Spinnel were taken about an Hour after the Fact, and Mr. Newman came after us, to let us know they were in Custody. I went Home and took a Horse, and came back directly; and as soon as I saw them, I said they were the Men who had robbed me. I said so then, and so I say now. Shields took the first Money from me; then Spinnel came with Oaths to me, and I gave him the rest. I don't know what they took from my Mother; but when I saw Spinnel , he confess'd, and told me what Money he took from me.

Mary Marlow . I know Spinnel and Shields very well; I am sure they are the Men: I knew them the Minute I saw them again. I was at this Time in the Waggon with my Son, but I put my Head out to talk to them. They demanded my Money with great Oaths, and I gave them what I had - two Sixpences, and the Value of Six-pennforth of Halfpence. They damn'd me, and asked me if I had no more? I told them I had no more. They said they would have more, or they would blow my Brains out. I assur'd them I had given them all I had about me; and then they went their way, and said, D-mn their Eyes, if we did not bring more Money with us the next Time we came that way, they would blow our Brains out.

Joseph Road . When my Cart was robbed, Marlow's Waggon was just before. The Prisoners first went to him; then they came to my Cart, and afterwards went to his Waggon again. I don't know whether any Money was given them

out of the Waggon, but I heard them swear they would kill them, - they would blow their Brains out. The three Prisoners were then all together. I am sure they are all the same Men.

Joseph Greenfield , George Harrison , and Mr. Smith , the Constable, gave the same Account (as in the former Trial) of the manner in which all the Prisoners were taken, and of their Confessions.

The Jury found them Guilty , Death .


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