Richard Baker, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 14th May 1741.

Reference Number: t17410514-21
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

22. Richard Baker , of St. Giles's in the Fields , was indicted for assaulting Robert Rhodes on the King's High-way, putting him in Fear, and taking from him a Pen-knife, value 1 d. an Iron Key, value 1 d. and 3 s. and 11 d. the Goods and Money of the said Robert Rhodes ; Feb. 12 .

At the Prisoner's Request the Witnesses were examined apart.

Robert Rhodes . I was a Headborough last Year for St. Giles's Parish. On the 12 of February about 9 at Night, William Alley called me out of my Shop and gave me a Warrant to take one Thomas Robinson . I went into Drum-Alley in Drury-Lane , and at the White Horse there, I found him. I told him I had a Warrant against him, and he said he would not go, and in a little Time, a great many People came with Clubs, Sticks and Hangers, and swore they would bail him. Immediately they took him from me, and beat me: I got out of the House into the Alley, and Hunt, Cassody, and Timms who are executed, the Prisoner, and several others who are fled to Ireland, knocked me down. Which of them it was that did knock me down, I can't tell, but they were all present, and when I was down, the Prisoner stamped on me, and some of them turned my Left-hand Breeches-Pocket the wrong Side outwards, and took out a Knife, a Key, 3 s. 6 d. in Silver, and about 5 or 6 pennyworth of Half-pence. After this, I followed them into Holsford's Alley , to one South's, and saw Hunt and Timms there; and when I came from thence, I saw the Prisoner at the End of the Alley, and he ran towards Clare-market , and got away. From that Time I never saw him again, 'till I took him, on the 24th of April, in Cary street.

Q Are you sure the Prisoner was among the persons that used you in this Manner?

Rhodes. I am certain he was the Man who stamped upon me, and that he was with them, when I lost my Money .

Prisoner. Ask him if he is positive as to the Time of Night.

Rhodes. I believe it was between 9 and 10.

Prisoner. How was I drest at that Time?

Rhodes. I believe he had the same Clothes on as he has now; but I can swear to his Wig.

Prisoner. By what Light did he see me?

Rhodes. The People were coming from the play, and there were several Link-men about the End of the Alley; and if some people had not come with Lights to my Assistance, I believe I should have been killed.

Prisoner. How far is this Alley from the Play-House?

Rhodes . It is just opposite to the Playhouse-passage.

Mary Swinney . I lodged in Mr. South's House, in Holsford's Alley ; there was a Club of Irishmen, which used to meet there and spend 3 d. a piece every Thursday Night. One Evening a Man came from the White Horse in Drum-Alley, to inform the Club, that Robinson was taken: Immediately they went down Stairs into the Yard, and broke the Mopsticks and Broomsticks, and went out with Intent to rescue Robinson. There were Timms, Cassody, Hunt, and the Prisoner, and several others; and they all went out together. They had not been gone long, before they brought Robinson with them. Then they called for Gin and Twopenny, and said, they would make themselves merry with the Constable's Money.

Prisoner. Is not this House of South's a common Receptacle for lewd Women?

Swinney . Yes, every body is welcome to come for 3 d. a piece.

Prisoner. How was I dreft at that Time?

Swinney . As near as I can remember, he had a brown Coat on, and such a Wig as he wears now.

Prisoner. Was it a dark, or a light Coat?

Swinney. I think it was darker than that which he has on now.

Prisoner. How does she get her living?

Swinney . I go to Service, but I happened to be out of Place then, and lodged at South's.

Prisoner. Ask her, whether she ever saw me in that House before or since?

Swinney. I saw him with the Club 2 or 3 Times before this.

Prisoner. Has not the Prosecutor, since you have been in Consinement, frequently promised you your Liberty, to be an Evidence against me?

Swinney. No, he never did.

William Atley . I had a Warrant against Robinson; so I and Mr. Rhodes went into Drum-Alley, to see for him. After we had taken him, one Charles Maccleaver went out of the Window, into Holsford's Alley , and a whole Posse of Irishmen came with Broomsticks and other Weapons, and rescued Robinson. Upon this, Rhodes was glad to get out of the House, and when he got about 6 Yards into the Alley , Hunt knocked him down, Timms stood over him with a Stick , and the Prisoner was the Man who stamped upon him, and said, D - n him , kill him; but what Money he lost I can't tell .

Q. Are you sure the Prisoner was one of them?

Atley. Yes, I am sure he was, for I knew him before, and have drank with him. After this, we went to South's in Holsford's Alley , and there was a pane of Glass broke, through which we saw Timms , Hunt, and the Prisoner; they were all together, and Hunt said , B - d and W - s Boys, let us drink and be merry with the Constable's Money.

Prisoner. How was I drest at that Time?

Atley. He had a darker colour'd Coat on then than he has now.

Prisoner. Was it a strait-bodied Coat, or a great Coat?

Atley. It was a strait-bodied Coat.

Prisoner. Did not he declare at the Coach and Horses in Drury-Lane, some time last Week, he would not appear against me in this Affair, unless Rhodes would give him a Note of Hand for 20 l.

Atley. There never was any such Thing mentioned.

Prisoner. How does he get his living?

Atley. I am a Shoemaker, and follow my Trade now.

DEFENCE.

