Old Bailey Proceedings.
15th December 1786
Reference Number: 17861215

ActionsCite this text | Print-friendly version | Report an error
Old Bailey Proceedings front matter.
15th December 1786
Reference Numberf17861215-1

Related Material
TRIAL OF Michael Walker, Richard Payne, and John Cox, FOR THE WILFUL MURDER OF Mr. DUNCAN ROBERTSON, In HOLBORN, Who were Tried at JUSTICE HALL in the OLD BAILEY, On FRIDAY the 15th of DECEMBER, 1786.




Printed for E. HODGSON (the Proprietor) And Sold by J. WALMSLAY, No. 35, Chancery Lane, and S. BLADON, No. 13, Pater-noster Row.




KING's Commission of the Peace, Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery for the CITY of LONDON, &c.

BEFORE the Right Honourable THOMAS SAINSBURY , LORD MAYOR of the City of London; the Honourable JOHN WILSON , one of the Justices of his Majesty's Court of Common Pleas; the Honourable Sir BEAUMONT HOTHAM , Knt. one of the Barons of his Majesty's Court of Exchequer; JAMES ADAIR , Serjeant at Law, Recorder of the said City; JOHN WILLIAM ROSE , Esq; and others his Majesty's Justices of Oyer and Terminer of the City of London, and Justices of Gaol Delivery of Newgate, holden for the said City and County of Middlesex.

London Jury.

Charles Hall

John Edridge

Walter Atkinson

Thomas Brass

James Savage

John Butler

Richard Holt

Samuel Weddell

Edward Utting

Thomas Sutton

James Bridger

* John Skidmore .

* William Smith served the second day in the room of John Skidmore ; and Joseph Lee served the third day in the room of John Skidmore .

First Middlesex Jury.

John French

Richard Ovey

Edward Blackmore

John Henry Rigg

William Wootton

James Blackwell

Thomas Jessam

Thomas Birne

Samuel Conno

Nohemian Spicer

George Lee

George Hobin .

Second Middlesex Jury.

James Young

George Askew

Francis Day

Joseph Perkins

Robert Gains

John M'Kenlow

Henry Vint

John Fife

Andrew Hoffman

William Barrington

Thomas Sanderson

Joakins Springwood .

15th December 1786
Reference Numbert17861215-1

Related Material

1. MICHAEL WALKER , RICHARD PAYNE , and JOHN COX were indicted for that they not having the fear of God before their eyes, but being moved and seduced by the instigation of the devil, on the 16th day of November last, with and arms, upon one Duncan Robertson , in the peace of God and our Lord the King then and there being, feloniously, wilfully, and of their

malice aforethought, did make an assault, and that he, the said Michael Walker , with a certain knife, made of iron and steel, value 6 d. which he in his right hand then and there had and held, upon the left shoulder, forehead, nose and wrist of the said Duncan, did cut, flab, and penetrate, giving him with the knife aforesaid, divers mortal wounds, one on the left shoulder, of the length of six inches, and of the depth of one inch, one other wound on his forehead and nose of the length of two inches, and of the depth of one inch, of which he lingered till the 20th of November, and then died; and that the said Richard Payne and John Cox were present, aiding, assisting and comforting the said Michael Walker, to do and commit the said murder; and so the Jurors say, that they the said Michael Walker , Richard Payne, and John Cox , him the said Duncan Robertson in manner and form aforesaid, did kill and murder .

The said MICHAEL WALKER and RICHARD PAYNE were also charged on the Coroner's inquisition with the said murder.

(The case opened by Mr. Garrow.)

