Francis Piggot, John Johnson, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 14th May 1741.

Reference Number: t17410514-16
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

16. 17. Francis Piggot , alias Norton , and John Johnson , of St. Giles's in the fields , were indicted for assaulting Henry Corner , in a certain Field and open place, near the King's Highway, putting him in Fear, and taking from him a silver Watch, value 5 l. and a silver Shoe-buckle, value 5 s. the Goods of the said Corner, April 24 .

Henry Corner. On Friday, the 24th Day of April, between 5 and 6 in the Evening, the Prisoner Piggot came to me, and asked me how I did, and desired me to drink part of a Tankard of Beer with him. I could not at that Time, but about 10 o'clock I met him in the play-house passage, and he again asked me to drink with him. The other Prisoner, Johnson, was there at the same Time, and we went to an Alehouse, and had two Tankards of Beer, for which I expected them to pay a part, but they said, if I would treat then, they would at another place; and if I would go as far as St. Giles's they would give me something that was good. This was in Drury Lane, and I not having my Hat en, did not chuse to go so far without; so the Prisoner Piggot clapped his on my Head. When we got into the middle of Drury Lane, they knocked at a Door, but the people being a-bed, they led me about; and the first place that we came to, that I knew, was the Duke of Bedford's House in Bloomsbury Square. They then said, they would shew me my nearest Way home; but instead of that, they carried me into the Fields, and the first Word they spoke to me was to borrow Money; immediately one of them threw me down, stopped my Mouth, and got upon me; Piggot pulled out my Watch by main Force, and tore my Buckle out of my Shoe, Strap and all; and then both run away.

Prisoner Piggot. Did he never leave his Watch in my Custody?

Corner. No, he never had any Watch of mine.

C. Whereabouts did they rob you?

Corner. It was in the Field above Southampton-Row . When they robbed me, I cried Murder, and a Watchman coming up, I told him what had happened, and he said he would bring me a Constable the next Day: He did so, and they were both taken at a Milk-cellar in Gray's-Inn Lane.

Thomas Perkins . I am a Watchman, and was just going to cry the Hour of 12, when I heard Murder cried twice in the Field. I went up to the Field-Gate, and could see no body, but I afterwards met the Prosecutor very bloody. He told me, he had been robbed, and he knew one of the persons who were concerned; and I told him I would bring him a Constable the next Morning. I did so, and we laid wait for the Prisoners in two Places. Corner and I waited for them at the Bear in Bow-street, Covent-Garden, where we staid 'till we had Information that the Constable had apprehended them at a Milk-cellar in Gray's-Inn Lane.

Q. Did Corner direct you where to take them?

Perkins. He said, he knew one of them, and directed us to the place where it was most likely to find him.

Edward Harvey . The last Witness came to me on the 25th of April, and told me, that a Man had been robbed of his Watch and Buckle, and he had told him where he lived, and that he knew one of the persons. We set out about 7 o'Clock in the Morning, and got Information, that a Milkwoman in Gray's-Inn Lane used to come to Piggot; upon which I went to several Milk-cellars in the Lane, but none of them knew him; and at last I came to the right, and on my enquiring for Piggot, the Woman said , he and another were just gone out together, but would be within in a short time. Upon this, I went to the Alehouse, and had Word sent me, from a Fellow-servant of Piggot's at a Bagnio , that he was quickly expected at the Bear in Bow-street ; so I sent the Watchman and the Prosecutor into Bow-street; and John Carter , the Headborough , and myself went again to the Milk-cellar ; and we had not been there long, before the two Prisoners came in. I catch'd up a poker, and told them what my Business was, and then one of the Women lock'd them up in her Room; but after some Time, they surrendered, and we carried them before Justice Poulson , who examined them separate. They both confessed the Fact; Johnson in particular said, he held Corner down, and stopped his Mouth, while Piggot took his Watch and Buckle, and then both ran away. Horton owned the same, and behaved with great Boldness at the Justice's, and went out snapping his Fingers, singing, At the Tree I shall

suffer with Pleasure; and said, he should have a short Life and a merry one.

C. Had you any Information where the Watch and Buckle were pawn'd ?

Harvey . Johnson told us where they were pawn'd , and we found them accordingly.

Corner . These are my Things, and are the same which I lost that Night.

Piggot. I desire the Prosecutor may be asked whether we had any Arms about us?

Corner. No, they had not.

Piggot. How could we put him in bodily Fear then?

Thomas Butler . This very Watch was brought to me by the Prisoner, Piggot. He said he brought it from a Gentleman, and my Master lent him two Guineas on it; but I did not see any body with him.

