Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
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Benjamin Short . I live in James street, not far from where the thing happened. The 20th of January last in the morning, going home, I was got about five yards up Bedford-row , I heard some persons coming after me, the tallest man came first, so I could not resolve myself of the number behind; says the person don't be afraid, sir, we will do you no hurt, he went forward and then turned and took hold of my collar, and put a pistol to my breast; I drew my sword and ran him into the side , the prisoner is the person I am now speaking of, it was moon-light, I am positive it was he.
Q. Are you sure you gave the prisoner a wound with your sword?
Short . My sword met with a small resistance, I thought at first it had past betwixt his arm and body , but on examining him we found it had made a slight wound, and passed betwixt his skin and his ribs. I held my sword a long time in order to save what I had about me; the prisoner at the bar said, will he not part with his sword? Cut his arm off; I let it go immediately after. I heard one of them say, away, away, they went off, and I followed them about 300 yards down Brownlow-street . I advertised my sword with a reward, and the same day there was a hat advertised, and a person taken; I went to Justice Fielding to see the hat, and found it to be my own; I knew it by a remarkable button; when I had it edged I had this button, the same as on my coat, put on it, (being a gilt button) the Justice appointed a time to have the prisoner brought up. I went, the prisoner confest the fact, and also that he broke off the hilt of my sword; and put it in his pocket, and had lost it; he had on, I believe, the same clothes when he robbed me he has on now.
Prisoner. What sort of a wig?
Short. Much the same you now have, and your hat was a little put up.
Q. What is your employ?
Short. I am an organist and musick-master .
John Taylor . I am watchman in Great Wild-street; there are two houses in my watch I had orders to be very careful of, where two or three attempts had been made to break in, &c. On the 20th of January at night, at eleven I found all safe, near twelve at one of these houses I found. by trying it with my staff, the door was open; I rushed in directly, I had a hanger by my side, and alarmed the house; the gentleman looked out of the window and asked who is that? said I, the watchman; I looked about and examined all backwards, the person came down and we found all safe; when I came into the yard, I heard a voice saying, is that the watchman? I said, yes; said she, it was my mistake that the door was left open. [this proved to be wise to the prisoner at the bar.] I left all right at twelve; I sat at my stand till almost two; there came two tall men and a little man after them; I had a suspicion of them; they seemed to shun my lanthorn; I crossed the opposite side, then the clock struck two; I called the hour the contrary way, and looked over my shoulder to watch their motions; I kept calling the hour down Little Wild-street; I came round to an obscure place, then I saw a man moving; when I came up to him I saw three men, one of which proved to be the prisoner, stand rapping at the back door, where I alarmed the people before; said I, good morning to you, gentlemen; they said to me, good morrow: I went on crying the hour into Great Wild-street , in order to see for some assistance; I found they continued at the door; I found my partner, and told him I had a house beset; we went directly; I sent him one way, and I went another; I told him when I saw the light of his candle I'd approach, by this means we should see them, let them move off which way they would; when I saw his light I drew my hanger, and flung my lanthorn with my staff in my other hand; as I advanced, a man came to me and said,
Q. Did you know that he lodged at that house?
Taylor. No, my Lord. The constable searched the prisoner and took out of his pocket two powder horns, a bullet mould, and a screw-driver; the Monday following his landlady was at the Justice's house; she said to me after he was committed, for God's sake go along with me and move their goods, for they shall not be in my house; so I and my partner went, and took out a bed, 3 chairs, and a great bundle of other things, &c. in moving the bed we found a gold laced hat, which was advertised, and Mr. Short has swore to.
[He went on and gave the same account as his brother watchman had done before .]
John Peirce . I am constable of the night; these two watchmen brought the prisoner at the bar to me with the two pistols and hanger , here they be; we searched him and found upon him two horns of gunpowder, one bullet-mould, and a screw-turner . He owned before the Justice he had lost Mr. Short's silver hilt to his sword out of his pocket.
Thomas Ind . I am turnkey of Bridewell, the prisoner confest to me many robberies he had committed, at Constitution-hill and other places; he has given information against two persons, and they have been taken up, but were found to be innocent persons; he shewed me the place in his waistcoat, and also the wound in his side; I saw likewise the blood, where he was run through by Mr. Short.
Prisoner's defence. As I signified to your Lordship before I impeached those five of my gang. I hope your Lordship will not think it too late; I never was in custody before, and the nature of trials I do not know.
Guilty Death .