William Signal, William Ward, Catharine Hart, Violent Theft > highway robbery, Theft > receiving, 25th June 1752.

Reference Number: t17520625-4
Offences: Violent Theft > highway robbery; Theft > receiving
Verdicts: Not Guilty; Guilty
Punishments: Death
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324, 325, 326. (M.) William Signal , William Ward , and Catharine Hart , spinster , were indicted, the two first, for that they, on the king's highway, on George Derby , did make an assault, putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and taking from him one pair of silver buckles, val. 10 s. one silk handkerchief, val. 5 s. one 36 s. piece and one half guinea, the goods and money of the said George , June 5 . And the third for receiving the silver buckles and silk handkerchief, knowing them to have been stolen , +

George Derby . As I was coming along Ratcliff highway on the fifth of June between the hours of eleven and twelve at night, three men attacked me, swearing, bid me stand. It was so dark I can't take upon me to say what arms they had. They took from me a 36 s. piece, half a guinea, some loose silver, my silver buckles out of my shoes, and an India silk handkerchief out of my pocket. I went and complained of it in the neighbourhood, upon which it got to the ears of the thief catchers, and in about three nights after I was sent for to Sir Samuel Gore 's; there were the two men now at the bar, and one Randolph Branch the evidence, they all three confessed the fact. Signal said Branch and he took hold of my handkerchief by two corners, and had tore it all to pieces. The evidence told me my buckles were pawned near the May-pole in East-Smithfield. I went as he directed, and they were delivered to me. Produced in court and deposed to. William Ward said before the Justice (in order to be admitted evidence) that when they were taking my buckles, that he said to them, don't take his buckles.

Q. Was there such words spoke when they were taking them ?

Derby. Yes, my lord, there were.

Randolph Branch . The two men at the bar and I went out together in order to commit street robberies on the 5th of June. We met this gentleman at the corner of Bridges Square, Ratcliff highway.

Q. to prosecutor. Was that the place where you was robbed?

Derby. It was, my lord.

Branch. We had no arms, only Signal had a little penknife, which he held to the gentleman. I took a 36 s. piece and half a guinea out of his pocket, I know nothing of any silver, which the gentleman mentions. Signal took the buckles from his shoes, and Ward his handkerchief. Then we all went to Signal's room, and equally shared the money. Signal gave me half a crown for my share of the buckles and handkerchief, and I saw him give them to Catharine Hart .

Q. What had Ward for his share of them ?

Branch. He had nothing, we cheated him out of his part. Catharine Hart went out and came in again, and said she had been to pawn the buckles for 4 s. She used to keep company with Signal.

Signal. She is my wife.

Branch. She let us in, and doesall hours of the night, and knew what we went about. She was by when we divided the money and heard us talk how we came by it.

Signal. That evidence has been at the Old-Bailey three or four times. See No. 474 in Blachford's, and 25 in Cokayne's mayoralties. I pawned the buckles my self; my wife is as innocent as the child unborn. Branch said he'd transport her and hang me.

James Waringer , clerk to Sir Samuel Gore , deposed to the confession of Signal and Ward, and that Ward said he was in but one robbery besides that.

Thomas Stanley , confirmed that of their confession before Sir Samuel. Neither of the evidences heard any confession from Catharine Hart.

Signal's Defence.

I have nothing to say, only my wife know: nothing at all of it.

Ward's Defence.

I went to take a walk and light of this young man (pointing to his fellow prisoner) then we light of the evidence, and being out late drinking, as we were going home along Ratcliff highway, Branch went up to the genteman and demanded his money, unknown to either of us. I saw him stoop down to take his buckles, and I said for Christ's sake don't take his buckles. After that we went home.

Hart's Defence.

I am as innocent as the child unborn, I am wife to Signal .

Hart acquitted .

Signal and Ward Guilty . Death .

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