Stephen Wright, Violent Theft > robbery, 23rd February 1743.

Reference Number: t17430223-27
Offence: Violent Theft > robbery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

163. + Stephen Wright , otherwise Brown , of St. Bartholomew behind the Exchange , was indicted for assaulting John Belchier , Surgeon , in his Dwelling-House, putting him in bodily Fear, and Danger of his Life, and taking from him a Gold Watch, val. 8 l. and six Guineas in Money, the Goods, Chattels, and Money, of the said John Belchier , from the Person, and against the Will of the said John Belchier . Jan. 21 .

Wright. My Lord, I think it unnecessary in a Case of the Nature of my Crime, to give the Court any Trouble; and therefore I plead guilty, and I hope I shall be recommended to his Majesty's Mercy by the Court and the Jury.

[To which he was answered by the Court, that he had already pleaded, not guilty, but he might withdraw that Plea, and plead guilty; but informed him, if t here were any favourable Circumstances in his Case, if he pleaded guilty, the Court could not take any Notice of them; and that the Jury cannot report any favourable Circumstances, because the Circumstances do not appear to them: Upon which he agreed to take his Trial.]

Mr. Belchier. On Friday the 21st of January, the Prisoner, who calls himself Stephen Wright, came to my House about seven o'Clock in the Evening, under Pretence of having some Complaint that required my Assistance; and in a very short Time he told me, that his Business with me was to have my Money; he held a Pistol to my Breast, and demanded my Money; I was surprized at that, and told him as he had the Appearance of a Gentleman

he might be in Necessity, (I desired him to take away his Pistol) and I put my Hand into my Pocket and gave him two Guineas; he said that would not do for his present Necessities; I put my Hand into my Pocket again, and gave him three Guineas more, he said that would not do; and that Life or Death were equal to him, he was in such Circumstances; I put my Hand into my Pocket again, and pulled out a Guinea more; he took it, and seeing my Watch he demanded that; I told him as he had got six Guineas he might be satisfied with that; but he was not, and took my Watch out of my Pocket. I seeing an Opportunity, rushed upon him, took the Pistol out of his Hand, threw him down, and called my Servants; and then we took the other Pistol from him, and the Watch out of his Hand; and then he said he was so much distressed in his Circumstances, that Necessity obliged him to do what he did.

Q. This was not the first Time he was with you, tell the Story.

Mr Belchier. He was at my House on the Monday, and enquired for me. I was not at Home; he left Word with my Servant, that he would call the next Evening. Tuesday the 18th, was the first Time I saw him at my House; he staid then about a Quarter of an Hour, and talked to me about some imaginary Complaints. On Friday the 21st, about two o'Clock, I received a Letter, Stephen Wright, wrote for me that Morning; wherein he says, he had discovered some other Complaint; that if I thought proper, I might order him something for it; that he would come that Evening to my House, and bring five Guineas, which he hoped would satisfy me: When he came, I told him, though he was a Stranger, with Respect to the five Guineas, as he appeared so much like a Gentleman, I did not think he had any Design to impose upon me; and I told him that his Complaint was only imaginary; and then he told me that he had no Complaint, but his Business with me was in the Manner as I have related it to your Lordship.

Prisoner. Ask Mr. Belchier, whether I held the Pistol to his Breast?

Mr. Belchier. When he pulled the Pistol out of his Pocket, he held it to my Breast, and said, Sir, your Money: I said, Take the Pistol away and you shall have my Money.

Robert Corderoy . I heard a Noise in the Parlour, and went in and saw the Prisoner at the Bar down on the Floor, upon his Back, and my Master upon him; says my Master, He has robb'd me: I saw my Master's Watch in his Left-hand, and he dropped the Watch upon the Floor; I took it off the Ground and laid it upon the Chair, and then I laid hold of the Prisoner and secured him.

Prisoner. I think he says, I was down on my Back, and Mr. Belchier on me; I desire to know how he could see the Watch in my Hand when Mr. Belchier was on me?

Corderoy. Your Hands were spread out.

Mr. Belchier. In the Struggle he dropped the Money and the Watch; it might drop out of his Hand: I picked the six Guineas off the Floor.

John Hill. On the 21st of January the Prisoner came to my Master; I heard a great Noise of smashing of Glasses; I went into the Parlour to see what was the Matter; I took hold of the Prisoner's Right Arm and held him while my Master took the Pistol out of his Pocket; the other Pistol was taken from him before; I saw the Watch lying in the Chair when I came into the Room.

Prisoner. I have no Friends to call to my Character, but I believe Mr. Belchier may have heard * my Character from some Persons in Town: My Misfortunes were such that I did not care to inform my Friends. Guilty , Death .

* Mr. Belchier would have given the Court an Account of what he had heard, in relation to the Prisoner, but was told it could not be admitted as Evidence.


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