22nd June 1796
Reference Numbert17960622-7
VerdictNot Guilty

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391. JOHN PRICE was indicted for that he on the 6th of May , in and upon John Thompson did make an assault, putting him in fear and danger of his life, and taking from his person a half-guinea, three half crowns, and a piece of base metal plated with silver, made to the likeness of a sixpence, value one farthing, and two shillings, the property of the said John Thompson .(The case was opened by Mr. Knowyls.)


I am a beadle in the precinct of St. Catherine's ; I went to Newgate on the 6th of May, between four and five in the afternoon, to give some money to a prisoner of the name of Coleman; I gave the prisoner sixpence to let Coleman come to the master's side, that I might speak to him; the prisoner was a warder of the prison ; I gave the money to Coleman, and he left me, and was locked up again by the prisoner; I had when I left Coleman, two half guineas and a bad sixpence in my breeches pocket, and a sixpence and some halfpence in my coat pocket; the prisoner said, I had better give Coleman and a man that was with him a shilling a-piece; I said I could not afford that, then the prisoner said, will not you give us some beer before you go? I gave him a sixpence to get some beer, and he said it was a bad sixpence; I then gave him half a guinea to change, and he gave me four half crowns and a sixpence; I gave him sixpence to pay for the beer, and he gave me 2s. 6d. for one of, the half crowns; I went into a chandler's shop in the goal, which I understood belonged to the prisoner; when the beer came they handed it to me, and I tasted it; there was a person in the chandler's shop knew me; I did not know him; he enquired if I knew some people in my neighbourhood; I said I did, very well; when the beer was drank, I said I must go home; I had been there about half an hour; I went through a hatch in the inside gate of the prison; when I was at the hatch the prisoner laid hold of my coat with both hands, and said, I could not go yet, and

pulled me in at the door, and some persons pushed me behind the door; I tried to get into the shop again, but the prisoner ordered the people inside to shut the door, and I laid hold of the spikes at the top of the door; I then felt some people take my money, there might be seven or eight people struck me at once; the prisoner at that time was hauling me in at the door; it is a door that goes up a staircase on the master's-side, between the hatch and the chandler's-shop; I saw the man take my money, but I should not know him again if I was to see him.

Q. Did the prisoner give any reason for pulling you violently in at the door? - A. None at all; several of them beat me till I could scarcely see, I was all over blood; I cried murder! the prisoner had left the door while they were beating me; he came up again and laid hold of me as he did before, and said damn you if you don't come out they will murder you; I told them I would not let go the iron-spike till I saw the place clear; the prisoner then ordered the people to leave off; when they did, I let go the bar; he led me to the door; as I was going out I received a blow on my head which rendered me senseless; I was brought into the wine-room; Owen and Pitt were in the wine-room; when I got out into the wine-room, I examined, and my money was all gone; I made a complaint of the manner in which I had been used; I was bleeding very much.

Cross-examined by Mr. Knapp. Q. Did you ever happen to have been in Newgate before? A. Yes; twice before, once to speak to a waterman, who was in for stealing some copper; my father sent me with some money for him to give to counsel to defend him.

Q. Did you ever take a man to Newgate? - A. I took a man once to New Prison, Clerkenwell.

Q. Did you know the person that accosted you in the room? - A. I think I had seen him before.

Q. Was he one of the persons you had taken up? - A. Not to my knowledge.

Q. Upon your oath do you know it was not the man you apprehended before? - A. No, it was not; the man murdered his wife that I took to prison.

Q. Upon your oath did you ever apprehend the man that accosted you in Newgate? - A. Not to my knowledge.

Q. How long had you had this money in your pocket? - A. From the time I went from home; I saw it in Newgate, when I paid the money to the other man.

Q. You had been twice to Newgate before, once to see a waterman; when did you go the second time? - A. In the time of the riots, I went then out of curiosity.

Q. Was it not through Price you got to speak to this Coleman? - A. Yes.

Q. He was leading you to the hatch when you were struck? - A. Yes.

Q. He told you they would murder you if you did not get out? - A. Yes.

Q. Then he endeavoured to save you from being murdered? - A. Yes.

Q. You fixed on the person that robbed you? - A. No, never.

Q. Some persons were shewn you that you might fix on the person who robbed you? - A. No.

Q. Was nobody shewn you at all? - A. No, by no means.

Q. Not the next day? - A. No, nobody.

Q. Do you remember seeing the Sheriff there? - A. Yes.

Q. Did you see Mr. Kirby there? - A. Yes.

Q. Were there not some persons called out to you for you to name the person that robbed you? - Q. Yes.

Q. Did you fix upon any body? - A. No, I did not fix upon any body, only Mr. Price.

Q. Did not you fix upon a person of the name of Bateman, as the person that robbed you? - A. No; I said there was a person I knew was there; I did not say he robbed me.

