Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
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380. Elizabeth Banks , was indicted, for that she, in a certain field, or open place, near the King's highway, on Frances Mercer , spinster, did make an assault, putting her in corporal fear, &c. one stay, value 1 s. one pair of stockings, one linen bib and apron, the goods of the said Frances, did steal, take and carry away .
May 2 .
Francis Mercer . I am father to the child , she was gone a little way as usual, to play in Leister-fields , and in about an hour and a half's time the prisoner and the child were brought to my house; I took the prisoner before Justice Fraizer, and there she confess'd she took the child from Leicester-fields , and sign'd her own confession.
Elizabeth Bugdon . My neighbour told me a child was stripp'd by an old woman: I ran and met the prisoner, with the child in her left hand and a bundle under her arm: I took hold of her, and ask'd her what she was going to do with the child; she said she was mother of it; I said, if she was, I would bring her to justice, for few mothers strip their own children in the fields. The child cried, I ask'd it what she cried for, she said, she wanted to go to her mother, and said the woman threaten'd to fling her into a pond if she cry'd. The childbib, and apron. I brought her to my dwelling-house. She confest she had taken the child from near Leicester-house. I asked her what she had done with the child's stockings. She deliver'd them to me, and a pair of buckles. By what the child said, I found out its parents, who liv'd in St. Martin's court; and there I took the prisoner and the child. When the prisoner was brought before the Justice, the prosecutor swore the things belong'd to the child. The Justice ask'd the prisoner what she had to say for herself. She said she had nothing at all to say, and that she was very sorry for what she had done.
Susannah Bates . I was at work at my door, and saw the prisoner lead the child by a pond in Mary-le-bon-fields, something better than a mile from Leicester-fields. I saw her place herself in a particular place, to sit down in a corner betwixt two banks, which determin'd me to see what she did. Accordingly I watch'd, and saw her take the child's bib and apron off, then her stay, and so on to her smock. She put her under petticoat and the old gown on again, and was going to pull her shoes and stockings off. I then call'd to the other witness, a milk-woman, and said, for God's sake come here, for here is a woman stripping a child. In the mean time she shuffled on the shoes, and was leading it away. The child cried bitterly, and said, let me go to my mamma, adding, she liv'd in St. Martin's-Court at a china-shop. We took her and the child, with the assistance of two men; and I saw the bundle opened.
[ There were in it as the other witness said.]
I had been at Mary le bon, coming back, I met a woman very well dress'd, she said, mistress, if you will let this child be with you, while I go into this house, I will give you two-pence when I come out. I saw her go in: when I went to ask the maid if there was such a woman came there, she said there was no such woman. I staid an hour, the child said, I am hungry, I had her by the hand. Walking along, I ask'd her where she liv'd, she said in St. Martin's-court ; these two women put upon me, they took the child out of my hands, sent for two men, who pull'd and haul'd me all to pieces.
[ The child, who is about four years old, was in Court, but, upon account of her age, her oath could not be taken ]