Mary Smith, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 17th July 1754.

Reference Number: t17540717-41
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

389. (M.) Mary Smith , spinster , was indicted, for that she, in a certain empty house, near the king's highway, on Ann Gouge , spinster , did make an assault, putting her in corporal fear and danger of her life, and stealing from her person one linen frock, val. 6 d. one pair of stays, val. 12 d. one stuff skirt, val. 4 d. one linen shift, val. 6 d. one pair of shoes, val. 2 d. one pair of metal buttons, val. 1 d. the goods of the said Ann Gouge , June 28 .*

Elizabeth Severn. On the 28th of June last, about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, I saw the prisoner with a child in her arms go into an empty house in Bell-alley, King-street, Westminster , where I live, she staid a great while there, and when she came out she had a bundle in her apron, and had left the child behind her. I asked her what she had in her apron, she said it was nothing to me. I then asked her where the child was which she carried into the empty house, and she said she carried never a one in; I said I'd take my oath I saw her carry one in in her hand. She still denied it. My sister came to my assistance: she drove her back to the empty house, while I went to get farther help. When we came before the justice, he asked her whether she intended to go to the child again, she said, no, she did not.

Ann Knapp . On the 28th of June, about three in the afternoon, I saw the prisoner go down with a child into this empty house, there are nine of them all on a row. I could not imagine what she did there so long.

Q. Had she any thing with her besides the child when you saw her ?

Knapp. She had nothing but the child.

Q. How long might she stay there ?

Knapp. I believe she might stay about 3 quarters of an hour. When she came out she had no child, my sister, the other witness, being a little nimbler than I, ran down stairs to stop her. I seeing she was like to be too much for her, went down and took her back to the house where we had seen her carry the child in; still she insisted upon it she carried none in. I took the clothes out of her apron. At last she said, if you will do nothing to me I will bring you the child, this was after I had said she should fetch it; then I kept at the door while she went up stairs. She brought the child down naked, excepting a flannel petticoat, which the child said she had put round her neck, and shut her in a closet. We got a proper officer and had her before justice Lediard; he asked her if she had any design of going back to the child, she said no. The clothes as laid in the indictment produced in court.

Q. Did you know whose child it was?

Knapp. I did not at that time. We proposed to the prisoner, if she would tell us where she took the child from we would let her go, upon that she told us.

Jane Gouge . I am mother to the child, holding it in her arms.

Q. What is its name?

Gouge. Its name is Ann Gouge , I lost this child between 12 and 1 on the 28th of June, and was sent for before the justice, there I saw it again, and the prisoner.

Q. Did you know the prisoner before?

Gouge. No, she is a perfect stranger to me.

Q. How old is the child?

Gouge. It is turned of 3 years old.

Q. to Ann Knapp . When the child was brought naked to you by the prisoner, how did it behave ?

A. Knapp. It cried.

Q. to J. Gouge. Was the child dressed when you saw it before the justice?

J. Gold. It was.

Q. Look on this bundle of clothes.

J. Gouge. These are the clothes I put on the child that very morning with my own hands.

The prisoner said nothing in her defence.

Guilty Death .


View as XML