Christopher Wade, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 4th December 1755.

Reference Number: t17551204-44
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

52. (M.) Christopher Wade was indicted for that he on the king's highway, on John Hughes did make an assault, putting him in fear and danger of his life, and stealing from his person 1 silver watch, value 3 l. and 14 s. in money numbered , his property, Sept. 27 . +

John Hughes . On the 27th of Sept. I was riding towards Barnet. The prisoner followed me up Highgate hill , till I got about 200 yards beyond the five-mile stone, when he came on my right hand, and said something. I he'd up my whip, and said, What do you mean? He said, D - n your blood your money in a minute, or else you are a dead man. I said, In a litt'e time he should have it, only give me leave to take off my glove. Then he said, Dispatch (two or three times) or you are a dead man. I pulled out my money, which was about 14 shillings, and gave it to him, thinking he would have gone off. He then said, You have a watch. I then said, I had none. He said, I'll search you. Then I pulled out my watch, and said, If you will have it, take it. It was not quite dark, even when I had reached Whetstone-turnpike. He was not above three quarters of a yard from me. I know the prisoner is the man. I since saw him and the watch at justice Fielding's.

Cross examination.

Q. Did you know the prisoner before?

Hughes. I can't say I ever saw him before, but very probably I might see him before, because I am in London every day in the week.

Q. Did you see so much of him, as to think you should know him if ever you saw him again?

Hughes. I said, as soon as I came home, I should know him wherever I saw him; and I verily believe the prisoner to be the man.

Q. And do you only verily believe he is the man?

Hughes. That is the man.

Q. Had he any thing on his face?

Hughes. No, he had not.

Q. Did he produce any instrument to you?

Hughes. He produced a horse pistol.

Q. How long was it from the time of your being lobbed till you saw him again?

Hughes. I was robbed on the 27th of September, and I did not see him till the 10th of November.

Q. What condition was he in then?

Hughes. His head was bound up, but he had the very self same face.

Q. Did not there appear to be a bruise on his face?

Hughes. No, there did not to my knowledge?

Q. At that time was he shewed to you, or did you pitch upon him?

Hughes. The door was opened, and the moment I saw him I said that was the man.

Q. How many people were there together?

Hughes. There were, I believe, 8 or 10 people in the room.

Francis Taylor . My boy had been out of an errand on the 20th of October, about nine at night he ran in, and said there was a pistol gone off, and a horse ran along with a man; I ran out, and there lay the prisoner on a bench, bleeding at his temple, and people standing round him; I said, for God's sake let us get him to the hospital. As he lay I saw the head of a pistol under his coat, I took it out and gave it to a gentleman to hold, and looked to see if there were any more. Then we carried him to the hospital, where I took his breeches, and found two half crowns, a bullet and some loose powder.

Q. Where did you first see the prisoner?

Taylor. He fell from his horse at the corner of Great Russel-Street, adjoining to Tottenham-Court road.

Q. Which way was he going?

Taylor. My boy said he was coming to London.

Q. What account did the prisoner give of himself?

Taylor. He was not capable of giving any account of himself that night. I went to justice Fielding's the next morning; where was justice Welch, and he went with me to the prisoner, and asked him where he had been; he said he had been at Brentford to see his master where he had worked; he was asked how he came to come down that road; he said he crossed the country for a ride. The next day there was this robbery talked of, and some country farmers came to our door, and said a man had stopped serjeant Draper's man. I had the horse he rode in my stable.

Q. What sort of a horse was he ?

Taylor. A black horse, upwards of fifteen hands high.

Q. to Prosecutor. What sort of a horse did the person ride that robbed you?

Prosecutor. He rode a black gelding I believe.

Taylor. Mr. Welch ordered me to bring the prisoner to him. When he was there Mr. Welch asked him what pistol that was that went off; he said somebody had pursued him to rob him. Mr. Welch asked him if he stood in his own defence; he said no, but he turn'd up a lane, and the highwayman followed and fired at him. Mr. Welch asked him if he himself had any pistols; he said no.

Q. Did you or Mr. Welch tell him you had found one upon him?

Taylor. No.

Cross examination.

Q. Did you think he was in his senses ?

Taylor. I can't really say; he spoke some things sensibly, but he was in a sad case.

Q. Was that pistol charged which you took from him?

Taylor. No, it was discharged. Justice Welch and I went to his lodgings, and broke open a little box, and found a brace of balls and two gun flints. He sent us wrong at first to his lodgings, saying he lodged at a place in Westminster; and at last we were informed by his master he lodged at the Dial in Queen-street.

Q. What is he?

Taylor. He is a journeyman baker.

Natious Jourdan. To the best of my knowledge the prisoner is the man that brought a watch to me, which was advertised in Mr. Fielding's paper. ( produced in court.)

Q. What did you lend him upon it?

Jourdan. I lent him 35 shillings upon it.

Q. to Prosecutor. Look at this watch, do you know it?

Prosecutor. This is the very watch I was robbed of, here is the name Thomas Pryer on it, and it winds up very weakly.

Q. to Jourdan. When was this watch brought to your house ?

Jourdan. It was brought on Tuesday the 17th of October.

Q. Had the prisoner ever brought any thing to you before?

Jourdan. No, he had not.

