William Belcher, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 25th June 1752.

Reference Number: t17520625-20
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

345. (M.) William Belcher was indicted, for that he, on the king's highway, on William Norton did make an assault, putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and taking from his person five shillings June the 3d . *

William Norton. The chaise to the Devises having been robbed two or three times, as I was informed, I was desired to go in it to see if I could take the thief, which I did. On the 3d of June, about half an hour after one in the morning, I got into the post chaise, the post boy told me the place where he had been stopped was near the half way house between Knightsbridge and Kensington As we came near the house the prisoner came to us on foot, and said, driver stop; he held a pistol tinderbox to the chaise, and said, your money directly, you must not stay, this minute your money. (He produced the tinderbox) I said don't frighten us, I have but a trifle, you shall have it. Then I said to the gentlemen, there were three in the chaise, give him your money, &c. I took out a pistol from my coat pocket, and from my breeches pocket a five shilling piece and a dollar, and held the pistol concealed in one hand and the money in the other. I held the money pretty hard, he said, put it in my hat. I let him take the five shilling piece out of my hand: As soon as he had taken it I snap'd my pistol at him, it did not go off; he staggered back, and held up his hands, and said, O Lord, O Lord. I jump'd out of the chaise, he ran away and I after him about 6 or 700 yards, and there took him: I hit him a blow on his back, he begged for mercy on his knees. I took his neckcloth off and tied his hands with it, and brought him back to the chaise; then I told the gentlemen in the chaise that was the errand I came upon, and wished them a good journey, and brought the prisoner to London.

Q. Did you lose sight of him in the pursuit?

Norton. No, I did not, my lord, it was a very clear morning.

Q. from the prisoner. Ask him how he lives?

Norton to the Q. I keep a shop in Witch street, and sometimes I take a thief.

William Messinger . I drove the post chaise, I took Mr. Norton in the chaise at Hide Park Corner, and told him if we did not meet the highwayman between Knightsbridge and Kensington, we should not meet him at all. I saw him coming, and said, he is coming, get the pistol ready. He came up to the chaise, and said, your money, make haste, your money. I heard the pistol snap. the prisoner said, O lord, and ran away and Norton after him. and took him.

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

Messinger. I did for a little time, the pursuit was not above three minutes, I heard the prisoner cry, O lord, the moment he was taken.

Prisoner's Defence.

I leave it to your lordship and the honourable court.

Guilty Death .


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