Peter Harris.
17th October 1744
Reference Numbert17441017-11
VerdictNot Guilty

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443. Peter Harris of St. Stephen Coleman Street , was indicted, for that he being an evil disposed person, after the 21st of May, 1734. to wit, on the 17th of September last, with a certain short gun, which he then and there had, and held in his right hand upon Alexander Norman , feloniously did make an assault, with intent the monies of the said Alexander Norman , to steal, take and carry away, against the form of the statue, &c .

Alexander Norman . On the 17th of last month, between ten and eleven at night, as I was coming over Moorfields , I met the Prisoner with a gun in his hand, he swore at me, demanded my money, and said he would have it. I told him I would not give it him, unless he was a better man than I; he said if I did not he would blow my brains out. I took hold of the gun, and shook the gun in his hand in great hopes it would have gone off. After I had disputed a great while with him, he bid me go about my business, or he would blow my brains out. Then I watched him, in hopes

some body would come up, and I got a watchman afterwards and secured him.

Q. Had he a gun with him then?

Norman. He had not a gun then, but I bid the watchmen look into the quarters as far as they supposed a person could throw a gun, and I believed they would find it; they looked for it there, and there they found it. - I am sure he is the man, for we were under a lamp, and he was hardly out of my sight till he was taken.

Prisoner. My Lord, I desire you would enquire into the character of the Prosecutor, for he bears a very good character in Newgate, he has been in Newgate.

Q. Have you ever been confined in Newgate?

Norman. I was, but it was only for a quarrel, in a publick house, for assaulting Mr. Hunt, a Beadle, in one of the hospitals; I was removed from the Poultry Counter there.

Prisoner. I would ask you what time a night it was that I stopped you?

Norman. It was between ten and eleven.

Prisoner. I can bring witnesses to prove that I was at home then.

- Barber. On the 17th of September, at night, I sat up as constable for Coleman Street Ward. Between one and two in the morning Alexander Norman came to the watch at Moorgate, and said, there was a collector in the fields, about 7 or 8 of the watchmen went out, and then they called for their master. I went to the walk that goes from Old Bethlehem, and asked for our watchmen. I stood there a little while, and the Prisoner (as I think by his voice) called hollo! and I said, hollo! the Prisoner came running without hat or wig. I asked the Prosecutor, and the watchmen if they had seen any body, they said no. I said there was a little man run by, and run up Fore-street. I asked the Prosecutor how he was served, his name, and where he lived, and he told me. I said, you seem to be an honest sort of a man, I'll go out again and see for him; and as I was going from the watch-house, the Prisoner came back again from that place where he had passed me; said I, There's the man; I went to the corner of Little Moorfields, and called after him, and said, I want to speak a word with you ; said I, What business are you; he said, I am a shaggreen-case-maker, I live in Fell street , in Wood-street; said I, This is an odd time of night to be out . I said to Mr. Norman, is this the man, Mr. Norman said, That is the man; the Prisoner asked him what he charged him with, he said he would tell him when he came before a justice, but the Prisoner insisted upon knowing what he charged him with; he said, with assaulting him with an intent to rob him; I said, if Mr. Norman charged me with him, he must go to the Counter; Mr. Norman said, If you will let the watchman go, I believe they will find the gun pretty near the rails; they went out and found it pretty near the rails, and came with it to the watch-house, in about eight minutes and when it was brought in, I said, Now, Mr. Harris, what do you think of that; but I thought it odd that he should rob with such a long gun.

Prisoner. Was not I in the watchouse before Norman came up?

Barker. No.

Prisoner. Did I make any resistance?

Barker. No.

William Negus a watchman. After the Prisoner was brought to the watchouse I went to search for the gun, and found it standing up against one of the posts of the quarters in the middle walk in Moorfields, on the out side of the post - The farthest post of the right hand quarter, it was found little after two o'clock, this is the gun.

Q. Was the gun charged?

Negus. I don't know, it is just as it was then, the barrel is stopped, there was no slint in it.

Norman. This is the gun*.

* An old shattered rusly gun with a small barrel about two foot nine inches long.

Prisoner. When the gun was produced before the Alderman, it had neither lock nor flint.

Negus. Yes it had a lock.

Barker. The Prisoner said he worked with one Mr.Kemp in Lillipot-Lane ; I said he is a man of reputation, I know him very well: the next day I asked him who he had to appear for him, he said nobody; said I, you spoke of Mr. Kemp, why don't you send for him; he said he had sent to him, and he was out of the way.

Sarah Barnes . I live at Mr. Norman's the Rose and Bird Cage in Wood-street, between twelve and one the Prisoner came to our house, and it was after one before he went out.

Q. What day of the month was it?

Barnes. It was the 18th of September.

Q. That was not the night.

Barnes. This was after twelve o'clock, the 17th was the day before.

Q. How came you to be so particular as to the time?

Barnes. I was in the house and drew the beer for him.

Q. What occasion had you to remember it?

Barnes. I had no great occasion - What gave me more reason to remember it was, that he did not pay for the two pints of beer he had, and they were set down in the house and the day of the month to it - As far as I know the Prisoner is a very honest man.

Elizabeth Giles . I live in Fell-street - My husband is a Chimney-sweeper; the Prisoner has been a lodger in my house two years, and always behaved handsomly: he came in on the 17th of September between eight and nine at night very much in liquor, and sat himself down in a chair: he was so much in liquor that he could not sit in the chair, but laid down upon the boards, I thought to get him into his own room, but I could not: his wife and I went to bed, and left him in the kitchen; after the clock struck twelve, I said, Mrs. Harris, Let him lye there, and she said, so she would, for then he would be safe - What became of him afterwards I can't tell.

Charles Thomas . I have known the Prisoner three quarters of a year, he lived over-against me, and I never heard any ill of him.

Mr. John Kirk one of the Jury-men, desired to be heard, with regard to the Prisoner, and being sworn, he said the Prisoner had worked 7 years with his brother as a journey-man , but not being a Freeman, he was forced to turn him away.

William Kirk , (the last witness's brother.) The Prisoner worked with me 7 years, and I never knew any thing amiss of him, if I had he should not have staid with me so long - He behaved very well.

John Ruffin , (another Jury-man.) I have known the Prisoner 7 years; I know he worked with Mr. Kirk, and I believe he parted with him only because he was not a Freeman. - Mr. Kirk is a Shaggreen-case-maker.

William Hill. I have known the Prisoner two years as being a lodger with Mrs. Giles, he was always a very inoffensive man, I have been in his company several times.

Edward Stafford . I have known him about 3 quarters of a year, and he was always an honest man for whatever I could hear of him.

Thomas Webster . I have known him about three quarters of a year, and to the best of my knowledge he is a very inoffensive man, and as far as I know always behaved himself in a very handsom manner.

Prisoner. I hope I have given your Lordship entire satisfaction as to my innocency. Acquitted .

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