Richard Pousam, Mary Bulger, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 13th September 1758.

Reference Number: t17580913-37
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death
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294. (L.) Richard Pousam , otherwise Spencer , and Mary Bulger , spinster , were indicted, for that they in a certain alley, near the king's highway, one Edward Hart , did make an assault, putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and taking from his person one silver watch, value 50 s. one linen handkerchief, value. and 6 d 3 d. in money numbered . ++

At the request of Bulger the witnesses were examined a part.

Edward Hart . On the 29th of July , about half an hour after nine in the evening, I was coming from Fleet-market, the woman at the bar, and another woman along with her, followed me up Chick-lane. I asked them the way to St. John's-street; she directed me through an alley, which I have heard since is called Thatch'd-alley ; I went into the alley, and they followed me, they laid hold of me, and began to be at my pocket, and the prisoner wanted me to go along with her; I began to think myself in a bad place, and put my watch into two handkerchiefs in my coat pocket: I was going to turn back, they came after me, the prisoner beat my pockets to feel if I had got any thing in them; I asked her what she wanted with me, and told her I had nothing to say to her; she began to be resolute, and so did I, then Richard Spencer came up, damning his eyes and limbs, with a stick in his hand, as I was striving to force my way out of the alley; he said a parcel of whores and rogues, what do you do here: Bulger said what is that to you; Spencer knocked me almost down, and as I was reeling, then he struck me three or four times in the face with his fist, and held both my hands, while Bulger took my watch and handkerchiefs out of my coat pocket. I had 2 s. 6 d. in one pocket, and 3 d. in half-pence, in another; I did not feel them take the half-pence, though I missed them afterwards, the silver they did not take. When she had her hand in my coat pocket, I cried out murder, and was going to call murder again, and Spencer clapt his hand upon my mouth, and almost strangled me.

Q. Could you distinguish their faces?

Hart. Yes, I could.

Q. Was it light ?

Hart. It was not moon light, but I had seen the woman in Chick lane before I went into the alley; I had hold of her hand when she had the watch in her hand: she said you bloody thief, let my hand go; I had given myself over, and did not expect I should live another minute, then the old woman, that is my witness, was coming by she saw the whole thing; she got a light, and came with it, then they made off; I am certain they were the two prisoners that are now at the bar. I was left all over of a gone blood. (He produced two handkerchief's, one he had about his neck at the time, and the other he whiped himself with, both very bloody.)

Q. Did you ever get your watch again?

Hart. No, I never did; they were both taken up the next day, and carried before Mr. Alderman Bethell, who committed them both to the Compter, she would not own that she took the watch from me, but said that one William Shakespear had got it.

Q. from Bulger. Was you drunk or sober?

Hart. I was no more concerned in liquor than I am this minute.

Cross examination.

Q. Did not you know that was a thoroughfare ?

Hart. No, I did not.

Q. How long was you with her before Spencer came up?

Hart. Not two minutes.

Q. Had she attempted to take any thing from you before he came up?

Hart. She tried, and I believe felt my watch.

Q. When was this?

Hart. This was as I was striving to go back; she damn'd my eyes and limbs, and began to pull me about; she was endeavouring to take my watch from me, while it was in my breeches pocket, and she had hold of me when he came up; some had hold of my hands, and some my cloaths; there were four concerned, two men and two women; I could not describe the other man and woman.

Q. Then how came you to distinguish the man at the bar?

Hart. There was a lamp in the place, just by Chick-lane, by which I could see him, as he came up to me.

Q. On what part did he strike you?

Hart. He struck me over the head.

Q. Did the other man strike you?

Hart. The other man did not touch me at all.

Q. What did the other woman do to you?

Hart. She laid hold of me.

Q. Did you charge any other people with this robbery?

Hart. No, I never did.

Q. Did not you charge one William Gibbs with it?

Hart. No, I did not, he came to speak in the behalf of the prisoners before the alderman, but I did not charge him, for I cannot swear to the others.

Q. How came you to find the prisoners?

Hart. The old gentlewoman that was coming by, told me their names, her name is Mary Hawkins .

Q. How old are you?

Hart. I am in my twentieth year.

Mary Hawkins . On a Saturday night, about half an hour after nine o'clock, I do not know the day of the month.

Q. What month was it?

Hawkins. I do not know what month, it was dark, I could not have known them if it had not been for the lamp.