May it please your Lordship, and you Gentlemen of the Jury: you have learned from the indictment which has just been read to you, that the offence imputed to the prisoners at the bar, is that of wilful murder; and the stating that alone is enough to call for your most serious attention, whether it be considered as an offence against civil society, in which all the Public are interested, or whether the fatal consequences to the prisoners, if found guilty, are attended to. I shall proceed to state as shortly as I can some leading circumstances; I shall not pretend to state them with great particularity, because it is better in cases of this sort, that the Jury should have their attention directed to them from the account given by the witnesses themselves. Gentlemen, this unfortunate accident happened near a place called Smart's buildings, in Holborn ; a Mr. Robertson, and a person of the name of Hunt, were walking on Holborn, and Hunt felt a person at his pocket; he felt his pocket book taken from him, and he perceived it was immediately handed to an accomplice; Mr. Hunt, perhaps indiscreetly as I should think in any case, and very much so in the present state of the police of this town, particularly in that neighbourhood, instantly seized the person who had taken his property; that was the prisoner Walker; and as they were going along, just as they passed the end of Smart's-buildings, the prisoner told him, he need not go any further, for there was a Magistrate in those buildings who was then sitting; and they could go in and determine it there; Hunt said, no, he knew that part of the town too well, to suppose any Magistrate was sitting there; upon this Walker broke from him, and a scuffle ensued; Mr. Hunt was armed with a stick, which he will produce to you, which he broke about some of the parties; when he had recovered the blows he received, he perceived his friend wounded in a most desperate manner; he was bleeding and taken into a house in the neighbourhood, and his wounds were dressed; he languished till the Monday, a fever took place and the poor man died in a state of madness: the surgeon will inform you that he has not the least doubt but the wounds occasioned his death. With respect to the law, Gentlemen, there can be as little doubt, for the Judge will tell you, if you felt ever so much disposition to favour these persons, it is impossible to do it; for if two or three persons are engaged in an illegal act, and in the completion of that illegal act, death ensues, they are all answerable; therefore as to the law, I take it, I may lay it down, as I have done, without any apprehension of my Lord's thinking it too strong. Then, the only question that will remain, will be this, were the prisoners at the bar, or either of them guilty of the murder; did either of them give the death wound, were either of them present at the time? fortunately for the purposes of justice, I believe, there will be as little doubt of those facts. Gentlemen, I hope I am not in the habit of over

stating my instructions; but if I can at all trust to my witnesses, it seems to me there is a chain of circumstances to be laid before you, that will leave no doubt of the guilt of all the prisoners at the bar. The first witness I shall call to you will be Hunt, who will tell you that he had hold of Walker and carried him on for a considerable distance, and he passed several shops that were open, particularly two or three pork shops that had a great light in them; he has no doubt about his person; there are also the circumstances of his singling him out from a great number of persons afterwards, when he was not in irons, when he was not accused, and no person to point him out; I shall call other witnesses who live in the neighbourhood, who saw the transaction, who were alarmed by the noise, who will tell you that each of the prisoners were present at the time; I shall call a witness to shew you, that on the day of the robbery and murder, these three prisoners were at his house together, and that they continued there in company, drinking together for an hour; and I shall also prove that on the morning after the robbery, these three people were again in company at the house of the same witness, where they had been the preceding day, and that then a conversation passed between that witness and Payne, says he, look, see how Irish Mich. (meaning Walker) how bravely he has cut my finger; that passed in the hearing of Walker, and therefore that I shall produce as evidence against Walker; then Payne will tell you in his confession, that he in the scuffle with Robertson, received a desperate cut on his own hand from the knife with which Robertson was murdered; therefore I should think that the proving these people together antecedent, and afterwards in company together, and this conversation respecting the knife, that that would be very strong evidence as against Walker. Gentlemen, Payne's case stands wonderfully strong as it strikes me; on Hunt's going to the office and giving an information, and describing the persons, the officers had no difficulty who they should take up; they had strong suspicions; they took up Walker; he was instantly fixed upon without difficulty; they advertized a description of Payne, and that description was so accurate that a man of the name of Parish was so struck with it, that though Payne had changed his name, and inlisted in the service of the East India company, he was so struck that he was apprehended. Gentlemen in all doubtful cases, it is of material consequence for the attention of a Jury, that a man has absconded; but if he disguises himself, and assumes a name that he has never used before, the circumstance of absconding becomes infinitely stronger than it was before. Gentlemen, after this advertisement, Mr. Hunt and the officer Freeman went on board the Princess Royal at Gravesend, and they directed that the man who was then on board, and who was inlisted by the name of Davis, should be brought up, and Freeman ordered him to be brought with eight or ten more; he was so, and he was fixed on by Mr. Hunt, he had a finger stall on, and a cut on his finger, that will be a pretty strong case in respect to him. Gentlemen, with respect to Cox, the boy at the bar, I shall call to you evidence to prove that he was with them at the time I have mentioned, both before and after the murder: I shall call evidence to prove that he was with them on the spot at the time the murder took place, and I shall also prove that after Payne was in custody and had made his confession, the confession was read over to Cox, and (I am told) I shall prove to you that he assented to the truth of several of the circumstances contained in that confession, he acknowledged the receiving the book from the accomplice, looking into the book, seeing its contents examined, and the book burnt: If he was present, if he was employed in the purpose of picking the pocket, or for the purpose of receiving it; if he was at all engaged in the enterprize of picking the deceased's pocket, then I fancy you will have no difficulty in involving him in your verdict, and pronouncingall the three prisoners guilty. Gentlemen, I know the prisoners have the good fortune to be tried by a Judge who adds to great ability great humanity, and I am sure if any thing arises in either of their cases upon which he can possibly hang a doubt in their favor, he will give them the advantage of it: I know too that they have the privilege of being tried by a humane and an attentive Jury, for such I have observed you to be in the former part of this sessions; and I who am their prosecutor desire, that if there can be a doubt in their favour they may have the benefit of it: but if the case is too plain for doubt, then it will be as much your duty to pronounce them guilty. Gentlemen, I shall proceed without further comment to call my witnesses, and prove the several facts I have stated to you; and when you have heard them I am sure your verdict will be satisfactory to every body.

