11th July 1781
Reference Numbert17810711-34
SentenceImprisonment > hard labour

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418. JOHN WELDON was indicted, for that he, in the King's highway, in and upon Peter Rorke , gentleman , feloniously did make an assault, with intent the monies of the said Peter to take, steal, and carry away , July the 1st .


On the 1st of July, as I was returning, on foot, from Kentish-town, at near eleven o'clock at night, with my wife, I was attacked by the prisoner, near the Foundling-hospital . He presented this (producing a large brass-barrel pistol) to my breast. I do not recollect that he said any thing but Stop! and he immediately snapped it at me. The powder flashed, but the pistol did not go off: upon which I laid hold of the muzzle of the pistol, and closed in upon him. I had a tustle with him a few minutes. At last I got him down. After I got him down, I had a good deal to do before I wrenched the pistol out of his hand. Upon my getting the pistol from him, I hit him two or three blows upon the head with the butt end of it. I perceived that he was in great agony; for he shook his head and feet very much: then I thought him pretty secure. By that time Mr. Gilson and Mr. Wood came to my assistance. Mr. Wood was standing by a few minutes during the contest.

Did he assist you? - No; he did not. When Mr. Gilson came, he assisted me. The pistol was loaded with shot: I have the contents: it is, I believe, what they call duck-shot. I took the prisoner to the watch-house, and gave him in charge.

Prisoner. Whether I was by myself, or any body along with me?

Mr. Rorke. When he attacked me, he was by himself; but I saw his accomplice attack Mr. Gilson a few yards distance from me. He had walked on before me; and he snapped his pistol at him likewise.


After I had wrested the pistol from the man who attacked me, I heard Mr. Rorke call me by name. I turned round, and thought him in great danger. He called out to me on the first instant the prisoner had

attacked him. They were struggling in the ditch, where I had been struggling with the man from whom I took a pistol a few yards from him. I ran to his assistance, and I found the prisoner had got Mr. Rorke's coat over his head, and had bound him round the neck by it. Mr. Rorke was uppermost; but the other was sitting in the ditch, and held him fast in that manner. I struck the prisoner, with a slight stick I had in my hand, two or three blows over the head, in order to disengage Mr. Rorke. I found it had not the effect. Then I struck him with my hand: upon which he fell back in the ditch, and by that means Mr. Rorke was disengaged.

Are you sure the prisoner is the man? - I cannot speak to the identity of the man Mr. Rorke was engaged with.

Do you know whether the prisoner had any thing in his hand or no? - I saw a pistol in Mr. Rorke's hand; but he could not make use of it, I believe, till I came to him. As soon as he got disengaged, I saw him strike the prisoner on the head with a pistol.

Prisoner. Whether he saw me attack that gentleman, or that gentleman attack me?

Mr. Gilson. I did not see him attacked. I had been attacked first myself.


I am a tile-maker. As I was going home to Pancras, where I live, as I turned the corner round the Foundling-hospital, I saw the flash of a pistol. I ran to the gentleman's assistance. Before I got up to the gentleman, the other party got away. I immediately helped the gentleman to confine the other man, and took him to the watch-house.

Did the gentleman charge him with any thing at that time? - The gentleman had the pistol in his hand: he charged him with stopping him, and attempting to fire a pistol at him, which did not go off.


I know nothing at all of the man. I am a bricklayer by trade, and work in Tottenham-court-road. I had been at work there five days and a quarter, the week before. In going home, between ten and eleven in the evening, as I was going along the foot-way, I heard a woman scream out, Murder! I ran to her assistance. I saw a man heave a pistol out of his hand. The gentleman has got it. As he run away, I took it up, and still was running to the gentlewoman's assistance. Before I got there, I was knocked down by one of those gentlemen, and beat in a most terrible manner. I have no witnesses here.


Tried by the First Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Justice HEATH.

[Imprisonment. See summary.]

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