12th September 1781
Reference Numbert17810912-77
VerdictNot Guilty

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566. JOSEPH RANDALL was indicted for that he, with a certain offensive weapon, called a cat, made of hemp, in and upon Thomas Wooldridge , Esq ; feloniously did make an assault, with intent the monies of the said Thomas to steal , August the 5th .

Mr. Alderman WOOLDRIDGE sworn.

Do you know the prisoner? - I do. On Sunday, the 5th of August, I dined at Mr. Alder's, at Finchley. As I was coming to town, at about nine o'clock in the evening, when I had got to about fifty yards from what is called the Half-way-house between London and Kentish-town , I met three men: two of them came up to me, and demanded my watch and money. The man on my right hand had a pistol, and the man on the left hand had a cutlass in his hand. I said I would not be robbed. One of them said, We will cut you down; blast you, we will cut you down. They took hold of my bridle; upon which my horse reared. My saddle was covered with a goat's skin, which had the appearance of holsters. I had no weapon but a small whip, which my wife rides with, covered with silver for about four inches. I shortened it in this manner (describing it) under my arm; and it being bright, they took it, I presume, for a pistol. I presented it at the man's head who was on my left hand, and swore I would blow his brains out. The two men then ran. The roads divide, one to Gray's-inn-lane, the other to Tottenham-court-road: the two men took the left hand, and the third man the right hand road.

Was you coming along the Tottenham-court road? - I was on the Kentish-town road, beyond where it divides; beyond the house situated at the end of what they call Fig-lane. I thought it safest to pursue the one man. I called out, Robbers! and trotted briskly after that man, which was the prisoner; and I took him. While the two men were with me, he stood at a distance; he never spoke, nor made use of any threat whatever. When I charged him with being one of the men, he denied it. Upon taking him to the public-house, he was searched, and in his pocket was found this cat (producing it.) I sent for a constable, and delivered him in charge.

Did he appear to be in company with the other two men? - Most certainly.

Did he appear to be in conversation with them, or speak to them? - What he said to them before, I do not know: he never spoke or acted while they were with me. I am reluctantly the prosecutor; but the justice forced me to prosecute, against my will. The prisoner was examined the next morning before Justice Girdler. He was there asked to confess, and told that it should be better for him.

Court. We must not hear any thing that he said after that.

Mr. Wooldridge. In consequence of that promise, and in consequence of his information, the other parties were taken, who had robbed Mr. Rainsforth five minutes before. I wished very much, before the justice, not to have been bound over; but the justice let the man who was at my horse's head escape, against my will, and bound me over to prosecute the prisoner, who was not acting, and who did not put me in fear. The person who was at my horse's head, and who actually robbed Mr. Rainsforth, was permitted to escape. The prisoner is a lighter-man: he offered to go into the King's service; and he is very fit, and able.

Prisoner. I am a freeman and a liveryman of the city of London, and have a boat of my own: I should not chuse to go to sea.

(The prisoner called three witnesses, who gave him a good character.)


Tried by the Second Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Justice ASHHURST.

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