Peter Conway, John Chapman, William Paterson, John Milbank, Violent Theft > highway robbery, Violent Theft > highway robbery, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 17th January 1770.

Reference Number: t17700117-14
Offences: Violent Theft > highway robbery; Violent Theft > highway robbery; Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdicts: Not Guilty; Guilty; Not Guilty; Guilty
Punishments: Death; Death

82, 83, 84, 85. (M.) Peter Conway , John Chapman , William Paterson , and John Milbank were indicted for making an assault upon Thomas Brewer , on the King's highway, putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and taking from his person a silver watch, value 20 s. a salvatory, value 1 s. a steel pencil-case, value 6 d. and one lancet, value 6 d. the property of the said Thomas , December 22 . ++

Thomas Brewer . I am a surgeon and apothecary , and live at Mile-End : on the 22d of December, between seven and eight in the evening, coming on foot along the New-road , about the middle of the way I saw a man stand behind a watch-box. I suspected his design and I set off a run; upon which a whistle was given, and I was met with by two or three more, one in particular had a bludgeon: it was a very dark night. They cried, Stop! I fell down and they laid hold of me: there were four or five; I cannot tell the number. They asked me whether I had a watch, I told them I had, and put my hand into my left pocket and took out four or five shillings, and said that was all the money I had about me, and they were welcome to it: they searched my coat and waistcoat pockets: they took my watch, my salvatory, a steel pencil case, a lances, some halfpence, and one of my buckles out of my shoe; they bid me say nothing to any body, and have pity on the poor weavers; then they left me: it was so dark I do not know the men: I remember one of them had a blue jacket on. I have nothing to say against the prisoners at the bar.

Mr. Geo. Elliot . I am high-constable. I was at the rotation when the prisoners were there. They all wanted to be admitted evidence. Conway was taken into a room. He desired to speak with me. Mr. Brebrook went into the room with me. Conway said he could make a greater discovery than the rest. He took this lancet out of his pocket (produced in court) and delivered it to Brebrook, and said, this lancet I took from the gentleman that I took the watch from. (A silver watch produced in court.)

Prosecutor. This is my watch, which I was robbed of that evening. At the same time, they took from me such a lancet as this. It was of the same man's make, and it had such a case; but lancets may be so much alike, I do not chuse to swear to that.

Q. to Mr. Elliot. Did the prisoner, Conway, mention this without being assured that he should be admitted evidence?

Mr. Elliot. He did.

Andrew Robinson . I attend the rotation at White-chapel. Upon an information that was given there, I was at the apprehending these prisoners at Shadwell, the day after Christmas-day. We took them into a public-house; there they were searched, We found some gunpowder and shot upon Chapman, and two flints upon Paterson. The next morning they were taken to the rotation-office. While they were examining, the man at the public-house, where they had been taken in and searched, came and brought his watch that is here produced.

Q. Is that man here?

Robinson. No, he is not.

Conway's Defence.

I know no more of the robbery than the child unborn. I get my living at sea. That lancet I had of a young fellow a sailor.

To his Character.

Luke Flannagan . I am a victualler in Rosemary-lane. I have known Conway about five years. I know no harm of him. He is in the seafaring way.

Timothy M'Carty . I live in the Minories. I give

him the same character that Flannagan gives him.

Thomas Carney . I have known him between three and four years. I never knew any ill of him.

All four acquitted .

(M.) Peter Conway , John Chapman , and William Paterson were a second time indicted for making an assault on John Chambers , on the King's highway, putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and taking from his person a silver watch, value 40 s. and 6 s. 6 d. in money, numbered, and a silver pocket piece, the property of the said John , Dec. 21 . ++

John Chambers . I am the master of Ratcliff work-house , I was going home the 21st of December, about a quarter before eleven o'clock at night, from Ratcliffe-cross , at the end of Whitehorse-street. I had this dark lauthorn (producing one) in my hand. I heard some people coming. I held my lanthorn up, and saw Paterson's face as clear as I do now. After I had passed them, I did not hear their foot-steps. One came and got hold of my shoulder; another wrenched the lanthorn out of my hand, and threw it away. I cannot say I know the other men's faces; they were shorter men than Paterson. There were two men before me, one took my watch out of my fob, and another took about five shillings i n silver, and about eighteen-pence in halfpence and farthings out of my waistcoat pocket. They d - d me, and told me, if I spoke a word, I was a dead man. When they first laid hold of me, they took a bunch of keys-out of my pocket, but they gave me them again. Then they d - d me, and bid me go about my business, and if I offered to call out, they would shoot me. I cannot say I saw any fire-arms. I immediately went home. This was not above fifty yards from where I live. I lighted a candle, and went to the place, and found my lanthorn.

