John Hill, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 5th December 1744.

Reference Number: t17441205-16
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

23. + John Hill , of St. Andrew, Holborn , was indicted (with Edward Gascoign , not yet taken) for assaulting Humphry Collison on the King's highway, putting him in fear, and taking from him a japan tea-chest, value 31 s. 6 d. six cups and six saucers, value 46 s. and a box with counters for the game called quadrille, value 19 s. the property of John Prestage , Oct. 16 .

Humphry Collison. On the 16th of October, between eight and nine at night, as I was going along Bedford-Row, I met three young men - I cannot be positive that the Prisoner is one of them. And just by the King's Road one of them, which it was I can't tell, got hold of my mouth, and forced my jaw open, and got hold of my tongue, that I was not capable of speaking; and one of them blinded my eyes with his hand, that I could not see; one of them put his hand into my breeches pocket, and took out three or four keys; and then somebody said, D - n him, or G - d - n him, bit him on the head; and one of them did hit me on the head; and then they espied this parcel, and struck me upon the hand, and beat it out of my hand upon the paved stones.

Q. What makes you think the Prisoner was one?

Collison. At the first sight of him, I took him to be one; but I can't swear to him. I believe this is the trunk: this key in particular I can swear was taken from me at that time.

Q. When did you hear of the Prisoner's being taken up?

Collison. I heard it the Friday morning following. I was sent for to Justice Fraser's.

Joseph Waters . Edward Gascoign , John Hill, and I, robbed Collison of these things about nine o'clock at night - it was done at the upper end of the King's Road, by Red-lion-street. Hill put his hand before his eyes, and said, D - n him, he looks; Gascoign put his hand in his pocket, and took out some keys, and I took the tea-chest, &c. from him, and went off with them.

Q. Did any of you hit him over the head?

Waters. We hit him but one blow over the head, and that John Hill hit him.

Q. Where did you carry the things?

Waters. I carried them to Saffron-hill, and left them at a coffee house: the woman asked me how I came by them. I said, I was going on an errand into Cheapside with them - I think it is Will's coffee-house, it formerly was a brandy-shop; but the woman never bought any thing of me, and never knew that I went a thieving. When I was before Justice Fraser, I sent for the things, and she delivered them up directly.

Q. How long have you been acquainted with the Prisoner?

Waters. About two years - we did not live together - Gascoign brought me acquainted with him, and we used to meet at Gascoign's house in Jack Adams's Alley (I think it is.) Gascoign was brought up near me almost all his life-time.

Q. Where had the Prisoner, Gascoign, and you been that night?

Waters. We had been upon other things, to see if we could get any thing: after I had left these things at Saffron-hill, we went to an alehouse.

Q. How had you money?

Waters. I had a great quantity of money - I deal in hard ware, and keep a house in Hare-street, in Cold-bath-fields; and these fellows used to say, if I did not give them money, or go along with them, they would hang me; and when I heard that John Hill was taken up, I voluntarily surrendered myself, and gave an information; and I would have done it sooner, only these rouges would not let me alone.

Q. Who did you surrender yourself to?

Waters. To one Quaite. - I believe he is a bailiff.

Q. How came you to think, that he was a proper person to surrender yourself to?

Waters. Because he took Hill.

Q. Then Hill's being taken, frightened you?

Waters. No, I was not at all afraid, for if Hill had not been taken, I would have surrendered my self that night.

Q. But that made you go and do it directly, did it not?

Waters. It did, Sir.

- Prestage. These are my property, I sent my servant with them that night to one Mr. Peacock's.

Miles Carrol . I took John Hill about twelve o'clock at night. - I was sent for to Justice Fraser's to take Hill into custody, for I did not take him up; Hill was there. Hill acknowledged Waters, Gascoign, and himself to be guilty of several robberies; - (this was the night before Waters made the discovery) and Hill desired the constable to intercede with the Justice, that he might be admitted the evidence, and he promised that he would make an ample discovery; I carried Hill to the Gatehouse about eight o'clock in the morning. After that Waters was brought to me, and he begg'd that he might be admitted the Evidence. I said, Hill has impeached both you and Gascoign; and when he was before the Justice he said he could impeach nine people, and he said he had left the things at a brandy-house and coffee-house on Saffron-hill.

George Quaite . I was at the taking of Waters, Edward Hill, and John Hill: we took Waters at his mother's room, and he told us the things were on Saffron-hill, and they were sent for. Guilty . Death .


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