Q. You did not say Bateman was the person who robbed you? - A. No, I did not.

Q. Now did not you fix upon Bateman; and was it not answered that he could not be the man, for he was one of the quietest men in the gaol? - A. No.

Q. Did not you say if he was not the man, he was very much like him? - A. No; I said the person that robbed me was in a blue coat and white waistcoat; I went that night to Newgate again, and asked Owen to bring him out.

Q. When was it you fixed on the prisoner as one of the persons? - A. I went that night, and Owen brought him into the wine-room, and I knew him very well.

Q. Did not you acknowledge that Price was the person that saved your life against the other prisoners? - A. Certainly; and I say so now.

The prisoner left his defence to his Counsel.

For the prisoner.


Examined by Mr. Knapp. I know the prisoner, he was confined under a judgment of misdemeanor, in February 1794.

Q. And in consequence of good behaviour you appointed him one of your gate-men? - A. He is one of the gate-men; he has conducted himself extremely well, no man better; a very good servant as ever man had, there has never been any complaint of dishonesty during the time he has been in my custody.

Q. Was he a man that conducted himself quietly in your gaol? - A. Wonderfully so; he is a sober man; I saw the prosecutor there the next day; he said, that the prisoner saved his life before Mr. Sheriff Liptrap; I would have shewn him the man that robbed him; he said, no, no, that is the man; he said, it was Price; he would not look at any other man.

Q. How was Price dressed on that day? - A. He generally wears a blue jacket, I don't know whether he was so dressed that day; and the last sessions I would have shewn him the man; Wybrow was the man, he is since gone pursuant to his sentence; Price is a man that I would trust with any thing.

Cross-examined by Mr. Knowlys. Q. This man you saw the next day? - A. Yes.

Q. Had you any reason to doubt his account of his being very much hurt, from his appearance the next day? - A. He was very much so, I wonder he was not killed; we never let a constable go among the prisoners. You know an attorney would not go into the King's-Bench among the debtors.

Q. Did he say the prisoner was the man who, with his own hand, took the money out of his pocket? - A. He always said he was the man that robbed him.

Q. Did he not say there were a number of people that robbed him? - A. I suppose there were forty men about him; he said six or seven; I say there were nearer forty.

Q. You were not there? - A. No.

Q. Did he ever pretend that this was the man who, with his own hand, took the money out of his pocket? - A. No; I think he said he held him whilst the others robbed him.

Q. Did he, or did he not, say to you, the prisoner was the man who held him while the others took away his money? - A. Yes.

JOHN PITT sworn.

Examined by Mr. Knapp. I am one of the turnkeys; I know the prisoner, Price; I let the prosecutor into Newgate, I cannot recollect the day; I heard the bell ring very violently, Price had him at the gate, he was very bloody; and he said, thank God, you have saved my life! my life is your's and not mine; he said, he was robbed of some silver, I cannot say how much; he said, he had been robbed of his money; Mr. Sheriff Liptrap was there at the same time.

Cross-examined by Mr. Knowlys. Q. The man was bleeding, and in a very bad state? - A. Yes.

Q. Did he at all attempt to enter into particulars at that time? - A. I don't know what you mean; because he never accused Price at the time; Price brought him out.

Q. Whether he at all entered into the particulars of the manner in which he had been robbed then? - A. He did not.

Q. Were you present when he came the next day? - A. Yes; I was.

Q. Did he then charge the prisoner? - A. He did, before Mr. Liptrap.

Q. And then entered into the particulars of the business? - A. Yes.

Court. Q. How did he charge the prisoner the next day? - A. I cannot say much about that; he said, Price held him while he was robbed; and Price was the man that protected him, and brought him out. He swore to Bateman, a transport with us, as the man that robbed him, before he swore to Price; Price was present at the same time; he said Bateman was the man that robbed him. I told him, he might as well charge my daughter with robbing him.

Q. How was Bateman dressed? - A. In a blue jacket, I believe, I am not positive to the dress.

Cross-examined by Mr. Knapp. Q. Did he not say, that Bateman was there at the time the fact took place? - A. That I will not say; he might as well accuse you of it as Bateman, that I am sure of.