Q. Where do you live?

Hawkins. I live just at the end of the place where the robbery was committed.

Q. How do you get your livelihood?

Hawkins. I go out a washing and scowering; as I was coming along Mary Bulger and this young man were together, (meaning the prosecutor) she said d - n your eyes stand up, presently came Richard Spencer, and said you bloody thief what do you do here.

Q. Did you know Bulger before?

Hawkins. I did very well, she liv'd just opposite me; Spencer with his stick knocked the young man down, that was the first thing.

Q. Did you know Spencer before?

Hawkins. I did, when I lived near Clerkenwell-green, he used to come by with droves.

Q. Are you sure he was the person?

Hawkins. I am, I saw his face very well, by the light of the lamp, which was as light as a candle.

Q. Are you sure he had a stick in his hand?

Hawkins. I am.

Q. Who did he speak these words to?

Hawkins. He spoke them to the young man.

Q. Did you see the young man fall to the ground?

Hawkins. I did, and cried murder once, and he was going to call out murder again, but they stopped his mouth with something, with what I cannot tell, I got a light as soon as I could.

Q. How far did you go for the light?

Hawkins. It was within twenty yards; I ran over a ruinated place for it; as soon as they saw my light they ran away, there I saw the young man all over of a gore blood.

Q. What did he say to you?

Hawkins. He said he had lost his watch, a handkerchief, and some money; he did not know who robbed him till I told him it was Moll Bulger and Dick Spencer .

Q. Where was you when you told him this?

Hawkins. I was at the end of the alley.

Q. to prosecutor. Who took the prisoners up?

Prosecutor. I, my mate, and two or three more sawyers of us, we went up Chick-lane, there we saw the two prisoners coming out of that same alley into the lane; I knew them directly, and we secured them.

Q. to Hawkins. How near was you to them when they knocked the prosecutor down?

Hawkins. Within three or four yards.

Q. How do you know that they stopped his mouth?

Hawkins. I know that by his not crying the whole.

Cross examination.

Q. Had you a light in your hand when you first saw them?

Hawkins. No, I had not.

Q. How long had you seen Bulger and the young man before Richard Spencer came up?

Hawkins. I was walking towards them, and Spencer came up directly as I did.

Q. Did you see any thing taken from the prosecutor?

Hawkins. No, I did not.

Q. How many people did you see about the prosecutor?

Hawkins. I saw no more than the two prisoners.

Q. Did not you see another man there?

Hawkins. There was neither man, woman, nor child there, when Spencer knocked the young man down.

Q. What is your husband's name?

Hawkins. His name is Aaron Hawkins .

Q. How long have you been married to him?

Hawkins. Upwards of eight years.

John Potts . I keep the house at the corner of the alley.

Q. What house is it?

Potts. A chandler's-shop; about the hour of nine or ten, on that night, there came this woman Hawkins, with the prosecutor into my shop, he desired he might sit down a little.

Q. What is the name of the alley.

Potts. It is called Thatched-alley; his mouth was full of blood, and his lips were swelled, and he wiping himself, and crying; he related to me how he had been robbed of his watch and some money, and I think he asked for an officer.

Q. Did he say he had lost a handkerchief?

Potts. I remember he had one in his hand, with which he wiped his face.

Q. What time was this?

Potts. I do not remember the day of the month, but I know it was on a Saturday night: we have those things about us so frequent, that I did not charge my memory with it, thinking no more would come of it.

William Parsons . The prosecutor lodges at my house; I sold him a silver watch, he sent a young man to me to desire I would come to him; I went, there he was in bed with his head bruised in a very bad manner, and the side of his face was very much swelled; he desired me to go with him to the place where he was robbed, to see if he could hear of the watch. I went with him, we sent for the old woman that gave evidence, and she gave us the names of the two prisoners; then we went to the black-raven.

Q. What did she say the people's names were?

Parsons. She said they were named Richard Spencer and Mary Bulger ; we went out of the alehouse, thinking to go home, and we saw the two prisoners coming along that alley down into Chick-lane; there was a little shoemaker with us that knew them very well.

Q. How many were there of you all?

Parsons. I believe there were six of us; we apprehended them.

Q. What did they say for themselves?

Parsons. They said but very little; we took them to Wood-street Compter.

Q. Was you with them before the alderman?

Parsons. I was.