(The witnesses examined separate by desire of Mr. Peatt prisoners council.)


I am a glazier and painter; I live in Church-street, Mile-end, New town; I was very intimate with the deceased: on Thursday the 16th of November we were going up Holborn, just against Newton-street, when I first catched Walker's hand in my pocket; it was about twenty minutes after six; his left hand was in my left hand pocket; I put my hand in my pocket and I missed one of my pocket books; I had another in my pocket which was taken; I taxed him with having it, which he denied; I called to the deceased, and said I had lost my pocket book, and this fellow has got it; I immediately collared Walker; Duncan Robertson the deceased advised me (and I was determined so to do if I could have compleated my design) to take him to the first publick house and search him; I kept hold of his collar and he went on very agreeable till we came to the corner of Smart's buildings, about two or three hundred yards from the place where I first laid hold of him.

At the time he got your pocket book did you see any other persons near him? - Yes.

Do you know either of those persons? - Yes, I saw Payne there when I first seized Walker, Payne turned round and looked, he did not offer to assist in any respect then; he was behind me and between Walker; Walker met me when he picked my pocket; I did not see Payne till after I had collared Walker, then I saw him near; on my collaring Walker, I saw his hand slip by the side of him, and I saw Payne receive a something from his hand, what it was I could not tell; when Payne came to the corner of Smart's-buildings, Walker told me that down that buildings there was a Magistrate sitting, and if I chose to go down there he would be searched before a Magistrate; I said to him that I knew that part of the town a great deal better than to be led down any such place, for I was sure there was no such person sitting there; accordingly he plunged about several times, and at last he struck me in the soft of the neck, and at that time he broke my hold from his collar; the deceased had accompanied me to Smart's buildings, and Payne followed me, then I took this stick which was at that time whole, and I knocked Walker down with it (a walking stick with knobbs produced); after that Payne came up, and Robertson perceiving Payne's coming up, and thinking, I imagine, two would be too much for me, came up to my assistance; I apprehended Payne was going to do me mischief, upon which I struck him with my stick; by the time Robertson came up, Walker came up to me, and knocked him down again; I then saw Payne engaged with Robinson, and this Mich. being knocked down, I fell on board of Payne; Payne then turned to me and Walker engaged with Robertson, which which when I perceived, I turned from striking Payne, and began to lay upon Mich. and then they both quitted Robertson and fell on board of me; on perceiving that, I kept paying them both as fast as could; Robertson had a stick at first b

he had none after, he said he lost it; I continued to engage with both, then Robertson went off; I lost him in a moment; but if I had not been so sharp about them with striking them with my stick, I look upon it I should have been in the same situation as poor Robinson was; it was all from beginning to ending momentary; after I had done with them, they ran down the buildings out of Holborn; I believe the buildings are a thoroughfare; when I missed Robertson, I ran after them and began striking them again, and then they ran down to the bottom of the buildings and dared any one to follow them; they stood at the bottom of the buildings when they got there and made their laugh at me, and dared me to come down; I imagined they stood so as to receive me if I came down, but it was too dark.