Q. Did he not speak of Bateman as being present at the time? - A. It was one Wybrow that did it.

Q. Upon the solemn oath you have taken, did he say any thing more of Bateman than saying he was one of the men there? - A. He accused Bateman first, that Bateman was the man that robbed him.

Court. Q. In those words? - A. Yes.

Mr. Knowlys. Q. Do you mean to say, that he said, that Bateman was the man that actually took the money out of his pocket, or with only being one amongst them? - A. Upon my word and credit, I cannot say; I look upon it, that this man is as innocent as I am; but there was so great a confusion at the time; that, upon my soul, I cannot say.

Q. Then it might be, that he was one amongst them? - A. Yes.

JOHN OWEN sworn.

At the time this man was robbed, I and Pitt were together in the room, we had but just left that man, who had the care of the gate; I heard a great noise of ringing the bell, he and I ran in a great hurry to see what was the matter; Price brought Thompson out, his head had been cut by something or other; he turned round to Price, and thanked him for being his preserver; that his life was his, and that he should have been murdered. I knew Thompson; I asked him how he could think of going in there; and he said, he had been in to speak to a man to relieve him; and I asked him, how he came to be served so; he did not mention the robbery at that time; I sent for the doctor to come and dress his wounds: he had a glass of wine; he put his hand

in his pocket, and said he had been robbed, he had lost half-a-guinea, two or three half-crowns, and a bad sixpence; I asked him if he could describe the man who robbed him; he said, yes; it was a man in blue cloaths; I said, come here to the gate, and see if you can see him; there was Price, and several others, in the yard, the place was all in confusion; he said, that is the man, and pointed out Bateman; I called Bateman to the gate, he said, Bateman was the man that held him while the others robbed him; Pitt made answer to him, for God's sake, says he, don't charge that man with it; you may as well charge my daughter with it, I am sure he is no such man, there is not a quieter man in the place than Bateman. In a little time after he charged Price with it; he asked me his name, and I told him his name was John Price.

Court. Q. How was Price dressed? - A. He had a blue jacket on, to the best of my recollection; and so had Bateman a blue jacket, or coat, I will not be certain which.

Court. Q. Can you recollect the words he expressed respecting Bateman? - A. I cannot say I do.

Mr. Knapp. Q. Whether it is a right thing for a man to trust himself among prisoners in a gaol? - A. If I was a constable, I would not trust myself in a gaol for five hundred pounds. Price has been in the habit of receiving money from me, five and six pounds of a week; and he is a man I can perfectly place confidence in.

Q. Do you know whether the prisoner was searched? - A. He was not.

Cross-examined by Mr. Knowlys. Q. You say he described Bateman as being a person there helping those who did rob him? - A. No; he said, that man in blue, pointing to Bateman, was the person that held him while the others robbed him.

Q. Did you hear what he said of Price? - A. When he was more reconciled, when Pitt expostulated, and said, he might as well charge his daughter, he turned it to Price.

Q. Was this the same day that he was wounded? - A. It was; I don't believe I had left Price a couple of minutes at the time.

Q. Did you not hear him say, that Price likewise held him while the others robbed him? - A. No; not till afterwards.

Mr. Knapp. Q. I ask you whether you recollect the prosecutor acknowledging that the prisoner, Price, saved his life? - A. He did; and thanked him.


Examined by Mr. Knapp. I don't recollect any thing of the time, I believe it was early in the month of May, the prosecutor came to my house, and I went with him to Newgate; when we came there, he said, he had been robbed, and very much beaten, he was in a very bad state; I asked him, who robbed him; he said, he could not possibly tell, there were so many; we sent out for six or seven of them, and he fixed upon a man of the name of Bateman; I asked him if he knew who robbed him; he said, certainly not; I asked him if he knew who gave him those violent blows; and he fixed upon Bateman, and being told it was very improbable that Bateman should do it, he then fixed upon Price, after a great deal of hesitation; that Price was holding him while the rest were beating him; he said, Price rescued him out of the gaol, he believed they would have killed him, that he saved his life; I told him, I thought he was under great obligation to him; he said, he should prosecute him.

Q. Then the fixing upon Price as having done any thing, was not till after he had fixed upon Bateman, and after an hesitation? - A. Certainly; he thanked Price for saving him, and said he should prosecute.

Owen. The person of the name of Wybrow wore blue cloaths also.


Tried by the London Jury, before Mr. RECORDER.

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