Q. Did you know Paterson before?

Chambers. I never saw him before to my knowledge. I saw him the Saturday week after at the Rotation, and challenged him there. I had told the magistrate it was a very tall man. They brought in one man, that was not the man; then they brought in Paterson; then, I said that was the man that I saw. I said he had a sea cap on; then they brought in his sea cap and put it on him. I knew him to be the man.

John Pointer . On the day after Christmas-day, I heard Robert Martin say, if the Justice would admit him, he would open the whole affair concerning some robbery. Justice Wilmot took his information down. He said they always used Mackmullings's house, at the Star, in Star-street. We went down there. Just before we came to the house we saw four men. I knew Conway before we took him, and found gunpowder and shot upon him; and the next morning we were sent to take up Mackmullings, but he was gone. There was a pistol found just by the door, but the person that found it is not here. In Paterson's pocket were three flints.

Jos. Levi . I was at the apprehending these men. In the skirmish, Paterson dropped the pistol. (Produced in court.) When it was produced, Chapman said it was Paterson's pistol. I saw no pistol in either of their hands. We took them in at the Wheat-sheaf. In Chapman's pocket, we found some powder and some large swan-shot; and in Paterson's pocket, we found a knife and three flints. The knife will answer the end of a screw-driver. Conway was one among them. I knew of nothing found upon him.

Robert Martin . I am a carman. I have known Chapman about a month. On St. Thomas's day, at night, he came to me, and asked me to go out with him, to get some money on the New Road. We met Paterson, Conway, and Milbank. We all agreed to go together. Going over the fields, we crossed at Tom Turdman 's Hole. There we asked a gentleman's servant what o'clock it was; he said about ten. Chapman stopped a man, and took his hat from his head. The man said he had but three farthings about him. Chapman put his hat on my head. Milbank went home. Then we went down Mile-End road, and stopped a man upon a horse; he had but three farthings. Chapman or Paterson gave him a penny to get him a pint of beer. Then we stopped a farmer, and he had no money; and we gave him three-half-pence to get him a pint of beer. Then we turned back again. Coming by the World's-End, by Stepney Church, there we met Mr. Chambers. We went a little past him, and Chapman went back again, and knocked his lanthorn out. Then Chapman and Paterson rummaged him, and the other and I stood by. I do not know who took the watch, it was given into Conway's hand. They searched him, and he had no money about him. He had some halfpence and farthings and a pocket-piece in his waistcoat pocket; he said he had no silver. Coming to Mackmullings's house, Conway said he could get but twenty shillings upon the watch. We shared the money, and had

some brandy. Then we all went home. He was to have twenty shillings, but he got but eighteen shillings. He trusted two shillings.

Q. How much had you of the money for your share of the watch?

Martin. I had three shillings and sixpence in all. I saw Chapman buy the pistol; he gave four shillings and six-pence for it; it was all iron. He said he threw it away when they were going to take him. I had the pocket-piece, it had a sort of an eagle on it. I threw it away.

Conway's Defence.

I know nothing at all of it.

Chapman's Defence.

I never was with that evidence, nor knew him in my life. I never had a pistol in my hand in my life. I came from Lincolnshire, and have no friend here.

Paterson's Defence.

These men did not take me up along with the others. I was going by to my lodging, having been to take my leave of my friends, as I was going to the Indies. He stopped me and brought me into the house. This last evidence never saw me with his eyes before that.

Pointer. They were all four together when I saw them at Mackmullings's.

For Paterson.

David Rogers . I have Paterson's brother apprentice to me. I have known him years. I never heard he was guilty of any thing bad till this happened.

