JOHN CHARLES.
18th May 1774
Reference Numbert17740518-24
VerdictGuilty
SentenceDeath

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387. (2d M.) JOHN CHARLES was indicted for that he in the king's highway, in and upon Charles Herrington did make an assault, putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and stealing from his person two iron keys, value 6 d. and four copper halfpence, the property of the said Charles , April 30th . +

Charles Herrington . On the first of May, between two and three in the morning, I was going out of Thames-street , on Tower-hill; as I was passing through the bars, two men came up to me, and passed me; I suspected nothing at that time, but I turned round, and saw they stopped and whispered, and then they came running back again to me; each caught hold of me by the collar, one on each side; one of them, which was the prisoner, clapped a knife to my breast, while the other put another knife to my throat; they demanded my money; I said I had little money, I had a wife and family, and had been in town some time at very great expences, and had but little; I said twopence farthing; they took that, and asked if I had any thing more; I said no; the prisoner then said, you villain, if you speak a word I will cut off your head! he ordered the other man to search me, which he did, and found nothing more than two iron keys; the other man asked the prisoner whether he should take the keys; the prisoner said, yes; they took them and left me; they presently came back; the prisoner laid hold of me again, and said, you villain, if I thought you would say a word about this, I would cut you limb from limb! I was terrified; I said I would not; they went away. They were dressed in sailors dresses; as to one of them, which is the prisoner, who stood by me with a knife, I took particular notice of him more than the other man, who stood more sideways. I went to a watchman, and we went into Dark-house-lane to examine the houses there, and at the Antigallican we found the prisoner; there was another man in company that I could not challenge, for I did not know him to be the man that robbed me, but I knew the prisoner immediately when I came into the house; the prisoner said, I will be d - d if you be not upon some rig, and said, he thought we were Sir John Fielding 's people, and if any thing amiss had happened he would assist us; he asked me to drink, and soon afterwards he was getting away, to all appearance going to bed; then I thought it high time to stop him; I gave charge of him, knowing him to be one of the two men that had robbed me. We did not find any thing upon him; the keys and the money the other man took; there was nothing found upon him but a small knife: the knives that were held to me when I was robbed, were one large, the other small; the small knife was like this; I cannot say which had which knife.

Q. from the prisoner. Did not you say you could not swear to me only for my blue jacket?

Herrington. I never did say I could not swear to the prisoner only because he was dressed in a blue jacket, for I knew him by his voice and his dress; I did not know his face.

Abednego Lambert. I am one of the watchmen for the Tower Royalty; we were talking together of a gentleman being attacked upon the hill; the prosecutor came up and said he had been robbed; he described the men to be in blue jackets; he said he should know one of them: we took off our watch coats and went into Darkhouse-lane; there we saw the prisoner; he said, I will be d - d if you are not upon some rig, I believe you are some of Sir John's men, I will assist you. The prosecutor charged him with being one of the men that robbed him; the prisoner first said he belonged to a man of war; afterwards he said he came home in an Indianman, but when the constable was called up, he told him he came from the Pilgrim, in Holborn, at about half after two; that could hardly be true, because he was in custody a quarter before three. The waiter at the Pilgrim did appear at the Justice's, and was examined there.

John Farrel , another watchman, who was along with Lambert, confirmed his evidence, and added as follows: The prosecutor said he should know one of the men, and challenged the prisoner out of ten or twelve people at the Antigallican, as being the man. The prosecutor never did say that he could not swear to him, on the contrary he did challenge him from the first, and said from the first he could swear to him.

The prisoner said the prosecutor was intoxicated with liquor at the time; Farrel and Lambert both deposed the contrary.

Prisoner's Defence.

It is a false charge against me: I was at the Pilgrim in Holborn at the time; I had been at the Rainbow, the corner of Fleet-market, to take some money from there. I went to a pawnbroker's,

at eleven o'clock, in Holborn, for my coat that was in pawn, and then to the Pilgrim; there I supped; I thought it so late I should be locked out of my lodgings; I went down to Darkhouse-lane, meaning to sleep there, and these men came and challenged me because I happened to have a blue dress; I said they might as well challenge any man in the king's navy. I have witnesses to make my defence good, that I left that house at half past two o'clock.

He called several witnesses but none appeared.

Guilty . Death .

N. B. He was tried last sessions.


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