John Cook, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 4th June 1747.

Reference Number: t17470604-2
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

134. + John Cook , was indicted for assaulting Anne White , in a certain Field near the King's Highway, putting her in Fear, and taking from her Three Halfpence , the Money of the said Anne White , May 6 .

Q. to Anne White . Do you know the Prisoner at the Bar?

White. Yes, Sir; as we came out of Devil's-lane , almost by Crouch-end .

Q. When was this?

White. On Wednesday the 6th of May, between twelve and one o'Clock at Noon; as we were going into the Seven Fields the Prisoner at the Bar sat under a Hay-cock in the first Field; he sat with a Stick a-cross his Lap: When we had got half-way into the Field he followed us, and we made believe we had somebody behind us, for we were afraid of him.

Q. How did you make believe you had somebody behind you?

White. We ask'd why they stay'd; he turn'd round to see if any body was coming; then he said, young Women, I will stop you, to see whether any body comes to you.

Q. What did he say more to you?

White. He said, young Women, I will stop you till I see whether any body comes; he put his Hand in his Pocket, and said, if we made any Resistance he would do for us.

Q. Did he take any thing from you?

White. Yes, Three Half-pence; I took it out of my Pocket and put it into his Hand, and I made him a Courtesy and thank'd him, and went away. This was near a House; it was the Field, facing Mount Pleasant .

Q. What did he take from the other?

White. One Shilling.

Q. Where had you two been?

White. She was going to see her Aunt; and my Mother gave me leave to go with her.

Q. Had he any Mask, or any thing to disguise him?

White. No, he was just as he is now; we gave Notice of it at Crouch-end , and this Man pursued after him.

Q. When was he taken?

White. The 6th of May, about two Hours after the Robbery was committed; we told the Witness John Watling that we were robb'd, and describ'd him.

Q. After you had given Notice did you go home?

White. No, we went to this young Woman's Aunt; and we told the Witness we were going to Hornsey, to one Mrs Seers .

Q. When did you hear of this Man's being taken?

White. About three Hours afterwards.

Q. What then?

White. He was carried before Justice Cook at Newington; then Justice Cook sent him down to the Justice at Islington , because it was done in Islington Parish.

Q. What was the Justice's Name he was carried to?

White. To Justice Hole.

To the Prisoner. Would you ask this Witness any Questions?

Prisoner. When I was carried before Justice Cook at Newington. I was there the better Part of an Hour and an half. When I was in Justice Cook's Yard then the two young Women were brought in; I was talking with the Coachman, and that young Woman in the brown Gown, I can't now repeat her Name, she came in first, and there was a Man standing at the Stable Door in a blue Waistcoat, and she goes up to that Man, and says, This is the Man that robbed me.

Court to Mary Simms . He desires to know, whether you did not fix upon another Man at Mr Cook's.

White. They hurried her along so, that she did say, this is the Man . I said, No, Mary, that is not the Man ; and I pointed to the Prisoner, and they pulled him in directly and shut the Stable Door.

Prisoner. What the young Woman now speaks is impossible, Justice Cook's Coachman is witness, and another Man, and I suppose is subpoena'd here; I did not see that young Woman, neither did she me. When I was before Justice Cook, in his House, the Woman swore, that I took Six-pence in Silver; that she gave me six Pennyworth of Halfpence; she swore some were Half-pence and some were Farthings. I had but Three-pence about me. They swore I had it; I was search'd, but I had it not.

Court to White. You must answer him; he says he was search'd, and there was no Silver found about him.

White. No Silver found about him, but he said he thought he had lost it.

Q. Did he say he had Six-pence in Silver?

White. Yes, Sir.

Q. to Mary Simms . What have you to alledge against the Prisoner, with respect to this Fact?

Simms. As we came out of Devil's-lane of a Wednesday the 6th of May.

Q. Who was along with you?

Simms. Anne White .

Q. What Time was it?

Simms. Between twelve and one o'Clock, when we came out of Devil's-lane into the Seven Fields , we saw no one but the Prisoner.

