Thomas Gahagan, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 25th April 1770.

Reference Number: t17700425-63
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

306. (M. 2d.) Thomas Gahagan was indicted for making an assault on Charles Portlach , on the King's highway, putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and taking from his person an iron tobacco-box, value 3 d. six half-pence, value 3 d. and four shillings in money numbered, the property of the said Charles , March 2 . ++

At the request of the prisoner, the evidences were examined apart.

Charles Portlach . I live in Sun-Tavern Fields, Whitechapel. On Friday the 2d of March, between ten and eleven at night, going home from the top of Cannon-street, by the turnpike, by Radcliffe highway , I was stopped by two men, about 150 yards from the turnpike, on that side towards Sun-tavern Fields. I knew the prisoner by sight before, but did not know his name. The other of them presented a pistol to my head, and demanded my money. The prisoner put a pistol to my left breast, and demanded my money. They took from me 4 s. 6 d. some half-pence, and a Pinchbeck metal buckle out of my right-foot shoe, and an iron tobacco-box. They demanded my watch; I told them, I had none. They searched, but found none. Then they went on towards the turnpike, and I went home. I looked the prisoner full in the face, and knew that I had some knowledge of him. I cannot be positive to the other. I went to Sir John Fielding 's; there were a great many taken up that infested that part of the town. The prisoner was there along with a whole gang of them, five or six under examination. When I came in, I knew him perfectly; I am sure he is one of them. I never found my box or buckle again.

Q. Where had you seen the prisoner before?

Portlach. I had seen him about New Gravel-Lane, Ratcliffe highway.

Prisoner. When I was before the Justice, this man would not take upon him to say I was the person that robbed him.

Portlach. I did swear to him before the Justice. I might say, I did not care to take upon me to be bound over to prosecute; though it is a disagreeable thing, I did, and was bound over. I said, I did not care to be too positive; but I was sure he was the man.

John Pagett . On the 9th of March I had a warrant against William Lewis , that was tried this session, and the prisoner. I took them in Black-horse-yard, East Smithfield, in his own room; there I found two horse pistols, an iron crow, two cutlasses, and two dark lanthorns in a box. ( Produced in court.) One of the pistols was loaded with a ball, the other with slug shot. They were examined the next day; the prosecutor came in and looked on the prisoner, and said, I am sure that is one that robbed me.

Richard Smith . I was at the apprehending of the prisoner; he was just got out of bed, and putting his things on; we broke the box in which we found these tools.

Prisoner's Defence.

I called to see a young fellow that lived in that room; he asked me to stay breakfast; these fellows broke in, and said, they had a warrant against me; then they searched the place, and found these things. I never made resistance, but went with them. I never saw the prosecutor but once or twice in my life; then I saw him at work, or in his own ground. I have people here that can prove where I was at the time he says he was robbed. I was then in Old-street road, at the house of one Newman, a private house. I lodged in Well-street at that time.

For the Prisoner.

Mary Weaver . I live in Old street, in Dog and Pottage-pot-yard. I am the prisoner's sister: he came to see me the 2d of March, between six and seven in the evening. He was pretty much in liquor; he staid with me all that night, till nine the next morning; it might be a quarter after. There is but one house between where I live and the George, before you turn down the court. I lodge at the house of Mr. Newman; I have a room there.

Q. Are you a married woman?

M. Weaver. I am; my husband is abroad.

Q. Did he sit up all night?

M. Weaver. He lay along-side of me; he is my own brother.

Q. Did he ever lie in your room before or since?

M. Weaver. No.

Q. Did you give this account before the Justice?

M. Weaver. They would not let me go in; I went to the door, and they told me, no woman was to be admitted.

Q. When did you hear that the prosecutor was robbed on the 2d of March?

M. Weaver. I never heard till to-day; my brother told me to-day; then I said, I could swear he was at my room that night.

Q. By what do you recollect-that day?

M. Weaver. That day I pulled my ring off my finger, and pawned it for 4 s. at a pawnbroker's in Brick-lane, and set it down on a piece of paper.

He called Mary Bourn , who had known him six years; Samuel Thomas , two years; Francis Kelly and Ann Stanford , three years; who said, he was a sawyer , and was honest, for what they knew.

Guilty . Death .

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