William David, William Bragger, James Murphy, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 6th July 1763.

Reference Number: t17630706-41
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Guilty; Not Guilty
Punishment: Death

317, 318, 319. (M.) William David , William Bragger , and James Murphy , were indicted for robbing John Nelson on the King's highway of a watch, val. 30 s. and a hat, value 10 s. his property , May 27 . +

John Nelson . On the 27th of May, about 12 at night, I was coming up Drury-lane home to

Russel-street, there were several men in sailor's habits past me, one of them came and ran against me, and d - d me for a son of a bitch, and said, how dare I run against him; a little one came up and said, That's the barber; I was getting from them, they ran after me, and knocked me down in Prince's-street; I had three guineas about me, they took no money, only my watch and hat. On the Saturday after the boy David was taken, he confessed where the watch was sold. My hat I have seen at the pawnbroker's, but the pawnbroker can't swear to either of the prisoners.

Q. Had you said any thing to David in order to his confessing.

Nelson. I told him, if he would tell where the watch was I would release him.

Jane Reynolds . My husband keeps a goldsmith's shop on the corner of Tower-hill. On the 28th of May in the afternoon there came a woman with this watch, and said it was her brother's, and if I disputed it, she would fetch him, she said, he was cook to the Sea-horse man of war. A man came and told me the same, and that he had a pension for loosing his leg; I observed he had a wooden leg; he said, he was waiting for his prize-money, and was forced to sell his watch. I sent it to a workman to have it valued, who sent word, it was old, and a very bad one, and not to give above 30 s. for it; I gave them that for it. (produced in court, deposed to by prosecutor.)

Catherine Cartwright. I was coming home to my lodging, Murphy was standing at a door, he got hold of my cloaths and made me drink with him; after that I went to a chandler's shop and got a candle and lighted it; it was then almost 12 o'clock. I was going home with my lighted candle, the prosecutor came by, I saw Murphy knock him down, my candle went out. One said, That's the barber; and another said, they had got the watch; there were more persons than Murphy, but cannot swear to any but him; I immediately went home to my lodgings, I knew Murphy before by seeing him in the neighbourhood.

William Povey . I was at Sir John Fielding 's when David came to be examined; he confessed he took the watch out of Mr. Nelson's pocket, and Bragger took it from him and ran away; he said nothing of Murphy then; when he told where the watch was sold, then he said Murphy was in company, and since he has mentioned another person, and said there were a good many whom he did not know. Sir John Fielding gave me a warrant, I went by David's direction and took up the wooden-leg'd man, named Robert Newman ; we could not find him; David was there with me, and said the others will be here presently; soon after Mr. Nelson came with Mr. Sprage, they said they had got the watch; the other two prisoners were then come in; we left Mr. Nelson with the wooden-leg'd man, and I, Sprage, and Darbin, asked the boy David, which were the men? Immediately the two prisoners fell to fighting with great sticks, and a sad battle we had, they would not be taken; Murphy ran away as soon as we were a little still, and was taken about a fortnight ago; David ran away also in the fight, but was taken afterwards.

Edmund Newton . I went with the last witness to take Murphy the last time he was taken, then he said, he hoped Sir John Fielding would make him an evidence, and he would speak the truth, but Sir John would not. Murphy told me, that the pawnbroker that had the hat, could swear to one Morris, otherwise Foster, not taken; he would fain have had me been his friend to Sir John to get him admitted an evidence, but I knew Sir John would not admit him, so I asked him no question.

Edmund Turner . I am a near neighbour to the prosecutor. Bragger and Murphy were together drinking at my house that evening, that the robbery was committed at night.

Michael Sprage was at the taking Bragger and Murphy, he confirmed the account given by Povey, as to the great resistance they met with, notwithstanding there were three of them to the two prisoners.

Bragger and Murphy said nothing in their defence, only that they were very ill used in the fight.

David and Murphy Guilty . Death .

Bragger Acquitted .


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