Charles Riley, Mary Robinson, Mary Williams, Violent Theft > robbery, 7th December 1763.

Reference Number: t17631207-49
Offence: Violent Theft > robbery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

52. (M.) Charles Riley , Mary Robinson , and Mary Williams , spinsters , were indicted, for that they, in the dwelling-house of Francis Talbot , near the king's highway, on the body of Peter Manchester , did make an assault, putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and stealing from his person four guineas, and one half guinea, his property, and against his will , October 18 . *

Peter Manchester . I am a sailor . I received five guineas prize-money, at Agent Clark's, in Crutched-Fryers. I was going home with the money in my pocket to my lodgings, in East-Smithfield; I called in at the Black Lyon, on Saltpetre Bank , (I did not know the name of the place before) for a pint of beer; it was between 4 and 5 o'clock; I had not been in town above a week then: when I had drank my beer, and was going home to buy something with my money, Mary Williams was standing at a door, about six doors above the Black Lyon, and another woman that she called her sister; they said they wanted to speak with me; I told them I could not stay, I must go home.

Q. Was you acquainted with them?

Manchester. I had never seen them before: they laid hold of me by the shoulder, and pulled me in by force; I did not know what they wanted to say to me: as soon as they got me in, they shut the door; there was another room went up about six steps; they said still, they wanted to speak with me, and thrust me up there against my will (the sister did not come into the room): Mary Williams asked me for money to fetch liquors, I would not give her any; then Mary Robinson came up, and would have some, whether I would or not; she wanted to know if I had any money, and said, I should stay all night; I said, I would not give her any money there, but, if she would go to the public-house, I would treat her; this I said, in order to make my escape, for I was afraid of my money, by their proceedings; when they found I would give them no money, Mary Williams thrust her hand into my breeches pocket, and laid hold of the purse with my money; I seized her hand just as she got it from my pocket, I had hold of the end that had the money; she pulled the purse with one hand, and struck me with the other; Mary Robinson went out of the room before this. When Williams found she could not get the purse, she called up Robinson, who laid hold of the purse with one hand, and struck me with the other, as did Williams; when they found they could not get it from me, Mary Robinson called Charles Riley , three or four times, and bid him bring a knife to cut my hands, if I would not let go the purse; they were the words. He came up directly, and, offering to kick me, laid hold of the purse, to pull it from us all: I would not let go, and he kicked and beat me; he said, Let go the purse to me, let go the purse to me. We had all three hold of it; when he found he could not get it away, he left off, and, in less than a minute, returned with an open knife in his hand, (he did not go out of the room): the knife was about the size of a large pen-knife; he had it in his right-hand, and took hold of the purse with his left, and said, if I did not let go, he would cut my hands off: I let go for fear of being cut; the purse contained four guineas and a half. Immediately he ran out at the door, as fast as he could, and Mary Robinson after him: Williams staid in the house, and I pursued them, but took the wrong way: I went for two of my ship mates to help me to take them, and sent to the constable for his advice how to proceed. We were told that Robinson was at a house in Saltpetre Bank, and the woman told us, that if we did not jump over a wall, she would make her escape backwards. Accordingly I, and one of my ship mates, got over the wall to the back part of the house, we found her lying down in a corner of the backyard; it was betwixt six and seven o'clock; we took her to Mr. Champlain, the constable, between twelve and one o'clock. Mr. Champlain and six watchmen went to the house I was robbed in, where we took Mary Robinson , (it was not the house I was robbed in): We went to the door, Mr. Champlain asked the man of the house to let him in, he would not; the constable asked, if he knew him? he said, I know you very well, Mr. Champlain. I do not know whether it was Riley that answered. While they were talking, Mary Williams came up to the door, not knowing we were there: I told the constable she was one of the women that robbed me: we took Williams to the