Where did you find Robertson? - In the shop of Mr. Hodges, a patten-maker, the corner of Smart's-buildings; when I found him he was bleeding like an ox.

From what parts? - I could not distinguish from what parts, it was from the head, I thought the scull was broke; upon examining I took the candle out of Hodge's hand and just touched his nose, and I found it was severed very near through; the wound began just at the roots of the hair, they missed the eye-brow and then came to the nostril again, and very near severed it through.

Had he any other cut? - Yes, he had another very dangerous cut on his left wrist; I cannot speak with respect to that; and a wound across the left shoulder-blade cut through the clothes, six or seven inches long; he had several stabs about in his arms in a very miserable condition; I took first over to a doctor's, and there he was dressed, and I took him into a coach and carried him home; this happened on Thursday the 16th; I was with him except Friday night, night and day till within two hours of his expiration, he died on the Monday five minutes before twelve.

He was delirious before this? - Yes.

Was he in good health before this? - Yes, in perfect health as you or me; I saw the prisoner on the Monday; I went to Justice Walker's office in Hyde-street, and gave a description of the prisoners.

Had you such an opportunity of observing Walker and Payne, that you can swear positively to their persons? - I can swear positively to their persons; I was walking two or three hundred yards with Walker; all the shops were full of lights; I watched him very narrowly, as he made no resistance, I have not in the least any doubt; I saw him again on the Monday at Mr. Walker's office; there were two or three in the parlour with me; there were nine or ten came in with him.

Was he pointed out to you by any body? - Nobody at all.

Had he any irons on? - No, Sir, none.

Was there any thing that led you to point to him? - One of the officers came into the room, and asked me if I knew any body in company; I told him the company was nothing to me; he asked me again; I looked round, and pointed out Walker, says I, that man picked my pocket in Holborn; I did not see the prisoner Payne till last Thursday was week, or this day week; it was about a week ago I saw him on board the Princess Royal, and East-India ship; there were several people in the cabin, and another or two came in with him; I knew him as soon as he came in, and I pointed him out immediately.

Was he pointed out to you at all? - Not at all, I immediately pitched upon him.

Have you any sort of doubt at all about his person? - Not in the least, if I had, I should not have sworn so punctual to him.

Do you know any thing of Cox? - No, I do not remember seeing him, I saw a lad about his size; he was very busy about the prisoners, running round them, and appeared active; I did not see Walker searched, nor I did not see Cox strike.

Do you know any thing more of this of your own knowledge? - Nothing more.

What sort of pocket-book was it you

lost? - A green parchment book, containing some loose papers, but nothing of value.

Mr. Peatt, Prisoner's Counsel. In what part of Holborn is Smart's-buildings? - In High-Holborn.

This you say was about twenty minutes after six? - Yes.

Did it happen on the footpath, or in the street? - On the pavement.

Was the street pretty full at this time of the evening? - The people were passing and repassing as they do in common.

It was very light from the shops you say? - Yes.

You did not observe whether it was crouded or not? - No.

You say Walker met you when he picked your pocket? - Yes; I saw nothing of Payne till after my pocket was picked, nor till after I collared Walker; I stood sideways; he stood as if on my left hand.

Whoever it was that received something from Walker, did you see his hand first, or his face first? - The moment I saw Walker slipping his hand down, I made observation both of his face and hand; I imagine I saw his face and hand at the same time.

Had you ever seen him before? - Never.

Do I understand you right, that you saw his hand receive something from Walker, and his face at the same time? - I cannot say which I saw first.

Were there a good many people about at this time? - There was not so many when this first happened, till we got to the corner of Smart's-buildings, then a many people gathered about.

Your spirits were a good deal agitated at the time? - They were.

They were not the less so when you saw a person whom you took to be a confederate? - They were increased by that; I saw the man who received the book all the time.

