Charles Flemming, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 23rd October 1754.

Reference Number: t17541023-39
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

503. (M.) Charles Flemming , otherwise Johnson , was indicted for that he, on the king's highway, on Isaac Matthews , esq ; did make an assault, putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and stealing from his person one gold watch, val. 20 l. the property of the said Isaac, April 15 ++

Isaac Matthews . On the 15th of last April I was in a coach with my mother. On the Harrow road, just turning out the road up a lane to the house of my brother, at a place called Branns , betwixt 12 and 1 in the day, a person in a mask stopped us, and robbed me of a gold watch, a guinea, and about 12 s. in silver; he was masked, and threatened to shoot me if I looked at him; so I did not observe him, and cannot say the prisoner is the man.

Q Was he on horseback or on foot?

Matthews. He was on horseback

John Partridge . I was driving the coach in which were my master and mistress. About 20 yards before we came to a place called Branns, between 12 and 1 o'clock on Easter Monday, the prisoner bid me stop.

Q. Did you see his face?

Partridge. I did not then; I kept on and did not stop; he bid me stop again, but did not; then he held a pistol to me, and swore, d - n your blood if you don't stop I'll blow your brains out this instant; upon that I stopt : then he rode to the coach door and said, d - n your blood ( to my master ) deliver your money and your watch. I saw my master deliver his money and watch to him; and when we were coming home the Saturday after, we met the prisoner, in the same dress he had before, unmask'd.

Q. Whereabouts did you meet him?

Partridge. It was about 300 yards this side Padington

Q What colour were his cloaths?

Partridge. He had a chocolate coloured great coat, a cinnamon coloured coat, and a velvet crimson coloured waistcoat; the same coloured cloaths, and a brown cut wig, he had each time. I told my master, here is the man coming that robbed you. Then he ordered me to stop; this was 20 yards before he came to us; he was then unmask'd. I took much notice of him as he pass by us; by his dress and size I imagined him to be the same man.

Q. Was he upon the same horse?

Partridge. No, he was not; he did the robbery on a dark brown horse, with 2 white feet behind, but then he had a bay horse; he was then going the Harrow road. I never saw him after this till I saw him in Newgate; then they put him amongst, I believe, 14 or 15 people; I was desired to go in and lay hold of the man, and I went and took hold of the prisoner by the arm, and said, that was the man that robb'd my master; he is the man I saw at Padington; and he is the man I saw masked. As soon as I set eyes on him at Padington I recollected him.

Q. Had you ever seen him before he stopped you?

Partridge. No, not to my knowledge.

Q. from the Prisoner. He says he never saw me before he was robb'd; how should you know me if my face was mask'd?

Partridge. I only knew him by his dress and size when I met him again coming home.

Q. Did you hear him speak?

Partridge. Yes, I did, but I cannot swear to his voice, for when a man is masked it alters his voice.

John Lane. I keep the Gray-hound in Drury-Lane; the prisoner once dined at my house, along with a gentleman; he told me he was a doctor; he brought some physick for the gentleman; I believe it was some time in August last; he lay there one night. In the morning he came down stairs and called me into the dining room, and asked me to lend him 5 guineas on the watch (producing a gold watch ) I said, you are an utter stranger to me; he said, I am going to Oxford to see a brother, and I'll be up again on Monday; this was on Friday; so I lent him 5 guineas upon his watch, and have had it ever since, he never came to redeem it. He then went by the name of Joh nson.

Q. to Mr. Matthews. Look at this watch; do you know it?

Matthews. This is my watch, this is the watch that I lost the time I mention.

William Pentilow . I went with Mr. Partridge the coachman to Newgate, at the desire of justice Fielding, to see whether he knew Mr. Flemming, and he desired I would take particular care that he was put amongst a number of people, to see if he could find him out. I told the keeper what the justice sent me for. After he was turned in to find him out from about 10 or a dozen, he particularly distinguished him from the others. Before we went from the justice's the justice desired the coachman to look upon the table, and see if there was any thing he knew; there lay a gold watch and a silver one; the coachman said, that gold watch is my master's, that he gave 28 guineas for it and 5 guineas for the seal.

Prisoner's Defence.

When the coachman came with Mr. Pentilow to view me, there were 3 or 4 more about my fire with me; a person named Grizon saw me both noted and pointed at; he had a proper description of me, and it was a considerable time before he could fix upon me, and when he did he was ready to drop down. Will your Lordship indulge me to have him brought down? he is an entire stranger to me, I never changed ten words with him in my life; I do not deny having the watch in my custody; I had it of one Mr. Prescote in Bow-Street; he and I were prodigiously intimate; I lent him 8 guineas upon it. I hope the court will be so good as to remember my character on my former trial. See number 447 in last session-paper.

For the Prisoner.

Peter Grizon . I was among the other prisoners and Mr. Flemming when the coachman was there; he did not know Mr. Flemming; he before that had looked a long time through the gate, and Jackson, one of the runners, winked at the prisoner in order, I believe, to give instructions who was the man.

Q. Where is Jackson?

Grizon. He is now very ill.

Q. to Partridge Did you see this evidence when you went into Newgate?

Partridge. I don't remember I ever saw him there.

Q You hear what he has swore, that Jackson winked and noted, in order for you to fix upon the prisoner.

Partridge. My Lord, it is not true, Jackson never came near me; I went directly to the prisoner without any direction; please to call any of the turnkeys that were there.

Henry Straton . I was then locking the prisoners up; I was present when the coachman came in at the gate; he went in and pitched upon the prisoner directly; there was no hint given unto him whatsoever.

Q. Was Jackson there ?

Straton. I don't know that he was there; I was surprized at the coachman knowing him; I thought that he knew him perfectly well, and the prisoner changed his cloaths too at the time.

Prisoner. I walked backward and forward 12 or 14 times, the coachman stood and looked through the place all the time I was changing my cloaths.

Guilty Death .


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