Q. Where was he in the Field?

Simms. He sat under a Hay-Cock with a Broomstick a cross his Lap.

Q. Did he say any thing to you?

Simms. Not any thing to us till we got halfway the Field; he walked after us; we made believe somebody was behind us, so he kept before us. He walk'd to the Hill called Mount Pleasant , and he turned to look if any body was coming; finding no body was coming to us, he came to us and bid us deliver; so I was very much frighten'd, and I gave him my Half-pence, and then I gave him a Silver Six-pence.

Q. Did he say any thing more to you?

Simms. He put his Hand to his Pocket, and said, if we offered to make any Resistance, he would do for us.

Q. Did he take any thing from Anne White ?

Simms. Yes, Three Halfpence. I had a Pocket-Piece besides, which he gave me back again.

Q. What did you give him?

Simms. It was Half pence and a Silver Six-pence, but I can't swear to the Sum of Half-pence. When he had given me the Pocket-Piece

again I went away some Distance. I was very much frighten'd. When we came to Crouch-end we described the Man by his Cloaths.

Q. Did you tell Watling where he might find you?

Simms. Yes, we told him at Mrs Seers's at Hornsey .

Q. Had you any Account of this Man being taken while you was at your Aunt's?

Simms. Yes, we had an Account of it two or three Hours afterwards by this Man, the Witness, and we went with him.

Q. Where did you go?

Simms. We went from Hornsey to the Justice at Newington.

Q. When you came to Newington did you see the Prisoner at the Bar?

Simms. Sir, I can't say, whether I did or no; I pitch'd upon a wrong Man, the Door was shut against him.

Q. Had he any Disguise, that you might possibly be mistaken?

Simms. No, nothing. I am very positive he is the Man.

Court. You did see this Man after you had pitch'd upon the wrong Man?

Simms . Yes, Sir, I know'd the Person when he came in.

Q. Did Anne White say any thing to you?

Simms. Yes, she said, that is not the Man; that is not the Man: She contradicted me in the Moment that I said the Word, and they shut the Door against us.

Q. Did you see the Man in the Stable when she said so?

Simms . No, for the Door was shut; but immediately, when he came out of the Stable, then I knew him.

Q. Where was he carried after that?

Simms . Before Justice Hole at Islington .

Q. to Tho White . What do you know of this Matter?

White. I know so far as this; that I was Constable, and that I took him into my Custody before Justice Cook. When my Daughter told me that she was robbed I went with him to Justice Cook's; and he own'd the Fact to me, and he would have given me two Guineas to make it up.

Q. Did your Daughter know him immediately?

White. Yes, Sir, when he look'd out of the Stable, my Daughter said, that is the Man.

Q. The Man that had done what?

White. The Man that had robbed her.

Q. What did the Prisoner say?

White. As we were going along, he begged of me that I would make it up with my Daughter, and that he would give me two Guineas for myself, in Case I would let him go.

Q. Did Mary Simms go with you.

White. Yes.

Q. Was the Prisoner search'd?

White. Yes, when I search'd him, he owned he had Sixpence in Silver, but he could not tell what became of it; he had about five Pence or five Pence halfpenny to the best of my Knowledge.

Court to the Prisoner. Will you ask this Witness any Questions?

Prisoner. What he says in the Affair of my confessing the Fact to him is false. As we were going along he said, he had known me, and I bore a very good Character, and my Master had entrusted me. I said, I had rather give him two Guineas than I should be exposed to my Master.

Q. Did he insist upon it, that he was a Person of good Character, and that you knew him?

White. We did not know any thing of his Character, or where he came from.

Q. to John Watling . What have you to say of the Prisoner at the Bar?

Watling. I was at Crouch-end the 6th Day of May, these People came down very much frighten'd, the two Women, and said, they were robbed; I said what manner of Person was it that robbed you; they said, he is a Man with a blue grey Coat, a red Cap, and blue Apron. I said, if I should see any thing of him, where shall I find you? They told me. I got sight of him, and pursued him into Hornsey-house .

