9th September 1772
Reference Numbert17720909-15

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616, 617. (M.) GEORGE KEM otherwise BUTCHER , and BENJAMIN JOHNSON , were indicted, for that they on the king's highway, on William Kitchen , did make an assault, putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and stealing from his person a silver watch, and 2 s. in money, numbered, the property of the said William , Aug. 5th . ++

William Kitchen . I am a polisher in marble , in Portland Street, Marybone. On Wednesday the 5th of August, between eight and nine at night, I was robbed going towards Marybone Turnpike , in company with Elizabeth Spencer , between the Farthing Pye House and the Turnpike. The two prisoners both attacked us with each a pistol; Johnson d - d me, and bid me stand, or he said he would blow my brains out; bid me deliver my money; he repeated that several times over. I delivered him first a shilling and then another; he d - d me, and said I had got a watch; I made no answer, but he put his hand to my sob and took it out; I had tucked the chain in. Then he returned me a shilling back, and bid us go forward, and said if we turned back, he would blow our brains out; I went forward as far as the watch box. I saw the other that was with Elizabeth Spencer have a handkerchief in his hand, and I heard some halfpence chink; they turned back again, and said if we did not go back, and made any noise, they would come back, and blow our brains out. We went to the watch box; we met two men; I asked them if they were not in company with them; they said no. I said we have been robbed; they went with me; we met two other men, and we all five pursued them; I saw them both run over into a field, and in less than five minutes (they had before got out of my sight) I saw them in a road that goes to Portland Street, crossing out of that into the field; they went into a field where stones are laid that are taken up from the old pavement. I ran after Kem, but lost him among the stones. A person was looking out at a window, who said he saw the man go by. I went into the New Road again, and met with several men; we were at the Pye House informed that a man was in the common sewer, who afterwards proved to be Johnson; the common sewer was broke in.

Q. Is that out of the road?

Kitchen. Yes. We went there; I saw Johnson just at the hole, and another man who had got hold of him; he had disfigured his face that I could not at that time swear to his face, but I could swear to his clothes and hat. The other (Kem) was taken next night, in a street that goes out of Leicester-fields.

Q. You say Johnson first attacked you, had you ever seen him before?

Kitchen. No.

Q. Was it dark?

Kitchen. No, it was rather dusk; I could see to the Turnpike very plain; Johnson had a brown coat on and a round hat; I could see his face, I am certain he is the person. The other was dressed in a brown great coat, and such a hat as Johnson's, but I did not take so much notice of him as of Johnson. I challenged Johnson next morning as soon as he was brought out.

Q. What did you say the night before?

Kitchen. That I could not swear to his face he was so disfigured, but I could to his clothes and hat.

Q. What do you say to Kem?

Kitchen. He appears to be the same man; he is the same size and dress, but I will not swear to his face; I do believe him to be the man; I did not take so much notice of him as of Johnson.

Q. Where had you been that night?

Kitchen. I was coming from home. I went into Titchfield street to call for this young woman to take a walk.

Q. Was you sober?

Kitchen. I don't kno w that I had had a pint of beer that day.

Cross Examination.

Q. What time of the night was it?

Kitchen. About a quarter before nine on the 5th of August.

Q. What sort of a day had it been?

Kitchen. A very fine day.

Q. How far was you from Kem?

Kitchen. About a yard or three quarters of a yard.

Q. You say you never saw Johnson before, and you did not know him that night afterwards you say?

Kitchen. He was disguised.

Q. That place you say is a common sewer where Johnson was found; there is a way across the field I believe?

Kitchen. I don't know that there is any common foot path, any further than some people make a practice of going through that field; I saw the prisoner go into that field.

Q. What is Elizabeth Spencer ?

Kitchen. A servant to Capt. Mills, in Titchfield-street.

Elizabeth Spencer . I was walking with Mr. Kitchen on Wednesday the 5th of August, about a quarter before nine, and as we were walking towards the Turnpike at Marybone, the two

prisoners met us; they had each a pistol. Kem presented one to me, and Johnson one to Mr. Kitchen. Kem d - d me, and bid me deliver my money, or my life, this moment, or I'll blow your brains out; I told him I was only a servant and had no money; he said d - n you don't you tell me so, I insist upon your money this minute. I told him not to be in so great a hurry and what I had got he should have; I pulled a silk handkerchief out of my pocket; I held it in my other hand; I had nothing but a few halfpence and a silver thimble, I held in my hand to shew him; he said, d - n you don't tell me so, you have more; he held the pistol fast to my breast, whilst I held my pockets, for him to feel. When he had felt in my pocket and found there was no more, he said, d - n your eyes but I will have your silk handkerchief, and I will have the price of a pot or pint of beer, I am not sure which, and he took that and my silver thimble. When they were going away we offered to go back with them, and they turned about, and said, d - n your eyes go on, make no noise, or we will blow your brains out this minute. We made a stop, and they turned about again, and repeated the same words, and bid us say nothing and make no noise; we went on and saw two men a-coming; I asked them if they had met two men; they said they did; I said do you belong to them; they said no; one of them asked what was the matter; I said they had robbed us. One of them said he heard one of the men say as they passed them, d - n me. I'll never want money; we asked them to assist, and they went in pursuit of them.

Q. Had you ever seen them before?

Spencer. Never to my knowledge.

Q. Are you sure the prisoners are the men that robbed you?

Spencer. I am positive to Kem that he robbed me. I am not positive to the other; I thought I knew him.

Q. When did you see Kem again?

Spencer. On the Friday afternoon, at Justice Welch's; I was taken into a large room where there were a great many men, I suppose there were thirty, in order to see if I knew him; I picked him out instantly; I saw Johnson at a public house that night when he was taken; I said then by the size of the man, that I believed he was one that robbed us, but he was so disfigured with dirt that I could not be certain to him; he seemed to have fell down in the dirt, his hands and face were very dirty.

