JOSEPH HARRISON, JOHN MITCHELL.
9th December 1772
Reference Numbert17721209-44
VerdictGuilty > with recommendation
SentenceDeath

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64, 65. (2d. M.) JOSEPH HARRISON and JOHN MITCHELL were indicted for that they on the king's highway, on Mary Wilds , spinster did make an assault, putting her in corporal fear and danger of her life, and stealing from her person a stuff gown, value 2 s. a check apron value 1 s. a pair of stays, value 1 s. two petticoats value 1 s. a linen shift, value 2 s, a pair of leather shoes, value 1 s. a pair of iron buckles, value 4 d. and a silk handkerchief, value 4 d. the property of the said Mary , Dec. 6 . +

Mary Wilds . I live in Hollywell-lane, Shoreditch.

Q. How do you get your living?

Wilds By going out to service.

Q. Who did you live with when this happened to you?

Wilds. I was at home at my mother's, in Holborn; she is a char-woman.

Q. Do you know the prisoners.

Wilds. Never before last Sunday night; I was coming from Holborn to Holywell-lane, I met the two prisoners in Long-lane, Smithfield ; they spoke to me, and would not let me go: I cried out.

Q. What was the first thing they said to you?

Wilds. They said I should go along with them; I said I would not go; they said I should; they dragged me to my own door in Hollywell-lane; I went to go in; they pulled me out, and said I should go along with them; they took me to Mr. Owen's the Swan in Shoreditch; they had some meat between them both; they hedged me in between them and they forced upon me a great deal of liquor. We staid there about an hour; when I came out into the air; the liquor overpowered me; they pretended to carry me to Joseph Harrison 's mother to drink tea; they dragged me along Bethnal-green-road.

Q. Was you sober enough to know which way they were carrying you?

Wilds. Yes I was brought to my senses by the fright; I cried out very much; they said no one had any business with me, I was their sister; that I had drank more then I should do, and I wanted to go to a bad house; but they would carry me home; they dragged me into Bethnal-green-field; at the back of the Blind Beggars, Harrison threw me down in the field; Mitchell held me while Harrison committed a rape on my body, and then Harrison held me by my two arms while Mitchell did the same; then Harrison drew a knife, and cut my stays down at the side of my breast; they took them off and left me as naked as ever I was born.

Q. Harrison you say cut your stays down?

Wilds. Yes; he was the first that was in the action.

Q. Did Mitchell do any thing in stripping of you?

Wilds. Yes; they both assisted.

Q. What became of your clothes?

Wilds. They took them from me.

Q. What did they do with them?

Wilds. Some of the clothes were found a great distance off.

Q. They left you in the field?

Wilds. Yes; they left me only with my stockings and cap on.

Q. Did you see what they did with your clothes?

Wilds. No; they beat me and bruised me, I had not strength to go one way or another.

Q. You say you was sober then?

Wilds. Yes.

Q. Which way did they go?

Wilds. Towards Bethnal-green mad-house.

Q. Did they take your cloaths with them, or leave them?

Wilds. They took them with them, even my shift.

Q. How long was you in the field?

Wilds. Three hours.

Q. Did Harrison say any thing to you when he drew his knife and cut your stays?

Wilds. No; I begged my life very hard; he said he would not spare my life if I was not very quiet.

Q. Who was the first that came up to you in the field after the two prisoners went away?

Wilds. The watchman, John Butter .

Q. Did you find any thing again?

Wilds. Yes; my gown, stays, shoes and buckles, and the silk handkerchief, and the apron, were found again.

Q. Where were they found?

Wilds. A great distance off, I do not know whereabouts.

Q. Is the person here that found them?

Wilds. No; the shift and petticoats were quite entirely gone.

Q. Was you sober when you first met with them?

Wilds. Yes.

Q. Had you drank nothing?

Wilds. Only the part of a pot of beer at dinner between three of us. I met them between four and five in the evening.

Q. By that time it was almost dark?

Wilds. Yes.

Q. Did you ever see either before?

Wilds. No.

Q. Tho' these people could force you against your will into the public house they could not force you to drink when you was there?

Wilds. The fright overpowered my speech, I had not power to cry out.

Q. But you could drink, and drank enough to get in liquor?

Wilds. They forced it upon me.

Q. But you could not be forced to get in liquor?

Wilds. Yes, I was.

Q. What time was it when you got into the public house?

Wilds. Six o'clock.

Q. What did you drink?

Wilds. Rasberry.

Q. What sort of liquor is that?

Wilds. Its half and half.

Q. What was it spirituous liquor?

Wilds. Yes.