Q. Where did you take him?

Watling . We followed him from thence to Stanford-hill ; there we took him.

Q. Who took him?

Watling . Edward Taylor .

Q. Did you call to Edward Taylor to take him?

Watling. I call'd out, Stop Thief, and he jump'd the Ditch, and Edward Taylor took him, and then I came up. Then I went away for the Witnesses. I said to them, you take him before the Justice at Newington. Then I said, I would go to the People that were robbed; so I went to fetch the Women.

Q. When they came, did they know him?

Watling. Yes, my Lord.

Court to the Prisoner. Will you ask this Witness any Questions?

Prisoner. That Man, as I was coming a-cross the Field by Hornsey , I sat down in the Field, and this Man met me, and he then had on a white ragged Fustian Frock or Waistcoat; he said to me, Did you see a Man and Woman go along; I said, I did.

Court. Did you ask him, whether he saw the Woman with a Basket?

Watling. He said, he saw a Man with a Basket, which was me all the while, which I did not tell him. He said, which Way did they go? I pointed out the Way. And he asked me, which Way I came? I said from London.

Edward Taylor . I was at Work by the Road side on Stamford-hill , in the Parish of Hackney, and I heard a Person cry out, Stop Thief. I saw no body. I was surprized to hear a Cry of Stop Thief; so he (the Prisoner) immediately jumpt over the Hedge and Ditch almost upon me. He said to me, I am the Lad that have robb'd two Women of Nine-pence; and I said, then he must go to the Gate.

Q. Where do you live?

Taylor. At Tottenham High-Cross ; I am a Day-labouring Man.

Q. Did you go with him before the Justice?

Taylor. Yes. I went with him before Justice Cook, but he did not care to be concern'd in it; then we went to Islington .

- Battey. I live at the Fan and Bull-head on Stroud-Green . When I heard of the Robbery, I said, we shall have our Trade spoil'd; what, Robberies already at Noon-day? As I was talking with my Wife the Prisoner stood opposite to my Door, about twenty Yards from my House. I said, according to the Description of the Man, that this Man must be the Person. I would not give him any Suspicion. I thought to have took him before he ran away; accordingly, as I approach'd nigh to him, instead of going through the Gate he jump'd, and run a-cross the Green to Samford-hill before he was taken.

Court to the Prisoner. What have you to say for yourself.

Prisoner. I can say so far as this, I am not guilty.

Q. Have you any Witnesses.

Prisoner. I did expect three or four Gentlemen of great Worth to appear for me, that knew me and my Friends; but I have seen none of them here but my Master, with whom I have lived.

Q. to George Dodwell . What have you to say?

Dodwell. I, and the rest of the Witnesses, was inform'd the Trial was not to come on to-day. The Prisoner always behav'd honestly and faithfully with us.

Q. Where do you live?

Dodwell. At the London Spaw.

Q. When did he live with you?

Dodwell. He has left me about a Month or six Weeks. We were inform'd the Trial would not come on till Friday. He was entrusted with Money; and he had a very good Character from Bristol. It was for no ill Behaviour that we parted with him, but only that we did not want any body in his Place. The Jury found the Prisoner Guilty.

[But as it did appear that he had Friends to speak to his Character, he was try'd the next Day upon another Indictment; which was, the robbing of Mary Simms , of 1 s. The Witnesses were just the same, except the Persons that appear'd on the Behalf of the Prisoner; which was, in the first Place, Mrs Mary Dodwell , with whom he had lived a Servant; she said he behav'd very honest and just while he was with them.

Mr William Hunt and his Spouse declared, that they had known the Prisoner, and his Father and Mother for fifteen and sixteen Years, and he always behav'd very well.

John Fowler . I have known him for two Years; I never heard any Harm of him; and his Father and Mother are very honest People.

Guilty . Death .

[But considering the Prisoner's Youth, and the good Character given him by the above Witnesses; and hoping it might be the first Fact, the Jury recommended him to his Majesty's Mercy.]


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