Mary Harris, Arthur Murphey, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 28th August 1741.

Reference Number: t17410828-21
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Not Guilty; Guilty
Punishment: Death

24. 25. Mary Harris alias Murphey and Arthur Murphey of St. George the martyr , were indicted for assaulting Hester Parker in a certain field and open place near the King's highway, putting her in fear, and taking from her a linen frock, val. 2 s. a linen cap, val. 4 d. and two topknots, val. 1 d. the goods of the said Hester Parker ; July the 25th .

At the Prisoner's desire the witnesses were examin'd apart.

Hester Parker was call'd, and being examin'd as to her knowledge of the nature of an oath, and giving satisfactory answers, was sworn and gave the following evidence.

One day, about 5 o'clock in the afternoon, three weeks ago, I saw the Prisoner Harris in Lamb's Conduit-fields . She was going to take me up, and I said she did not know my mamma: I told her she

did not know my mamma, and then she took me up in her arms, and said she would rip me up with a penknife if I offer'd to cry.

Q. What was done to you when she took you up in her arms?

Parker. She put the knife pretty near my stomach, and said she would rip me up if I offer'd to cry, and then she set me down again. After she had done she put me by a ditch side and ask'd me if I would have a plumb bunn or a plain bunn, and I told her I would have a plain bunn, and while she was gone to fetch it, a gentleman came and lifted me off the ditch, and two little girls went home with me.

Q. Do you remember any thing of the man?

Parker. I should not know the man so well as the woman.

Q. Did you lose any thing?

Parker. Yes, sir, a frock, a cap and a knot. The woman pull'd off my frock, and the man took out the pins.

Q. When was this done to you?

Parker. It was done in the field, before they set me on the bank.

Q. Was the man present when the woman first took you up?

Parker. Yes, sir.

Q. Was your frock taken from you before the woman threaten'd to rip you up?

Parker. Yes; I cried after my frock was pull'd off, and she threaten'd to rip me up.

Q. Look at the Prisoner; are you sure she is the woman?

Parker. Yes, I am very sure of it.

Pris. Murphey. Does she know that I was present when the woman first took her up in the street?

Parker. No, not at first.

Pris. Harris. Do you know me, my dear?

Parker. Yes, I know you very well.

Arthur Parker . When I came home at 8 o'clock in the evening, the child told me she had been robb'd, and describ'd the persons. She was very positive to the woman, and could swear to her dress, but as to the man she did not know him so well. The girl said the woman was very much disfigur'd with the small-pox; and had on old black shoes, and a blue worsted gown, which very gown she wore when she was taken. As to the man, she described him to be the person that was lying behind the ditch with a handkerchief about his head, while she was sitting among the women in the fields, but she could not recollect his face. The next day, being tuesday, I went to several twopenny lodgings to enquire for the Prisoner, and spent that day to no purpose; upon which I ask'd the child if she cou'd recollect any of the streets the Prisoner had carried her through, for the Prisoner pick'd her up in Bond's stables, crying for the missing of us; and the Prisoner telling her she knew us, and would carry her to Pancras where we were, the child very gladly embrac'd that opportunity to come to us. When I ask'd the child if she could tell which way she went, she recollected Gray's Inn Lane; upon which I carried her up Chancery Lane, and she remember'd the green trees there. I then carried her through Gray's Inn, she did not know that, but as soon as we came into Gray's Inn Lane, she remember'd being led through it by the Prisoner. At the upper end of Gray's Inn Lane, there is a turning goes to Sadler's Wells; I took her that way and she did not know it, but she said, Daddy! there is the sign of the Bottle, glass and bunn, and if she could see that she should know the way. She soon discover'd the bottle, glass and bunn; and said there was a gateway somewhere thereabout through which the Prisoner carried her. When she came to the end of the road she was at a stand, and at last shew'd me the gate and a dunghill, and she told me she remember'd them very well. After the child had shew'd me the place where she was robb'd, I went in pursuit of the Prisoners to the Castle alehouse in Bloomsbury, and enquir'd of the drawer, who gave me the same description of the woman's clothes, as the child had done. I was unsuccessful that day, and could not hear of the Prisoners, but I afterwards got a warrant, and gave it to the landlord of the Castle to execute, and I had not sate above an hour in the house before the Prisoner Harris came in, and the child scream'd out as soon as she saw her. We made her pull off her hat, and the child's cap and topknot were found upon her. Upon this she was carried before Mr. De Veil, and being ask'd how she came by the cap and topknot, at first she stammer'd a little and said she bought them in Monmouth-street, but could not tell of whom, so she was committed for further examination. This was on the thursday, and on the tuesday following, I took the Prisoner Murphey on his master's shopboard, and I expected he would put on the same cloaths he usually wore, but instead of that he took a coat from a bundle of cloaths that were pil'd up for sale. I then took him to the Justices, and at first he strenuously denied being in the fields that day; but at last he own'd that he was drunk, and that having lost his hat and wig, he slept in the ditch with a handkerchief about his head.

