Ely Henry Webb, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 11th July 1750.

Reference Number: t17500711-11
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

430, 431. Ely, otherwise Ely Smith, otherwise Horseface , and Henry Webb , were indicted for that they, together with Ben the coal-heaver, on Henry Smith did make an assault on the king's highway, putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life; one hat, value 1 s. one steel tobacco-box, value 1 s. and 1 s. in money, numbered from his person, and against the will of the said Henry , June 9 .

Henry Smith . On Friday, June 9, between 8 and 9 clock, I was coming home; I saw Mr. Bennet the constable ; I staid a long time with him in the watch-house; coming from thence through Breams-buildings, I was got about half way in the buildings, I heard somebody trip after me; I went to the turning that goes to Bond's stables ; in about half a minute Smith came running up on the right side of me: he said, hollo; hollo, said I. He ask'd me where I was going; I said, what is that to you? Instantly came three more men, and took hold of my collar. Webb was one of them; Webb put a pistol to my cheek. One of them said, fisk him ; they then set to rifling me ; they took from me a shilling, a steel tobacco-box and my hat; I stared them full in the face. Then they pulled my hat over my eyes; one of them took my hat away, and put his old one before me, and held it there till they went away together. I was mentioning this in the neighbourhood, and I was told there had been a gentleman robb'd hard by, and they chang'd his hat. I found him to be Mr. Jones; so I went to him; he said they left him but an indifferent one. I said, before I saw it, if it was my hat there was a remarkable slit long ways in the brim; he shewed it me, and it was the hat they took from me: so they finding they had no great bargain of mine, they left it with him. I had told the Constable the next morning how I was served; and that day se'nnight he had taken these men, and I was sent for before Justice Fielding; and as soon as I went into the room, I knew Smith: but as to Webb I could not positively swear to him then; but afterwards when I saw him in Bridewell with the coat on, which he had when he robbed me, I said, you are surely the man that put the pistol to my cheek. He then laughed at me. I had before described them both to the constable. I would be very tender in swearing; I swear, I verily believe Webb is one of the men that robbed me.

Q. What night was Mr. Jones robbed?

Smith. The same night I was, my lord.

Charles Jones . On the 9th of June, about one o'clock in the morning, I was coming under Castle-yard-gate, coming into Holborn, there were four men collared me, and took from me my watch and some silver; my hat was almost new, they took that, and gave me one of theirs. After this, Mr. Smith, the prosecutor, came to my shop, telling me he had been robbed &c. he described the hat to me before he saw it; I shewed it him, and he said it was his.

Q. Who was the person who took away your hat?

Jones. I cannot be positive, but I think Smith came up first; but they covered my face, that I cannot tell who took away my hat. I think I remember something of the two prisoners faces, but I do not swear to them.

John Omit . On the Friday in Whitson week we all met at the Bricklayer's arms, in George-alley, by the side of Fleet-market; there was Ben. the coal-heaver, the two prisoners, and myself We made a bargain to go out a robbing that night; it was 12 o'clock before we went out from George alley. Near Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, by the side of the gate we stopped a little man, and took half a guinea in gold, and silver as much as made it up 16 s. 6 d. then we turned down a turning that went back into Chancery-lane; then we saw this gentleman, the prosecutor, coming from the watch-house, we followed him towards Bond's stables, Smith ran after him, and took him by the collar, and we came up and took from him a shilling, a tobacco-box, and exchanged his hat. Then we left him and went up Chancery-lane towards Southampton-buildings ; there is a gate-way goes into some buildings ; there we stopped Mr. Jones, took his watch and some silver from him. Smith was the person that changed his hat, because we thought his hat better than the other gentleman's. Then we went to Plough-court, at the bottom of Holborn-hill, a thoroughfare into Field-lane. We lay down there till between 5 and 6; then we went to Duke's-place, and sold the gentleman's watch to Alexander Minous , a Jew. We shared the money going home. Both the prisoners have been concerned in divers

street robberies with me; they have sold diamond-rings unknown to me, and cheated me out of my share of the money, to one Mrs. Parsons.

Q. Where is Minous the Jew?

Omit. He is not yet taken.

Q. What arms had the two prisoners this night?

Omit. They had both pistols, my lord.

Ben. Bennet. I am constable. On the 15th of June, about 12 at night, going my rounds behind the Bagnio, out started one of the prisoners; he went down to the bottom of the horse-ride by the Star-Inn; he stopped at the corner. When I came down to him, he put his hand to my collar; I immediately called out, watch and thieves. There were three gentlemen came to my assistance, one of them drew his sword. I was bustling with him; he had got away from me, and ran towards Chancery-lane. We took him in about a minute and half. This was the prisoner, Webb. And we took Smith also.

We took them both to the watch-house. We found nothing upon them. They swore revenge upon me. if ever they got out again, saying, they'd make me remember taking another man up. I carried them to New-Prison. The next morning Mr. Smith, the prosecutor, went and swore to one of them; and about an hour after I came from the prison, one of our watchmen went to the place where they took me by my collar, and took up this pistol, holding it in his hand.

Both guilty Death .


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