5th December 1781
Reference Numbert17811205-1
VerdictGuilty > with recommendation

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1. CHARLES PEAT was indicted for feloniously making an assault upon RICHARD DOWN , Esq . upon the 27th of October last, upon the king's highway, in the parish of Finchly, and putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and taking from his person a silk purse, value 3 d. and 23 shillings in money numbered, being his property .

RICHARD DOWN , Esq. Sworn.

Upon the 27th of October, the prisoner at the bar stopped my carriage upon Finchly common , and demanded my money, near the seven mile stone, about half a mile upon

the right hand of the mile stone, not upon the great road.

Where was you coming from? - From London, and was going to my house in the country. I had turned from the road about half a mile. It was about three quarters past four in the afternoon.

Was he on horseback? - Yes.

Was he alone? - Yes, I gave him my purse; says he, if you value your purse, you will please to take it back and give me the contents of it, and he returned my purse.

What was in it? - 23 shillings; he returned the purse, and while I was taking out the money, my servant that was behind the carriage, jumped on behind him upon his horse.

He had not taken the money? - He had taken it but returned my money again, saying, if you value your purse, you will please to take it back again, and give me the contents; my servant clasped him round the body and brought him to the ground, they both came to the ground together. I immediately got out of the carriage, and assisted the servant to secure him, and with some little difficulty we did so. I put him into the carriage, and drove him myself to Colney hatch, for the coachman John Sawton , had got on the highwayman's horse in the beginning of the business, and went away. So the horses stood while the robbery was committed, the prisoner was put in the carriage. I drove the man home. The prisoner refused my watch, - he saw it, - he said he was an unfortunate man, and only wanted a little money, and behaved throughout with remarkable civility. We carried him before a justice, who committed him.


Your christian name is Richard? - Yes.

I apprehend if you had been disposed to have kept your purse and money, he would not have required it back again of you by your account? - Most certainly, he gave it me to take out the contents of it.

He said he was very unfortunate and only wanted a little money? - Yes; and behaved with remarkable civility.

Court. How long might he have your purse in hand? - Not a moment; he looked at it, and said, if you value your purse, you will please to take it back and give me the contents, he had got near the carriage side, the tail of the horse against the hind wheel, the servant jumped upon him and brought him to the ground.

I understand from you, it was done all in the same moment, the taking the purse and returning of it? - As soon as possible, he was not a yard from the carriage during the whole time. As soon as he saw the purse, he looked at it, and said, if I valued my purse, take it back and give me the contents of it.

He might have had the watch if he pleased? - Yes; he said I see you have a watch.


You are servant to Mr. Down? - Yes; upon the 27th of October, my master and I and my fellow servant, went from town to Colney-hatch. We was stopped upon the road by the prisoner, he asked for watch and money, and my master gave him his purse, he asked my master, is the purse of any value to you? he said yes, a little, and he gave him the purse again, and told him to give him the contents, while that was doing, my fellow servant jumped upon the horse, and both came down together and tusled upon the ground. When down, I came to his collar and he snapped a pistol, then they had another tustle upon the ground, and he said he would surrender. When they had got him in the carriage, my master drove him home.


What do you know of this? - Upon the 27th of October, I saw the prisoner at the bar pass the carriage and ordered it to stop. My master gave him his purse. He asked if he had any regard for his purse. My master said he had, he gave him the purse back. In the mean time I leaped behind him on the horse. He fell to the ground. We took him and put him in the carriage and brought him before a justice.


I leave it entirely to the lenity of the

court. I have no council. I entirely leave it to the lenity of the court.

Court. If you are satisfied from the evidence in point of law, though Mr. Down did not lose his purse nor his money, as you hear by the evidence, the prisoner being taken by the servant before the robbery was compleated; yet he had in fact demanded his money; and from the impulse of that threat and demand Mr. Down had actually given him the money and purse; and after he had got it, he said, if you value your purse take it, and give me the money, he took it back. Therefore the possession of the money was changed from Mr. Down to the prisoner, if he had it but an instant in point of law, it amounts to a robbery.

Foreman of the Jury. With very great concern the gentlemen of the Jury find him guilty; but beg leave at the same time, earnestly to recommend him to mercy.

Prosecutor. I beg leave to make the same request.

GUILTY . ( Death .)

Tried by the First Middlesex Jury before Mr. Baron HOTHAM .

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