Mark Shields, George Hailey, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 24th October 1753.

Reference Number: t17531024-72
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

521, 522. (M.) Mark Shields , otherwise Charles , and George Hailey were indicted for that they, on the King's-highway, on Henry Beddew , did make an assault, putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and stealing from his person one hat, val. 2 d . his property, September 29 . ++.

Henry Beddow . I am a chairman and live in King-street, Westminster; on the 29th of September, a little after 11 o'clock at night, I was going to see a young woman home; as we were going across Soho-Square , I saw nobody till I had some hands clapp'd round my waist, then I found two men round me, they put their hands round my waistband and pockets without side, and found neither watch nor money; one said, d - n him he has nothing, then they both fell to cutting me with hangers, and holding up my hands to save my head got several cuts on them, ( he shewed several fears.) My hat fell off, and the young woman call'd out Murder ! they ran away, but one of them turned back, and said, D - n me, I'll have something, and took up my hat and followed the other. I am certain Shields is one of them, I saw a fear under his left eye, which I saw by the light of a lamp as he was cutting at me.

Thomas Preston . The two prisoners and I, on the 8th of this month, went out to the Long Fields together, to rob any body we could meet with; Shields told me, as we were going along, that he cut a chairman in Soho-square, and that he believed Hailey had cut his arm off; he said they did it the Wednesday before.

Q. Was you with them in this robbery?

Preston. No, I was not.

Prosecutor. I saw but two men.

Sarah Wild . This chairman went to see me home from Downing-street, where I had been at supper on New Michaetmas-Day; we were attack'd in Soho-square, just by my lord door, by two fellows, this was about eleven o'clock at night, they did not speak a word. Hailey was one I am sure, he laid hold on me by the left arm, and dragg'd me from the chairman, and by the light of a lamp I saw both their hangers and Hailey's face: I said afterwards I should know one of them, if it was ten years hence, he had a very black beard and pinch'd-in cheeks, and large eye-brows. Such as Hailey. I said, Lord have mercy upon me! Hailey, said, d - n the b - h, hold your tongue, or such words, they both of them cut the prosecutor, I ran in betwixt, and call'd, Help! Murder ! &c. Hailey kept cutting him while he had me by the arm. The prosecutor's hat fell off, and people coming to our assistance they ran away, but one of them came back and took up the hat, which he carried off. I went to see them at justice Fielding's, Hailey was in a room; (the justice was not there) and as soon as he saw me, for I had not spoke, he said, d - n you, what business have you here? I never did you any harm, so send for a pot of beer and let us drink together, and go about your business, if I had done you any hurt I'd own it.

Hailey. I said if you would give me a pot of beer I would tell you whether I was one that did it or not.

Henry Peal . Mr. Fielding desired I would produce this letter here, which he gave me, I don't know the hand-writing of Hailey, but to me he own'd this letter, and desired to be admitted an evidence.

The Letter was read in court, directed to Mr. Hewiston, Carpenter, in Little Catherine-street, Covent-Garden.

Dear Sir,

I make hold to acquaint you with my misfortune, in hopes you will excuse me for my so doing. Sir, I thought to let you know it when I was at justice Fielding's, but had not an opportunity. I have been concerned in those robberies of ate, Sir, be so good as to save my Life, by applying to Mr. Fielding and Mr. Brogden his clerk, to send for me, and I will make a full discovery of all I have done: the thief-takers have perswaded me so to do.

This in haste to save a soul alive,

From unhappy George Hailey .

Hailey. I wrote that letter on the account of my being in George's Fields one night with Preslon, who told me, if I would not stand by him he would take away my life, and there we cut two men*. The evidence will swear any thing to take my life away.

* The two men were Mr. Day and Mr. Townshend, who were attacked in the same manner the prisoner was, and unmercifully cut and wounded, but are recovering of their wounds.

Shields. The evidence has threatened to shoot me, he will swear any thing against me to take away my life. I once took him up for a forgery.

The prisoners had nothing to say in their defence; but Shields desired Richard Miles might be Examin'd as to his character.

Richard Miles . I know nothing good of him, he has borne the character of a common thief: I remember to have heard him, about two years ago, make his brag that he had hang'd two men.

Both Guilty , Death .

For Shields See No. 455. in Cockayne's Mayoralty, where he was an evidence against Holland and Thorrowgood. See also No. 80. in the Kingston paper for the year 1751, where the note. Penpraise and he gave evidence against an honest cobler, for a robbery in George's Fields, whose good character, given by neighbours of great Credit, outweigh'd all their hard swearing, which appeared to be for the reward only.


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