William Cox, Sarah Cox, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 28th July 1744.

Reference Number: t17440728-20
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

322, 323. + William Cox , and Sarah Cox , of St. Giles's without Cripplegate , London, were indicted for assaulting William Cater on the King's highway, putting him in fear and danger of his life, and taking from him a handkerchief, value 12 d. and six shillings in money, the property of the said William Cater , May 27 .

William Cater . On the 27th of May I was walking down Barbican about eleven o'clock at night, I was going along by myself, no man or woman in my company, William Cox the Prisoner at the bar came to me and blew out a candle that I had in my hand, which I was taking home to light me to bed, then he took hold of me by the collar of the coat, and bid me stand ( Sarah Cox put her apron against my mouth) and said, if I offered to resist he would stab me, whereof [whereupon] he put his hand into my pocket, and took out six single shillings, which I had in my breeches pocket on the right hand side, then Sarah Cox untied my handkerchief, which I had about my neck, and then he drawed the handkerchief off my shoulders, and away they went, and run away.

Q. Did they run?

Cater. Yes.

Q. Did Sarah Cox untie your handkerchief while William Cox took it off your neck?

Cater. Yes, she did, - she is not the wife of William Cox the Prisoner, she is the wife of Thomas Cox .

Q. What sort of a night was this? Was it a calm night?

Cater. It was a calm night.

Q. Did you know William Cox ?

Cater. I had seen him once before.

Q. Was it light enough to discern one person from another?

Cater. Yes very easily.

Q. What light did you discern them by?

Cater. I saw them before he blew my candle out. I saw both their faces as plain as I can now, and some relation of theirs offered me the money and the handkerchief if I would not appear against them. Sarah Cox was examined before Justice Hole , (she was examined first) and she would have made herself an evidence against William Cox and his wife, and 4 other persons.

Q. What for this fact?

Cater. Yes.

Q. What did she say as to this particular fact, did she say how far she was concerned in it?

Cater. She did not the first time she was examined, but she did when she was called in the second time, after the Justice had examined her, he called me in singly by myself, and afterwards he called her in again, then she confessed that she untied my handkerchief, and he confessed he took the money out of my pocket.

Q. Did she own she had any part of the money?

Cater. No.

Q. What did he say?

Cater . He owned he took the money out of my pocket, but did not take part of it all .

Q. Was there any confession taken before the Justice?

Cater. There was something wrote, and they put their marks to it.

Sarah Thomas . I happened to be coming along just by the Black Horse in Barbican, a few minutes before or a few minutes after eleven at night, I cannot tell which; I saw the woman [ Sarah Cox ] come up to him [the Prosecutor] and put the apron before his mouth.

Q. When was this?

Thomas. The 27th of May.

Q. What did she do then?

Thomas. She untied his handkerchief, and William Cox who stood behind, took the handkerchief of his shoulder, and run away with it.

Q. By what light did you discern this?

Sarah Thomas . I discerned it by the light of the lamps.

Q. Was there a lamp thereabouts?

Thomas. Yes there was. - I happened to be out that night a little longer than ordinary, and it being a clear night I stopped a little to see what they were doing, for I did not know but they might know the man.

Prisoner William Cox. Ask the Prosecutor whether he ever saw me before?

Cater. I have seen him before, but I never saw him do any harm before.

Q. Have you known the woman before?

Carter. Yes, and I know her to be a very vile jade.

Thomas Dobbinson . I work for Mr. Willoughby a Press maker in Fore-street, the 11th of June Mr. Cater came to ask for Mr. Willoughby , and he said he had got an account of the persons who robbed him, and he said he heard they lived in Swan-alley, by the three Jolly Butchers. I told him I would go along with him and endeavour to take them, for they were generally out in the skittle ground. I knew it was a dangerous attempt, but I said I would be brought home myself if I did not take hold of them. I heard that William Cox had lately worked for a Hog Butcher. I went to the house of one Tidsell (who I sent for to come hither) I asked him whether Cox's credit was good enough to borrow 20 s. and pay it at a shilling a week. I did this that they might not suspect what I came about. I did tell him there was an old woman that lent out money at a shilling a week that desired me to enquire, and the landlord went and fetched him; he came and sat down, I said how do you do Cox? I think there is too little for you, I had the pot in my hand and drank to him, (some people said he looked a little white) and desired the landlord to bring another. I catched him by the collar, and I had a little Joiner's hatchet by my side, and I said if he stirred a step I would lay his head upon his shoulder; Tidsell said, If I had known this, I would not have called him; then Tidsell said to him, I told you what these whores would bring you to, but I did not think you had been so great a rogue as this; Cox said he did not do it; but he believed he knew who did, he said it was our Tom's wife and some other persons. Then said Tidsell send and have them taken up, but he wanted to go and fetch them himself: I said, it is the custom in our country always to keep an egg in the nest till the hen has laid again, so Sarah Cox was sent for and brought in, when she came in shed - d his eyes and limbs if she would not hang him and all the gang of them; after that she sell a swearing at me, she said she was present at the time of committing the robbery, and saw it done, but that it was William Cox and his wife, and one they call Country Moll who robbed Mr. Cater. She wanted to make herself an evidence, I went with them to Justice Hole by Clerkenwell church , and he said there was no occassion for her evidence, when there was evidence enough without it: I had William Cox 's wife brought before the Court, and she was acquitted before the Justice, because Mr. Cater said he did not see her to his knowledge.

