Matth.ew Lea, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 14th September 1752.

Reference Number: t17520914-38
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

444. (M.) Matth.ew Lea was indicted, for that he, together with one other person not yet taken, in a certain open place, near the king's highway, upon James Chalmers , did make an assault, putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, one silver watch, val. 4 l. and 10 s. in money, the goods and money of the said James, from his person did steal, &c . July 4 .

James Chalmers . Saturday the 4th of July, about 5 in the morning, I intended to take a walk by the way of Kentish Town; in a field on the other side of Pancras church I saw two men about the middle of the field; the prisoner came cross the way as I was going and sat down by a ditch side. I went past him, and observed him so as to know him again. When I was gone about half way of the field, walking very slowly along, I heard a pattering of feet behind me: I turned myself round, and saw the prisoner and another man with him about 5 or 6 yards from me; they seemed to be in haste, I went on one side to let them come by; the prisoner pulled out a pistol with a brass barrel, clapped it to my breast, and desired me to deliver my money, or I was a dead man if I made any words. I told him I had but a very little, and if they were in earnest they should have a share of it. I put my hand in my pocket and took out about six peny worth of halfpence, which they refused. I put it in my pocket agai n; the prisoner lifted up the flap of my waistcoat and pulled out my watch and put it in his pocket.

Q. What watch was it?

Chalmers. It was a silver one. The other man stood over me with a large stick, and put his hand in my breeches pocket. I had thirteen guineas in one pocket, and about 14 s. in the other. I had two pockets on one side; he took his hand out of my pocket; I was afraid he had got hold of my gold. I took hold of his hand and desired him to let me see what he had got, saying, he must not have all, he must give me a part; he opened his hand, and I saw it was silver, which made me quite easy. Then the prisoner was for going, but the other seeing the gold of some bulk in my other

pocket, he put his finger to it and swore it was gold, and he would have it; the prisoner was then gone I believe five or six yards from me. This man put his hand to my pocket, I catched his other arm, and took him by the collar with my right hand, and told him he should have no more. He then desired me to let him go and he would give me no farther disturbance. I said, if they did not deliver back my watch I would follow them. They immediately ran off, I followed them. The prisoner turned round and said if I followed him he would do for me. I still followed them, and saw a man on horseback, upon which I waved my hat to him and he came up, then we chased them through the fields towards Islington. The man on horseback passed by me and drove one of them into a boghouse at Islington, the other we lost in the fields, I should know him again could I see him. Thomas Oakes , who was on horseback, left the prisoner in custody of some persons, and returned to see for the other person, but we could not find him; then we went to Islington, there I saw the prisoner in an alehouse, I knew him again. I asked him for my watch, he said he had no watch. Some of the company went into the bog-house and there found it. I told them the name was George Bruce , and described it before they shewed it me. I asked the prisoner what he had done with the pistol, he said the other man, who was his master, had taken that from him. He desired I'd be favourable to him, and seemed pretty much concerned, and owned the taking of the watch, and said it was the first fact.

Thomas Oakes . On the 4th of July in the morning about 5 o'clock I was in Pancras fields, going to fetch up the cows. He went on, and confirmed that of pursuing, with this addition, that the prisoner was stopped by two strangers in Islington town.

Prisoner's Defence.

I have a good many friends to appear for my character, upon which he called James Whedal , Henry Pain , John Wells , William Right , Peter Rawley , Sephoreen Alkeen , and Joseph Britain , who gave him a good character.

Guilty . Death .


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