LUKE RYLEY, John MackEvoy, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 12th September 1744.

Reference Number: t17440912-48
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

402, 403. + LUKE RYLEY , and John MackEvoy , of St. Mary Islington , were indicted for assaulting William Hall on the King's highway, putting him in fear, &c. and taking from him a barragon coat, value 7 s. a hat, value 2 s. a perriwig, value 5 s. a bone perfume box, value 1 d. a knife, value 6 d. a handkerchief, value 6 d. and 15 s. in money , the property of the said William Hall, Septem. 3 .

William Hall. On the 3d of this month about eight o'clock in the evening, I was coming from Edmonton to London in a hackney coach - There were also in the coach Mrs. Pickersgill and a child of her's, Mr. Gretton, and Mr. Podger. On the other side of Islington fronting a lane they call Frog-Lane , MackEvoy (for I know his face very well) - I am sure he is the person, came up to the coach first, he held a pistol in his hand and pointed it to me and said, D - n your eyes, the soul that speaks a word I will blow their brains out, or words to that purport: he repeated those words twice, and bid us deliver our watches and money. I sat some little time, and found means to secrete my watch under the cushion of the coach; when I had done that, I desired he would use us civilly and he should have what we had; then he made use of another oath, and bid us come out of the coach. - There were two others with him.

Q. Do you know the other Prisoner?

Hall. I was very cautious of looking too much at them, for fear they should think I was drawing their pictures as they call it. I came out of the coach, MackEvoy rifled my pockets, turned them inside out, and took out 4 s. 6 d. or 5 s. 6 d. and half a guinea, a bone perfume box, a tin tobacco box and a knife; when they had rifled my pockets so far, I was left by myself; presently the same man [ MackEvoy ] catches off one sleeve of my coat which came pretty easily off; then came another and pulled off the other sleeve, and he that pulled off the last sleeve took the coat away, and instantly as the sleeve of my coat was pulled off, my hat and wig were pulled off behind me, but I cannot tell who took them; there was a linen handkerchief taken with my coat it being in the pocket.

Q. Considering it was eight o'clock at night, how could you see MackEvoy so as to distinguish him?

Hall. The moon shone, and I had so much reason to remark him, for he was the first man that came up to the coach, and as I was secreting my watch, I looked pretty much in his face to see whether he observed my motion about the watch. He has a very remarkable face, and his voice is as remarkable - After they had robbed me they took the other gentlemen out of the coach and robbed them, and then went up Frog-Lane - They were all on foot .

Q. Had MackEvoy a cutlass?

Hall. I saw two cutlasses, but I don't know whether MackEvoy had any or not.

Q. Did they do any thing with their cutlasses ?

Hall. They cut one gentleman who was in the coach.

Q. When were they taken up afterwards?

Hall. They were taken up by an accident . Capt. Dodd at the Savoy sent a letter concerning them: I saw them before Justice Fraser, and knew MackEvoy directly.

Q. Was there any thing taken upon them?

Hall. There was a trunk taken upon them, and

in that trunk were several things that were stole. - I had nothing back again but this bone perfume box, which I can't tell whether I took out of the trunk, or off the table at the Justice's.

MackEvoy. Pray, Sir, what clothes had I on then?

Hall. I cannot tell.

MackEvoy. What dress was I in?

Hall. You had a cap or a handkerchief tied about your head, I cannot tell which.

MackEvoy. Tis a strange case that a man should distinguish a man's face, when he could not tell whether he had a cap or a handkerchief on. Was the handkerchief down upon my face or no?

Hall. It was not down over your face, it was in the nature of a cap.

MackEvoy. Can a man have a handkerchief upon his head without its covering his face?

Hall. Yes, very easily.

William Cowland . I was the coachman, and Abraham Carter was along with me upon the coach box; I saw a man come up and he said to me, D - n your eyes stop, or I'll blow your brains out this minute, six or seven times over, (one came a little before the other, and before he stopped the coach, another came to the coach door) upon his saying these words I stopped; the first man demanded Carter off the box, and then demanded his watch and money, and robbed him.

