Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
81. ROBERT FLETCHER was indicted for feloniously making an assault in the King's highway on the 7th of December , upon Margaret Croydon , putting her in fear, and taking from her person, and against her will, one pair of sheets, value six shillings, a pair of stockings value 1 s. two handkerchiefs, value 2 s. one counterpane value 4 s. and a bank note value one pound, the property of the said Margaret Croydon .
Q. Where was you coming from? - A. I went into Bream's Buildings, Chancery Lane, I was going into Little Coram-street, Russel-square, when I got into Guilford-street , at the end, opposite of the Foundling, a man came behind me, and gave me a violent blow on my head, and snatched my bundle that I had under my arm.
Q. Were you knocked down? - A. No, I did not fall.
Q. What was in that bundle? - A. A pair of sheets, a counterpane, a pair of stockings, a neck handkerchief, and one pocket handkerchief, and a one pound note; the man snatched the bundle, and ran away as fast as he could.
Q. You see distinctly that it was a man that took the bundle from under your arm? - A. I did.
Q. Were you in a condition to make any observation of his person or dress? - A. No, I was very much frightened, but I ran after him, and called out Stop thief as loud as I could.
Q. In which direction did he run? - A. He ran towards Guildford Place first, he did not go up there, he went strait forward.
Q. What is the name of that street? - A. Guildford-street. Some persons that are in court heard me cry out.
SAMUEL FISHER sworn. On Saturday evening, in the early part of December, between eleven and twelve o'clock at night, returning home from Lamb's-conduit street, with three of my neighbours, I heard a woman call out Stop thief; I was in the beginning of Guildford Place.
Q. Is Guildford Place a square or a street? A. It joins Lamb's-conduit-street; it is a street, there is about two houses on each side, I believe. When I heard the woman cry out Stop thief, I saw a man running towards me and my neighbours, but seeing of us he took another course, he ran strait down Guildford-street till he came to Carolina Place, then he turned up there; I immediately ran after him, he dropped a bundle.
Q. Did you pick it up or how? - A. I stepped over it and pursued the man; when I came to the end of Carolina Place, there was a man had got the prisoner at the bar in custody. I heard the prisoner ask the person that is here a witness, what he had hold of him for, he had done nothing; he was taken to the watchouse.
Q. When you set about pursuing him after you heard the woman cry out Stop thief, had you your eye upon him the whole time? - A. I had till he came to the corner of Carolina Place, then I was obstructed by the corner of the Foundling wall.
Q. How long might that interruption continue? - A. I suppose about five or six minutes.
Q. When you had turned the corner, and by that means could see, what did you observe? A. Before I got to the corner he was taken into custody; he was then at the other end of Carolina Place when I got up to him.
Q. Had you any opportunity of observing his dress? - A. No, not till he was taken; it was rather a cloudy night, the moon was shining, but not bright.
MATHEW MURPHY sworn. I am a watchman; I was in the watchbox the corner of Carolina Place, I heard the cry of Stop thief, I run directly towards Guildford Place, I tried to catch hold of him, but I was in the middle of the street running, and he got past me.
Q. Could he see that you was attempting to catch him? - A. Yes, I followed him to the top of Carolina Place, I halloed out Stop him, and a man behind a hackney coach at the top of Carolina Place laid hold of him; with that I got up to him, the man had hold of him by the coat, I took hold of him by the collar, and conveyed him to the watchhouse.
Cross-examined by Mr. Alley.
Q. What distance is this from Gray's Inn lane? - A. It is not very far distant from it, there may be a couple of turnings to it.
JAMES WEST sworn. I am a gentleman's servant: I was waiting at No. 6, Carolina Place, a little after eleven o'clock the servant came and told me the family was going away, I had got a coach waiting for them; the moment that I opened the coach door to let the family in, there was an alarm of Stop thief. In the scuffile of taking this man, I got a blow upon the nose, from which there was a great effusion of blood; I saw this man lay hold of him.
Q. Did you perceive yourself struck? - A. No, I did not know any thing of it till my nose bled; the watchman came up, and the gentleman
Murphy. That is the man that I took the prisoner from, and the prisoner is the man that I took to the watchhouse.
Q. (to prosecutrix) You have told us what things were in your bundle, look at them and see if they are yours? - A. It is the bundle that was snatched from me, that table cloth was in the bundle, it is not mine, the stockings, handkerchiefs, and sheets, are all mine.
Q. Is the note there? - A. No, the bundle was open when it was brought to the watch-house, and the note was gone; the bundle was only pinned, the bundle was done up in this handkerchief, I had bought the handkerchief but a week before.
Q. What time do you generally shut up shop? - A. At eleven o'clock on Saturday nights, and ten o'clock on other nights.
Q. Who shuts the shop for you? - A. The prisoner at the bar; he and his wife lodged with me, he is a plaisterer .
Q. There is a road from Tottenham-court road to your house? - A. Yes,
Court. So I understand. Is Carolina Place the direct road to your house from Tottenham-court road? - A. I am not acquainted with that road? the prisoner did not shut up my shop on that night, he was gone out.
Q. Where was your pay-table? - A. At the Rising Sun, Tottenham-court road, I paid him there that night.
Q. From that part of the road this is a direct road to Gray's Inn lane? - A. It is.
Court. Is Carolina Place the strait way from Tottenham-court road to Gray's-inn lane? - A. I cannot answer that.
Jury. Do not you know it is not the direct way? - A. I do not know where Carolina Place is.
Prisoner's Defence. I am a plaisterer; coming home from my pay-table, I was running down Guildford-street to shut up my landlady's shop; hearing the cry of Stop thief I was taken for another person, I know nothing of the lady, I never saw her before I saw her at the watch-house.
The Prisoner called five witnesses, who gave him a good character.
GUILTY - DEATH , aged 27.
First Middlesex Jury, before the Lord Chief Baron.