4th March 1889
Reference Numbert18890304-314
VerdictGuilty > unknown
SentenceImprisonment > hard labour

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314. ROBERT FREEMAN (31) , Robbery with violence on John Hawker, and stealing a watch, locket, breastpin, and umbrella, his property.

MR. SANDS Prosecuted, and MR. PURCELL Defended.

JOHN HAWKER I live at 28, St. George's Place, Hyde Park Corner, and am a gentleman of independent means—on 18th July I was en deavouring to recover some money for a young lady who alleged that she had been defrauded by a postman—I met her and the postman that day about 6.30 or 7 p.m.—I had some conversation with them; the postman went away for a few minutes—the prisoner and Knott, who was convicted here (See Vol. 108, page 798), crossed the road and claimed money from her—Knott said, "Pay me that 26s. you owe me"—she said, "I don't owe you anything"—Knott said, "Yes, you do, you owe me money"—he turned to me in a threatening manner and said, "The young woman says you are her brother; why don't you pav?"—I said, "Whether she is my sister or not, I decline to pay; I don't pay anyone's debts"—I then to pacify them invited the prisoner, Knott, the postman, and the lady to have a glass of beer—we went into the Bag of Nails, in the Buckingham Palace Road, and drank at my expense—we stayed there twenty minutes or half an hour; then I left first, and the lady, the postman, and the two men followed—I went along the Buckingham Palace Road towards the Victoria Hotel, the prisoner walking on my left and Knott on my right—I was talking to them—they were more conciliatory at that time—the postman brought up the rear—I asked them to have another glass, and we all five went into another house, and had a glass—I said to the postman, "I think it is time for you to go and deliver your letters"; he left, and the other three stayed with me—when we left the public-house the prisoner and Knott said to the young lady, You be off, the gentleman does not require your company; he says you are not his sister"—she went away a short distance, but loitered about—I left the men, and walked rapidly towards Lower Belgrave-street, Pimlico; I looked round to see if they were following me, and they were; I sharply entered a public-house to avoid them—they entered almost directly afterwards as I was calling for a glass of beer—Knott said, "Halloa, here you are again"—I said, "What has that to do with you? it appears very strange to me that you appear to be following me"—they said, "Have a drink with us; have some spirits"—they called for spirits—I said, "Are you going to pay for it?"—the prisoner said, "I have only got notes in my pocket"—I said, "You had better change your notes; you called for these drinks; pay for it out of one of your notes"—he pulled out a roll of supposed Bank notes, but left me to pay for the drink they barred my exit from the public-house by placing their backs against the small door leading out of the bar—I had a scuffle with them, pushed them on one side, and got out—I walked and partly ran about one hundred yards

away—Knott came suddenly round to the front from the middle of the road, and seized me by the neck, and drove me back against the prisoner—they then hustled me forcibly down some circular stone steps with great force—I struck against some ironwork, and rebounded, and they followed me down; my hat was smashed—when I reached the bottom of the steps Knott was on my left and the prisoner on the right; Knott seized my left hand and twisted it, and the prisoner seized my right arm—Knott tugged at my watch chain; I saw my watch in his hands—the prisoner wrenched off my locket—I dropped my umbrella—Knott ran up the steps; the prisoner picked up my umbrella, and ran after Knott up the steps—I was very much shaken; I received injury to my back: I could scarcely walk for three weeks—my umbrella was of very fine alpaca or silk, with two thick silver bands round it; one was almost invisible; anyone could see the other; it had my initials on it, "J. H."—it was not an ordinary umbrella—the prisoner had no umbrella with him when he first came up—after remaining about ten minutes to recover myself I walked up the steps into the street—I spoke to a policeman, and went to the station-house and gave information—I did not see the prisoner again till a few weeks ago, when I saw him at the station—I have no doubt he is one of the men who robbed me.

