James Lacey, Thomas Edwards, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 28th July 1764.

Reference Number: t17640728-39
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

437, 438. (M.) James Lacey and Thomas Edwards were indicted, for that they, on the King's highway, on Philip Roper , Esq ; did make an assault, putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and violently taking from his person one gold watch, value 10 l. two knives, value 6 d. and 2 s. 6 d. in money, numbered, his property , June 27 . +

Philip Roper , Esq; On the 27th of June last, I was coming from Sadler's-wells, between nine and ten o'clock: on Tottenham-court-road , the coach was stopped, and the shutter was up on my side; a person said, Down with the shutter, and knocked at it with a stick: after a little time, I said, Gentlemen, have patience, and I'll let it down to you; I did, and there was a foot-pad on my side, and one on the other: he on my side said, D - n you, give me your watch, or you are a dead man; which, after denying it twice, I gave him; it was a gold watch, the outside case chased: he then demanded my money; I gave him 2 s. 6 d. after that, the other man came from the other side, after he had robbed the ladies, and said to me, D - n you, give me your purse, for I know you have one: I said I had none: he said, Sir, you are a dead man, if you don't give it me; he made me get up, and was going to search me; I said, Sir, I will not give you the trouble, I'll shew you my pockets. I took out of one pocket two penknives and two keys, which I surrendered to him, and said, the keys will be of no service to you, please to give me them again; he said, No, he would not; he would shoot me: then the other man said, Give the gentleman the keys, they will be of no service to us. He gave me one, and dropped the other on the ground; I desired he would pick it up; he said, Drive on, coachman.

Q. Can you describe the two penknives?

Roper. One is a buck-horn handle, with a broken point, and the other a tortoise-shell handle. When Lacey was taken, I saw him at Sir John Fielding 's, and he said he was in the robbery, and gave an account of it; he owned he took the penknives from me: (The knives produced and deposed to).

William Povey . I happened to be at Sir John Fielding 's, on the 27th of June, in the afternoon, and Sir John's clerk ordered me to call a coach, and drive on; and said, we will come to you: the two Bareav's, (two brothers) were in the coach with me; we went to meet the horse patrole upon the new road to Marybone; we had pistols and hangers: we went up two or three hundred yards beyond the Farthing-pye house; two men came up to the horses heads, and cried, Stop, Stop: they were by the coach door with pistols; Your money, your money; they never stood to see if we would give them any, nor no answer was given them; they fired into the coach directly, yet I received no damage, but Bareav had a ball through his hat; as soon as ever that man fired, I fired at him, and hit him; there was firing on each side the coach in a moment, and away they ran; I fired at Lacey: we jumped out of the coach, and ran after them; I catched him presently; I saw him stagger; we took him into the coach after he had run about two hundred yards. I saw the other man get over a bank, and run cross a field: I saw Bareav take a yellow watch out of Lacey's hands.

Lacey. I had not opened my mouth before I received a blow out of the coach, which took my right hand to pieces. When we came to the public-house, the Farthing-pye house, I asked for a handkerchief, two of my fingers being loose, and I wanted to wrap them together; the watch was then in my pocket, and I pulled it out immediately before them, but had not an opportunity of speaking, before they snatched it out of my hand, and said here it is.

Povey. When Lacey was knocked down, this pistol was found under his backside: (Producing a pocket-pistol).

Abraham Bareav . This gold watch I took from Lacey: (Producing a gold chased watch).

Roper. This is my watch; the same I lost that night.

Bareav. On the 27th of June, at night, I was at Sir John Fielding 's; I went with my brother and Povey, in a coach, as far as Marybone turnpike, to meet the horse-patrole; when, about three hundred yards beyond the Farthing-pye house, I saw Lacey and Edwards come out of the fields, by the side of a rail, to come up to the coach; Edwards damned the coachman, and bid him stand; one came to one side, and the other to the other: he cried, Your money, your money, and immediately fired, and a ball went through my brother's hat: Edwards took a stick, and beat the coachman terribly; my brother put his hand out, and had it almost broke: when they ran away, I slipped down from a bank, and Lacey got upon me, and held a pistol to my head, and said I was a dead man: then assistance came, and he cried, Have mercy, and said, if you go over the ditch, you'll find the other man. We took Lacey to the Farthing-pye house; there he took out the gold watch, and laid it down on the table, and covered it with his handkerchief: I said, hold, there is a watch, and took it out of his hand. Edwards was on my side of the coach; my brother put his

pistol close to Edwards, and fired powder in his face. When we were at the round-house, Lacey desired us to go to Tavistock-court, and at a Baker's shop, there we should find Edwards, who kept a whore there, when we came there, the woman said, he had been there, and ran away without his hat; she bid us go to such a place, and we should hear of him: we went to Lacey, and he told us: we found him in bed, and brought him down; this was in Strutton-ground, Westminster. We searched him, and found nothing upon him, but these two penknives here produced: I saw marks of powder on the left side of his face; it was almost full of powder, and his eye was bloodshot; there was a scratch on his face as if done with a shot.

Q Are you certain that Edwards was one of the two men?

Bareav. Upon my oath, I am sure he is the man that presented the pistol into the coach.

Q. What time was this?

Bareav. This was ten at night, or a little after, and a rainy night: it was not so dark, but I could see him very plain, as he came over the fields; and when he came up to the coach, I could see him plain enough: he d - d the coachman, and bid him stop, and fired into the coach, as soon as he got to the door: I fired after he did, and my brother fired in his face; I took particular notice of them both, and did not fire till they had fired.