Q. Did you go to any other public house?

Wilds. No.

Q. They took you directly into the field?

Wilds. Yes.

Q. People you had never seen before?

Wilds. Yes.

Q. How soon afterwards was it before you saw? them again? did you describe the persons to the watchman that had injured you - to Butter?

Wilds I told it to one of the runners of the night in the watch-house.

Q. Butter was the first you saw; what was it you said to him?

Wilds. I told him I had been ill used and was very cold, and desired him to have some compassion on me; he pulled off his great coat and put it on me.

Q. Did not he ask you who had ill used you?

Wilds. No; I described them to the runner of the night in the watch-house, I described them by their dress.

Q. How?

Wilds. One was in a blue surtout coat, with his hair tied behind.

Q. How did you describe the other?

Wilds. The other had a surtout coat on, what they call a fryar's coat, a brownish colour; his hair was not tied.

Q. Did you describe them to be tall or short men?

Wilds. Tall.

Q. Did you give them any other particulars?

Wilds. No.

Q. How soon were they taken after this?

Wilds. In the evening.

Q. When did you see them?

Wilds. On Tuesday evening, at the Red Lion, in Holywell-lane; they were taken in a coach; I was brought there in a coach.

Q. Who was in the room when you first saw them?

Wilds. Two of Justice Wilmot's runners, and the folks that belong to me.

Q. Who else?

Wilds. The master and mistress of the house, and the boy that draws the beer.

Q. They were brought into the room to you?

Wilds. No, they were in the room; I was carried in the room to them; I sat down; they bid me look about, and I said, they are the men; then I was carried into the coach again to Justice Wilmot's; there I saw them.

Q. Who besides them was in the room?

Wilds. None.

Q. You could not then mistake them because there was nobody else to chuse out of; what do you say now, are you sure these are the men?

Wilds. Yes.

Q. It was almost dark when you met with them, you never saw them before, but you are sure they are the men?

Wilds. Yes.

Q. from one of the prisoners. What time was it we left you in the field?

Wilds. Between eight and nine.

Prisoner. She swore before Justice Wilmot it was between four and five we left her in the field.

Jury. How did you go from Long-lane to Shoreditch?

Wilds. I was taken along Chissel-street, over Moorfields.

Mary Wilds . The prosecutor is my daughter.

Q. Was she with you the Sunday this happened?

Wilds. She dined with me in Shire-lane, at the Fountain; I came with her as far as Holborn-bridge.

Q. What time of day did you leave her?

Wilds. About three o'clock; I bid her go round the city way to Holywell-lane; she said she would go through the city.

Q. When did you see her again?

Wilds. On Monday morning.

- Butter. I found this woman in the fields, about a quarter before twelve on Sunday night, I was crying the hour upon the Green; when I came to the last beat, the last house, I heard a noise; I could not tell justly, where it was; I made up to it: it was against a gardener's gate facing the Globe-fields, as you go to Mile End, behind the Blind Beggars.

Q. How far is that from any public street or public passage?

Butter. She was within twenty yards of the gardener's house; there I found her standing; I asked her what was the matter; she said she was in great distress; I said who has been using you ill; she said two men. I found her naked all but her cap and stocking; I brought her up with our great coats till next morning; then her father and some acquaintance brought her things and took her home.

Q. from the prisoner. Whether you did not find some of these clothes?

Butter. No; a farmer's man found some on Monday morning.

Q. Are the clothes here?

Wilds. I have the gown on.

Q. Do you know what the clothes were?

Butter. I never opened them.

Q. Did you ask her who the men were, or whether she knew them?

Butter. No; I did not ask any questions.

Q. Who took the prisoners up?

Butter. Mr. Wilmot's runners I believe.

Q. How did they take them up?

Butter. Justice Wilmot's runner I believe took them up by her description.

Q. Do you know any thing of these men?

Butter. No; I never saw them before.

Q. to Prosecutor. Did you ever find your shift and your petticoats?

Butter. No.

Robert Harling . Last Monday I found some clothes, about eight o'clock in the morning, in Stonyrock-field, behind Bethnal-green mad-house.

Q. How far is that from the gardener's gate?

Harling. About 40 yards. I found an apron, an old silk gown, a pair of stays, a pair of shoes, two old handkerchiefs and a pair of buckles.

Q. Were the stays whole?

Harling. They were an old pair; I do not know whether they were cut or not; there was a half pint pot and the finger of a glove in it, and two old handkerchiefs; I carried the clothes to the Salmon and Bull near the watchhouse, and left them there.

