John Briant, John Welch, Violent Theft > highway robbery, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 11th January 1753.

Reference Number: t17530111-4
Offences: Violent Theft > highway robbery; Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdicts: Guilty; Not Guilty
Punishments: Death

59. (M.) John Briant , was indicted for that he together with George Robertson , not yet taken; on the king's-highway, on James Holland , did make an assault, putting him in bodily fear, and stealing from his person one hat, val. 2 s. a peruke, val. 20 s. Dec. 31 .*

James Holland. Last Sunday was seven-night, between 9 and 10 o'clock at night I was going along Mansfield street , with a lighted link in my hand; there came three men up to me; one put a pistol to my breast and swore if I did not deliver what I had about me, what was in the pistol should go through me.

Q. Do you know either of them?

Holland. I know only Barber the evidence, he was taken before he got out of my sight, the other two got off; I knew not the prisoner; I desired they'd not use me ill, and told them they should have what I had: a watchman being near they only took my hat and wig, and knock'd me down, and ran away.

Q. Did they threaten you before they took your hat and wig?

Holland. They did.

John Barber . I belong to an Indiaman, the prisoner George Robertson , and I, met the prosecutor in Mansfield street, last Sunday was a week; Robertson had a pistol and put it to the prosecutor's breast and desired him to deliver; the prisoner at the same time held a cutlass over his head, and swore he'd cut him if he made a noise, the prosecutor called out murder; then some people came out of their houses with small swords, and a watchman coming up we ran; they took me, and brought me to White Chapel watchouse, and the next morning Sir Samuel Gower admitted me an evidence.

Q. to the prosecutor. Did you see a cutlass?

Prosecutor. I did, it was held over my head; and one of them said if I did not deliver they'd cut me.

Q. Was your link alighted?

Prosecutor. They had put it out.

William Graves . I am a watchman, after Timbs another watchman had taken the evidence, I assisted in taking care of him.

Prosecutor. That evidence would not assist me till after he saw Timbs had taken the evidence Barber.

Guilty , Death .

He was a second time indicted with John Welch , for robbing Patrick Mc Daniel , of a hat, val. 2 s. on the king's highway , Dec. 14 .

Patrick Mc Daniel. About the middle of December last, betwixt 11 and 12 at night; three men were in the star in Star street; they deluded me

out of the house; the landlord said I should not go out that night; I went out with them, they push'd me into an alley before me, they strove to get my handkerchief from me, I went to prevent them, and in the bustle I lost my hat.

Q. Was either of the prisoners there?

M' Daniel. I think I remember something of Robertson's face, being one of them.

Q. Did they ask you for your money?

M' Daniel. They did not.

Q. Did they show you any weapon of any kind?

M' Daniel. No, they did not; I was so surpriz'd, I don't know how they parted with me.

Q. Did you call out for help?

M' Daniel. I can't say I did.

Q. Was you sober ?

M' Daniel. I believe I was the worse for liquor.

Q. How long had you been drinking in the house?

M' Daniel. I had been drinking two full pots of bear with them; they told me they belong'd to a man of war at Chatham.

Q. Did not you take notice of them, so as to know them?

M' Daniel. I did not, nor had not seen them before

Q. Do you know any thing of Briant.

M' Daniel. I can't say any thing of him.

Q. Do you know any thing of Barber the evidence ?

M' Daniel. I can't say I do.

John Barber . The two prisoners and I were in company about the middle of December, about eight or ten days before Christmas; we were near an hour drinking with the prosecutor.

Q. What quantity of liquor did you drink?

Barber. Three full pots of beer; we told him we belonged to a man of war at Chatham, and that if he would come along with us we would treat him; so he went out with us. Welch swore he would have what he had; I said, he is a seafaring man, and desired not to take any thing from him; he took the man away, and gave him a blow or two; he got hold of his handkerchief, and the man resisted; in the mean time I took the hat off his head, but the watch coming by we all three ran away.

Q. Did the man cry out?

Barber. No.

Q. Had you any weapons?

Barber. No; but we brought him out in order to take what we could from him. After this, Briant and I went to the night-house near Billingsgate, where we quarrelled; Welch wanted to have the hat to himself, but we said he had got his handkerchief.

Q. What became of the hat?

Barber. We sold it.

Q. Was the prosecutor in liquor?

Barber. He was.

Q. from Welch. How did the quarrel begin ?

Barber. He wanted the hat from us.

Welch. He told me he had a hat, and I asked him where he got it. I have been at the prosecutor's lodgings oftentimes.

Q. to Prosecutor. Was he ever at your lodgings after ?

Prosecutor. No, not to my knowledge.

Welch's Defence.

I never drank with Barber, only I met him in East-Smithfield, and he asked me to drink; he gave me some gin and beer, and I have been sick ever since. He told me he belonged to an India man.

Briant's Defence.

I know nothing of Barber; I hear he has been guilty of a robbery in Drury Lane.

Q. from Welch. Ask Barber whether he did not meet me in Wapping and ask me to drink with him, and I would not.

Barber. I know nothing of it.

Q. from Welch. Did not I ask him to fight him there ?

Barber. He did ask me that one day.

Both acquitted .


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