Edward Wright . I am one of the patroles belonging to Sir John Fielding . When Lacey was taken, he told us where we should find Edwards; we went and waited about till morning; then I went up stairs, and found him in bed; I held a pistol to his head, and said, you must go along with me; before he put on his breeches, I put my hand into his pocket, and took out these two knives here produced: I asked him whose they were? he said, they were his own. I said, what do you do with them? he said, they served to cut his nails. I happened to hear the gentleman talk of knives afterwards, then I told Sir John I took two knives out of Edwards's pocket: Sir John bid me produce them, which I did, and the gentleman said they were his. As soon as I went into the room where Edwards was, I saw his face had powder in it, and his eye was bloodshot, and something had graz'd along his face: the constable was by, when I took the knives out of his pocket. Lacey owned the whole affair, and told us where to find Edwards.

Q. to Prosecutor. Did you observe Edwards's face, when you saw him at Sir John Fielding 's?

Prosecutor. His face was black when I saw him there.

William Smith . I was sent on this occasion to apprehend those people: on the 27th of June, I went out on horseback, as far as Marybone turnpike, and through Paddington. Before I got to Marybone turnpike, I heard a noise in Marybone fields; I said to the turnpike-ma n, is any thing the matter? he said, I am afraid there is, for I heard three or four pistols go off. Mr. Povey, the constable, came to me, and said, we have got one of the thieves in the coach, which was Lacey; we brought him to the round-house, and he informed us that Edwards kept a girl in Tavistock-court: we went there, and found he was gone; then Lacey told us he lived up two pair of stairs, at the Half-Moon, in Strutton's-ground; we went, and staid till the people got up; then we went into a two pair of stairs room backwards; he bounced out of bed, and we took him directly; one of his eyes was very much bloodshot, and swelled up, and powder was about his face; when he began to dress him, Mr. Wright clapped his hand on his left breeches pocket, and brought out two penknives, and a key; I gave him the key again: he dressed himself: we searched him, and tied his hands, and brought him to the round-house; one of the knives was a buck-horn one, and the other a plainish handle: when we brought him down stairs, he had never a hat on, and he borrowed a hat to come in. (The penknives produced and deposed to by the Prosecutor.

Lacey's Defence.

I was so unhappy to be persuaded to go out that night; we met that honourable gentleman in a coach; I stood by the coach, in order to bid them stand: Edwards went up to the coach, and demanded what they had; I went up to one side of the coach, and begged of the gentleman; he said he had given what he had, and the two ladies said they had given what they had. I said to Edwards, for God's sake don't make a noise, but come away: then I believe 'Squire Roper delivered two knives, and a key or two; and said, don't take the keys, they'll be of no service to you; I delivered one key, but could not see the other: then the coachman drove on directly, after I begged of Edwards to come away. The coachman drove on towards the town; then we crossed the fields, in order to go to town; that was my intention; I beg'd of Edwards to go to town. As there had been a great noise and disturbance, I was afraid there would be some pursuit after us; we stood by the farthing pye-house some time:

there was a coach went along; we thought it was going to town; we were going the same way: I knew no other than that it was an empty coach, I thought of going to town with it: I no sooner got up to the coach but I received a fire, which tore my hand to pieces. God knows I then thought it was a hard set upon us; I stood a moment or two: they ordered the coachman to drive on; I imagined we were attacked by officers, who were coming to seek for us, to bring us to justice; then I was taken directly and put into the coach, and taken down to the ale-house. I found I was left alone, to the unmerciful weapons they had about them. I could not defend myself in any shape. I voluntarily told where this unhappy young man was: I went to the round-house, a surgeon was sent for, I had two fingers taken off, and my hand drest that night; the next morning I was brought before Sir John Fielding : what I said then, God Almighty knows, I can't remember from the agony I was then in. I beg of the court and judges to be merciful to me, that the latter end of my life may atone for what I acted that unhappy night.

Edwards's Defence.

I know nothing of the affair, I have some witnesses here.

For Edwards.

Matthias Darley . I have known Edwards some years.

Q. What is his general character?

Darley. It is a very good one.

James Balinger . I have known him from his infancy; I never know any thing of him but that of a good character.

Thomas Field . I have known him upwards of three years, and always looked on him to be an honest man; he is a sadler, and his wife keeps a hosier's shop.

Mr. Biffin. I have known him six years and upwards; I always found he bore an exceeding good character; I have trusted him in my shop many times; I never knew any ill by him.

Mr. Bannister. I am in the tea-way; he often came to our house; we have had, it may be, an hundred pounds on our counter when he has been there; I never knew any ill by him; I never saw him in liquor in all my life.

Mr. Johnson. I have known him about two or three years; I never heard any ill of him before this, in any respect. I have spent many an evening with him; and I have seen him with people of great reputation and worth; I never suspected any such behaviour as this.

Mr. Baker. I have known him five years or upwards; he has a very good character, as far as ever I heard or saw.

Edward Smith . I have known him four or five years; I never heard any single fault of him, with regard to his character, but that he was a very honest just man; he is a sadler by trade; his friends are worthy people.

Thomas Hughes . I have known him between five and six years; I never heard any thing against his character; he is a free-hearted civil lad.

Daniel Reney . I have known him several years; he bears a very good character; I have been in company with him several evenings; he always behaved like an honest civil man.

Robert Desbrough . I have known him better than twelve months; I never heard any harm of him in my life; he has a very good character.

Both Guilty . Death .


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