Re-examined I did not call the young lady my sister—I have no recollection of having sworn that I did do so—I had only met her the evening before, when I was standing under a doorway to avoid the rain—I might have said when Knott was tried, "I called the young lady my sister; I had only known her about twenty-four hours"—I met her on this night by appointment; I went into a public-house with her for about twenty minutes; that was upwards of an hour afterwards; I was looking for the postman in the meantime—all the men were strangers to me—there were six of us altogether—I don't know the name of the first public house into which I invited them; it was in the Buckingham Palace Road—then we went to a public-house near Victoria Station—the lady waited outside while we went in—afterwards I went to the Plumbers' Arms—I said at the last trial, "We were there about twenty minutes; they treated me to some spirits; I drank a little, then felt giddy"—the mere taste of the spirits made me giddy—the prisoners had had the same quantity of drink as I had—if I was incapable they were too—it was not so late as 10.30—I do not recollect asking a cabman to drive me, and his refusing because I was so drunk—I did not ask a cabman to drive me—the young lady called me her brother—I said at the last trial, "The woman I have spoken of followed me to the Plumbers' Arms—I said she was my sister, I did that at her request; I only knew her the day before"—I had discussed her betting business with the postman, who was a stranger—the postman is dismissed the service; he brought the men to rob me—I discussed matters with the young lady the night before, and asked her to meet me the next night, and I would do what I could for her—I am certain that when I went down the area I was sober—I gave a full description of the prisoner at the station soon afterwards; I said he was a man with one eye.

Re-examined I considered the young lady had been very badly treated, and I tried to get her money back—she was a witness at the former trial—my efforts were successful to some extent—to carry out my purpose I

was obliged to talk to the prisoners—afterwards I wanted to getaway from them—I was perfectly sober and knew what I was about.

ARTHUR ROXBURY . I am a shoe-black, of 11, Kind Court, Frances Street—I stand outside the Victoria District Railway station—on 18th July, about 7.30 or 8 p.m., I saw the prosecutor with a young lady in Buckingham Palace Road, by the corner of Stockbridge Terrace—he came over with Knott (against whom I gave evidence)—they went a little way down the road into a public-house, remained there about five minutes, came out, and went away together—I did not see the prisoner again till I saw him in the Police-court about three weeks ago—I am perfectly certain the prisoner is the man I saw with Knott and the prosecutor.

Cross-examined. I was off my stand when I saw them—I saw them go into the King's Arms, in Buckingham Palace Road—the young woman went in there too—I lost sight of them when they came out—I don't believe she is here; I have not seen her since she gave evidenee at the last trial.

WALTER SMITH (Policeman B R 60). I was on duty at Victoria Station on 18th July, between seven and eight, and saw the prisoner with Knott, who was convicted here and sentenced to nine months' imprisonment—the prisoner had no umbrella then—about 9.30 the same night I saw the prisoner again with a black alpaca umbrella, with a round topped handle, and a silver band round the top—I next saw him detained at Kennington Lane Station on February 8th—I am quite positive he is the man I saw with Knott—it was a fine night.

Cross-examined. He was walking with it, holding the top—he was on the same side of the street as I was; it was in Wilton Road, near the "Shakespeare," on the same side—at that time I had no notion that the umbrella was stolen—I heard next morning that it had been stolen—I could see some silver on it; I could not see whether it was a silver cap or a band—he walked right by me—he said to me, referring to a little disturbance on the previous night, he was sorry that anything should occur between him and me, that he should give me any trouble.

FREDERICK GRAY (Detective L). On 18th February I met the prisoner in the Renfrew Road about 11 a.m.—I stopped him and said, "What is your name? I am a police officer"—he said, "Robert Foster"—I said, "Where do you live?"—he said, "41, Gilbert Road"—I said, "I am going to take you into custody on suspicion of being Robert Freeman, wanted for stealing a watch from the person, about the middle of July last"—he made no reply—I took him to Kennington Lane Police Station, where he was detained for some time—I said, "Do you wish to stand by yourself, or with others?"I meant for the purpose of being identified—he said, "By myself"—I said, "We cannot get many people like you with one eye"—he was subsequently taken to Gerald Road Station and charged—he said, "Very well."

Cross-examined. He gave the name of Robert Freeman at the Gerald Road Station—I don't know if he has a brother—the barmaid from the Plumbers' Arms is not here, nor is Mary Fletcher, the young lady who bets.

By the COURT. I had been looking for him for three months; the police have been looking for him.

JOHN HAWKER (Re-examined by MR. PURCELL). The watch I lost was a present from my sister—I called to the prisoner to bring back my watch, he did not—I did not say I was anxious to get it back as it was a present,

or that I would give him £2 to bring it back—I left word at the Plumbers' Arms two days afterwards that if it was brought back I would give £2 and ask no questions, and the landlord went out and afterwards told me it was too late; it had been melted down—I swear I did not walk with the prisoner to the corner of Ebury Street after I was robbed; he ran up the steps.—

GUILTY †.— Nine Months' Hard Labour.

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