James Roberts, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 23rd February 1743.

Reference Number: t17430223-3
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

138. + James Roberts , of St Anne Westminster , was indicted for assaulting Thomas Dell , on the King's Highway; putting him in Fear, &c. and taking from him a Leather Bag, val. 10 s. one Dozen of four pronged Silver Forks, val. 10 l. four Pair of Silver Snuffers, val 5 l. 2 Silver Snuff Pans, val. 5 l. and a Piece of Copper, val. 3 s. the Goods of John Neville and Ann Craig , January 28 .

Thomas Dell . I am 16 Years of Age; a Month ago, next Friday, I was robbed in Leicester-Fields , about 30 Minutes after Seven o'Clock at Night: - I was knocked down and had my Things taken from me; I had two Blows upon my Head, one before, and the other behind, and was robbed of a Dozen of Silver 4 pronged Forks; 4 Pair of Silver Snuffers, and 2 Silver Snuff Pans: These Goods were all my Master's - Mrs Craig is Partner with my Master : I take these Goods to be her's, as well as John Neville's. - I do not know how many were in Company - I do not know the Prisoner at the Bar: - I have been Apprentice about a Quarter of a Year. - There were some of the Goods found upon the Prisoner.

Prisoner. I was in a Blue Coat and a laced Hat that Night, ask him if he knows any Thing of my Dress? Ask him if he knows any Thing of a tall Man, in a Blue Coat, and a Gold laced Hat?

Court. He does not accuse you with taking them so if there is no other Evidence, you will be pretty safe.

John Neville . I am Partner with Mrs Craig. I lost a Leather Bag, with my Name upon it; (Mr Neville, repeated the Plate, as mention'd by the Boy and a Piece of Copper the Boy bought by the Way, which he had in the Bag with the Plate.

Q. How came he to have such a Charge of Plate with him, at that Time in the Evening?

Neville. I had sent them to the Hall to be marked, and he was bringing them home - these are my Goods; they are what were taken from the Boy: - They are not much in Fashion; they were made by Order of a Gentleman: Here is directly half the Plate, as if it was weighed; - I gave Orders, to send out Warnings from Goldsmiths Hall, and by that Means, I came to hear of the Plate: The Prisoner went to Mr Mason's, in Bishopsgate-street, and offered him this angle Fork to sell: Somebody happened to come into the Shop, who had seen one of the Advertisements; Mr Mason, detained the Prisoner and sent for me: I went there, and charged the Constable with him, and carried him before my Lord Mayor; and all the Way he went, he said he found only that single Fork: That he kicked it before him in Bri Mouse; but did not know it was Silver, or what it was; I got a Search-Warrant; he said at last, that he found a Bag with my Name upon it, and the Plate in it; and said it was at his House, that he lived in Wentworth-street, Spital fields: I went to search his House and found nothing but the Bag; I came back to him, and said, are you not a pretty Fellow, to make a Fool of me, to send me to your House, and tell me I shall find my Bag and Plate, when there was nothing but the Bag: The Plate was afterwards found concealed in the Woman's Cloaths, where he sent them.

Prisoner. As to what Mr Neville says, that I said I found but one Fork; I never said I found but one Fork.

Neville. The Woman that stands here behind me, when I mentioned a Search-Warrant, said, you may as well tell Mr Neville the Truth, and then he said he found the Bag and the Things in it.

Thomas Dell . This is the Bag, I was robbed of.

- Storer. (Mr Neville's Servant) The Prisoner said, at Mr Mason's, that he was going along Bewton's Mouse, and kicked the Fork before him, and did not know whether it was Silver, or what it was: he said as to the other Things, he knew nothing of them: He did not know of any more. - I found nothing at his House, but the Bag; - I was not with the Search-Warrant.

Prisoner. Mr Neville said, before my Lord Mayor, that the Robbery was committed by Day light.

- Storer. It was a Moon-light Night; my Master never said so.

Neville. The Boy was cut to the Skull, and kept his Bed 10 or 12 Days.

Tho Mason . On January 29, in the Morning, the Prisoner came to my Shop, and brought this Fork for me to buy; there was a Man in the Shop, who told me, that Mr Neville's Man had been robbed; that there were Warnings out, and he believed, that was one of the Forks he was robbed of; the Prisoner said he could give a good Account how he came by it; I sent for one of the Warnings, and read it to him; you hear what it is, said I. I must stop you and the Fork: I took the Fork, and locked it up, and sent my Boy for a Constable, and charged the Constable with him; he said he found it some where by Grosvenor-square. I sent a Porter for Mr Neville, and when Mr Neville came he took the Prisoner before my Lord Mayor : I went to my Lord Mayor's and produced the Fork.

Q. What did the Prisoner say for himself there?

Mason. I did not hear that. - I was ordered to keep the Fork till the Trial was over.

Elizabeth Nash Mrs Roberts came to my House, and said her Husband had got a great Find, and desired my Husband to go to his Partner: I said, my Husband could not go, and she gave me this Plate; five Forks, two Pair of Snuffers, and one Snuff-Pan.

Neville. I cannot pretend to say the Prisoner told me that he had them. These are the Goods that were taken out of that Woman's Cloaths. - The Prisoner told me he found the Bag, and these Things in it; he sent me to his House, where I only found the Bag, and afterwards to this Woman's House, and I found the Plate sewed up in her Cloaths.

Prisoner. Ask that Witness, who ordered her to sew the Things up in her Cloaths.

