Cornelius Donnolly, Philip Tobin, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 14th September 1763.

Reference Number: t17630914-3
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

354, 355. (M.) Cornelius Donnolly , and Philip Tobin were indicted for robbing William Smith on the King's highway of 4 s. 2 d. his property , Aug. 14 . *

William Smith . I work at the Victualling Office . On the 14th of last month I was coming along Lemon-street, Goodman's-fields , a little past 12 in the night, just by Mr. Wood's, a chemonger, three men stopped me, Donnolly collared me on the left-side, and Tobin on the right, the other man stood before me, they had each of them a asked knife in their hands, I said, what do you want? they said, your money: I said, I am a poor labouring man, and had but a trifle; they said they must have it. I delivered to them 4 s. and 2 d. out of my left hand pocket; they said, he has got more in his other pockets, we will chip him down; then they took and slit my breeches open from top to bottom, (producing them) I had no more money about me. The bye watch. or what is called the private watch, was coming very near, they left me, and turned the corner; I told the private watch what they had done, we went to the corner and saw the two prisoners standing at Mr. Lesever's brew-house, the other was gone farther on; then the watch-man went to the watch-house, and brought the constable of the night, then the two prisoners were coming along the street just by me again; I shewed them to the officer, he seized Donnolly directly, and the other ran into an alley; the bye watch struck him, and he fell, and I seized him by the collar. The corner where they were standing is not above fifteen yards from the place where I was robbed, and I saw them after the robbery in less than five miactes, there was not a soul in the street at that time but themselves, there was a lamp near the place where they robbed me, and another at the brew-house where they stood.

Q. Where had you been so late?

Smith. I had been drinking a pot of beer with an acquaintance, and staid at the public-house about three hours, but I was not in liquor at all.

Donnolly. I was going to drink with the prosecutor, he said there was a house open in Rosemary-lane.

Prosecutor. That is false, I never saw either of the prisoners before to my knowledge, I had not spoke to either of them.

John Crocker . I am a private watchman in Lemon-street. I was going half an hour past twelve on the 14th of last month, in the morning; a little before I came to Mr. Wood's door Mr. Smith came to me, and said, come with me, I have just been robbed by three men of 4 s. and some halfpence, they have got three naked knives. I went with him to Mr. Wood's corner, there we saw the two prisoners standing at Mr. Lesever's brew-house, he said, there are two of the men; I went close up to them, and looked them in the face, Tobin had a naked clasp knife in his hand, which he turned up into his sleeve, and as he turned it up I saw the blade plainly; we turned round, and came again into Lemon-street, and the two prisoners followed me; I went to the watch-house and got the constable, and 4 watch-men, then I went and laid hold of Donnolly by the collar the other ran away, he was taken in an alley very soon, he was very resolute, they dragged him out of the alley, we took them both to the watch-house, the constable searched them, there was a large clasp knife found upon Tobin, and 3 s. and some halfpence, there was only some halfpence found upon Donnolly, there was a clasp knife found under the bench were Donnolly sat.

Robert Bennet . The last witness came to me, and said a man had been robbed, I am constable. I went with him, and took some watchmen with me, and we took the two prisoners at the bar. He confirmed the evidence of Crocker; and Peter Pardock , a watchman, the same. Bennet being asked if he had observed the prosecutor's breeches at the time? said he saw them as he had them on to be slit down in the same manner as they appeared when produced in court.

Donnolly's Defence.

I was at Wapping drinking with a ship-mate, at the White Hart, and came away at half an hour past ten o'clock, and coming up Lemon-street, going to my lodging in Spittlefields, I met the man and watchman together, they were going to Rosemary-lane, and asked me to go and drink with them; if I had been guilty of the robbery I should not have gone close to the watch-house.

Tobin's Defence.

If I had been guilty of a robbery I would not have gone by the watch-house to drink with them.

The prosecutor and Crocket being asked, if this was truth, declared they neither of them asked the prisoners to go and drink with them.

Both Guilty . Death .


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