Q. to Wilds. Where did you get the things from?

Wilds. The watchman brought them when I was in bed, to dress myself to go before the Justice.

John Thorn . The girl lay knocking at my gate some time; a dog of mine barked that waked the family; I opened my bed room, and asked who was there; she said there was one that wanted me; I bid her come round to the window; she said she could not; I went to another window; she said she was in distress, she must and would come in; I bid her go down to the watch-house; she said she could not go down.

Q. What time was that?

Thorn. Just before the clock went twelve. I waited in the room till I saw the watchman come up; he spoke to her; I desired him to take her to the watch-house; he said he did not like to take her without an officer; while he was gone

a bye watchman came and took her to the watch-house.

Q. Did she say how she came in that condition?

Thorn. Just has she was going away she said she had been robbed.

Q. Did you hear her say by whom?

Thorn. No.

Q. Did she appear to be sober when she was brought to the watchhouse?

Butler. She did.

Cross Examination.

Q. Did she appear like a person quite sober?

Thorn. I should think she was a little in liquor; she insisted on coming in.

Esther Owen . I keep the Swan in Shoreditch.

Q. Do you recollect seeing any thing of Mary Wilds at your house last Sunday?

Owen. I cannot recollect seeing her; I recollect seeing Harrison there.

Q. Did you know him before?

Owen. No.

Q. What time of day did you see him there?

Owen. Between four and five.

Q. Alone or in company.

Owen. There were a man and woman with him.

Q. How long did they stay?

Owen. I believe the best part of an hour.

Q. Do you recollect what liquor they had?

Owen. Five quarterns of liquor called gin and rasberry, and one pint of beer.

Q. Was the room full of company?

Owen. The room they were in was partly full.

Q. Do you recollect any thing particular in their behaviour?

Owen. No; I was in the bar, they were in the tap room.

Q. As to the woman, do you remember how she sat, whether on one side, or between them, or how?

Owen. No.

Q. Are you clear Harrison was one of the three?

Owen. Yes; I am very confident.

Harrison's Defence.

I know nothing at all of the person; indeed I remember being in company with some girl, but I do not imagine this to be the same; I parted with her as soon as I came out of the house; the girl was in liquor a good deal; she said she was going to drink tea with somebody that met her; we declined her company and came home.

Mitchell's Defence.

I do not remember ever seeing the girl in my life; I was along with Harrison, but I cannot remember being in any house, or with any girl whatsoever; I cannot remember rightly going out; I was greatly in liquor. This young fellow (Harrison) reports that when he came out of the house, he met a young fellow, and both came home together, and were home about six o'clock, at Joseph Harrison 's: Joseph Ellison it was went with us.

For Harrison.

Joseph Thorpe . I have known Harrison five or six years. I am a coach harness maker. I never heard a bad character of him.

Q. What is he?

Thorpe. A china rivetter .

William Kinsman . I am an ivory-turner. I have known him about two years; he always bore a good character.

Jane Hurd . I have known Harrison ever since his birth; he always had a good character.

Q. Do you live near him?

Hurd. Not now; I never heard any thing amiss of him before.

For Mitchell.

Robert Upton . I have known him near a year and half; he was apprentice to Mr. Taylor, a paper-stainer , in Smithfield; he has worked for Mess. Salte and Baker, in Cheapside. He lodged at my house six months; he is strictly honest, and in general sober; he has not laid out of my house above five nights during the half year.

Q. Did he lodge at your house at this time?

Upton. Yes, till he was took up.

Q. When was that?

Upton. On Tuesday afternoon.

Q. What time was he at home on Sunday night?

Upton. Soon after eight o'clock.

Q. Do you speak with certainty about that?

Upton. Yes; it was between eight and nine.

Q. You are certain it was before nine?

Upton. Yes.

Q. Do you know Harrison?

Upton. Yes; I saw him that night, only that time.

Q. You did not see them together on Sunday?

Upton. No; on Tuesday morning I saw them together.

John Howard . I have known Mitchell about seven years and a half; he is a very honest hard working man.

George Mollinoux . I am a paper stainer, in Hosier-lane. I have known Mitchell seven years and a half; he worked with me all his apprenticeship; he is my shopman now; he is a very honest sober lad.

John Dempson . I have known Mitchell seven years; he bears a good character.

Joseph Ellis . I know Harrison.

Q. Do you know the other?

Ellis. I had a little knowledge of him, in regard to his coming now and then to buy a stake of me; I am a butcher in Hosier-lane.

Both Guilty. Death . Recommended .

The trial of Joseph Harrison and John Mitchell for a rape on the body of Mary Wilds , will be inserted in the second number.


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