John Steward, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 5th July 1749.

Reference Number: t17490705-32
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

406. John Steward was indicted, for that he, in company with two others not yet taken, on the King's high-way, did make an assault on , putting him in bodily fear, and taking from his person one man's hat, val. 2 s. one walking cane, val. 5 s. and eight shillings in money, his property .

June 23 .

Dedrick Jacob Hane . On the 23d of June, as I was coming from London-stone Coffee-house, about 11 at night, I was knocked down in Swithin's-lane by three or four people, I do not know who they were. They took my hat and cane and eight shillings and upwards in money, they did not say a word before they knocked me down. I called out, one of them said, it will be best for you to be quiet, another bid him shoot me. I pursued one of them into Cannon-street, up to Walbrook, crying out, Stop thief, I am robb'd, &c. one of the evidences, being in the street, pursued and took him. I, being much surprized, went home, and saw no more of it that night; the next day I was

summoned before the sitting Alderman to know if I knew the prisoner. I said, I could not swear to him. My wig was found lying in the kennel.

Charles Priest . I am the man that pursued and took the prisoner. As I was going home between 11 and 12 o'clock at night the 23d of June, in Cannon-street by the end of Swithin's-lane, I saw the prisoner run, and the gentleman, pursuing him closely without hat or wig, crying out stop thief.

Q. Which way were they running?

Priest. Out of Swithin's-lane into Cannon-street. The gentleman stopped at the watch house door, at the corner of Swithin's-lane, and desired me to pursue the man; I pursued him, he ran up Wallbrook, fell down, and before he could get up again I collared him, and called to a watchman for assistance, which he did; we carried him back to the watch-house; the gentleman that was robb'd was gone when we got there. The prisoner was carried that night to the Poultry-counter.

Q. Are you very sure the prisoner is the man that came running out of Swithin's-lane?

Priest. He is the very man that was running as hard as he could, and the prosecutor pursuing, the gentleman was very near him; he was searched, there was about nine-pence, and a small clasp knife in his pockets.

Thomas Hussington . I was constable the 23d of June. I heard a screaming in the street, I listened to it, in about two minutes I heard it repeated, and also they called out for the watch; as I was unbolting the door I saw two men run by me very swiftly; as soon as I got out of the watch house, the prosecutor was at the end of the lane without hat or wig, in looking about we found the prosecutor's wig, and, in the kennel, we found a sort of a crab-stick; while we were thus searching the street, word was brought me, one of the fellows was taken; I would have prevailed upon the prosecutor to have gone down to the watch-house; he was so much surprised he would not, but went home. Upon my returning to the watch-house, Mr. Priest, the prisoner, and two of our watchmen were there. Mr. Priest gave a particular account how he saw Mr. Hane pursuing to the end of the Lane, and how he took him; giving the same account he does now. I examined the prisoner of his being there, and his running away in that manner? His answer was, he saw a riot and quarrel, and he was afraid of being drawn into it. I then asked him, Who he was, or what he was? he gave me no satisfactory answer as to his character; I searched him, and found as before mentioned. I found a pocket-book in his jacket, in which was his discharge from the King's service. I carried him to the Counter; the next morning he was examined by Alderman Winterbottom; he was there asked, why he run away, if he was an innocent person? his answer was, He heard there had been a robbery, and he ran away fearing he should be taken up by the watch. The Alderman told him, if he was an innocent person he ought to have gone and assisted the person robbed.

Christian Reader . The 23d of June, about half an hour after eleven, I saw three men in Swithin's lane standing up at Alderman Atkins's door, I knocked at our gate, and called our watchman out; I took a particular notice of the three men: as to the man's face, I can say nothing to it; but, as to his size and dress, I think the prisoner at the bar was one of them; this was about four minutes before the cry of Stop thief , &c. As soon as the out-cry was made, we came to the gate, and saw two fellows run up the lane; they, I look upon, to be the other two men, they ran towards Lumbard-street. I went next morning to the Poultry-Counter, and took two men with me, to whom I had given the description, and looked on the prisoner, and found he answered to the description I had given. I then did, and still think, he was one of the three men I saw standing there.

Q. What a clock was it when you saw them?

Reader. It was at least half an hour after eleven, I passed by them on the other side the way.

Prisoner's Defence. I am very innocent about the matter.

Guilty .

Death .

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