21st October 1778
Reference Numbert17781021-4
VerdictGuilty; Not Guilty

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731, 732. WILLIAM HOLLOWAY and WILLIAM SMALLCOMB were indicted, for that they in a certain field and open place near the king's highway, in and upon William Proffitt , did make an assault putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life; and stealing from his person a steel tobacco box, value 1 s. a leather inkholder, value 1 s, a pocket book, value 1 s. and 14 s. in money, the property of the said William , October 17th .


I am foreman of the road under one Mr. Wright. I live at Knight's-bridge . On yesterday was fortnight, which was the 7th of October, at pretty near half after seven in the evening, as I was going home from Chelsea on foot, three soldier s met me in a field within a stone's throw of the high road; they bid me stop, and they demanded my money; in a minute; two laid hold of me and picked my pocket of fourteen shillings and sixpence, my tobacco box, inkhorn, and pocket book, and a key; I begged them to give me the

key again, one of them threw it away, and Davis took it up and gave it me; I did not see that they had any weapons, they did not use me ill at all, only put me into a fright when they first came to me. After they had robbed me they went off towards Chelsea. I durst not follow them as I thought I should be knocked on the head if I did. I can swear positively to Holloway; it was dusk, the moon was covered with a bit of a cloud; I had seen Holloway before, but I had no acquaintance with him.

Did you know his name before? - No. I cannot swear to the other. I was sent for to Sir John Fielding 's on the Friday following when Holloway was taken up; I saw him at Sir John's, and knew him then; I am sure he is one of the men; he is the man that picked my pocket; my pocket book was produced at Sir John Fielding 's.


An information was given at our office; and on the Friday following about two days after the robbery I went into St. James's Park and took Holloway, and brought him to the Brown Bear opposite Sir John Fielding 's; I searched him and found a tobacco box upon him.

(It was produced in court and deposed to by the prosecutor.)


As I was going home to my quarters from Chelsea to Brompton I met three soldiers, Holloway and the other two; I did not know the others. Holloway asked me where I was going, I told him I was going home to my quarters; he seemed in a hurry, I said you are in a great hurry, you are going about some robbery I suppose; he said he had got but two sessions to live; I said if he did not look sharp he would have but one; I said you are going to lead these young men away as you have done many a one before; he made a laugh of it, and asked me for a stick I had in my hand and said it would do for the errand he was on, I would not lend it him; I said it would do me more good than him as I had been sick and was very weak; he bid me a good night; I said I supposed we should hear of a robbery in the morning, which accordingly we did.


I was in company with the prisoners the night of the robbery.

How old are you? - Twenty-one if I live till next Christmas. Holloway is a stranger to me, I was in company with the other young man, we were going to Chelsea the night of the robbery to see for one Robert Lee a deserter; Holloway came into our company; going through the field we met this soldier, (the last witness); Holloway stopped him and spoke to him; we went on and did not hear what then they said. The prisoners then went on before and stopped the prosecutor and robbed him; just as I came up they were going off, the prosecutor was making a man for a key, I picked it up and gave it him.

Did you see one of the prisoners throw it out of his hand? - No; I did not, I was twenty or thirty yards off when they robbed him; before I overtook them again they were in the second field from where they robbed the man; the short man gave me a shilling; he said nothing at all were it came from then.

When the prosecutor complained he had lost the key, did he say that he had been robbed? - No; not at all.

To Proffitt. You said three men came up to you? - There were three; this man was a little distance behind.


I was at home that night about a quarter after ten; we were all three drinking at the Nag's head in Tothil-street, Westminster, we went to take a deserter; we were all three together; I belong to Colonel Bailey's company; I have been a soldier almost three years; I am almost twenty one years old.


My serjeant is not come yet.



Tried by the First Middlesex Jury before Mr. Baron EYRE.

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