watch-house where Robinson was. The constable was going to search Robinson, she struck him in the face with her fist; he tied her hands behind her with a handkerchief; she begged we would not tie her hands; he stript her to her shift; she put a guinea into the constable's hand to let her go, he would not; and on searching, we found one guinea and a quarter more in her bosom: she confess'd that the two guineas were mine, but the quarter her own (I never had a quarter in my purse), and likewise said, that Riley had 2 guineas and a half, the remainder of the money; so we did not search Williams. We took them both before the justice the next morning; the justice asked Robinson whose money it was; she said the 2 guineas were mine, and the quarter her own: Williams said she knew nothing of the matter; the justice committed 'em. We went the next day to Hicks's Hall to prefer a bill of indictment against 'em. A person told us that Charles Riley was drinking in Newgate: we went there, and sent for Riley down, (he was not a prisoner there): he pushed out of the door before us, and run as fast as he could; the more we called on him, the faster he ran; the constable got up to him, and collar'd him by St. Dunstan's church; we took him to a public-house near Newgate, and then to the cage, at St. John's, Wapping: we went back to our business at Hicks's Hall. The day after, we took him before justices Scott and Berry; the justice asked me if I knew him to be the man? I said I was sure. When we took him, he said both to the constable and me that he had taken my money, but it was the first fact; he said very little before the justice: he had about two or three shillings in silver.

Q. Who mentioned the dividing of the money?

Manchester. Mary Robinson said, after we found the two guineas upon her, that Riley had the two guineas and half.

Q. from Robinson. Did not you send me out for a dram for Williams and yourself?

Manchester. I never sent you out for any thing.

William Champlain . I am headborough at St. John's, Wapping; the prosecutor sent a ship-mate to me about 5 o'clock at night, to know what to do; I not caring to have any thing to do with it, told 'em they should stay till the watch set, and give 'em charge with the thieves: hearing a noise some time after in the street, I went out, and asked what was the matter? the prosecutor said, here is the thief that robb'd me; he had fast hold of Mary Robinson . My brother officer, Mr. Batten, a neighbour, came out to assist me; there was a little Irishman in the mob, who said, by J - s C - st, he would cut his liver out, if he did not let her go: he ran away as soon as I came up. I took her into my back room, and asked her if she had any of the money about her? she said what was that to us. Mr. Batten insisted on searching her; she would not be searched. I did not think it proper to search her in my own house, my brother officer going to search her, she struck him; we took her backwards where we keep our coals, to search her; she said she would not be searched; we strip'd her, and found a guinea under her breast; she clapt another guinea into Mr. Batten's hand, and shook it: he said no, I will not take any bribe, and flung it down. After her petticoats were off, he looked on the ground, and found a quarter of a guinea; we persuaded her to own the fact. She said, that when Riley took the money, and ran away with it down stairs, she ran after him, and Riley gave her two guineas, one for Williams, the other for herself; but that she had not had an opportunity to give it to Williams, and that he kept the two guineas and half himself; she said the quarter-guinea was her own money. (Riley said the same afterwards in his confession). She said Riley put the money in his shoes: the money we found upon her, was two guineas, and a quarter, and I believe 18 d. We took Williams the same night, who said she knew nothing of the matter. When Williams was brought into the watch-house, Robinson said, that is the woman that laid hold of the purse first: Williams all along said she saw nothing of the matter. When we took Riley, he said he would confess, if we would stop at a public house; he dallied so, that we could get nothing from him; he at first, said, he knew nothing of it; we took him to the women in Newgate; Robinson said, that is the man: he said his name was Moore. When he was taken to the justice, he said, Don't drag me like a thief along, call at a public house, and I will open the whole affair; so the other officer and I had a private room: he said he took the money to be sure, but it was the first fact; he said he gave 2 guineas to Robinson, for each woman to have a guinea for her trouble, and that he flung the purse away. Robinson said Riley came up with a knife, and cut her arm; she shewed me the scar.

Riley's Defence.

I am as innocent as the child unborn. I know nothing of the affair; the constable says that the man cut the woman's hand; she must certainly know if it was cut.

Robinson's Defence.

The 2 guineas and a quarter was my own money that I had come up with from Bristol; I never saw a penny of his mon ey, but that shilling he gave me to fetch drink: I had some cloaths in pawn, and had that money to redeem them; I had been but a fortnight in London when this thing happened.

Williams's Defence.

I lodged 3 weeks in this house; I had lain-in, and got up to have my bed made; I went to the door to order a girl to bring me a pint of beer from the Black Lion; the prosecutor came by, and asked me if I could help him to a lodging? I told him ours was a lodging-house; he came in, and asked me to drink; he gave Williams a shilling to fetch cherry-brandy, and wanted a bedfellow; as to his money, I know nothing of it; I was not able to stand.

All three Guilty . Death .


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