Joseph Leath, Violent Theft > highway robbery, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 7th December 1743.

Reference Number: t17431207-17
Offences: Violent Theft > highway robbery; Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdicts: Guilty
Punishments: Death

+ 18. Joseph Leath , late of the Parish of Southall , in the County of Middlesex, was indicted for assaulting William Herne on the Highway, putting him in Fear, and taking from him 10 s. in Money , Sept. 13 . his Property.

He was a second Time indicted for assaulting John Jennings on the Highway, putting him in Fear, and taking from him 5 s. 6 d. in Money , Sept. 13 . his Property.

William Herne . On the 13th of September, I was going to Aylesbury in the Stage-Coach, between 9 and 10 in the Morning the Prisoner came up to the Coach, and said, there was a Lawyer in the Coach who had 200 l. and he would have it, then he produced the Pistol: He put his Hat into the Coach, and held the Pistol in one Hand cross the Wrist of the other; he swore he would shoot my Brains out if I did not tell him which was the Lawyer; I said, there was never an one here, and then he demanded my Money; I gave him 10 or 11 s. and a few half Pence - I put it into his Hat; after he had got Money from every one, he wished us a good Journey, and rode off towards London: There were three Ladies, Mr. Jennings, and myself in the Coach.

Prisoner. What Dress was I in?

Herne. You had on a loose white Duffel Coat, a kind of a Rug-Coat, and I believe the same Waistcoat you have now.

Prisoner. What Horse had I?

Herne. A dark bay Horse.

Prisoner. Was there any Marks upon it?

Horne . I could not see any.

John Jennings . The Prisoner is the very Person who came up to the Aylesbury Coach , September 13, between 9 and 10 in the Morning, about a Quarter of a Mile on this Side Southall ; he enquired for a Lawyer, who he said was in the Coach, and had 200 l. and he swore he would blow Mr. Herne's Brains out if he did not tell him which was the Lawyer; after he had taken Mr. Herne's Money, he came to me, with a Pistol in one Hand, and his Hat in the other, I believe he had 7 s. or 8 s. of me, then he collected Money of the Ladies; he had Money of one of the Ladies before he took Mr. Herne's Money; after he had robbed the Ladies, he seemed to direct his Discourse to me, and said, that I was the Lawyer, and swore, if I would not deliver him the 200 l. he would blow my Brains out; I said, he was under a Mistake, that I was no Lawyer; I shewed him my Hands to convince him that I was not, for I am a Dyer by Trade; then he said, D - n you, give me what Money you have; I said, Sir, I have given you that already.

Prisoner. Take Notice, he says that I had the Ladies Money first.

Jennings . I saw one of the Ladies throw a Purse into his Hat before he took Mr. Herne's Money.

Herne . I did not know that there was any given to him before he had mine.

Prisoner. Was my upper Coat buttoned or unbuttoned?

Jennings . It was loose.

Prisoner. What coloured Horse had I?

Jennings. A large Horse, of a dark bay Colour, I cannot say whether it had any Marks.

Ellis Pugh . On the 13th of November last, I was on horseback upon the Road, and about two Miles on this Side Southall , the Prisoner passed by me; I observed in him what is not very common in Travellers, he took too much Notice of my Horse, and asked several impertinent Questions: Said he, is not your Master a Lawyer? I said, yes; said he, and you are a Welshman? Yes, said I; we had a great deal of Discourse, he went a Mile and an half with me, and all on a sudden I lost him. I was making a Toast at Southall , and the Coach stopped at the Door, I believe my Master (Mr. Potter) came in first; I saw the Ladies crying, and they were complaining of being robbed; said I, was it by a Man in a great Coat, and a dark cropt Horse? They said, yes: When I came to Chashunt , a Quaker told me, he heard the Person who had robbed the Coach in the Morning had been pursuing it again, and that he was in the Town; in the mean Time the Prisoner coming riding by, said I, There's the Man; he had changed his Dress; at the Time he rode through the Town he was in the Dress he is now,

with a black Cap on, and when he committed the Robbery, he was in a great Coat, and had on an old Hat. I believe net worth six Pence: I was ordered and pursue him; I went by myself Mile, when I came to Wickmore-Hill, about four Miles from Heathcomb, and four from Missinglam, I that a Gentleman on Horseback had fell down and hurt himself, and was gone into a House on the Common; said I, he is a Highwayman to a Girl said sure that could not be, for like a Gentleman; I changed my took a Pistol under my Coat, and one took a Gun, which I believe had not for two or three Years; we went to the House, which pretended to call for some Beer; he was in the Yard, hold of him, and said, he was my and the Butcher, who had the Gun, said, if he made an Opposition, he would blow out; in his Coat Pockets were a brace of Pistol, one was charged with Powder and Ball, and the other with Powder only; I persuaded him to come to Missingham, he begged very much that I would let him go, for he said, if he came to London, he was sure he should die; I got him away as soon as I could; I set him upon his Horse, with his Whip in his Hand, and he went along with me very quietly.

Q. What without tying him?

Pugh. Yes - I knew with the Horse he was upon that he could not ride away from me: When I got him to Missingham , he begged very hard to speak to the Gentlemen he robbed in the Coach; I took him into the Room to them, he fell down on his Knees, and asked their Pardon; he sai d he had lost a hundred Pounds the Night before at my Lady Mordington's , and that it was the first Fact that ever he committed.

- Holland. I have known the Prisoner from his Birth; he was put Apprentice to a Shoemaker, and was a Trooper or Dragoon in the Horse Service; he had a good Character in the Country.

Samuel Parsons . I have known the Prisoner these twenty Years, he behaved very well when he was Apprentice, I never heard any Complaint of him -

Prisoner. I have got a Certificate from the and Church Wardens of the Place where I was born, with Regard to my Character. Guilty , Death *. The Jury begged the Favour of the Court to recommend him to his Majesty's Mercy.

* Mr. Potter begged leave to inform the Court, that though he had the good Fortune to escape, he was the Person that was intended to be robbed; that he was on the Coach-Box muffled up at the Time the Robbery was committed; that he pulled out two Guineas, and offered him; which he refused, and said, he never robbed any Body upon the Coach-Box: That the Prisoner had given him the Satisfaction to let him know who was the Person that gave him the Information of his having the Money; and believed that he was induced to commit the Fact by falling into bad Company at my Lady Mordington's ; that as he was not robbed, he was not obliged to prosecute, but did it for the Sake of his Country; and that as there were some favourable Circumstances in the Case, he hoped the Court would take it into Consideration; and that the Jury would be so good as to join with him in his Request to the Court, to recommend him to his Majesty, that he may be transported for Life.


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