Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 6.0, 29 August 2014), January 1734, trial of James Belford (t17340116-25).

James Belford, Violent Theft > highway robbery, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 16th January 1734.

32. James Belford , was indicted for assaulting Ann Baker on the Highway, putting her in fear, and taking from her a Cambrick-mob, value 2 s. Dec. 13 .

He was a second Time indicted for assaulting Mary Allen on the Highway, putting her in fear, and taking from her a silk-Handkerchief, value 2 s. 6 d. Dec. 13 .

(First Indictment.)

Ann Baker . Going from hence in Tothil-street, about 10 at Night, to call my Husband from a Neighbour's House, the Coach and Horses, where he was drinking, the Prisoner met me in the Middle of the Street, and would have pull'd the Ring off my Finger. I cry'd out. He knock'd me down (I believe it was with his Fist) cut my Hand in three places, and tore off my Mob (and some of my Hair with it), and leaving me on the Ground, ran away. I got up frighted and went to my Husband, and told him how I had been served by a lusty Man in a Dray-man's Apron; for I saw him plainly, by the Light in a Chandler's almost opposite to me, and a Lamp that was hard by. My Husband and some of the Company with him, pursued the Prisoner, and brought him back to the Coach and Horses, and I saw my Mob then in his Bosom, next to his Shirt, a Neighbour took it out, and here it is. I charged him directly.

Prisoner. You said before the Justice that you did not know me.

Ann Baker . No I said I could not swear to your Face, but to your Bulk and your Apron, which I catch'd hold of.

Catherine Elkins . As I was standing at the Coach and Horses (a Distiller's) I saw the Prisoner go by, and offer to meddle with a Woman over the Way, but she got from him, and he going forward, I heard a Woman cry, - and soon after, Mrs. Baker came up without her Head-clothes, and the blood running down her Arm. She said don't be frighted but I am almost kill'd by a Rogue that has pull'd my Cap off. - I call'd Mr. Baker, and he and others ran out and brought the Prisoner back. I know him to be the Man that I had taken Notice of before, and I took the Mob out of his Bosom, and set a Seal on it, but I did not see Mrs. Baker then.

Ann Baker . No I stood behind you, and saw you take it out.

Caleb Baker . My Wife came to me at the Coach and Horses. Her Cap was off, and her Arm bloody from her Elbow to her Fingers. Nanny, says I, what's the Matter? A Rogue, says she, has abused me and pull'd my Head-clothes off. I and John Drew , and some others, pursu'd him, and near the Gate-house in Westminster, we heard a Woman cry Murder, we follow'd the Cry, and seiz'd him behind a Coach. We brought him back to the Coach and Horses, where Mrs. Elkin took the Mob out of his Bosom.

John Drew . As I was drinking at Mr. Elkin's House, Mrs. Baker came in almost murder'd, and said she had been robb'd by a lusty Fellow in a Brewer's Apron, and that he run down the Street. We follow'd, and under the Gatehouse Gateway, he was quarrelling with a Woman, who cry'd out, and he run about forty Yards, and got behind a Coach that stood against the Chequer Ale-house in the Broad-sentry (Sanchary) where I took him, and the young Woman came up, and said that's he that took my Handkerchief.

Prisoner. No you took me by my Master's Dray, with a lighted Link in my Hand.

Drew. You had a Link, but it was not lighted.

Prisoner. What Time of Night was it?

Drew. About a Quarter past Ten.

Prisoner. I belong to Mr. Whiteman, a Brewer in Blackman-street. My Fellow-Servant had the Dray-horse in his Hand, and I went behind with a lighted Link to take Care of the Beer, and it's very likely that I shou'd do a Robbery with a Link in my Hand. - My Fellow-servant is sick, or else he would have been here.

Second Indictment.

Mary Allen . Going down Old-Tothill-Street , by the Oyl-shop, I met the Prisoner, he jostl'd me, I pass'd him, he turn'd back and follow'd me, took hold of the Side of my Breast, squeez'd me hard, knock'd me down, hit me on the Arm with a piece of a Link, which I suppose had not been long put out, for it burnt me; and then he pull'd off my Handkerchief and run away. I got up and run after him. He knock'd me down again under the Gate-house. I cry'd Murder, and stop Thief. He pull'd a Knife out of his Pocket, and swore he'd cut my Throat if I resisted. I run into the middle Way, I follow'd him close - Mr. Drew took him, and I said, That's the Man that robb'd me of my Handkerchief ; and I am positive to him, for when he first knock'd me down, there was a Light in a Window just by us.

Prisoner. You swore before the Justice that you knock'd me down.

Mary Allen . No, I said you hit me first, and I hit you again.

Prisoner. You swore you threw me over a Block.

Mary Allen. I swore you fell down under the Gatehouse.

Prisoner. You had like to hang another young Man, for another Robbery, but only he had good Friends that appear'd for him - At what a Clock did I knock you down?

Mary Allen. It was a Quarter past Ten.

Prisoner. I was then at my Lodging in Kent.

Mary Allen. How could that be, when you sent a Prisoner to the Gatehouse by 11 ?

Prisoner. Did not you take hold of the Skirt of my Coat, and ask me to give you a Dram?

Mary Allen. No.

Prisoner. What Tool had I in my Hand to knock you down with? Did not a Man hold the Dray-Horse?

Mary Allen. I neither saw Horse nor Dray.

Prisoner. But I had a lighted Link in my Hand, and I gave you a Slap with it.

Mary Allen. It was not lighted; but while you were hauling me about a Gentleman's Coach came by with a Flambeau.

Caleb Baker depos'd as in the foregoing Trial, and the Jury found the Prisoner Guilty . Death .