John Roberson, Theft > burglary, 11th September 1751.

Reference Number: t17510911-61
Offence: Theft > burglary
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

539. (M.) John Roberson was indicted, for that he on the fourteenth of December , about the hour of three in the night, of the same day, the dwelling house of Jeremiah Walton did break and enter, and stealing out from thence one pound weight of snuff value, 12 d. one lnkstand value 6 d. +

Jeremiah Walton . My house is on Mile-end road ; about three in the morning on the fifteenth of December, as I lay in bed, I heard a noise, I sat up in my bed; then I heard it a little more; presently there was a silence all at once. Then I heard the watchman go, past three o'clock ; after that I heard the noise like some shot coming in at the window. I had a candle burning in the room; I desired my wife to lie still, and not to move the curtain, fearing that should give them notice: there was an old rusty sword lay upon the Chimney-piece, which I took and draw'd; I went to the back door and turn'd the key two or three times very fair, but could not get it open. I call'd a man and told him, there was somebody breaking into the house. He got up, but not being able to open the door, I went up to jump out of a one pair of stairs window; then the man came in and call'd, and said, he had open'd the door; I ran out and ran along the lane, there I saw the prisoner at the bar and another man, breaking the window; when I came within three yards of them, they ran away and I after them; they kept along the houses, going along Mile-end road. I call'd stop thief; they turn'd to go into the fields, then cross'd to go over a little bridge, there they both fell down; I running pretty quick fell down upon them, and got hold of both of them; it was exceeding dark, one of them got away; I hugg'd the prisoner with his backside to my breast; he turn'd round, and with an Iron weapon struck me over the head; I believe I might lose my senses some little time; but I know for certain, the man was never out of my arms; I believe the scuffle might last about ten minutes. I had got him upon the ground, and had got my sword up, underhanded, to kill him, by striking the point in him; it was a cut and thrust sword; the blood from the wound, upon my head, was running down my eyes, which almost blinded me. I at that clear'd my eyes of the blood; there I saw Thomas Steventon in his shirt, intangled with the prisoner; then I turn'd the point of the sword away; he call'd out don't kill him, he'll tell of the rest. We brought him into the house, and delivered him to a constable: then I found my self bruis'd, and terribly cut. I was naked, he shew'd a scar on his head; we found the window broke, and the end

shutter taken down; all the under part of the window was broke, Some of the things were shov'd out of their places. When it was day light one of our neighbours found my Ink-stand standing upon a dunghill; when we went to kick the dung about we found a book, and a pound of snuff, my property; these things were in the window before, my desk was near the place, but they had remov'd it out of it's place. The Iron instrument produced in Court, it was a square bar, about two feet long, made flat at one end like a chisel.

Q. How far did the prisoner run before you took him?

Walton. I took him about 200 yards from the window.

Q. Did you ever lose fight of him in the pursuit?

Walton. No I never did. I never was above two yards from him from our first setting out.

Q. Had they been into the house to take these goods out?

Walton. I believe the things were taken out by reaching at arm's length in at the window.

Q. Is the window part of the dwelling-house ?

Walton. It is.

Thomas Steventon . I lodge in this house, and was servant to the prosecutor's brother-in-law; he called one William Strickley , who called me, and I went out and heard somebody say, I have you. I ran, and just as I came up, I heard a blow ; I took hold on the prisoner, and we carried him to the prosecutor's house. I saw the shop shut up over-night, between nine and ten o'clock, and saw the paper of snuff and the ink-stand upon the dunghill after the prisoner was taken: the window was broke so, that a man might put in his hand or head; a piece of the groove at the bottom was broken off, and one shutter taken down.

The servant maid deposed to making all fast over-night, before eight o'clock.

The prisoner in his defence said he had been admitted an evidence, and one Ward, against whom he gave evidence, was cast and executed. See No. 311, in this mayoralty.

Q. to prosecutor. Why was he not prosecuted for this when taken?

Prosecutor. I then had the command of a merchant ship of 500 tons, and sailed December 28, but did not return till August 8.

The Justice's clerk was examined, who committed the prisoner, but no account could be given that he had made a confession of this burglary.

Guilty .

Death .


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