Harvey. Johnson directed me to this Pawnbroker, and said he was waiting at the Door while the other pawned it.

Philip Rugier . The Prisoner, Piggot, brought this Buckle to me, and another Man was waiting at the outside of the Shop at the same Time.

John Carter . The Prosecutor sent a Watchman to our House, about 7 in the Morning; and soon afterwards Corner came, and said he had been robbed of his Watch and Buckle, by the Waiter at the Turk's Head in Bow Street. He said, that Piggot took his Watch and Buckle, while Johnson held him down. After this, the Constable, a Watchman and I went to Gray's-Inn Lane; we sat at an Alehouse some Time, and then Piggot went into the Milk-woman's, and called Johnson in after him, and the Woman seeing us, she shut the Door, but the Constable jumped in at the Window; and she said, if he went up Stairs, she would fetch a Warrant for him; so he sent me for farther Assistance; and before I returned, the Prisoners were taken.

DEFENCE.

Piggot. I met the Prosecutor between twelve and one that Day, and he asked me if I was turned Gentleman? I told him I was hired to Mrs. Douglas; he said he should be glad to drink with me, so I met him at 6 o'Clock that Evening as the Prince and Princess were going to the Play. He told me he had a great Fancy to see the Play, and would go into the Footman's Gallery; I having no Livery could not go with him, so I went into the upper Gallery with Johnson, and as we were coming out we met the Prosecutor again. He asked me to drink, and said he must step home and make his Appearance and would come to us; so we went to the King's Head in James Street and called for a Tankard of Beer. He came to us, and we sat 'till the Watchman came half an Hour past Eleven, and then he paid for the Beer; and we not chusing to drink any more Beer, he said, if we would go with him towards Tottenham Court , he would give us something that was good. Upon this we went with him, and when we came into the Fields, we crossed over towards St. Giles's. I staid behind a little to make Water, and presently I heard Johnson cry our Hort! Hort! upon which I went up to him and found the Prosecutor in a very indecent Posture. Upon my coming up, he desired we would not expose him, and he would give us all he had; and having no Money about him he gave us his Watch and both his Buckles; but recollecting himself, he said, '' when I go home having lost both my Buckles , '' the people at our House will think I have pawned '' them, and therefore we gave him one of his Buckles again .

- Farrel. The Prisoner Piggot served me half a Year very honestly, about seven Months ago. I keep the King's Bagnio in Long-Acre .

Ann Cormond . My Husband keeps a Bagnio in Suffolk Street. I have known Piggot two Years; he lived with us as a Servant three Months and during that Time behaved well .

Ann Cox . The Prisoner Piggot lived with me, and I never heard Ill of him.

Prisoner Johnson. I was not acquainted with Piggot a Week, and it is well known, that never any thing was alledged against me.

William Bard . I have known Johnson from his Infancy, and never heard or saw any Harm by him in my Life.

Richard Veer . I have known him from his Infancy, and never heard any Ill of him.

Richard Marsh . I have known him from a Child, and never knew any Thing that he did in my Life. He is a Sawyer by Trade.

Thomas Robinson . I never heard any Body give him a misbehaving Word till now, and I never knew nor heard any ill of him in my Life.

Thomas Ward . I have known him several Years and never heard any Body give him an ill Word.

Jane Pierce . The Prisoner Piggot lived a Servant with my Husband 4 or 5 Months. I keep a very reputable public House in Clare-Market and have entrusted him with a great deal, and he never wronged me.

Rebecca Cooper . I have known Piggot 4 or 5 Years, and never heard any Ill of him.

William Edwards . The Prisoner Johnson is a Sawyer. I have known him 2 Years, and never heard Ill of him 'till now.

William Liston . I have known Johnson these five Years and never heard any Harm of him 'till now.

Sarah Scafe . I never heard a foul Thing of Johnson in my Life.

Mary Price . I have known Johnson 5 Years, and always took him to be an honest Man.

Henry Hart . I have known him these 12 Months, and always thought him a sober Fellow. He has received and paid Money for me several

Times, and never defrauded me. As to the Prosecutor he bears a very indifferent Character in the Neighbourhood, for he belongs to a Gaming Table in the Piazza , Convent Garden.

John Cartwright . I have known the Prosecutor five Years; he lives at Lord Mordington's; he was Cook to my Lord, and I was Porter, but as for Gaming. I don't believe he can play, at any Game, and I never heard but that he was a very honest Man . Both Guilty , Death .


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