James Abbot, Elizabeth Brown, Violent Theft > highway robbery, Theft > receiving, 27th February 1754.

Reference Number: t17540227-42
Offences: Violent Theft > highway robbery; Theft > receiving
Verdicts: Guilty
Punishments: Death; Transportation

197, 198. (M.) James Abbot , otherwise John Champness , and Elizabeth Brown , were indicted, the first for that he, on the king's highway, in a certain open place called Hyde Park , on Mary Crook , widow , did make an assault, putting her in corporal fear and danger of her life, and stealing from her person one linen shift, value 1 s. 6 d. the goods of the said Mary; one linen shirt, the property of Henry Coombs ; one muslin apron, the property of Jane Blackshaw ; one linen apron, one cotton frock for a child, one linen shift, and two pair of ruffles , the goods of Richard Noel : And the second for receiving the aforesaid goods well knowing them to be stolen , Dec. 1 .*

Mary Crook. I was going from Brook-street to Hammersmith on the first of December last, about a quarter before five in the afternoon, on foot. I had in my hand a bundle of linen, tied up in a handkerchief, [mentioning the goods over] Jane Blackshaw was with me when we came into Hyde Park, and when we came to the pond head, the prisoner, Abbot, came up to me, and put a pistol to my breast, and said, D - n you, deliver to me this moment, and make no noise, for if you do I will shoot you dead. Pray, said I, do not stop me, I have but a trifle in my pocket, and am a poor widow. He said, D - n you, do not tell me you are a poor widow, deliver to me what you have got upon the spot, or you are a dead woman; I will have your money or your life before you wag a step farther. The child ran from me crying, I put my hand into my pocket, and gave him about 3 s. Said he, is this all you have got. I said it was. Then he said, D - n you, what have you got in your bundle? I said nothing but a few things for myself and a child. D - n you, said he, I will have that or you are a dead woman this moment. I am fare that during this time his pistol was at my head and breast six times at least. I gave him my bundle, upon which he ran away as hard as he could, and I ran on to the child, [the bundle produced in court, all but the man's shirt, and deposed to at the property of the persons mentioned in the indictment ] I found my shift in Abbot's lodgings in a box; the other evidences will give an account of the other things.

Jane Blackshaw . I was going with Mary Crook to Hammersmith on the first of December, she was stopped in Hyde Park at the Pond Head by the prisoner Abbot. [She confirmed the testimony of Mary Crook .]

Richard Noel . I live at Hammersmith, and have a town house in Great Brook-street; Mary Crook is my wife's sister, and she lives with me. She coming home, and relating this robbery to me, some time after some of my neighbours supposing it might have been committed by one Price, told me if so, very probably the goods were to be found at a pawnbroker's, one John Clare's, in Duke-street. I got a search-warrant on the 7th of this instant February, and went and searched his apartment; he lives at the house of one Elkins, up one pair of stairs; there I found all the things mentioned in the bundle, except the shirt and shift. On the Monday after a messenger came and told me the two prisoners were in custody, and they were brought before the Justice, and there Abbot denied the robbery. The woman said the things were her property, and that she had had a child that died some time before, to which the child's cloaths belonged, and she acknowledged the pawning of them there. She passed for the prisoner Abbot's wife.

John Clare . I am a pawnbroker, and live in Duke-street, Grosvenor-square, on the 10th of Dec. last Elizabeth Brown came and pawned this bundle for three shillings to me, (that is all but the shirt and shift here produced ) in the name of Eliz. Brown.

Q. Did you know her before?

Clare. She had been three or four times before with me to pawn things.

Q. Had you had ever seen Abbot ?

Clare. He has been two or three times to pawn things with me also. On the 7th of February the constable and Mr. Noel came and owned the things mentioned: They desired I would stop the person that brought them when she came again; which I did on the 11th. Then she begged she might send for her husband, which she did, and Abbot came, and he being suspected to be the person who committed the robbery, was thereupon stopped, but I being very ill did not go with them before the Justice.

John Lomas . I am a constable of St. George's, Hanover-square, on the 7th of this instant Mr. Noel brought me a search-warrant to search this pawnbroker's apartment, it is up one pair of stairs at a publick-house; we found this bundle there, and after that the woman came again, and was

stopped, as Mr. Noel ordered, on the 11th of February, and I was sent for; she wanted to send for her husband; we got a person to go for him, upon which came Abbot, and having had a description of the person who committed the robbery, I thought he answered it, and he was by my order stopped. We took them before the Justice, and sent for Mary Crook . Elizabeth Brown fully denied being Abbot's wife several times in my hearing, saying she had an unhappy husband, but she did not know where he lived. I had an order to search her room, and there I found this shift, [here producing one which Mary Crook deposed to] I found also a powder-horn with gunpowder in it.

Abbot's defence.

I know nothing of this woman, [ meaning Mary Crook ] I never saw her in my life.

Brown's Defence.

I carried the goods to the pawnbroker about three days after I heard this robbery was committed. About three in the morning I was going out, and in Duke-street, just by my lodgings, I met a woman with this bundle in her hand. She asked me if I would buy the things in it, and opened them; I looked at them, and asked what she would have for them. She said she was in distress for money, and would sell them for 4 s. and I unfortunately bought them of her for 2 s. 6 d. Abbot and I live together, but I mostly go by my husband's name, which was Brown; I do not say Abbot is my husband.

Abbot guilty , Death .

Brown guilty.

There was another indictment against him for stealing two watches, and she for receiving, &c. but being cast was not tried on that.

[Transportation. See summary.]


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