Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
23. (L.) William Morris , was indicted, for that he, on the king's highway, on John Birk did make an assault, putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and stealing from him one hat, value 2 s. one thread purse, value 1 d. and 7 s. in money numbered, the property of the said John, from his person, and against his will , Nov. 15 . *
John Birk. Last Month I was coming along the street on Snow-Hill , I don't know the Day, it was a little after eight at night; the prisoner came to me; by the lamps and lights at Windows I saw him, and am certain it was he; he put his hand to my shoulder and called me countryman, and said he was very glad to see me, adding, he knew my Friends, and asked me to go in and drink a pot of beer with him. I said, I did not know him; he then, said we'll talk the times over when we go in.
Q. Where was this?
Birk. This was under the Saracen's Head gateway : with great persuasion I did go. When I got a little farther under the gate-way, he pulled out his private part, (and talked such indecent sodomitical language best omitted here) wanting me to go with him to some private place: said I, are not you ashamed to offer that brutish action to any mankind? then he asked me what I had got in my breeches, saying he was d - able poor; I asked him what he meant; he said if I did not surrender that instant, and d - d me, he'd cut my throat from ear to ear; he had some instrument in his hand which I took to be a knife; he jabb'd it in my mouth, it struck against my teeth and I turn'd my head about at the time, or it had cut my mouth open; I made to the street; but when I was at the edge of the street he was then got before me; there he up with some weapon that he had in his hand, struck me on the temple and knock'd me down; I received another blow on my right breast after I was down, that brought blood from me many days; after this, I felt his hand at my breeches pocket, he presently ran away; I got up and found my pocket half inside out, my purse and 7 shillings in it were missing, I missed also my hat; I had not power to get far, but fell down again in my blood: after this, there came people to me, and when I came to myself, they asked me, whether I knew the man; the blood was in my mouth, I could not speak properly, I catch'd hold on the prisoner's apron, and when I could speak, said, he was the man.
Q. Who brought him to you?
Birk. I did not know the men, they were some that are here to give evidence.
Q. What did the prisoner say, when you charged him?
Birk. He said he had been with me, that I ran against him, and he knocked me down; he was carried before my lord mayor, and I was sent to the hospital that night.
Q. When did you see him after this?
Birk. I saw him again that same night in the hospital; there were some other people with him, they ask'd me whither I knew the man, that had done me the mischief; I then knew him again, and the next day also I knew him before by lord mayor.
John Griffiths . I was sitting in the Ten Bells facing the Saracen's-Head on Snow Hill, and hearing a person call out murder! murder! I went out and saw a mob about the prisoner. I asked where the man was that was hurt, and was told he was near the Fountain tavern. The mob let the prisoner go on Snow-Hill ; we took him again opposite to the Three Bushes, and told him he had both robbed and murdered a man; he said, it is no matter for that, I am glad of it: so we brought him back to the wounded man, who said, when he saw him, this is the man that did me the injury.
William Lewis . As I was going from the Exchange home down Snow-Hill, I saw two men leading the prisoner along, who said a man was robbed and murdered; I ran along, and when I got up to him, the prisoner and a little man were rising from off the ground; we brought him first to the wounded man at the Fountain door, and asked him if he knew who did him the injury, and he declared the prisoner to be the man; when we brought the prisoner to go before my lord mayor, in Newgate-Street some of the company wanted to rescue him, others declared we could not hold him without an officer, asking how we dare do it. I believe he had more friends than enemies about him at that time. He had something tucked into his coat that stood out, which he dropped, and his friends I believe picked it up. He lost his apron. When we came almost to St. Martin's Le Grand I saw a handkerchief (I believe it to be red and yellow ) dropping out of his bosom; I said, I believe you have dropped your handkerchief; he replied, the handkerchief may be d - d, he had not lost any thing. Then some people drove us about as tho' they intended to drive us down together; I believe they belonged to him. When we came about Woodstreet end, the prisoner began to cry China oranges or lemons, silberts, and such like goods. We took him to my lord mayor without any officer; after which one came.
Q. from my lord mayor. Did you go along with the prisoner when I directed a number of persons to go with him to the hospital to see if the person there knew him?
Lewis. I did, and the wounded man singled out the prisoner from amongst about fourteen men, and said he was the man that did him the injury.
The prisoner being asked whether he had any thing to say for himself, would not speak.
Guilty , Death .