24th April 1790
Reference Numbert17900424-16
VerdictNot Guilty

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345. JOHN KING was indicted for feloniously making an assault on John Myers , on the 14th of February last, putting him in fear, and feloniously taking from his person, and against his will, five guineas, three half guineas, two half crown pieces, and a shilling, and a piece of a watch key, his property .


Do you know the prisoner? - I have seen him before.

Where, and on what occasion? - On Sunday, the 14th of February last, in passing through an avenue, from St. James's , into the Park, I had my pocket picked: I lost five guineas, three half guineas, two half crown pieces, and a new shilling, and a piece of a watch key: immediately after I got into the narrow entry, I discovered I was robbed.

Did you feel the hand that robbed you, at the time you was robbed? - No; I discovered my pocket half turned out, afterwards; that was when I was got out of the crowd; and I said to the gentleman that was with me, that I had had my pocket picked, upon which George Allen came up; I never saw him before; he said he knew the man that picked my pocket, if I would follow him, he would bring me to him; that he saw him pick my pocket; I went with him to the Cock in Litchfield-street.

Was the prisoner under any restraint at the time he shewed him to you? - No, not at all; he appeared to be indisposed,

from having a top coat on, and a silk handkerchief about his neck: from that circumstance I could hardly suppose that was the man that had robbed me: the money was produced to me by Allen.

Can you venture to swear positively that this money and the piece of the watch key had been in your pocket that day? - No not as to the money; but as to the watch-key, I can.

Are you sure that the quantity of money produced, and the kind of pieces, corresponded? - As to that, I cannot positively say only for the sum; the sum was the very sum I lost.

Then you do not recollect of what particular pieces of money the sum which you lost, consisted? - No; I was wrong in specifying the pieces before; but that was merely from the strong evidence that appeared in this being found along with the broken watch key in the pocket.

Mr. Garrow, Prisoner's Counsel. You seem a very fair man: if I understand you, you wish to correct that part of your evidence about the number of pieces? - Yes, Sir; I was sorry I had said it.

Describe the condition of this man when he was taken into custody? - He appeared to be very much indisposed.

Did he walk with a couple of sticks? - I did not observe that; I observed he had one stick; and one stick he had buttoned up in his top coat.

This was a loose great coat, and outside pocket, that the man had on? - I did not observe that.

Where was your money taken from? - from my breeches pocket.

There was a great crowd? - Yes; I could not have lost it more than half a minute before I missed it.

You have no idea of force, or violence, or highway robbery? - No, Sir.

Court. There is no foundation for that.


I know the prisoner very well: I saw him and Mr. Myers together, on Sunday, the 14th of February, within the Palace-yard, St. James's, going just after the soldiers were relieved; the crowd were going by the Duke of Marlborough's; Mr. Myers was in the crowd; the prisoner was behind him: there was a great crowd and a pushing; just as he came to the end of the passage, where it was wider, Mr. Myers said, God bless me! I have lost my money, I am robbed; as soon as he said so, I said this is the man that robbed you; I saw him pushing up behind him in the crowd; and being the nearest to him, I caught hold of the prisoner; he had on then a blue great coat; there was a bit of a tussle; and I brought him down to the Cock at the Rotation-office; we searched him; and in his right hand great coat pocket, I found five guineas in gold, three half guineas, two half crowns, a new shilling, and a broken watch key: Mr. Myers followed us down to the public house.

Mr. Garrow. What way of life are you in? - I am constable.

We see you very frequently every where? - Very frequently.

You are a constable? - Yes, belonging to the Rotation-office in Litchfield-street: I was employed as a witness against lottery-office keepers, by the Stamp-office.

So nothing had been said to Mr. Myers, before his property was taken, by any body in the crowd? - Not as I know of; I never saw the man in my life.

I take it for granted, this is under your advice, that this is laid to be a highway robbery? - It is under the direction of Mr. Johnson.

You know it makes the difference of forty pounds, that you are to have your share? - That I am to have my share.

Do not you understand that? - Yes.

Was it a loose great coat? - Yes, and a right hand outside pocket.

Now I am going to ask you a question: Do not you know that it frequently has happened, both at the theatre and other public places, that after an alarm has been given, the thief very often puts the money into an honest man's pocket? - I do not know it.


I know the prisoner very well; I saw the prisoner at St. James's, going through the passage; I saw the prosecutor there; I saw nothing pass; I assisted in taking him into custody; we found on him six guineas and a half, and two half crowns, and a new shilling, and part of a broken watch key, in his right hand great coat pocket.

Prisoner. I leave it to my counsel.

The prisoner called two witnesses to his character.


Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Lord KENYON.

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