Henry Gretton . I was in the coach with Mr. Hall, and saw a person come up to the coach with a pistol in his hand: I can't swear positively, but I verily believe MackEvoy is the person, he had (as Mr. Hall says) a cap or a handkerchief upon his head, but not a wig: he used the same expression as Mr. Hall says; when he put the pistol into the coach I endeavoured to secrete something as Mr. Hall did. After he had taken Mr. Hall's money, they took him out of the coach; then I saw two persons about him, and saw them very busy about his pockets - Rifling them.

Q. You say to the best of your remembrance that MackEvoy was one, can you say any thing to Ryley ?

Gretton. I said I believed it was MackEvoy; and I think the same of, Ryley, I have the same idea of both of them, but I can't positively swear to them: the moon was in and out, and the moon glistened against the pistol.

Q. Did you see ever another person there?

Gretton. Yes, I thought there were four persons in the robbery, I thought so all along; and Mr. Hall said then that he should know one of them. - Ryley had his hat flapped, and I think a dark wig on as he has now.

MackEvoy. Should you know me to be the person, if you were to meet me at any part of the town?

Hall. I really should, for I looked full in your face, and remember it particularly well.

Joshua Pickersgill . I was behind the coach: at the end of Frog-Lane I saw three men; one came up to the horse's heads, and the other to the coach side, and bid the people in the coach deliver their watches and money, and he that was at the horse's heads said he would blow their brains out - The first thing I saw them do was taking Mr. Hall out of the coach, and then they rifled him and took his coat, and after they had stripped him of his coat, one of them took off his hat and wig behind him - I believe the Prisoners are the men, they were about their bulk and stature, but I cannot swear to their faces. I heard Mr. Hall say at the Justice's, that he could swear to MackEvoy.

MackEvoy. Are there not other persons of my size and stature ?

Pickersgill. There may be so, but I verily believe you are the man.

MackEvoy. How many came up to you?

Pickersgill. There were three.

MackEvoy. The other gentleman says there were four.

Pickersgill. I am sure there were three, there might be more; they came rushing from the end of the lane up to the coach.

Captain Anthony Dodd . On Friday night last about five o'clock, MackEvoy came to me with a warrant signed by Justice Fraser, to demand one Patrick Askin out of the Savoy, who was a pressed man from the city: he had sworn before the Justice, that Patrick Askin had picked his pocket in the Savoy of 9 s. 2 d. I thought there was something more than ordinary in the case, and did not believe that he had picked his pocket. I went to Justice Fraser's, and came back again with a design to make an enquiry into it; one Mr. Morris came, and said he wanted to speak with Patrick Askin : he said there was a trunk left at his house and he could not open it for want of the key. I told Patrick Askin the mistrust we had, and then he desired to become an evidence, so we took his information: upon which we went between one and two in the morning, to Mr. Maddoxs's at the Two Chairmen in Drury-Lane, and took Mr. Ryley in bed; MackEvoy jumped out of the window, but he was taken before he could get off. I happened to hear the sash go, or else they would both have got out of the window, and probably have got off. Then we carried them to New-Prison in a coach my own three men, and Mr. Edwards and I went in the coach with them.

Q. Where did you find the trunk?

Captain Dodd . I sent one of my men for it to Mr. Morris's at the King's-Arms in Bishopsgate church-yard.

Q. Do you know whether they owned the trunk?

Captain Dodd . They did not - They did not confess any thing to me.

Prisoner Ryley. Askin said the trunk belonged to himself.

Captain Dodd . I wondered when MackEvoy wanted to take a man out for 9 s. 2 d. that there were four pounds given for: then I thought that some Irish men had a mind to rob us of all our men, and I bid him go out of the Savoy; he said he lived in Duke-Street, and that he was a gentleman of a great fortune.

MackEvoy. Why do you think 'tis an odd thing that I should demand a man that had robbed me of 9 s. 2 d. tell me upon your oath?

Capt. Dodd. You had the 9 s. 2 d. again.

MackEvoy. Stay, I have more questions to ask you, was it Ryley or I that jumped out of the window?

Captain Dodd . You were the man that was taken naked in the yard.

