William Johnson, Theft > game law offences, Killing > murder, 5th December 1733.

Reference Number: t17331205-54
Offences: Theft > game law offences; Killing > murder
Verdicts: Guilty; Guilty
Punishments: Death; Death
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61. William Johnson , of Edmonton , was indicted for unlawfully hunting, stealing, and carrying away (with Robert Hill , not yet taken) a sallow Deer, value 8l. and a fallow Fawn, value 20 s. in a Park enclos'd with a Fence, where Deer are usually kept , the Property of Sir Jeremiah Sambrook , Baronet , after the 1st of June, 1723. that is to say, on the 12th of June last.

George Brice . I am Keeper of Sir Jeremiah Sambrooke's Park, where Deer have been kept for 4 Years past. On the 13th of June in the Morning, as I was walking in the Park, I found a Brace of Deer kill'd, and miss'd a Leash, 2 white fallow Deer, and 1 red tame Deer; I went to the Park-pales, and found 2 of them broken down; I took Joseph Burgess on Suspicion.

Joseph Burgess . I fell into the Prisoner's Company the first Day that I went into the Country - It was at the Two Brewers at Winchmore-hill, where I call'd for half a Pint of Two-penny, and having drank it, was going away, when the Prisoner and one Hill came to the Door with a Brace of Greyhounds, and a Bob-tail Dog. Says I, These Dogs look as if they would run well; and upon saying so, the Prisoner drank to me - We had 3 Pots together, they paid for 2, and I for 1. Then the Prisoner, who had 3 Horse in the Yard, mounted, and rid off; and Hill told me, if I had a Mind to see the

Dogs run, I might, in a little Time, and not far off. I said, if I could see it in half an Hour, I should be very willing; I went with him; we came up with the Prisoner, and passing by an Alehouse, says I, Let's have a Pot here. No, says the Prisoner, that's a House the Keepers use. This gave me the first Suspicion of their being upon an ill Design. We pass'd a great white Gate that look'd like a Coach-way, and 10 or 12 Yards beyond, I saw the Park-pales. I hope, says I, you are not going in here, for I never was in any such Affair in my Life, and would not be concern'd for 100l. But I could not tell what to do, for it was dark, and I was a Stranger, and did not know my Way back. The Prisoner took 2 Slips [made 2 Nooses] to fasten the 2 Greyhounds, and bidding me hold 'em, he jump'd over the Pales, and he within and Hill without, broke 2 of 'em down, and they both went into the Park, and the Dogs run after, for I was not able to hold 'em. They came back in 2 Hours, and brought out 2 Deer; I was a white fallow Deer, and the other a red. Hill went in again, and the Prisoner desir'd me to help load 'em; he cut their Heads off, and we put the Bodies into Sacks, and so ty'd them upon the Horse; but my Heart ached all the while. I thought they were very tedious about every thing they did, and wonder'd they made no more haste - The Prisoner said, he knew by the Bite which Dog it was that kill'd the Deer - At last Hill came out again with a live Pawn in his Arms, and we went away together - I ask'd them the Way to Edmonton; they directed me, and so we parted, and I never got the Value of a Farthing from them. I went to Work next Day at Winchmore-hill, but I was so uneasy, that I could hardly eat or drink, or sleep for a Fortnight afterward - I have been threaten'd to be shot if I appear'd as an Evidence.

Prisoner. Were the Dogs mine?

Burgess. I thought so - you call'd them by their Names; and on the 6th of Feb. the Friday before I was taken, I saw you with the same Dogs, and 2 Deer before you, going to London.

Prisoner. What Colour were the Dogs?

Burgess. Liver-colour and White, and the Bob-tail Dog was red.

William Burley . I seiz'd the Prisoner in Buckler's-bury, and told him I had a Warrant to apprehend him for Deer-stealing. I took him from his House, and held him by the Wrist while another took 2 Pistols out of his Pocket. But - Turner, one of the Prisoner's Accomplices, came and rescu'd him from us, and he got as far as Dowgate, where he shot a Man; but as soon as the Prisoner got from us, we secur'd Turner*, and he is now in Newgate.

* Turner is order'd to remain till next Sessions, to be try'd for the Rescue, which is a capital Offence.

Prisoner. What Clothes had I on, when I went into the Park?

Burgess. Brown Clothes, and the same you had on when I afterwards met you in Shoreditch, and you said you was going over the Water with Deer.

Prisoner. Had I any Arms?

Burgess. You had a Gun, and Hill said he had Pistols, but I did not see them.