Prisoner Sarah Cox . Please to enquire into the character of that man, he has hung one person already, and he says he will hang us.

Thomas Foot . I am a Headborough, the last Witness charged me with the Prisoners at an alehouse in Swan-alley for a robbery. I sent for the Prosecutor, and when the Prosecutor came he fixed upon them directly. Sarah Cox desired to go with the Prosecutor into another room; I went into the back room with them, and Sarah Cox desired to be made an evidence as to this fact.

Q. Did she mention how she-was concerned in it?

Foot. She mentioned a little of it then, but not so much as she did before the Justice; the Prosecutor seems to give an account of their signing an examination, but I don't know of any such thing. I heard her confess it before the Justice, and the man denied it all the time.

Prisoner William Cox . I know nothing at all of the matter.

Prisoner Sarah Cox . As to the Prosecutor I did meet him with a candle and candlestick , and he wanted to do some rude thing with me; he is a very loose person, and makes it his business to pick up women in the night time. There's a person in Court he took home with him who picked his pocket.

Q. (to Cater.) Why did not you cry out, or go in search after them immediately?

Cater. I did cry out, I cried out stop thief, and they run up an alley. This woman [ Sarah Thomas ] being by, I asked her whether she knew them, and I went into Swan alley and enquired after them, and at last I found them out.

Edward Berry . I have known William Cox a little boy, his character was always when he was little to be honest, and when he was a man to be honest. I am a Hog Butcher by trade, the Prisoner has worked some years with me, and when he worked with me I could trust him all over my house or with 500 l. - He worked with me last winter season. - I have something more to say to his character, he once brought a moidore to my wife which she had slipped off the table in telling some money, says he, Mistress, I have found a moidore , but if some people had found it, I should never have had it again.

James Jackson . I am a Wheeler by trade, the Prisoner was born in the neighbourhood, I have known him from a little boy: he always had a good character; the evidences against him are persons (though I know none of them) of very indifferent character; I would trust the Prisoner at the bar with 100 l. sooner than I would the Prosecutor with 5 s. I am told the Prosecutor is a man very much given to drink, he had a wife and she left him because he was a nasty fellow, and took women home to bed with him.

Berry . I have heard he is a lewd man, and goes out to pick up women in the night; the evidence that wants to hang this woman, is one they call Bubby Sall.

John Turner . I have known the Prisoner from a child, and know his father and mother, he worked for Mr. Berry many years, and I never heard him speak ill of him. I have heard of his picking up a moidore and bringing it to them.

Mary Sanders . I am not come to speak to the character of either of the Prisoners; I am come to speak to prove that the Prosecutor is a man, that makes it his practice to pick up common women.

Q. What do you say of the woman, witness?

Sanders . I know her to be a common street walker; and I know he was so drunk that night that he had a candle and candlestick in his hand, and did not know what he did with them.

Joh n Berry . I have known the young man these ten or a dozen years, ever since he has been a child on and off, he has the character of a very honest young man; he has worked with me this winter, and I have entrusted him with 2 or 300 l. value in my affairs, he has been where there has been silver cups and other plate, and he never took any of them.

Richard Romaine . I have known William Cox 14 or 15 years, he has the character of a poor honest working fellow; I have known Sarah Cox ever since she was first born, and I never knew any harm of her. - I know nothing of her character of late days.

Hannah Barfield . I never heard he had the character of being given to thieving, he has been given to loose company.

Makepeace Sheriff. Sarah Cox came of honest parents, I never knew any harm by her in my life.

John Sheriff . I have known her parents these 20 years, and as for her I never knew any harm by her nor never heard any.

Sarah Lake. I have known her a great many years, and was schoolfellow with her, she always was an honest girl from her bands; she never wronged man, woman or child.

Rebecca Canter . I knew her when she was a servant and lived at Mr. Poole's a gunmaker in Shoe-Lane - about six years ago. I cannot say I have heard any thing of her lately. Both Guilty Death .


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