John Edwards . I was at the taking of Ryley and MackEvoy, at the Two Chairmen in Drury-Lane: MackEvoy jumped out of the window; after we had taken Ryley I had him below stairs in a box, and he desired to know whether he might not be admitted an evidence, and said if he could, he would confess every thing: I asked him whether he was at the robbing of Alderman Heathcote , and he said he was not: I asked him as to the robbing the coach by Frog-Lane, and I think he seemed to consent that he was there.

Ryley. Did not you tell me that my Evidence would go before Askin's, and desired if I knew any thing to tell you, and I told you I would tell all I knew?

Edwards. I don't remember I said your Evidence would go before Askin's, you asked if you could any ways be admitted an Evidence, and if you could be admitted an Evidence you would tell the whole. I said I did not know but you might.

Patrick Askin . That night, Luke Ryley , John MackEvoy , and myself met at the Pyed Bull in Whitecross Street, we went out and robbed some Gentlemen in the fields, then we went into Frog Lane and robbed a coach.

Q. Who went up to the coach first?

Askin. I went up to the coach first, and robbed the coachman [Cowland] and the other man that was with him.

Q. Who went up to the coach door first?

Askin. John MackEvoy .

Q. What did he do?

Askin. I don't know.

Q. What was Ryley doing?

Askin. I don't know.

Q. Were there three or four of you?

Askin. There were three of us - I was concerned in several other robberies - about twenty or thirty, I believe fifteen or sixteen of them have been committed in about six weeks last past.

Q. Would you ask him any questions?

Prisoner Ryley. I think it in vain to ask him any.

MackEvoy. We can prove him to be a vagabond and a vile fellow.

Askin. I have known Ryley about six weeks and MackEvoy about five months - We have been about five months in committing all these robberies.

Q. Have you been promised any reward to be an Evidence?

Askin. There have been no promises made me - I did it voluntarily, to save my life.

Q. Has there been any promise of pardon?

Askin. No.

Prisoner Ryley. Did not Capt. Dodd desire you to turn Evidence?

Askin. Capt. Dodd said he would save my life, he did not promise he would prevent my being a soldier.

Q. Was there a trunk found any where?

Askin. Yes, at Mr. Morris's - I sent it there by a Porter - 'tis my trunk.

Prisoner Ryley. Did Capt. Dodd say any thing of your having a reward?

Askin. No, he did not say any thing of that.

Q. Did you see Mr. Hall at the Justice's?

Askin. I saw him there.

Q. Did he take that little box [a little bone perfume box] off the table or out of the trunk?

Askin. I am sure he took it out of the trunk.

Jury. Do you remember what was taken from the Gentlemen in the coach?

Askin. I cannot remember - I had all the clothes given me - I had a barragon coat.

Q. Where did you divide these things?

Askin. At my lodging, at Mr. Frost's on the other side of the water.

John Thomas . I am a Constable of St. Giles's, on Friday night last between eleven and twelve, Capt. Dodd came with an information from Justice Fraser, to take two highwaymen at the two Chairmen in Drury Lane ; I said it was a very vile house (for I am afraid of going into that house when I go my rounds.) However we went into the house, and

MackEvoy jumped out of the window in his shirt and a handkerchief about his head; and the man of the house stood by the door of the room, where they were, in his shirt and said, I should not go into that room. But Capt. Dodd's men broke open the door, and I took Ryley covered over head and ears in bed, and this hanger was lying by his bed side. I was not careful enough to secure the hanger then, but the woman of the house put it into another room. The landlord had got into bed again, and I said to him, friend, you had better discover the fire-arms. He said there were no fire-arms, but a hanger in a trunk that belonged to Ryley, and we found these three hangers in the trunk.

Pris. Ryley. Did I offer to run away or resist in any way?

Thomas. No.

MackEvoy. Are you to turn Evidence, or do you design to be an Evidence?

Thomas. I will do any thing at any time in order to discover villainy.

MackEvoy. Do you expect any part of the reward?

Thomas. No not I, I don't want any reward.

Edward Frost . I live in Redcross Street in the Park Southwark.

