James Walker, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 9th December 1747.

Reference Number: t17471209-56
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

69. James Walker , was indicted for feloniously assaulting and robbing, on the 30th of October , James Figgins , in the publick street, on the king's highway, and taking from him a gold watch, with a cornelian seal set in gold, and a steel chain, the property of the said James Figgins .

Q. to James Figgins . Do you know the Prisoner at the bar ?

Figgins. Yes, my Lord.

Q. What have you to alledge against him, as to the crime for which he is now indicted?

Figgins. On the 30th of October, Sir, I was going. down Lumbard-street, about seven o'clock in the evening, I designed to go into Cornhill ; that man, with five or six others, stood under the gate-way, and they were hollowing and shouting; there was a mobing by the post-office, I had not entered above two steps, but they closed me round; I could see that James Walker very plain; I am as sure I saw him then, as I see him now.

Q. Did the prisoner do any thing?

Figgins. He bore upon me with his elbows against my breast, and kept my arms up, as if I were pinioned; and in less than half a minute I felt my watch go from my pocket, as plain as ever I felt my glove go from my hand: Then they all began to withdraw from me; and I caught hold of him by the collar, and said, you have robbed me, you have stolen my watch! he said he had not, and was an innocent man. He being a stout fellow, broke from me, and endeavoured to conceal himself among the mob in Lombard-street; but a gentleman here assisting me, we took him again. He said, here Sir, you may see I have not your watch, I am an innocent man, when, in my conscience, he had the watch in his left hand at first: We were carrying him to the tavern, when he broke away again; and here is a gentleman that run after him, and overtook him, or he had got clear off.

Q. What is the gentleman's name?

Figgins. William Paterson; when we got him again, he trembled prodigiously, and said, don't use me ill: We carried him into the tavern, and I searched him; we found a gold watch upon him, but it was not mine; then he said, you are now satisfied; no, I said, I am not satisfied, I am sure you assisted in robbing me; nor will I be satisfied, till I know what manner of man you are.

Q. Was Mr. Paterson that assisted you present at first?

Figgins. He said he was just by me.

Cross Examination.

Q. Council. How many were there when they came about you first?

Figgins. There were to the number of five or six.

Q. Was you sensible of the watch going from you, are you sure that was the man that took it?

Figgins. I am sure he was the man that took it, or that held me while it was taken.

Q. to Council. I think you describe that he was close up to your elbow.

Figgins. I am sure he robbed me himself, or assisted in robbing me; for I was in such a position that I could not stir.

Q. to William Paterson . Do you know the Prisoner?

Paterson. Yes, Sir - I am sure he is the man.

Q. What do you know of the affair?

Paterson. On Friday the 30th of Oct. last, about seven o'clock in the evening, I went to Lombard-street to see the lights at the Post-office; I was standing just by Exchange-alley, and I saw the Prosecutor, Mr. Figgins, pass by me. He had hardly got three steps up the gate-way, but I heard a number of persons hussling, seemingly in confusion. I turned about, and saw five or six; I saw a white wig, but could not discern the gentleman's coat, but as for the Prisoner, I am positive he is one of them.

Q. What were they doing?

Paterson. They were hussling the gentleman in the light wig, and I am sure the Prisoner was one of the persons that was hussling.

Q. Did you hear any thing?

Paterson. I did not hear one word.

Q. Did Mr. Figgins say any thing?

Paterson. He came out in a prodigious surprize - I am robbed, I have lost my watch. The Prisoner came from the gateway and run three or four yards towards the mob. As soon as he got there, he immediately raised his right arm, at which time I thought I saw a blue string.

Q. to Figgins. What was your watch made of?

Figgins. Of gold, a polished steel chain, and a gold cornelian seal.

Paterson. He raised his arms, and I thought I saw something blue in his hand; I thought it to be a blue string, which I spoke before my Lord the next morning.

Q. Was any body by to take any thing ?

Paterson. I kept my eye so much on the Prisoner, I did not see what Mr. Figgins did - As Mr. Figgins cried stop thief, he ran away and dodged me across the way - I caught hold of him at Mr. Brace's door, and by his company interposing, he broke my hold. - Then there was a hussling of their hands again, that I could not get at him - Then Mr. Figgins came and caught hold of him - Then he lifted up his hands and said, Sir, I have none of your watch. - Then he immediately run through Change-alley, breaking loose from Mr. Figgins. There were two men lay'd hold of my shoulder, I pushed them away and ran after him - I did not close with him in the alley, he being such a lusty man; but when he got into Cornhill I got up close with him, and got hold of him the corner of Pope's-head-alley. When I laid hold of him, he said in great confusion, you are mistaken, I am not the man. - I said, I could not hold you before, but I have got hold of you now, and will keep you. He desired we would not use him ill, and we carried him into the Pope's-head tavern.

Q. What happened then ?

Paterson. He was examined, and there was a gold watch found upon him; but it was not Mr. Figgins's watch.

Prisoner. I am sorry they should know so much more of this affair now, than they did before my Lord-Mayor. He said before my Lord-Mayor, it was a blue watch-string.

Court. He thought it was such a thing in the night.

Prisoner. As I was going home, I was stopped in the street, as Mr. Figgins was, when they cried out, a barber, a barber; I ran out of the crowd, and they ran after me and cried, a robber, but I knew nothing of it.

Q. to John Craydon . What have you to say?

Craydon. I was at the Turk's-head, in Whitechapel, at Mr. Gibbs's, at the time

that this man sent for a character from this Gibbs's. - This Gibbs asked me to go along with him to hear what he was accused of. So I came to the Pope's-head tavern, and this gentleman, the Prosecutor said, at the time they searched him, that they could find nothing upon him. - He said, he believed he had not his watch, and if he had any body to his character, he said he would discharge him - That is all I know - His master came directly, and I believe, had it not been for his master, the gentleman would have discharged him.

Stephen Scot . I was along with him when he was searched, and heard the very same words.

Q. to Richard Starky . What do you know of this affair ?

Starky. Nothing with regard to this thing. I have known him for these three or four years, and I always took him to be an honest man.

Court. Did you ever hear he kept a house of ill same ?

Starky. I heard so, but I never was at his house - I heard he dealt in horses.

Q. to Figgins. Was you put in bodily fear?

Figgins. To be sure I was in fear, and in great fear - I could not speak nor move a hand - I did not know what they were about to do to me.

Guilty of the indictment.

Death .


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