10th September 1783
Reference Numbert17830910-43

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638. PETER WILLIAMS was indicted for feloniously assaulting, William Cross , on the King's highway, on the 7th of September last, and putting him in fear and danger of his life, and taking from his person and against his will, one silver watch, value 3 l. one steal chain, value 6 d. one steel seal, value 2 d. one steel key, value 1 d. the property of the said William .


I was robbed on Sunday night last in Whitechapel , about eight at night by the prisoner.

Was it light or dark? - It was moon-light, and a lamp just by, I lost a silver watch, a steel chain, and a steel seal and key, I followed him immediately, he never was out of my sight, William Towers helped me to take him, we did not find the watch; Towers was within three yards of me, when I was robbed.


I am a whitesmith by trade, I was in company with the last witness when he was robbed, there was another with the prisoner.

Had he any arms? - Not that I know of, we had just got out of a hackney coach, within twenty yards of Petticoat-lane, with intent to go down by one of the Stratford coaches, and I was talking to the coachman, I might be five yards beyond him on the other side the kennel, I heard a noise, and I thought I saw two men seizing him, and using him ill, I went to his assistance, and the two men run away immediately; on their running away, he says, they have got my watch, I immediately pursued them as fast as I could, and I came up with the

shortest, the other ran away, I fell down, the next witness seized him directly, and took hold of him by the collar, I never lost sight of him, I found no watch upon him, I felt the outside of his jacket, and felt a lid of a box in his pocket, and when he came to be searched, there was no such thing in his pocket; the prosecutor lost a tobacco box.

Prisoner. Whether I spoke to him or the other gentleman from the time he took me or before? - You said you was not the man that took the watch.

Court to Cross. Which man was it that took your watch? - This man, he struck me and snatched it out, I saw it in his hand, he never spoke to me but struck me.


I was present when the prisoner was taken, and at the time of the robbery, I saw the prisoner jostling up against the prosecutor's belly, I did not see him take the watch, I took him first.


I gave in my petition to you just now; I have been four years in America.

(The Petition read.)

To the Honourable COURT.

"Your humble petitioner Peter Williams , now standing indicted before this Court, on suspicion of snatching a watch from the prosecutor, begs leave to inform this Court, that as your petitioner was passing by Petticoat-lane, in White-chapel, going to his home in Wapping, he was taken up and searched on a supposition, that your petitioner was a party concerned in snatching the watch in the crowd; your petitioner is innocent, he has been now eight days confined, he has been on board several ships, and hopes his innocence will be proved, he never was before a Court of Justice, till this awful day; and if you acquit your petitioner, then with all humble submission and duty, he will ever pray." - I have no witnesses.

GUILTY Death .

Tried by the London Jury before Mr. Justice ASHURST.

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