John Sawney, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 27th February 1740.

Reference Number: t17400227-6
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

156. + John Sawney , of St Martins in the Fields , was indicted for assaulting Sarah Cockram on the King's Highway, putting her in Fear, &c. and taking from her a cloth Cloak, val. 12 s. January 29 .

The Witnesses, at the Prisoner's Request, were examined apart.

Sarah Cockram . On the 29th of January, a little after 7 at Night, I had been to see a Gentlewoman who lay ill, in Russel-Court. As I returned home, thro' Drury-Lane, the Prisoner followed me very close, from Colson's-Court, and when I came to the End of Earl's-Court , he came up to me, and asked me, which was the Sign of the Sun? Upon my telling him I did not know the Sign, he asked me if I was a Stranger thereabouts? I said, Yes: - for I live in Dirty-Lane, in Long-Acre. There were 2 Women came out of Earl's-Court, while he was speaking to me; else I believe he would have put his Design into Execution there: but being prevented, he followed me close to my Shoulders, and asked me, if I would go and drink part of a Pint of Beer with him? I told him I was not such a Person as he took me for; upon which he damn'd me, and put his Hand to the Inside of the Neck of the Cloak which I had then on, and tore it. The String being hard to break, I was almost choak'd, which obliged me to secream out very much: but he never quitted his Hold, till he got it off, and then he put it under his left Arm, and ran away. Mr. Russel a Tallow-Chandler came out, and asked me what was the Matter? I told him, a Soldier had robb'd me of my Cloak, and I am sure Man , for I saw him by the Light of the Candles in the Shops. After the Prisoner had robb'd me, he ran up Earls-Court , and Mr. Russel pursu'd him directly, with Mr. Roberts the Apothecary, and they took him behind a Door. I follow'd Mr. Russel and Mr. Roberts, and was close to the Threshold of the Door, when-they took him. At Colonel De Veil's, he used both him, and the Gentlemen that seized him, in a very vile manner, and swore he would hamstring me, whenever he met me. He own'd the Fact; and Mr. De Veil told him he had a great deal of Impudence: upon which he said, Yes, and he could own the Fact before him, and could deny it when he came before the Judge. - I was put in so much Fear when he robb'd me, that I did not come to myself for several Days afterwards.

Prisoner. Ask her whether she found the Cloak in my Custody?

Cockram . When he was behind the Door, he threw it about 2 Yards from him in the Entry.

Prisoner. Can you justify my throwing the Goods away? I never handled the Cloak. I know no more of it than a dying Man.

Cockram. This is the Cloak which was taken up in the Entry, and it is mine.

Edward Roberts . I am an Apothecary in Drury-lane. On the 29th of January, about half an Hour after 7 in the Evening, as I was in my Shop, I heard an Outcry of Stop Thief. I ran out, and saw the Prisoner running with all his Might on the other Side of the Way. He turned up Earl's-Court; I ran after him, and cry'd Stop Thief, and I believe he cry'd Stop Thief too. About the middle of Earl's-Court, there is a Turning on the Right-Hand, that goes into Red-Lion-Court, and there I lost sight of him. But at the Corner of the Court I met James Henley , (a Boy) and the Woman having told me he had robb'd her of a Cloak, and was run with it under his Arm, I ask'd him if he had seen such a Man? and told him, I was afraid he had escap'd. No Sir, says he, there's no Thorough-fare there; so I went up the Court, and the Boy telling me he was gone into one of the Houses in Fountain-Court, I opened a Door on the Right-Hand, and asked a Woman, who was coming down Stairs with a Candle, if a Soldier was not come in with a Cloak? She seeming very much surpriz'd, I looked in, and finding the Prisoner close up behind the Door, I seiz'd him, and brought him out: I am sure he's the Man.

Mary Birt . The Prisoner is the Man that was behind the Door, when I came down Stairs with the Candle. This was the 29th of January, about half an Hour past 7. He was taken in our Entry by Mr. Roberts , and I took up the Cloak about 2 Yards from the place where he had concealed himself.

Abraham Russel . On the 29th of January, between 7 and 8 at Night, I heard the Prosecutor cry out Stop Thief, as I was in my Master's Shop, a Tallow-chandler in Drury-lane. She told me a Soldier had robb'd her of her Cloak, and shew'd me where he was running. I pursued him thro' Earl's-Court, and Red-Lion-Court, into Fountain-Court; at the Corner of which Place Henley told me where the Prisoner ran. There was no one with me at this Time, but a Fellow-Servant of mine, so I did not care to go any farther; but as the Court was not a Thorough-fare, I stood at the Entrance of it, and bid Henley go and call somebody to assist me. He went and brought Mr. Roberts and Mrs. Cockram to me. Then we went into the Court, and seeing a Door stand open, we found the Prisoner concealed behind it, and carry'd him before Colonel De Veil, where he told Mr. Roberts, he wanted a new Perriwig, and now by his being apprehended, there would be Money for him to buy one. He damn'd Mrs. Cockram, and said, he never saw her nor her Cloak neither; and when his Charge was reading, he said they need not read any more, there was enough to hang him.

James Henley confirmed the two former Witnesses, in that part of their Evidences which related to him.

Francis Blakesly 's Evidence was to the same Effect, with that of Mr. Roberts, Mr. Russel, and Mrs Birt.

Prisoner. I have no witnesses; and all I have to say is, that I know no more of the Cloak than one that never was born. Guilty , Death .


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