Q. Have you ever found your handkerchief?

Spencer. No.

Cross Examination.

Q. Was you very much frightened?

Spencer. Yes; if it had not been for the help of a gentleman I afterwards met, I don't believe I should have been able to have got home.

Q. Then in this great fright and confusion was it possible for you to take notice of this man so as to know him again?

Spencer. Yes; there was light enough to discern any face, and I had my eyes upon him all the time.

Q. But you was in a good deal of confusion?

Spencer. I was in more confusion when they left us than when they were with us.

Q. Did you point this man out at first?

Spencer. When I first went into the room, I said I don't know; then I looked about, and I went up to him, and said that is the man that robbed me; I asked him to stand up; when he stood up I knew him perfectly.

Q. You saw his face before he stood up?

Spencer. No, his hat was over his face.

Q. You might see his face without his standing up; do you form your judgment from his face or his size?

Spencer. From both; I could not have been so very positive to him unless he had stood up, I could not have seen his dress so well.

Q. His dress was a circumstance then?

Spencer. His size and face were more.

Q. Had you pointed to any body in the room before?

Spencer. No.

Q. Did you point to the man's brother, or had any doubt of his being the person?

Spencer. No.

Joseph Debb . I am a waiter at the Green Man. On the 5th of August, about a quarter before nine, Mr. Mascall came to me, and said a footpad had got into the sewer; we took each a light from the bar; I went first; the sewer is in a field, some dung carts had broke it down, and it is rather better than a yard deep. When I came to the sewer I put the candle down and the prisoner jumped up that moment, ab, said he, what is the matter! He had been under the arch; I said you have no business here; he said he was very much in liquor; Mr. Mascall and I laid hold of him; he gave a struggle and wanted to get off; I told him it would be best

for him not to struggle; he said, I am very much in liquor, how I came here I cannot tell. Kitchen came up, and said he could swear to his clothes and hat, but his face to be sure was very dirty; he said he could not swear to his face then on that account. He had fell down upon his side; his breeches and one side of his stocking were very wet. We took him to the watch house.

- Marshall confirmed this evidence; he also said that Kitchen described Johnson to them before they want to seek him in the sewer; and added, that the prisoner, after they had taken him, went through a narrow passage, where only one could pass at a time; that there they let go of him, and he did not attempt an escape, and that the prisoner was sober when they took him into custody.

Thomas Hitchcock . As I was going home from work with Mr. Monk, from farmer Gardner's, we met two men near Marybone Turnpike; after they had passed us, one of them said, d - n my eyes if ever I want money; they were going from Marybone Turnpike towards the other Turnpike; just as we had passed them we saw a man and woman before us.

Q. Did you take notice of the men?

Hitchcock. Yes; one was a tall man in a brown coat and red waistcoat, that I am certain is Johnson; the other was a short man *, I don't know much of him. When we came up to the man and woman, they asked us if we had met two man; we said we had; they asked us if we belonged to them; we said no; they said they had just been robbed of a watch and handkerchief, and the man asked us to go back and assist in pursuit of them; we followed them across the road into the field. Where the sewer it, we hollowed out, stop thief; there was a running light across the field; I saw one drop down into the sewer; I ran just past the hole and as I run past I saw him on the right (Johnson) in the hole; the other went forward; we went to the house, and these men were coming down the road; I told them there was a footpad in the sewer; they went and got a light; I watched the sewer till they came back, and then we took Johnson out of the sewer.

* Kem is short: Johnson very tall and stout.

Manolda Monk confirmed this evidence in every particular.

Joseph Rutherford . On Thursday morning about a quarter after five o'clock, Stalker came to me and said Kitchen had been robbed, and he suspected the man had hid the watch in the sewer; we both went together down into the sewer; I found this pistol there; ( producing it) it lay about three feet six or four feet from the hole, pressed down as far as the bricks would allow, and it was covered; groping about in the dirt I found the watch, about four or five inches from where the pistol was. I gave the watch and pistol to Stalker.

- Stalker. Mr. Monk gave me the watch and pistol, which I delivered to Jones the watch-house-keeper.

Richard Jones . I received this watch and pistol (producing them) from Stalker.

Kitchen. This is the watch I was robbed of.

Q. Do you know any thing of the pistol?

Kitchen. I did not take particular notice of the pistol.

- Day, a constable, deposed, that he apprehended Kem, in Spur-street, Leicester-fields; that he searched him, but found no arms upon him.

Kem's Defence.

I know nothing at all about it; I never was near that way; I never carried such a thing in my hand or about me in my life. I am a coach-wheel-wright by trade; I was drinking at the White Hart in Windmill street about half after eight o'clock, with one of my fellow servants as was; his name is George Meadows ; after that I went to Piccadilly to see a friend. I waited there for him half an hour, but he did not come.

Johnson's Defence.

The night I was taken out of the common sewer I was carried to Marybone watch-house; they took candles there, and took my hat off. The prosecutor was asked whether I was the man that robbed him; he replied no, I was not the man; the next morning he came by break of day, and said he knew I was the man by my cloaths, but he could not swear to my person; the next day he said before Justice Welch, he was sure I was the man that robbed him. They asked him if he would swear to the pistol, he said he knew nothing of it, nor of the watch, he only knew the black ribbon to it. I played at skittles all the afternoon, at the Adam and Eve; I got in liquor, and fell into this common sewer, and being overpowered with liquor I could not get out again. I am a shoe-maker :

I work for my own customers; I have kept three shops of my own.

Kem called ten witnesses in the coach trade, who gain him a very good character, and Johnson called one witness, who gave him a good character.

KEM, Guilty . Death .

JOHNSON, Guilty. Death.

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