Ann Baker, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 22nd February 1764.

Reference Number: t17640222-43
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

175. (L.) Ann Baker , spinster , was indicted for that she, together with Ann Hill , James Doleman , and John Wright , (not taken) in a certain alley near the king's highway, on Thomas Porter , did make an assault, putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and violently taking from his person, one guinea, and 12 s. 6 d. in money, numbered, his property , January 8 . ++

Thomas Porter . On the 8th of January, in the evening, I came up the Old Bailey, and called at the Bell, and had a pint of twopenny, near about 7 o'clock. There were a parcel of men drinking in the house; one of them stepped out, and brought in the prisoner and another woman, nam'd Ann Hill: They said one to another, I wish you would give us a dram; said Ann Hill and the prisoner, This gentleman will give us a dram, no doubt, meaning me: I said, I'll give you a dram of gin: No, said they, we drink no gin; we drink rum: Said I, you appear like gentlewomen, take a quartern of rum; I'll pay for it.

Q. What are you?

Porter. I have been a sea-faring man in his majesty's and merchant's service many years. After this, in about half an hour, in came a sort of a gentleman, and swore to the prisoner; and said, You stole a handkerchief of mine, such a night; and fell to laying on her with a rattan: I said, gentlemen, I am not used to such sort of work as this; if she has done any thing amiss, let her be tried by common law; upon that, two men fell upon me unaccountably. The landlady's son-in-law said, Nobody shall use this man ill, (meaning me). Come, Mr. Porter, said he, go home, for here are a parcel of bad people in the house; out at the door I went: I had not gone two doors before the prisoner and Ann Hill ran after me: Said they, now you have seen us righted, we will go to the King's-arms, in the Fleet-market, and there we will bring some people that shall see you righted: They went and brought those two men up that had a hand in robbing me. We had a pot of half-and-half, at the King's-arms, to put themselves in spirits, as they pretended. They came up to the Bell again; there they sell to writing, and taking these men's names down that had used me ill there. After this, said I, gentlemen, I must wish you all a good night; my wife will think I am lost, because I never am out late. Said the prisoner, we have had a good deal of trouble in seeing you righted, we hope you will see us home, to Whitecross-street: No, said I, I am just at home, gentlewomen, I do not think it proper: Said they, we do not like to go home alone: They persuaded me to go with them: I do not know where Whitecross-street is, no more than the dead: They brought me down to Fleet-market again.

Q. Was you in liquor?

Porter. I was very little in liquor. It grew late. I said there, I do not care for staying any longer, nor will I stay. I went out; out came the two women and the two men: Come, said they, this is the last house till we go home; let us have a pot here, (the White-hart in the Fleet-market): Said I, In case you will not drink more, I'll give you a pot. We went all of us there: Said the landlord, I will not draw any of you any beer, except this gentleman, (meaning me). I am a poor man, said I: He brought it, and I paid for it. While we were drinking it, there was a great quarrel in the house: Said the prisoner and Ann Hill, Mr. Porter, don't you stir; these men are fighting one among another; we know them.

