Martin M'Lone, William Bruce, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 2nd July 1746.

Reference Number: t17460702-26
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Not Guilty; Guilty
Punishment: Death

272, 273. Martin M'Lone and William Bruce were indicted for assaulting Thomas Smith on the Highway, and taking from him a Peruke, a Silk Handkerchief and 8 s. 10 d. in Money .

Q. (to Thomas Smith .) What are you?

Smith. I am a Post-Boy at the Green-Man at Barnet . On the 23th of May, in Whitson Week, as I was coming from St. Albans to Barnet , between the 12 and 13 Mile Stone, in my Way down the Hill, several Men were walking in the Road before, I took them for Travellers; when I overtook them one came on one Side of the Chaise, two on the other, and two before the Horses Heads. The Prisoner at the Bar was in a blue Coat with white Buttons and Button-Holes, and had Freckles in his Face. Bruce came to me and said, d - n you don't look at me, let me have your Money; I said, Gentlemen I will, don't use me ill, I am but a poor Post-Boy. They haul'd me out of the Chaise, and seeing the Irish Mail, said they would not meddle with that; but they took my Wig and Handkerchief.

Q. What else?

Smith. They rifled my Pockets, and said, let us take his Breeches.

Q. What did they do then?

Smith . They took 8 s. 10 d. from me. I saw a Gentleman coming towards Barnet, and immediately three or four of them went off to meet him, and several Blows pass'd. They all ran off from me but one of them.

Q. How far was the Gentleman from you?

Smith. About twenty Yards.

Q. Did you know the Gentleman?

Smith . Yes, he keeps the Cock Inn at Oney, his Name is Knight . While they had him down one of them came to me and said, G - d d - n you go along; another damn'd me and said I should not go: So I said, Gentlemen, you need not be afraid of me, I won't betray you; with that they said, go along, my Lad, as fast as you can; so I drove up the Hill as hard as ever I could.

Q. Where was the Gentleman all this while?

Smith. Upon his Back, they knock'd him down. When I came to the Top of the Hill I met a Waggon, or Cart, and said, Master, for God's sake don't go down, there are Thieves at the Bottom of the Hill, you will certainly be robb'd. When I came to the Crown I saw a Light; I jump'd out of my Chaise and went into the House. They ask'd who was there. I said, Gentlemen, pray go down, I believe there is a Gentleman murder'd at the Bottom of the Hill.

Q. Where was this?

Smith. At the Crown at Kicks-End ; one John Nickerson and two Soldiers were there; I believe they all went; I did not stay to go with them, but made the best of my way home.

Q. (to the Prisoner.) Will you ask this Boy any Questions?

Prisoner. Please you, my Lord, I have no Questions to ask him?

Q. (to John Toby Reynolds .) What do you know of this Affair?

Reynolds. My Lord, I know nothing of the Felony, only some Circumstances while the Men were in Custody. I live at Barnet.

Q. Where did you find them?

Reynolds. My Lord, they were in the Cage, these two and four more. They seem'd to be Irishmen. My Lord, we examin'd their Pockets, and found several Letters directed to Persons in London, recommending them to Business, and a Horn which had a small Quantity of Powder; after we had done that, the Post-Boy came into the Cage. I said to the Boy, be careful what you do, look among them and see if any of these Men have robb'd you; then the Boy went directly into the Middle of them as they were in the Cage, and said to Bruce, the

Prisoner, you are the Man: Says Bruce, I did not rob you. The Boy said, you did not rob me, but you are the Man that presented the Pistol, and you are the Man that bid me not look in your Face.

Q. What did he say to that?

Reynolds. I don't remember, my Lord, what Answer he made.

Q. (to Thomas Nichols ) Was you one of those that pursu'd the Prisoner?

Nichols. Please you my Lord, I was at the Crown at Kicks-End when the Boy came in, and said he was robb'd by seven Irishmen, and that they were murdering a Gentleman; and these Men we took upon Suspicion.

Court. After this you pursu'd, Did you?

Nichols. Yes, my Lord, we went thither and pursu'd them; I was after four by myself; and when they saw me, they d - d me, saying, There is but one, shoot him: But when another Person came up they ran away, and we pursu'd and took them all.

Q. Do you know the Prisoner?

Nichols. They were both together when we took them.

Q. Where were they when you took them?

Nichols. In the Bottom by Kicks-End .

Q. What became of the other four?

Nichols. We brought them all before the Justice, but because no one appear'd against them, he releas'd them .

Q. When you took them, then what did they say?

Nichols. Some said they were come from Ireland , and wanted Work.

Q. Where did you carry them?

Nichols. We carried them to the Crown that Night, and they were carried afterwards before Justice Hassel.

Q. Do you know any Thing farther?

Nichols. No, my Lord.

Q. (to Asbury ) Was you one of the Pursuers; do you know any Thing more than Mr. Nichols says; do you remember the two Prisoners?

Asbury . I kick'd up Martin M Lone's Heels in the Field; when we went down there were five of us together: I said to my Partner, let us go overagainst the Waggon, left they should see us.

Q. Are you sure that Mc Lone was the Man you trip'd up?

Asbury . Yes, my Lord.

Q. What do you say of the other Man?

Asbury. These two were taken with the six.

Q. (to Bruce) Now is the Time to make your Defence; the Post-Boy charges you with the Robbery.

Prisoner. Please your Honour I came out of Ireland to look for Work, I was fearce of Money, and was returning Home; I lay at the Upper End of Barnet; I would have paid for Lodging, but they said I was an Irishman and they would not let me have any. We were very cold when the Day-light came; as we were cold we said to one another, we had better be going to Coventry, to get what would carry us Home.

MartincLone Acquitted .

Bruce Guilty Death .


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