George Robertson, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 2nd May 1753.

Reference Number: t17530502-37
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

219. (M.) George Robertson was indicted for that he, together with John Briant , on the king's highway on James Holland did make an assault, putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, one hat, val. 2 s. one peruke, value 20 s. from his person did steal , &c. December 31 . ||

James Holland . On the last day of the old year between nine and ten o'clock I was stopp'd by three men in Mansfield-street , I had a bit of a link in my hand, which they twisted out of my hand: one held a pistol to my breast, and desired me to deliver what I had, and another of them had a cutlass. When they could get no money they took

my hat and wig, and I call'd out Murder ! Murder! one of them turned back and knock'd me down, who I believe was Barber, I knew him before, he lodged in the neighbourhood where I live, near East Smithfield; he was admitted an evidence in January Sessions against Briant, who is since executed. See No. 59. in this mayoralty, Barber impeached Briant and the prisoner.

John Pennell . At the time this robbery was committed, I knew the prisoner Barber and Briant, and being constable of St. John's, Wapping, I saw Robertson about four or five in the afternoon of a Sunday, the last day of the old year, I have seen him out several times after twelve o'clock, as if he was a thieving, and have had him in custody two or three times for riots and assaults. There had been two or three gentlemen robb'd, one a captain of a ship that liv'd by Shadwell church, who was cut; for it was a common way to knock people down before they spoke to them to stop: there was a proctor's clerk robb'd, and his finger cut, which made us suspect these men. This robbery was on the Sunday night, and on the Monday morning the thief-catchers were about; they said they had got Briant and Barber, and wanted Robertson, whom I had seen just before go down the lane. Barber was then admitted an evidence before Sir Samuel Gower , and Robertson was taken up on the first of March, we took him before Sir Samuel Gower , who said it was an unfortunate thing, for Barber the evidence was discharg'd out of New Prison; but he looked in his book, and told me where to find him in Shoe-lane ; on which we went and took him before the justice, where he swore to the prisoner, that they were together in four or five robberies, and that one of them was for taking a hat and wig from a man in Mansfield-street, the last day of the old year, about a quarter of an hour before ten o'clock, and that the man's name was Holland, whose brother is a milkman: this Robertson said as well as Barber; and said, before Sir Samuel Gower , he was guilty of the robbery he is here charg'd with.

Q. to Holland. Have you a brother that is a milkman?

Holland. I have, he lives at Islington.

Evidence continues. After Robertson was committed, the justice bid us go and see if we could find out the prosecutor, which we did, and he was bound over to prosecute. Barber was ordered also to appear as an evidence; but he is off, and we hear he's about in a very bad way with one Welch, that was tried here on his evidence after Briant was convicted.

Stephen Pelt . I am beadle of St. John's, Wapping, this Robertson lodged at a bawdy-house when this robbery was committed, Barber used the same house: the prisoner was taken on the 1st of March, we took him before Sir Samuel Gower . The rest as the other witness, with this addition, that the prisoner said he did not care if was tried on the morrow, for he was weary of being in the world.

Prisoner's defence.

These people took me at the glass-house, and carried me to the watch-house: they went to giving me money and liquor; I was very ill with the foul disease, so as not to be able to walk, I said I wished I had been dead, because I had no money or friend to put me in the hospital. I know nothing of the fact.

Guilty Death .


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