Q. How came they to know your name?

Porter. Mr. Balf, the landlady's son-in-law, at the Bell, called me by my name: I am acquainted with him. After this, the two women and I, came out to go to Whitecross-street, to see them home; the two men went away just before us; coming up Turnagain-lane. I said, I will go home, for I live upon Snow-hill; they catched hold of me, and the prisoner said. No, d - n it, you shall not go; I said, this is my way home, and I will go. Standing a little while, there came four or five watchmen, and took them and me to St. Sepulchre's watch-house: Coming along, one of the watchmen said, What, Mr. Porter! What makes you be here? I never saw you out late; I'll give any security for you; I thanked him, and said, then I'll go home; but, said he, before you go home, tell me what these women are; God knows, said I, they appear like gentlewomen: He said to them, Gentlewomen, Where have you been to night? Said they, we have been to a gentlewoman in Fleet-market, that has detained us longer than ordinary, and we are going home to Whitecross-street; and this gentleman will see us home. They took me through St. Sepulchre's Church-yard, and down Snow-hill, and into Field-lane, then to Chick-lane: Said I, In the name of God, where are you going now? I do not understand this part of the town: Come along, said they, we will show you the nearest way to Whitecross-street: They turned into Black-boy alley ; I thought it a very nasty dirty place: I said, Where are you going? I don't chuse to go here: Said they, we can go here; why not you? They got to the second turning, at the second door; (this was about a quarter after twelve at night) at that door I have heard since one Harry Barnsley lives: They knocked at his door, and blowed a whistle, that would fright any man, woman, or child. The prisoner says, Doleman was the man that whistled, but I believe it was herself: I found I was beset directly: I turned round, and saw three men, but I can't tell but two that meddled with me, and the two women. I said, for God's sake, Gentlefolks, don't use me ill, upon the account of my family; take my money, I'll freely forgive you: One struck me on the head, and said, God blast you; we will have your money, life, and cloaths, before we leave you. After this, with their striking me over the head, and the women punching me on the stomach, to make me loose my hold, for I had hold of them to keep myself up, the men beat me with sticks, and cut me terribly: At last, one of the men catched me by my legs, and hawled me down; and hawled me from that door to another, and from thence to the corner; the women were down, and held me down, and one of the men took a handful of money out of my pocket, and the other man came with a knife, and our my pocket out. I cry'd out murder, when I found what they were upon, and for help and mercy: the prisoner clapped her hand upon my mouth, and pinched my throat, and said, Blust him, murder him, as he cries cut murder; for we shall be all apprehended. She pinched me very hard, after they got my money; Doleman stamped upon my neck, and shook the money over me in the pocket, and said, You old blackguard, here is your money and your totes, and made the blood fly out of my mouth. I was in a terrible condition, both head and mouth: the prisoner and Anne Hill never quitted me, while the men were robbing me. Somebody opened a door, and some of them fled, and I arose up: the fruiterer's servant, that the prisoner has given an account of, was going to stoop for my hat, I went and pushed him down, his name is John Wright , and I also pushed the prisoner down. I hauled Wright up to Chick-lane, and called for the watchman to assist me: the watchman said. Sir, you had better let him go, for I cannot assist; if I do, we shall be murdered, here is such a number of thieves here: let him go, and go you to St. Andrew's watch-house, and get assistance. I went there, and they told me that Black-boy-alley was in St. Sepulchre's parish; they advised me to go to St. Sepulchre's watch house, and alarm them. I went there, and when they saw me in so bloody a condition, they said, Mr. Porter, we are very sorry this thing has happened, and wished we had known what sort of women they were, then this thing should not have happened. They advised me to go to bed, saying, they thought the thieves were got far enough off by then.

Q. Had you ever seen the prisoner before that night?

Porter. I had seen her and the other woman come in at the Bell in the Old Bailey, two or three times before; the next day, Mr. Chamberline the constable came to me; I was very bad; he said, don't you intend to have these people apprehended? and I said, I ought to do it, to do my King and country service. He told me to go to Sir John Fielding : I told him what had happened, and he granted me a warrant, on the 9th of January. On the 10th, I had two of his men to assist me; they appointed to meet me at the Rainbow coffee-house: that day we took the prisoner at the Bell,

in the Old-Bailey. I charged her with assisting in the robbery: she said, she knew nothing of it. Mr. Balf went and fetched a constable.

Q. What money was taken from you?

Porter. I had a guinea, and 12 s. 6 d. taken from me. I swore but to 33 s. 6 d. I chose to swear to less than more; there might be more.

Q. Are you a married man?

Porter. I am.

Q. How was you for liquor at the time you got into Black-boy-alley?

Porter. I was hardly at all in liquor then.

Q. Is not that a very dark alley?

Porter. It is; there was never a lamp in it, as I remember.

Q. Are you sure the prisoner assisted in the robbery, as it was dark?

Porter. I am. I knew her tongue very well; she was on my left hand all the time.

