21st April 1784
Reference Numbert17840421-60

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435. JOSEPH HAWES and JAMES HAWKINS were indicted for feloniously assaulting on the King's highway, Samuel West , on the 16th of April , and putting him in fear and danger of his life, and feloniously taking from his person and against his will one metal watch chain, value 3 s. and one stone seal set in gold, value 40 s. his property .

The witnesses examined apart at the request of the prisoners.


On Friday the 16th instant, at half after eight in the evening, at the corner of Castle-street, the top of Bury-street, St. Mary-axe , I was stopped by a person with a drawn hanger, who with his other hand collared me, and he asked me in a low voice three times for my money; with that I said, for God's sake spare my life, and you shall have every thing I have about me; then two others came up, one with a drawn hanger, but I will not be positive to the second, whether he had a drawn hanger or not; he began feeling for my watch, and immediately I put down my hand to my fob, and held my watch with both hands; they then got hold of the chain, I still kept both my hands to my fob, and by some means the swivel of the chain gave way, which put the prisoner in possession of the chain; the chain is in possession of one of the witnesses; upon finding they had got my chain, and being very much intimidated, I cried out, murder, as loud as I could; they left their hold of me and made off; they got clear off, I saw no more of them.

Do you know the person of either of them? - No, Sir, I should be very glad if I could swear to either of them; I have the watch and the swivel where the chain broke off.


I was the patrol belonging to Aldgate within, and as I was going down Bevis Marks, on Saturday the 16th of April, I heard the cry of thieves! thieves! murder! murder! and at the corner of Castle-street,

I saw two men, which are the prisoners; they never was out of my sight, I saw them stand at the corner of Castle-street, all in a timidating affair.

Court. How? - As if they had been doing something amiss.

Describe what you mean? - Seeing me come up, they stood in a sort of posture of defence, Hawes made a blow at me with his cutlass, without my speaking a word; I had a bludgeon which I carry, says I, are you good at that, then I made a blow at him with my blugeon, as hard as ever I could, then he and I missed him; I found myself in danger, and let my bludgeon fall, and drew my cutlass and attacked him again; when they found I was so resolute they ran away; I immediately cried out, stop thief! as loud as I could, and followed them very closely; Hawes the prisoner struck at me with a cutlass, I ran after them about three parts of Castle-street, but the short one, Hawkins, fired a pistol, not at me, it was directed forwards: Hawes was my object, because he made a blow at me, and just as he had got to the kennel, a gentleman tripped him as he run, and he fell down; another man assisted me and stood over him; I was afraid he had some fire-arms, he said he had not, he said for God's sake spare my life I did not fire the pistol; the other I never saw afterwards; I took Hawes, he never was out of my sight five yards, the other got off at that time.

Do you know that the other prisoner was the man that was with Hawes? - I did not see him till he was brought to the Compter, I cannot swear to him: when Hawes was taken, he was searched, and nothing was found upon him; when I returned again from the Compter, I came back to go my rounds as usual, I saw Mr. West as I came to the spot where I attacked them first, and I said, Sir, you was not one that was robbed? and he said, yes, it was me that was robbed; when I came to the watch-house, I told the story to the constable and several others, and they directed the watchman to look for a pistol and a watch chain, that that gentleman had been robbed of, and he found the chain, as he told me, close to the place where they attacked me; they first attacked me the corner of Castle-street, in Bevis-marks; Kelton gave me the chain, I have had it in my possession ever since; this cutlass was found in Castle-street, when we came from the Compter.


I am a watchman belonging to Aldgate Ward, the 16th of April, about ten at night; when I went out upon duty, the patrol desired me to look if I could find a pistol, and I found a watch chain the corner of Castle-street, Bevis-marks, I delivered the chain to the patrol, which was the same I found there.


On the 16th of April, I was coming through Houndsditch, I heard the cry of, stop theif! I run up to Castle-street, and saw Hawes the prisoner fall down, and Hawkins come running, and he fired a pistol; I knew them both very well before; I described them before they came to the Compter.

What became of Hawkins then? - He made off.

Prisoner Hawes. My Lord, I wish you would look into this Levy's character, his own brother was tried for his life this sessions, and he has another transported.