Robert Jasper . I live in Parker's Lane. On the 12th of February, I was very ill and not able to help myself, and the Prisoner staid with me from 6 o'Clock in the Morning, 'till between 8 and 9 at at Night.

Q. How far is Parker's Lane from Drury Lane?

Jasper . A very little Way. When he left me he went into his own Room, which is one pair of Stairs lower than mine, and I called to him several Times after he was a-bed . He afterwards got up and came to see me again, for I was very ill.

Q. When was the last Time he came up to you after you was a-bed?

Jasper. The last Time he came up to me was 9 o'Clock, and after that Time I can't tell what became of him.

Richard Ginn . I live in Parker's Lane, and work for Mr. Birtworth , his Majesty's Coach-maker . The Prisoner lodged in my House, and I commonly rise to go to my Work, at a little after 5, and always have found my Doors locked and bolted: Besides I have a little Vermin (a Dog) that will not let any Body come in or go out without alarming me, and the Prisoner could not be out of Doors at this Time, for he had but one Coat, which he had given to a Taylor to alter, and could not get it again, so that I was forced to lend him an old Coat of mine. My People are always a-bed a little after 9, and I bolt the Door and fasten it myself.

C. How long has the Prisoner lodged with you?

Ginn. About 3 Years, and he always was a civil Man. - He lodged with me in February last.

C. Have you any other Lodgers besides the Prisoner?

Ginn. Yes, there are 2 young Men, Oliver and Jasper, and they were both sick from the 7th to the 20th of February, and at that Time the Prisoner could not get his Clothes from the Taylor. He then lodged in my House, and was not out all the Time from the 7th to the 20th of February, for he had no Key to the Door, and I have a little Vermin that will not let me or any Body else come in.

C. For near 20 Days did no body come into, or go out of your House?

Ginn. Not at Night, my House is constantly locked up at half an Hour past 8, when I return from my Business, for I may be killed as well as another Man.

Q. Can you tell how the Prisoner employed himself all this while?

Ginn . He was at Home all the Time, and I supplied him with Necessaries.

Jury. We desire he may be asked, whether as he daily goes out to Work, he can be positive the Prisoner is at Home when he is abroad?

Ginn. I never saw him out; he was always in the House when I came to Breakfast, Dinner and Supper.

Elizabeth Ginn . I am Wife to the last Witness. On the 12th of February Mr. Baker, the Prisoner was at Home at my House, and waited on Jasper who had been a long Time Ill. I remember it was the 12th of February by a very good Token, for he came down to borrow a Frying-pan, to fry some Flounders for Jasper's Dinner. He continued with Jasper the whole Evening, 'till between 8 and 9 o'Clock, at which Time, he went down into his own Room to go to Bed. I went up before 9 to ask the sick Man how he did, and I saw the Prisoner a bed. A little while afterwards, the Prisoner's Bedfellow, Oliver came in, and I called to him and desired him to fasten the Door for every body was a-bed. Mr. Oliver, has lodged with us 7 Years, and upon that Account has a Key to the Door. I heard him go up Stairs into his own Room, and talk with the Prisoner, and then he fastened his Door. This is the Coat which my Husband lent him, and he had it on that Day and 2 or 3 Days afterwards.

Q. How did Oliver come in?

Ginn. He has a Key to the Door, and there is nothing to interrupt him, but a little Dog which we keep.

Thomas Miller . I was at the Coach and Horses in Drury Lane on Sunday the 10th of this Month, and one Mr. Berry and Atley were in Company together. Atley told Berry he had been to Rhodes's about Mr. Baker's Affair; that Rhodes was out of Town, and his Wife would not tell him any Thing about it; upon which Berry advised him not to appear against the Prisoner, and Atley then said Rhodes had used him very ill, and he would not appear against the Prisoner , unless he (Rhodes) would give him a Note for 20 l. I am a Coach Wheeler, but am out of Business at present, and live in Wild Street.

William Harball . I keep a writing Office in Horseshoe-Court near Carey Street. The Prisoner was recommended to me by one Beck, in the middle of last March, as a very good Hand, and he worked with me till the Time that he was taken. He behaved very well during the Time he was with me, and has frequently sat up all Night to do his Business.

Q. How long did he use to sit up on a Night, while he worked for you?

Harball. Sometimes he has sat up all Night; sometimes he went home between 11 and 12 at Night, and at other Times he has had no Occasion to work longer than nine. He told me he lodged in Lewkener's Lane or Parker's Lane; and that he used to have his Victuals given him at a House in Fetter-Lane.

Henry Beck . I write for Mr. Harball, and the Prisoner was my Fellow Clerk. He always was very industrious, and has frequently set up o'Nights to get his Bread, when he has had no Occasion.

Q. What Time did he usually leave Mr. Harball's ?

Beck. He has gone Home at eleven and between eleven and twelve.

Charles Baker . The Prisoner is my Brother. As to the Fact, I know nothing of it, but I never heard him charged with a dirty Action before.

Elizabeth Barret . I live in Fetter Lane, and have known the Prisoner seven Months, and during that Time he always behaved well. I have entrusted him in my House, when I have been in the Country , and never missed any Thing.

Thomas Jenkins . I live with Mr. Russel, a Proctor in Doctor's Commons; the Prisoner came to live there in the Month of May, 1740, and behaved honestly. Guilty Death .


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