Q. You mentioned Doleman and Wright; did you know them?

Porter. The prisoner gave information of them the very night I took her, to me, the constable, and a great many more: she confessed the whole before Sir Robert Ladbroke . When I first took her into custody at the Bell, she said, Blast you, how can you charge me with such an affair, as that? I said, I know you, and can swear to you; I have got your name in the warrant: there were some men in the house offered to rise, and lay hold of me. I said, gentlemen, if you offer to meddle with me, I shall charge you. She said, Doleman was the man that cut my pocket off, and that John Wright and Anne Hill were concerned, and they went and lay together that night, in some place in Drury-lane, and shared the money; she gave us information that night, where we might find John Wright and Anne Hill directly, in Drury-lane, where they shared the money. She said, she and Anne Hill had 6 s. each, and the two men 12 s. each.

Q. What had you said to induce her to give this account?

Porter. Nothing at all. There was one James Glover came to her in the watch-house, and desired her to confess to save her life.

Q. What words did he make use of?

Porter. He said, Nan, you have been concerned in robbing Mr. Porter, and know who robbed him. She said, yes, I do; it was Doleman, Jack, the fruiterer's servant, and Anne Hill: she did not then know Wright's name: she gave charge for charge, and I was sent to the Compter for thirteen hours and a half, so that I could not go to enquire for Hill.

Q. What after she had made this confession?

Porter. Yes, it was; by the constable, Mr. Kelly.

Q. Did he hear her confession?

Porter. He did.

Q. Give an account of what passed before Sir Robert Ladbroke ?

Porter. There she owned to what she had confessed before; she said, she had not seen these men till the Friday before; that she lay with the men the night they robbed me; but there she said she knew nothing of the money; and that she could say no more than this, that she was an unhappy woman.

Joseph Fleming . I live on Snow-hill. The prosecutor is a lodger of mine, and has been about four years; he has a wife and one child, and has been a sea-faring man the best part of his life; he now works upon the keys, and works a lighter; he is a very honest man, and is seldom out after nine at night: he came home very near one o' clock that morning; his wife came to me for a light, and said, her husband had been used ill. I got up, and went to him; he was lying on his left side, and said, he had been used very barbarously, and robbed of his money, in an alley that two women had carried him down, saying, they were going to White-cross-street; that it was done by Anne Baker , Anne Hill, and two men; he was cut very deep behind his head, and the blood was running: he said, he did not fear but that he should apprehend some of them in the morning: he desired me to go with him to the place that forenoon; I went, and he shewed me the door, which was Bransby's door, opposite the Gutt-house, in Black boy-alley: a woman came out, and said, she heard a man cry out murder, and groan very much. I enquired into the woman's character, and was told, she keeps a very good sort of a house. On the 10th of January, when the prisoner was taken, I was in bed; the prosecutor's wife came up to me, and said, a messenger was sent to her, and begged I would get up (this was about 12 at night) and go to St. Bride's watch-house; I went, and there saw the prisoner and prosecutor. He said to me, that is my lady, that aided and assisted in robbing me. James Glover was in company with her: he said, he was on the outside the door when she was taken, and he was admitted in; he said, Nan, you had better confess who were in the robbery, in order to save yourself. Then she mentioned Anne Hill, James Doleman , and one Jack, a servant to a fruiterer in the New Market, but could not tell his surname: a person said, how can you swear to that? she

said, she could swear it, for they lay together that night; that she and Anne Hill had 6 s. apiece, and the two men 12 s. a-piece of the money. I heard her confess before Sir Robert Ladbroke , that it was not her, but a man that stamped on the prosecutor's throat.

Q. Does the prosecutor use to carry so much money about him?

Fleming. I have seen him with 5 or 6 guineas at a time; he is in a way of dealing, and commonly carries his money about him.

William Kelly . I am the constable. I heard this prisoner's confession.