Paterson guilty Death .

Conway and Chapman acquitted .

(M.) John Chapman and William Paterson were a third time indicted for making an assault on John China , on the King's highway, putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and taking from his person a quarter guinea, and 4 s. 6 d. the property of the said John , Dec. 26 . ||

John China . On the day after Christmas-day, between five and six in the evening, I was going from White chapel road up the New-road . The two prisoners at the bar met me about half way on the road. They passed me. I was alone. Chapman ran back and tapped me on the shoulder, and said, if I did not stop, they would blow my brains out, and clapped a pistol to my head. I desired him to put the pistol from my head, which he did, and put it across my shoulder. Then the other, Paterson, took my money away. he had a white waistcoat stripped with red on.

Q. Was it a light or dark night?

China. It was not a light night, but there were three links on the road at that time.

Q. How near were the links to you?

China. They were about the length of the court from me. I thought they were going to rob me, and I took my money out of my breeches pocket, and put it into my coat pocket. They felt for my watch; and they were in such a tremble that they did not find it. I had my hand in my pocket when they stopped me.

Q. What money did you lose?

China. They took a guinea, a half guinea, a quarter guinea, four shillings, or four shillings and sixpence. Then Paterson went to take my buckles. I said, my friend, they are only plated, they will be of no service to you. Then Chapman said, d - n it, never mind it. Then they took my hat; it was a new one; and away they ran. That was brought to me by an evidence here. (Produced and deposed to.) Chapman stuttered. I looked upon him to be in a flurry and frighted, but since I see it is only an impediment in his speech.

John Paget . I attend the rotation at times. Martin was taken up in regard to a watch and a pair of buckles. He said if you will admit me an evidence, I can tell you where all the parties are that have done all these robberies on the New-road. Upon his evidence, we went out after these men, in order to go to the Star in Star-street. There were Levi, Robinson, Pointon and Smith with me. We saw these men were got from the door about twenty yards. I said to Levi, I believe them to be the men: Do you go back, and see if any of them know you. Conway said, Levi, how are you? I ran and took hold of Chapman, and carried him to the next public-house. Paterson ran away, and the rest pursued; he fell down and was taken by Robinson. I there saw them all four together. Milbank that is cleared was one. I took this hat. that has been produced off Chapman's head. Said he, Don't take my hat, for it is my own. I put it on his head again, and we hand-cuffed them together, and brought them along the back-lane. Chapman takes this hat off with his right-hand, being hand-cuffed with his left, to the other prisoner's right-hand, and attempted to heave it away. I catched hold of it, and said,

What are you going to heave it away for? Said he, I am not going to heave it away. Then he made an attempt to pull the paper out of the inside the crown, where was the maker's name. Then I took it from him, and said You shall have this hat no more, perhaps there may be an owner for it. The next day the turnpike-man heard there were some footpads taken up. He applyed to Mr. China, and Mr. China attended the Rotation on the Saturday, and there the hat was produced; and he swore to it.

Prosecutor. The hatter that made it, lives near the New-church, in the Strand. Chapman wanted to be admitted an evidence, and acknowledged shooting the man that is now in the Infirmary.

Chapman. I took my hat off only to scratch my head. I had a fore head.

Jos. Levi . I was at the apprehending these men; we took them in at the Wheat-sheaf, a publick-house, and searched their pockets. There was powder and shot taken out of Chapman's pocket; and some gun-flints, and a knife that will screw a gun, out of Paterson's. As we were bringing them along, through the turnpike, I saw Chapman wanted to sling his hat away, and Paget took it from him. We brought them up to the Man-in-the-moon, by Whitechapel church. We had stopped by the way, and had had a pot or two of beer. I believe it was about half an hour after nine o'clock when we got to the Man-in-the-moon. We searched them again, and under their shirts they had two ruffled ones.

Chapman. The prosecutor said before the justice, he could not swear to any of us.

Prosecutor. I said I should be very loath to swear against any man, but I knew them. I did not say I could not swear to them.

Chapman's Defence.

I was drinking at Mackmulling's all that afternoon.

Paterson's Defence.

I am innocent of the fact with which I am charged.

Both guilty . Death .

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