Between eight and nine, as I was coming down past the Three Tuns, I saw three men attacking a gentleman, the gentleman called out murder! so I turned down Castle-street, looking for the patrol, and I saw him go up to the prisoner, and one of the prisoners takes out a short stick, and made a blow at him; a gentleman came up, and wanted to lay hold of his coat, and he fired a pistol at him.

When the patrol came up, what situation was they in? - They were round the gentleman that was attacked.

Did you see Mr. West at all? - I could

not see who he was; I saw one of them that had a naked sword over his head.

As you sure of that? - Yes.

How near was you to them? - Not above a yard and half from them.

Was not you in company with them? - No, just come from my master's.

The gentleman has described three persons as attacking him, was not you one of them? - No, Sir.

Was not you with the other two? - No, Sir, just come from my master.

What did you see them do? - I saw them round the gentleman, and the gentleman called out murder! I did not stop to look at them; when the gentleman called out murder, you know if they did not speak I could not hear them.

As you was so near them, what did you see or hear? - One of them held a cutlass over the gentleman's head, I could not tell which, it was very dark.

When they left the gentleman, what became of them? - I went after them, and they ran down Castle-street, and a gentleman coming up tripped up the tall one's heels.

But when they left the gentleman they had attacked, what became of them afterwards? - They ran away when the patrol were coming.

When did the patrol first come up? - When I turned back again from Houndsditch, I heard the cry of murder! I turned to look for the patrol.

When did the patrol come up? - The patrol came up before they ran away, while they were attacking the gentleman; the patrol come up, and one of them made a blow at the gentleman directly with his cutlass.

Then the gentleman might have seen the patrol as well as you? - I do not know, I could not tell what he saw; I saw, after they had attacked the gentleman and before they ran away, they made a blow at the patrol.

Pray, young man, was not you one of their company? - No.

What became of the third man? - I cannot tell.

Was you there when Hawes was taken? - Yes, I tell you, I saw him taken.

Prisoner Hawes. Was not you at the taking of me to the Compter? - Me!

Did not you say you thought there was a house broke open, and you thought we were the people? - No.


I am one of the patrol belonging to Shoreditch; I was on my duty this night, between eight and nine, I was at some distance when this affair happened, I heard a great noise, and I hastened up as fast as I could; when I came up, there was a great number of people, and the prisoner, Hawkins, was in the middle of them, and the people said he was the man that fired the pistol, so I made no more to do, but I drew my hanger, and rushed into the mob, and took him by the collar, and took him to the Compter directly.


On the 16th of this month, about nine at night on Friday, I was going down Houndsditch, and I heard a pistol go off the corner of Castle-street, I heard the cry of stop thief! and saw the prisoner Hawkins come from the corner towards me, I thought it might be the person who had done this mischief; he made for Woolpack-alley, and I was the first that went after him; and before I got half way down the alley there was another young man before me, but the young man and I kept pretty close together, and took hold of him, and the mob said, here is the other; I took him to the Compter.

(The chain deposed to by the prosecutor.)


I was coming by, and I ran along to see what was the matter, and the patrol knocked me down instantly; I have been in his Majesty's service these four years, I was paid off about ten months ago.

Jury to Solomons. What number of people did you see round the gentleman when he was attacked? - Three.

Who were they? - The prisoners at the bar were two of them, they were never out of my sight.

Did you go away to look for the patrol when you saw the gentleman attacked? - Yes, I went to look for them, but I could not see them; when I returned the patrol was with them.

Was it light enough in the evening for you to see both their faces plain enough? - It was not very light, but one of them had a ribband round his head.

Are you sure of the number round Mr. West? - Yes, and the number was three.

Court to West. Did you see any more than the three men near you at the time? - No, my Lord, I was under so great agitation of mind I did not see any more.

Could a man have been so near you, as Solomon says he was, and you not see him? - I do not know how that might be, because this side was against the wall, and the man had hold of my collar, and he held a cutlass over my head.

Jury to Solomons. Whether he came up to Mr. West's assistance? - I saw nobody before I heard the cry of murder and thieves; first that I heard was murder!

Court to West. They went away immediately when they got your watch chain? - Yes.

What length of time was it that the patrol came up? - Not above a minute.

You went away, did not you? - I went down the street to look for the patrol, I never lost sight of them.


GUILTY Death .

Tried by the second London Jury before Mr. RECORDER.

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