Q. How came you after that to commit the prosecutor?

Kelley. It was the first night of my sitting, and I was not acquainted with the affair; one said one thing, and another, another; and I did not know what to do, and the woman gave charge for charge. Now I know I was guilty of a fault, but I did not then. I asked her, if she was concerned in the robbery? she said no. I asked her if she knew who did the robbery? she said yes. Then I reached down the pen and ink, and wrote it down from her mouth. I asked her her name? she said Anne Baker , and said one James Doleman and a young fellow, named Jack, a servant to Mr. Emmery, a fruiterer, in the New Market; she mentioned another, but Glover tapped her on the shoulder, then she drew back.

Fleming. Glover has been to the prosecutor, to get him to take money, and not appear against the prisoner: he has been several times to my house about it. I asked the prisoner if she was positive to these two men robbing the prosecutor? she said she would take an oath of it.

Henrietta Bransby . I live in Sharp's-alley.

Q. Where is that?

H. Bransby. That goes out into Cow-cross; it begins where Black-boy-alley ends: the noise was heard two doors from my door. I was undressed, going to bed; a person knocked at my door, as I was bolting it; but before that, I heard a wrestling, and a man cry murder most terribly; I went to bed directly, being afraid to go out, least I should be served the same. I have lived five years in the place, and never knew it to be so bad as within these two or three months.

Q. Do you know the prisoner at the bar?

H. Bransby. I do not.

Q. What house do you keep?

H. Bransby. I keep a lodging-house; poor people come to lodge for 2 d. and 3 d. a night; chimney-sweepers and others.

Q. to Prosecutor. Can you tell the man that robbed you, by any thing more than that they were at the house drinking in Fleet-market, with the two women?

Prosecutor. I can tell Doleman by his cloaths; I saw them when Mrs. Bransby opened her door.

Q. to H. Bransby. Had you a candle in your hand when you opened your door?

H. Bransby. I had.

Prisoner's Defence.

I went in at the Bell, about half an hour after six on that Sunday night, and the other woman; this gentleman sat there; he sent a person after me; he made room for me to sit down, and asked me if I would drink, and insisted on my drinking. After that, he asked me what he should give me to lie with me? I said, I never did any such thing; I never made any such bargains in a public-house; he said, a trifle should not part us. In came a man, and gave me a switch with a little thing in his hand; this gentleman arose up, and said, he did not do well in using me so; then a man arose up, and hit the prosecutor a blow: the young man and I went out, and were going down by the side of the Fleet-market; he said to me, we will go into a house, and have a pint of beer; there was Mr. Porter sat in a box, with ten or twelve in company, one of the men came and asked me if I knew who used Mr. Porter ill? I said, I would go and shew him the person. When we came up to the Bell, the man was gone: we had half a pint of rum; then the man came in, and seeing several people there, he went out again directly: then we all came out, and went to the Blue-Anchor, by the side of the market; there we had some liquor: then they began to wrangle, and went out at the door, and fought, and a young man came in all over blood. I said to Mr. Porter, I would not have you go out, I know none of the men, fearing you should come to any harm, and we will stay here; as the gentlemen had been so good as to take his part, he would not leave them; every one of them left the house. Mr. Porter and I, and the other woman sat together in a box; he would not go away. Then the man of the house said it was very late; then we went out, and there were some watchmen took us all up, and had us to the watch house: they asked me where I lived? I said, in White-cross-street; so said the other woman. Mr. Porter said, he would go with us, and lie with us both: we had hold of his arm; he told the watchmen he was going along with these women, and desired them to let him in when he came back; he

went with us to Black-boy-alley to lie with us. Just as I was going to knock at the door, a young man came up and struck him, and I heard him cry out, Mu rder. I ran away as fast as I could, and wondered the young woman did not come home all night: I went to a house, and found the young woman and that young man that was in company, eating beef-stakes for breakfast; I asked them, how they came to serve me so ill? they said, they did not; but said, why should I go to knock at the door: I saw them sharing some money; he had 12 s. and I saw him give the others money. I know nothing at all of the robbery. I only know the people.

Guilty . Death .


View as XML