THOMAS JOHNSON, ELIZABETH SHAKESPEAR.
10th September 1788
Reference Numbert17880910-89
VerdictGuilty
SentenceDeath

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588. THOMAS JOHNSON and ELIZABETH SHAKESPEAR were indicted for feloniously assaulting Isaac Lewis , in the dwelling-house of William Howard , on the 16th of July last, putting him in fear and danger of his life, and taking from him a cotton waistcoat, value 1 s. 6 d. a tin tobacco-box, mounted with silver, value 2 s. 6 d. a pair of spectacles,

and a spectacle-case, value 6 d. a knife, value 1 d. a handkerchief, value 1 d. and 3 s. 6 d. in monies , numbered his property.

ISAAC LEWIS sworn.

On the 15th of July last, about eleven at night, I was coming over Little Tower-hill; the woman prisoner spoke to me, and made such applications as she chose; I made her little answer; I was going to Rosemary-lane, to speak to an acquaintance; she followed me, and I went to Cable-street, and I found that the house was secured, and I could not see the person I wanted; says she, will you ask me to drink any thing; says I, why should I, but you shall be welcome to a draught of porter; we went in, and we had a pot of porter; she complained she was very hungry; I gave her half a crown to go and buy what she liked; she went and bought a plate of pork, I believe it was, as much as I remember; she brought it so far, and she said, I shall carry it to my lodgings; I said, why did you not bring it here? says she, if you like to go to my lodgings, we are very private, and very clever, and very sober, and I went there; we eat a part of it, and drank a pot of beer; she had the candle in her hand, and I sent her for another pot; then directly I heard a most horrible noise, and running up stairs, just as if all the devils in hell had been loose; I am come to speak the truth; says I, what is the cause of this? this is as if all the thieves and pickpockets were here; I made an attempt to come out, and should have been glad to have been out; oh, says she, it is only the landlord, with some people that are quarrelling with him; the landlord of the house, he tells me his name is Howard; I was frightened out of my wits; the noise was ceased; then, in a trifle of time, she says, have you got any money about you? I said, money! why, I gave you half a crown to get the beer and the pork, and you have not given me any change; no, blast you, says she, I insist on having all your money before you go; and, says she, if you do not give it me kindly, I will send them that shall make you do it; why, says I, I behaved very civil to you, I asked you both to eat and drink, according to your request; b - st your old eyes says she, d - n your old eyes says she, I will send them that shall make you; with that she wrapped, and this prisoner Johnson burst in at the door; there is a staple lock; he flew directly up to the chimney-piece where the candle stood and was going off with the candle; says I, what are you after; G - d d - n and b - st your old b - g - g soul, d - n you, says he, we will murder you if you do not be peaceable; says I, for God's sake do not murder me, we are not come upon that footing; I clapped hold of his collar, he took hold of mine; says he, I insist upon it you shall hand the money directly; the woman had a case knife in her hand; says she, d - n his old eyes why don't you rip him up; I should have first told you before this came about, that I realy was sleepy like; I pulled off my coat and waistcoat but did not attempt to go to bed, I laid down on the bed.

What did you pull off your coat and waistcoat for? - Why, to lay down with the lady, but I could have been very glad to have had the opportunity of putting that coat and waistcoat on again, but they would not let me; and so, do you mind, what money, b - st you, says she, have you got, and he backed her, and said d - n you, you old b - g - r, why do not you give us your money, and do not let us have any delays; they went on in such a wicked manner, so at last to save my life, as I thought, I put my hand in my pocket and took out three shillings and sixpence, and she received it; I was going down stairs, she caught hold of me, and flew to the bed and got my coat and waistcoat; says I, for God's sake, what my money and my cloaths too! what a pretty figure I must cut in the morning, says I, do not do that; then they robbed me of my coat and waistcoat; I took hold of it, says I, do not strip me of my money and cloaths;

they took my coat, though it is not mentioned in the indictment; they took my waistcoat and three and sixpence in money, a tobacco-box, which will be produced in court, and a pair of spectacles and the case, they were in a handkerchief, and another handkerchief I lost; I kept there in fear, and got under the bed, for I dare say there was not less than twenty of those d - n'd villains.

Did any more come up into the room after? - No, I went down stairs and walked about the streets without a coat or waistcoat; there is but very little night, this was between one and two, and by two o'clock it was light; I called as soon as possible I could for assistance; then I directly sent to the constable for assistance; I told the constable my case; he saw me in the situation I was in; I said to him, I have been robbed to night; we took the two prisoners on Saltpetre-bank, at a house, I cannot tell the sign, but the constable can; there they were both of them as drunk as the devil could make them.

Court. Where have you been this afternoon? - I have been waiting here in the Old-bailey; those are the same people.

JOHN BASSETT sworn.

On the 16th of July, I was called up about six in the morning, and I went with the prosecutor, he was without a coat or waistcoat; he said he had been robbed, but he had half a guinea which they had not found, and he bought him some cloaths; I went to several houses about our quarter; at last I went to Saltpetre-bank; I looked round, and the prosecutor pitched on the girl and the man; I took them both into custody, and took them from there to the public-house, and searched them, and found the waistcoat on the man's back, and those things in his pockets; we could not find the coat; here is a tobacco-box, a knife, a pair of spectacles, and a coloured handkerchief; the girl said for God's sake, Mr. Bassett do not hurt me and I will tell you the truth; says I, you had better, may be the man will mitigate it, if you give him the things; the man said the girl gave him the things.

Was the old man in liquor that morning? - I did not perceive he was.

(The things deposed to by the prosecutor.)

I know these spectacles, the case, and the waistcoat; I know the tobacco-box, there are two W's upon it; that man that used it before I used it, his name is William Wynch ; I took it out of pawn, it was pawned for five shillings and sixpence, by his desire.

PRISONER SHAKESPEAR's DEFENCE.

I was going out one night, I met with this old gentleman, he asked me to drink, and I did so with persuasions; this man was sitting in the box, and he asked this man to drink, and he asked him to go of an errand for him, and he said yes; he asked me if I was married, and he asked me if he should go home with me; I said nothing; he took off his waistcoat and gave it to this man; my prosecutor was very much in liquor.

PRISONER JOHNSON's DEFENCE.

The old gentleman asked me to drink, and gave me his waistcoat to carry to pawn.

Court to the constable. Whose house is this? - It is William Howard 's, it is a cloaths-shop, he lives directly facing me.

Mr. Lane, one of the door-keepers, informed the court, that this man, the constable, was the man that came to give the woman a character last night, and did not know her name.

Court to Bassett. Is it so?

Bassett. It was so.

The jury desired to look at the tobacco-box.

One of the Jury. I engraved that box myself for Mr. Wynch, he was at that time a timber-merchant in Printing-house-square;

he has since failed, and is in confinement.

THOMAS JOHNSON , ELIZABETH SHAKESPEAR ,

GUILTY , Death .

Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Mr. RECORDER.


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