Q. Did he bring it by day light?

Jourdan. It was, but I can't tell the time to an hour.

Cross examination.

Q. Are you positive the prisoner is the man that brought the watch?

Jourdan. I don't take upon me to be positive, but I believe him to be the man.

Q. What do you know him by?

Jourdan. By his face; he has a remarkable face.

Q. Where do you live?

Jourdan. I live in Bedford-street, Red-Lion-square, Holbourn.

Q. When was the first time you saw him after the watch was brought to you?

Jourdan. I saw him in New-prison about three weeks after. Mr. Fielding order'd me to go and look among a number of people, to see if I could find him.

Q. How many people were there?

Jourdan. There were I believe 15 or 16. I saw no body else like him; so I pick'd him out at once.

Q. What was there so remarkable in his face?

Jourdan. A long nose and a down look; and when I heard his voice at Mr. Fielding's, I told Mr. Fielding I thought he spoke like the man; and I told him the prisoner was the same height.

Q. Had he a cap or a wig on when he brought the watch?

Jourdan. He had a cap on. Since that at Mr. Fielding's I saw him in a wig.

Q. to Prosecutor. Is that watch your own?

Prosecutor. No. I borrow'd it; but I was to pay so much money for it. I had that watch 4 months the last year.

Prisoner's Defence.

The pistol I took was for my own security, having heard that several robberies had been committed on that road; having a little money about me (but tho' I had not much of that, I had a life ) I thought proper to take sufficient care of myself.

For the prisoner.

Joanna Sparrow . I am nurse at the Middlesex-Hospital, in Tottenham-Court road. The prisoner was brought in there on Monday night; he was very much cut, and had lost a great deal of blood. The surgeon was sent for; and to the best of my knowledge he was not in his senses, and could not give reasonable answers.

Q. Do you recollect what he did not give reasonable answers to?

Sparrow. If I carried him a mess of water-gruel, he did not know but it was broth.

Mrs. Adkins. I am a nurse in the womens ward. The prisoner's sister came to see him; after that he desired I would go for her, to come and see him. I said she had been there.

Q. When was this?

Mrs. Adkins. This was on the next morning after he was brought into the hospital. I ask'd him how he did? and in the afternoon told him his sister had been there; he said he did not know she had been there. This was after Mr. Welch had been there.

To his character.

Samuel Wade . I am a baker. The prisoner is my nephew. I have known him ever since he was born; he never committed any thing ill that ever I heard of, till this accident. I have had him under my care these fourteen years. I intended him for my business and shop. He did not work with me at this time; he was gone from me about a year. When he was with me I did not lock up my money; he had an opportunity of doing any thing at my house.

Q. What was your reason for parting with him?

Wade. He went away from me.

John Cook . I have known the prisoner between 7 and 8 years: he always was very honest for what I heard.

Benjamin Gee . I have known him about 6 years: he has been upwards of 2 years a servant with me. He was a very honest good servant; he has had the taking of a good deal of money of mine. I never heard any thing amiss of him till this time. I came here to give him this character without any subpaena.

Jos. Witicker. I am a smith. I have known him these 8 years: he is a very good honest man to the best of my knowledge.

Edward Maybow . I am a baker. I have known the prisoner about 5 or 6 years: he has worked for me when I have been sick, or my men have been out of the way. He has demeaned himself honestly; he has wrote my books out; and my wife has trusted him with the buroe, where the money was: he might have taken out money, and I never missed it. He has many times wrote bills for me; and he always was a very honest man till this thing happened.

Henry Hutchens . I am a farmer. I have known the prisoner some time. He always was an honest man; and I never heard any ill of him till this time.

William Collins . I am a baker. I have known him, I believe, seven years at least. He was servant to me at the time he had this fall. If I had had cool. in my house, my opinion is, I could have left it unlocked. Could he get over this affair, I should have no objection to taking him a gain.

Q. Was that box the prisoner's where the balls were found?

Collins. As far as I know it was.

Q. Was that box locked?

Collins. It was?

Q. to Taylor. Is this the person that shew'd you the prisoner's box ?

Taylor. He did; it was in a room up 2 pair of stairs.

Edward Pool . I am a peruke maker. I live in Castle-street, by Leicester-Fields. I believe I have known the prisoner ever since he has been in town; and I never heard any misbehaviour of him till this affair. I always looked upon him to be a very honest fellow; and I came voluntarily here to give him that character.

Mathew Sterne . I have known the prisoner about seven years. He was always a very sober and industrious man: that was his general character. I once lent him 3 l. 18 s. and he paid me, at different times, very honestly.

Richard Prosser . I lived very near the prisoner, and have known him a great many years. I always looked upon him to be a very honest man.

George Eastman . I am a baker. I have known him 8 or 9 years. He is as honest a man as ever I saw in my life; he is as sober a man as ever was born.

Q. to Prosecutor. Is it possible you should be mistaken? Or had you a clear sight of him ?

Prosecutor. I am not at all mistaken; I am certain he is the man.

Q. to Pawnbroker. Do you verily believe, or are you mistaken in the person that brought the watch?

Pawnbroker. I had such a view of him, that I do not think it possible to be mistaken.

Guilty . Death .


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