Q. Did either of them acknowledge any thing?

Parsons. I heard the woman say, that one William Shakespear had the watch.

John Hust . The young man came to me on the Sunday morning, after he was robbed, and told me of it.

Q. Was you with him when the prisoners were apprehended?

Hust. I was, I was the first person that laid hold of the woman.

Q. In what condition was the prosecutor that Sunday morning?

Hust. One side of his face was very much swelled.

Q. What did Mary Bulger say when you took her?

Hust. I said young woman you must go along with me; along with you, sir, any where, where you please.

Timothy Kenton I am a sawyer, I was at the taking the prisoners.

James Tompkins . On the 30th of July, it was my watch night; when I went to the watch-house, between ten and eleven o'clock, I was informed by one of the warders that Mary Bulger and Richard Spencer had committed a robbery on the Saturday night before. I ordered my warder to go along with me, at half an hour after twelve, to see for the doctor.

Q. Who is the doctor?

Tompkins. That is the name that Spencer goes by. I took four watchmen with me, hearing he was at a public lodging-house in Chick-lane; I went up stairs and found him there. Mrs. Dale, the woman that keeps the house, informed me about the robbery, but I had another thing against him, and that was for desertion; there I apprehended him.

Spencer's defence.

When the constable laid hold of me, I was coming up Chick-lane; meeting these people, they laid hold of Mary Bulger ; I was in a surprize, I wondered what the matter was; I was not at the robbery, I was at another place, (this woman, pointing to his fellow prisoner) and I were together on the Saturday; in the afternoon about five, or between five and six, I left her, and never saw her till the next morning.

Bulger's defence.

On the 29th of July I saw Richard Spencer between five and six, he and I quarreled; he asked me if I had done his shirt, he said he must mount guard without it; we had many words, I never saw him till the Sunday morning, then as I was coming along, I met these men, they said where are you going; I turned about, and said what do you want with me, they said a young man wanted to speak with me at the black-raven, then they took me away. On Saturday night, after Richard Spencer and I had quarreled, I went to my own home at Old-street, and got there about nine o'clock.

For Spencer.

Mary Seargood . Spencer is my own brother, I saw him on that Saturday evening, being the 29th of July, I was writing a letter to my husband on board the Tartar man of war, I gave it to the bellman while he was in the room.

Q. Where do you live?

Seargood. I live in great Ormond-yard, near Queen's-square, Holborn.

Q. What time of the evening was this?

Seargood. It was a quarter before nine o'clock, he came before the bellman came, and the bell-man generally comes by nine, or at half an hour after nine the second time, he comes twice. I carried my letter down to the bellman, and paid fourpence for the letter, and a penny for the bell-man; I left him in the room while I returned.

Q. Can you be certain as to the time ?

Seargood. I am sure it could not be ten o'clock, because the bellman always comes twice before ten o'clock.

Q. What time did he go away?

Seargood. When I returned from the bellman he was in my room, and I fetched him a pot of beer, and got him some bread and cheese, and he staid in my room all night.

Q. Did he lie alone, or with any body?

Seargood. He laid with my two children, and I lay below with my landlady; he has laid so many a night at my house.

Anne Magennes . Spencer went to the school with two of my children, I have known him fifteen or sixteen years, he was brought up in Clerkenwell-school.

Q. What is his general character?

Magennes. I never heard he did any ill till this in his life.

William Gross . I have known the prisoner Spencer twenty years.

Q. What is his general character?

Gross. I never heard any thing against him till now.

John Gross . I have known him about sixteen years.

Q. What is his character?

Gross. I always knew him to bear a very good character, an industrious sort of a man, he strove hard to get a living in an honest way.

Q. What is his business?

Gross. He is a soldier .

Elizabeth Hall. I have known him fifteen years.

Q. What is his general character?

Hall. He had a very good character till this happened.

Peter Leonard . I have known Spencer twenty years, I never knew any thing ill of his character till now; he has worked in my garden at labouring work a great many times, and behaved very honestly.

Q. have you known him lately?

Leonard. I have known him till within a month past.

Richard Maschel . I have known him about four or five years, and I never knew no more of him than that of an honest principled young man.

James Reading . I have known Spencer about 2 years.

Q. What is his character ?

Reading. That was always good, as far as ever I heard.

Bulger. My witnesses were here, but they are gone now.

Both Guilty Death .

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