Pris. Murphey. Does he not take us up for the sake of the reward?

Mr. Parker. No, by no means, for I did not know there was any reward 'till some time afterwards.

Ann Hart . On the 22d of July, I saw a child of this size come up to the side of the bank where the Prisoner was sitting. I believe it might be about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. The child enquir'd the

way to some place - I can't tell what place it was, but I found it was where her father and mother were. The Prisoner Harris ask'd her several questions, and seem'd very willing to conduct her, and accordingly led her away.

Pris. Harris. Are you sure I am the woman?

Hart. Yes, I am sure of it. The Prisoner Murphey was lying asleep on a bank at the side of the ditch at the same time. I am sure it was he, for he desir'd me to take care of his hat and wig, and I tied the handkerchief about his head. He was pretty much in liquor, and when the Prisoner and the child went away he slept on for a little while, and then he got into the ditch and went away, but which way he went I can't tell.

Elizabeth Baily . I sell gingerbread by Powis's wells. The Prisoner desired me to go to the Castle in Bloomsbury to desire her husband, the other Prisoner, to come to her in the fields. I went into Holborn, and in my way I met him, and when I came back again Mrs Hart told me that the Prisoner Harris was gone away with a child. The Prisoner Murphey presently came up, and laid himself down on the bank with a dirty handkerchief about his head, and after he had slept some time, he got up and went away down the field, and afterwards that same night I saw both the Prisoners together in Southampton Row.

Pris. Murphey. Did you not meet me in Holborn about the hour that the child was robb'd?

Hart. I did meet him in Holborn, but I can't tell as to the hour. I was at the Justices when he was examin'd, and he said he was very much fuddled, and own'd he was in the fields; but he afterwards contradicted himself and said he was not.

Catharine Parker . I took my child's cap off the Prisoner's head at the Castle alehouse in Bloomsbury. I am very sure it is mine, for there was a hole in the corner which the child tore by turning her head aside while I was putting it on. There was a wash'd topknot on it, and it is common for people to cut the ends of ribbon to prevent fraying, I never do cut them, and this which I took upon the Prisoner was not cut, and therefore I take it to be mine.

John Birt . Mr. De Veil's warrant was brought to me to take the Prisoner Harris, and in about half an hour she came by my door. I took her into the house, and the mother of the child took this cap and knot from her, and said it was her's. I ask'd the Prisoner about it, and she acknowledged to me that they were the child's, and that she took them off in the fields.

Pris. Harris. I was sitting with this woman that sells gingerbread, and the child asking for her father and mother, I led her to the bottom of Red Lion Street, and there a woman said she knew the child and took her away.

Pris. Murphey. As for their taking me up, I never went out of the way, I was every day at my work.

John Harris . I keep a public house. The Prisoner Murphey has us'd my house off and on 6 or 7 years, and I never heard that he wrong'd any body.

Eston Pattison. I have known him ever since I can remember, and when my mother kept a public house, he used it, and has been trusted in it drunk and sober, and I do not think he would be guilty of a base action.

Edmund Draytonbury . He work'd for me when he was taken up, and he would get fuddled now and then, but I never knew him in a Prison in my life.

Ann Lanson . I have known him 18 years, and I believe he would live 3 days on a chew of tobacco before he would rob any body. He went by the name of mad Murphey, but I believe he never was so mad as to commit a robbery.

Tho Stilgo . I have known him about 20 years, and never heard any harm of him.

Robert Turner . He is a very honest man as far as I know. Murphey acquitted , Harris guilty . Death .

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