Q. Who lodged at your house?

Frost. The Peacher.

Q. Call people by their names.

Frost. I am not able to think of their names. Last monday was sennight about eleven o'clock at night, Askin came home and the two men at the bar with him - I am sure it was on monday sennight - I am sure the Prisoners are the men, because they had been with him several times before. The manner of their coming was thus; Askin came to the door first, and said open the door and take away the light. I did not see any thing brought in for they went up in the dark - I knew who they were by their coming down together afterwards. Askin came down asked for a candle and went up again, and I thought I heard them telling of money. They all came down together I believe in about a quarter of an hour, and they all three sat down in a little room we have below and sent for two full pots of beer. After that Ryley took his leave of the other two and went home, and MackEvoy lodged all night with Askin. After these two went up, I having some suspicion that they were something worse than smugglers, as they pretended to be, stepped up stairs, looked through the door, and saw MackEvoy pull off his clothes and put on a scarlet coat. Those two rose about five or six o'clock in the morning and went out, but what they brought in or carried out I do not know.

Peter Burchall . I keep Blossoms Inn in Lawrence Lane , last Thursday [6th of Sept.] MackEvoy and another man with him, (a short thick man) came to my house and enquired for the Chester waggon, and whether he could not send a box by it. I said the Chester waggon was gone out, but the Liverpool waggon was in the yard and it might go by that; MackEvoy said that was much the same.

Q. Who brought the box?

Burchall. John MackEvoy brought the box. He asked how he could come at the box again at Liverpool : I told him I would give him a note to receive it there, and I gave him a note to receive it of the carrier at Liverpool , and I directed it by his order;

For Mr. John MackEvoy to be left at the Nagshead Inn in Liverpool till called for.

MackEvoy. Did I bring a box to your house?

Burchall. You are the person, and you gave me directions how to spell your name; you said I must make a large (M) then (ack) a great (E) a narrow bottomed (v) and (oy).

Q. Is this the box that was brought to your house?

Burchall. This is the box, I know it by the direction, and this is the box that was opened at Justice Fraser's. There were four watches taken out of it, three silver ones and a studded one, and some plate buttons, and there was a little Ivory Box taken out of it [Mr. Hall's box] - I never saw Ryley till now, and I never saw MackEvoy till he brought the box.

John Richardson . I was at the taking of the Prisoners. I heard somebody jump out of the window and saw MackEvoy in his shirt; I took hold of his shirt and it tore. I took hold of him again and said if he did not stop I would shoot him, and then he begged for his life. Luke Ryley was brought down stairs and sat down in a box, and desired to know if he could not be admitted an Evidence. Mr. Edwards told him he did not know but he might if he made a discovery. He asked him if he robbed Alderman Heathcote, he said no. He asked him if he robbed the coach at Islington, and he told him he did, and that he would make large discoveries if he was admitted an Evidence.

Pris. Ryley. Was not you and that Gentleman [Mr. Edwards] pumping me and desiring me to become an Evidence?

Richardson. We did so. I did ask you to turn Evidence.

Panton Maurice. I live at the King's-arms in

Bishopsgate Church-yard . Last Thursday was sennight about twelve o'clock at noon, there was a trunk brought with a direction to be left at the King's-arms in Bishopsgate Church-yard . I went up stairs into a large drinking room, and there was the Evidence Askin, and the two Prisoners together. I asked them if any of them owned a trunk that was ordered to be left at my house, and Askin said it was his trunk, that he had some clothes in it and designed to send it to an Inn to go to West Chester. I had a letter from Capt. Dodd to bring the trunk to Justice Fraser's, and it was carried there afterwards; there were in it three silver watches, a silver snuff-box, &c.

Q. Was there a baragon coat in it?

Maurice. I cannot swear to any coat, there were several coats there.

Pris. Ryley. I am no ways concerned in it: did I give you any charge of any thing?

Maurice. No, you said nothing - I saw them all there once or twice before.

Pris. Ryley. Mr. Maurice knows me.

Maurice. I have seen him several times, and have heard he is a Gentleman's son. Both guilty Death .


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