Elizabeth Nash . The Prisoner was not by, when his Wife gave me the Things in Bishopsgate-street; he did not order her to do it in my Hearing.

Charles Wheeler . I heard Mr Neville's Boy had been robbed, as he was carrying some Plate Home from Goldsmiths-Hall : I was in Foster-Lane; there was a Warning brought in there, mentioning the Particulars of the Plate that was lost. I went to Mr Masons's, and the Prisoner brought in a four-pronged Silver Fork; said Mr Mason, I do not care to buy it, it is not finished. I took hold of the Fork, and said, This is one of the Forks that Mr Neville's Boy was robbed of, and directed him where to send for a Warning; and the Prisoner said he knew nothing of any more than that one Fork, which he found in Bruton's-Mouse.

[ The Bag was produced, Neville, St James's Market, 1742, wrote upon it in large Characters ]

Prisoner. I did not see any Mark upon the Bag till the next Morning.

John Alderhead , Mr Mason's Servant, was called, but he not being before my Lord-Mayor, he was not examined. Another of Mr Mason's Servants deposed, that the Prisoner said he only found that one Fork, and that he did not know whether it was Silver or Copper.

James Jennings , Constable. I was charged with the Prisoner at Mr Mason's House, and went before my Lord Mayor; and he said there, that his Wife (as he called her) said that the Plate was at his House in the Bag.

Jeremiah Marlow . On the 29th of January, the Prisoner came to my Shop, to offer two four- pronged Forks unfinished. I said they looked pretty suspicious, and did not care to buy them. He said he found them. I told him it would be the most fair and reputable Way to keep them, for there would be Warnings out about them. He said he would sell them presently, for he once found a Gold Watch Case, and carried it to the Gentleman, according as the Advertisement directed, and the Gentleman did not give him any Thing. - He came to me before the Warnings were out, or I had stopped him.

Prisoner. Ask him what Time the Warnings were out.

Marlow. Mr Neville told me the Warnings were out at Seven in the Morning, but it was later when they came to my House. I live at Aldgate.

Robert Warner . I am a Constable of Spital-Fields. I took this Bag out of one of the Prisoner's Drawers. I have had it ever since.

Margaret Roberts was called, but did not appear.

Neville. She is not here; I do not know whether she is his Wife or no, there are two lay Claim to him.

Ann Jackson (the Prisoner's Servant). My Mistress went to Bed about eight o'Clock, and I went to Bed about Ten. My Master was not at Home then; he came Home that Night, and waked me with his

laughing and singing, and said he had got a great Find.

William Clay . I live without Aldgate; on the 29th of January, the Prisoner came to me, and brought me one of these Forks, and asked me if it was Silver, I said yes. He asked me what it was worth an Ounce; I told him: He said he had been bid 5 s. 6 d. I told him then he had no Occasion to ask if it was Silver. There was a Woman with him, who came into the Shop. He said he had about forty Ounces; he took a brown Paper from under his Coat, and showed them me; I asked him how he came by them, and he said he found them; said I, these Things are certainly stole; whether you found them or no, if you act like an honest Man, you will keep them by you; or leave them with me, for there will certainly be Warnings out after them; he said, he once found a Gold Watch-Case, and found the Owner out by the Coat of Arms, and the Gentleman was so ungenerous that he would not give him any Thing; and he said, if I would not buy them he would sell them to somebody else directly - there were thirty three Ounces three Quarters. I dogged him out of my Shop into Mr Marlow's; I saw him offer two of the Forks to him, and saw Mr Marlow give them to him again, and nod his Head at him; when he was gone, I said to Mr Marlow, I believe this Man has not come honestly by them, I have a Mind to stop him; and I would have done it, only I had no Advertisement concerning them. - I asked him his Name, and he said, his Name was James Roberts , and that he lived in Wentworth street, Spital-fields : When I came home I found there were Warnings out to describe the Things; I got a Constable and went to his House, and they said, he would be at home in a little Time; I left a Constable over-against the House to take him if he came in, and I went to Mr Neville's and gave him Information of this Affair.

Prisoner. The Gentleman has spoke the Truth: I did design to have subpoena'd him myself.

Ann Jackson called again. The next Morning I saw two or three Forks, but I did not count them; and I saw some Things like Snuffers - they were not put together - He used to come home twice a Week.

Neville. When the Boy was robbed it was, as near as I can tell, 15 or 20 Minutes after Seven.

Daniel Williams . My Lady keeps a Chair; the Prisoner is her Chairman, and sat my Lady down, in Dover-street, at 7 o'Clock the 28th of January.

John Davey . The Prisoner is my Partner; we my Lady down about 7 o'Clock; we parted soon after, and I went to the Coach and Horses; was then 5 Minutes after Seven.

Prisoner. I could not find these Things when I was at work for my Lady; I found them about 8 o'Clock.

Henry Story. I keep a public House. On the 28th of January, this poor unfortunate Man came into my House a Quarter before 8 o'Clock, in the Evening; I never heard a disrespectful Character of him in my Life.

John Brown I was in Company with him about Half an Hour after Seven, when I came from Work. - I never used to keep Company with him, but I was in Company with him at that Time. - I look'd at the Dial in the House.

Samuel Nichols On the 28th of January, I saw the Prisoner at Mr Story's, about 25 Minutes after Seven.

- Hutchinson. I have known the Prisoner some Years; he has worked for me as a Bricklayer, I never heard any Ill of him. I am a Carpenter.

- Camfield had known him some time, and never heard of any Dishonestly in him. Guilty . Death .


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