Richard Frost, William Collins, Fergus Crone.
6th July 1748
Reference Numbert17480706-10
VerdictNot Guilty; Guilty > lesser offence

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325. + 326 + 327. + Richard Frost , William Collins , and Fergus Crone , were indicted for assaulting John Hudson on the highway, putting him in fear, and taking from him a frock, value 3 s. a waistcoat, value 2 s. a pair of breeches, value 1 s. and one shilling in money, his property.

July 2 .

John Hudson . On Saturday last, between ten and eleven o'clock at night, the Prisoners laid hold of me, and struck me on the head.

Q. Who struck you on the head?

Hudson. Crone did.

Q. What are you?

Hudson. I am a haymaker .

Q. What did Crone lay hold of you by?

Hudson. By the collar; and he put his hand to my throat, and asked me for my money; and Collins struck me on the side of my head with his hand, and I went down on my knees, and begged for my life.

Q. Did they take all you had?

Hudson. Yes, so I was very willing to strip myself.

Q. Did you say so to them?

Hudson. Yes, and I pulled off my clothes, so much as my breeches and stockings, myself, and afterwards they threw me into a ditch, and I cried out murder.

Q. Which of them threw you into a ditch?

Hudson. I cannot tell, but I am sure one or two of them pitch'd me into a ditch; and then they took my clothes, and run away, as fast as they could, for London.

Q. Had you any money in your pocket?

Hudson. Yes, but I cannot tell justly what it was, but it was silver; I am sure there was a shilling, and they took away all but my hat, wig, and slippers.

Q. Did you overtake any of these three men?

Hudson. Yes, I overtook Frost; and he said he was sorry for my distress, and he pitied me very much, and said he went into a ditch to save himself, and he helped me out of the ditch.

Q. Look at those two men again, Collins and Crone, and see whether they are the men.

Hudson. Yes, I am sure they are the men. I saw Frost afterwards, at the White-Swan, and treated him with a pot of beer; and when I saw him, I was sure he was one of the men, and I took him, and carried him before a Justice of the Peace.

Q. Did Frost say any thing to you?

Hudson. He did not concern himself in any one thing in the world.

Alexander Rouchead . On Saturday night last, Richard Frost came into the White-Swan, and I heard a scuffle, and saw Frost and Hudson fighting in the publick room: I asked what was the matter, ( Hudson is a servant of mine) and he said, this is one of the men that robbed me; I got Frost into a box, and when Hudson was gone out of the room, I said to Frost: Now you have a shift for yourself, and to impeach the others, and he said he could not hurt him, because he never touched him.

Q. Had Hudson his clothes on?

Rouchead. He had no shoes or stockings, but he had a pair of breeches on.

Q. What did Frost say, after he said he could not hurt him, because he never touched him?

Rouchead. He said the other two robbed him; I asked him the names of the other two, and he said one was Fergus Crone , and the other William Collins , and I set their names down in my pocket-book, and carried Frost to the Round-house.

Q. Did you go to enquire after the other two?

Rouchead. Not till I went with Frost before Justice Poulson, and he said the same before the Justice, and desired to be admitted an evidence against the other two, but the Justice committed him to Newgate; and on Monday morning, about six o'clock, I took the constable with me, and went to the guard-room with Hudson, and I said to Hudson, if you see them, shake hands with them, and he did see Collins, and shook hands with him; and as soon as Hudson shook hands with him, I took him by the collar.

Q. Was he upon duty then?

Rouchead. Yes. Frost told me, they were both upon duty, and Crone was in the guard-room at the same time; I secured him, and had them before the Justice, and they were committed : The colonel was a little affronted that I should take them off the guard, and said, he would deliver them up, as soon as the guard was relieved.

Q. What did they say before the Justice?

Rouchead. They had a great many frivolous excuses, and Hudson said he had got into a skittle-ground with them at play, at the White-Horse, on the other side of Kilburn-Turnpike.

Jury. Did Justice Poulson admit Frost as an evidence?

Rouchead. He would have admitted him to have been an evidence at first, and Frost said he never touched the man, but knew the other two that did it; and afterwards Frost would have been an evidence, but the Justice told him he should have spoke sooner, it was too late, or else I believe he would have been admitted an evidence.

Pris. Collins. I said to the Prosecutor, if you have a mind to be a soldier, I can help you to money for us all, and I put my hand in his pocket, and put sixpence into it, and presently afterwards he was stripped, in order to fight my comrade, Crone, and he stripped himself stark naked, and said, he would not go along with us.

Q. You thought you had inlisted him then?

Collins. Yes; I put the sixpence into his pocket to be sure, and I thought he would be a soldier, for he said he would go through the world with me.

Q. What was the occasion of his stripping?

Collins. He was going to fight with my comrade, and I said there was no occasion to pull his clothes off.

Q. But you took his clothes away?

Collins. I never took any of his clothes, to take them away.

Pris. Crone. The Prosecutor challenged to fight with me, and I said I would not fight with him, and I went away directly.

Pris. Frost. I had been a haymaking, and the Prosecutor had left his fork in pawn for a penny; he followed me stark naked; I went into a house to drink a pint of beer, and the Prosecutor came in, and challenged me with robbing him.

Thomas Matthews . I am paymaster-sergeant of the company that Collins and Crone belong to, and no men have behaved better than they have done.

Q. Did you ever hear any harm of them before?

Matthews. Never, and they were always men that came as clean to their duty, as any men in the world; my colonel, Joseph York , is abroad, but if he was here, he would give them the same character as I do.

William Hannibel . I am paymaster-sergeant of the company that Frost belongs to, and he has behaved incomparably well. I never knew any thing against him.

Q. Do you know any thing of the other two?

Hannibel. I have known them upon duty, and they always behaved well.

William Hanover . Frost lodged with me when he first entered for a soldier , and he always behaved well.

Thomas Davison . Frost always behaved well, and I lived with him about a month.

[ The Jury desired that John Hudson might be called again, and desired they might ask him the following questions. ]

Q. to Hudson. Was you playing with these people at skittles?

Hudson. Yes, two or three games.

Q. Did they call one another by their names?

Hudson. No, only comrade, and comrade.

Q. Had you any drink after you played?

Hudson. Yes; after we had done, every man had a pint of beer.

Q. Did you pay for it?

Hudson. Yes; I laid a penny down, and left my pitchfork for the halfpenny.

Q. Did any body talk of putting sixpence into your pocket?

Hudson. I never heard such a word, as I wish God to be my judge.

Q. Did they say any thing to you about inlisting?

Hudson. No, they never said any such thing, as God is my judge.

Q. Now if you paid a penny, and left your pitchfork for a halfpenny, how could you have a shilling for them to take?

Hudson. That shilling was to pay for my lodging and washing.

Q. How much did you receive?

Hudson. I received three shillings, all but twopence.

Q. When was you paid?

Hudson. On Saturday, the same day.

Q. What did you do with the rest of the money?

Hudson. I paid it where it was owing.

Q. I desire to know how you came by those breeches, which Rouchead says you had on, when you came into the alehouse, if you was stripped of all your clothes?

Hudson. I left the breeches, and a waistcoat, at one Jones's, and as I was returning home along with Frost, I took that pair of breeches and waistcoat.

Frost was acquitted , and the Jury found Collins and Crone guilty of the felony, but acquitted them of the robbery .

[Transportation. See summary.]

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