Then, by Order of the Court, the Act was read, by which it is enacted, "That after the first Day of June, 1723. whatever Persons, arm'd with offensive Weapons, and having their Faces black'd, or otherwise disguis'd, shall appear in any Forest, Park, or Grounds inclos'd with any Wall or Fence wherein Deer are usually kept, or any Warren where Hares or Conies are kept, or in any Highway, Heath or Down, or unlawfully hunt, kill, or steal any red or fallow Deer, or rob any Warren, or steal Fish out of any Pond, or maliciously break down the Head of any Fish-pond, or kill or wound Cattle, or set Fire to any House or Out-house, or Stack of Hay or Corn, or cut down, or otherwise destroy Trees planted for Shelter or Profit,

or shall maliciously shoot at any Person, or send a Letter demanding Money, or other valueable Things, or shall rescue any Person in Custody of an Officer; for such an Offence, or by Gift or Promise procure any one to join with them, shall be deem'd guilty of Felony, without Benefit of Clergy, and shall sister Death as Felons so convicted."

The Jury found the Prisoner guilty . Death .

He was a second time indicted for the Murder of James Taaman , by maliciously discharging a Pistol loaded with Powder and Bullets, and thereby giving him one mortal Wound in the left Side of his Neck, of the Length of half an Inch, and Depth of 4 Inches, on the 26th of October last, of which he languish'd till the next Day, and then dy'd .

He was a third time indicted on the Coroner's Inquisition for the said Murder.

John Chalkley . The People cry'd out A Highwayman! The Deceas'd laid hold of the Prisoner, and the Prisoner turn'd about and shot him. We follow'd the Prisoner into Hand-court, over-against the Steel-yard, and there took him - I think the Prisoner is the Man, but I can't swear it positively.

Robert Simmonds . The Mob cry'd, Stop Thief! Stop Highwayman ! The Deceas'd follow'd the Prisoner, and catch'd at him 2 or 3 times, to take him, and the Prisoner turn'd about and shot him.

Prisoner. Did not he strike me?

Simmonds. Not as I saw - The Prisoner ran up Hand-Court, I catch'd up a Hammer in a Farrier's Shop, and threw after him, but missing my Aim, I follow'd, overtook him, and turning about, met him full; he snapp'd a Pistol at me, but it would not go off, and I knock'd him down with a Whip.

Nicholas Crossby , Farrier. I had a Shoe in the Fire when I heard the Noise; the Prisoner came by with 2 Pistols, and somebody said, Have a Care! Some threw Stones at the Prisoner, and I said to him, Friend, you had better surrender. By God, says he, I'll shoot the first Man that touches me. As he spoke, the Deceas'd catch'd hold of his Coat, and the Prisoner turn'd about and shot him under the Ear.

Prisoner. Did not you throw a red-hot Shoe at me?

Crossby. No; but when he was taken in Hand-court, he was very obstropolus, and I told him, if he would not be quiet, I'd run the Shoe thro' his Head.

Mr. Woodham , Surgeon. I was sent for by the Coroner, to view the Deceas'd - the Ball enter'd on the left Side of the Neck, and broke the Vertebrae. I took out these 3 Pieces of the Bone, but could not find the Ball. I heard he liv'd from 4 in the Afternoon till 9 next Morning, and, I believe, that Wound was the Cause of his Death.

The Prisoner's Defence.

John Shuttleworth . I saw Mr. Burley knock the Prisoner off his Horse, in Buckler's-bury, and another took hold of his Arms thus - and took 2 Pistols out of his Pocket - but he, some how, got loose again, and pull'd out a long Knife at Burley, and Burley struck at his Legs, but he made off, and ran down by the Tower-royal to Dowgate; the Mob follow'd, and call'd, Stop Highwayman! Stop Thief! and then he shot the Deceas'd.

Court. Why?

Shuttleworth. Because the Deceas'd went to take him; but, in my Opinion, he did not die of that Wound - for his Skull was cut by his falling with his Head upon the Stones.

Court. How came he to fall?

Shuttleworth. By being shot.

Court. Sir, do you banter the Court?

John Corderoy . The Prisoner was taken in Buckler's-bury, but getting off again, he turn'd down Size-lane to the Tower-royal, so to College-hill, and thro' Joiner's-alley to the Water-side; the Mob follow'd, and cry'd, Highwayman! the Prisoner turn'd about, and said,

he was no Highwayman. He was knock'd down with Stones, a Smith threw a hot Iron after him; the Deceas'd came off a Dung-hill, at the Corner of Dowgate , at the same time, and the Prisoner turn'd about, and so off went the Pistol f, but whether it was fir'd willingly or not I can't say.

Court. Did the Prisoner say nothing before the Pistol went off.

John Corderoy . He turn'd about and said, he was no Highwayman, and bid them stand clear or he would Shoot.

Court. And do you believe then that the Pistol went off by chance?

Prisoner. I fir'd the Pistol, but did it in my own Defence.

The Jury found him Guilty . Death .

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