Before you struck Payne, had he struck you? - He attempted to do so; I saw nothing in either of their hands; he attempted to strike me as one man would strike another with his fists doubled; it appeared to me that he meant to strike me, that was before I struck him at all, or else if he had been standing by, and not attempting to meddle with me, I should not have meddled with him.

How many persons came up with Payne when you saw him? - I do not know, I dare say there might be a dozen, officers and all.

How many were habited like Payne? I cannot say the number, there were two or three, but I knew him the moment I saw him, notwithstanding he having the company's dress on at that time.

By what name did he answer? - James Davis .

Court. You did not see any thing in either of their hands? - No.

During the scuffle, was Walker separate from you at any time in this scuffle so long as to give him in your judgment, an opportunity and time to drop any knife or weapon? - That I cannot speak to, because I do not know how long he might be absent from me, but it could not be long.

Mr. Peatt. Do you happen to know whether you touched any other person with your stick, during your engagement with Walker? - That I am sure I did not.

Court. Was your pocket-book ever found? - No, my Lord.


I live at Mr. Lane's in Holborn, the corner of Smart's buildings; he is a pawnbroker.

Do you remember the night that this unfortunate gentleman was killed? - Yes.

Be so good to tell us all you observed upon the occasion? - On the evening that this unhappy accident happened I was in my shop; I heard a scuffle soon after six o'clock; I jumped over the compter, and went out of the back door, into Smart's-buildings; when I came into the

buildings, the first thing I saw was the prisoner Payne go past me from Holborn, down to the bottom of Smart's buildings.

Did you know Payne before? - Yes.

I do not ask you where you have seen him, but have you seen him more than once? - Yes.

Often? - Yes.

Was you perfectly acquainted with his person? - Yes; the next person that passed me, I believe to be the boy Cox; I had seen him once or twice before, never saw him in company with any body else.

Then a boy passed whom you believe to be Cox? - Yes.

Going the same way? - Yes.

How soon after Payne had passed you? It might be the space of a moment, it was instantly; almost the next thing I observed in about that space, or rather more than that, but almost instantly, passed the prisoner Walker; I knew him perfectly well, I had seen him various times; I knew his person perfectly; he was following the other two.

Did he pass you in haste? - They were running; the prisoner Payne stopped to pull up his stockings; they all three ran; the next thing I saw was, I went to the Holborn corner, were there were several people assembled, and I heard that the person deceased was wounded; I saw him in the pattern-maker's shop, that is the opposite corner to our house; there I saw him wounded, sitting very near the door; I immediately came away from the door; I saw Mr. Hunt stand, Hunt said, if any person would go along with him after the prisoners, he would pursue them, but no person offered; the prisoners were about the middle of the buildings, daring and huzzaing with three huzzas, daring any person to follow them.

Do you recollect those expressions of daring? - No, Sir; I was not near enough to hear their expressions, only to hear the huzzas.

Did the three persons who passed you stand and join in the huzza? - They stood at a little distance, but they were the persons who made the huzza; the boy was one of them.

Did any other person pass by, except the three? - Not a person; there were very few people near.

Was there any other person in the buildings that you could possibly mistake for them? - No, Sir, not a person passed.

I understand you to speak, as to Payne and Walker, with perfect certainty? - Not the least doubt in the world.

As to the boy, how is your certainty about that? - He has come frequently to our shop, once or twice.

Have you any serious doubt in your mind whether he was the person who passed you? - Not the least.

Court. Then you are as clear, that this boy, who is at the bar, passed you in the way you have described? - Yes, Sir, he is the same boy; he is the boy who turned round, and joined in the defence.

Mr. Peat. What distance might the people be who huzza'd - They might be at the distance of four or five yards.

Could you see every door in the buildings? - No, Sir.

Do you know whether any persons came out of the houses during the time? - I never saw a soul come out.

Mr. Garrow. What became of the persons afterwards? - I do not know. I did not see them pass.

Prisoner Cox. I have been taken up twice for this, and was in the office; and this witness said he could not take upon himself to swear to me, I had another coat on. - I said, I could not pretend to swear to him identically that he was the person, but I have not the least doubt but he was the person.

Did you say any thing about his coat? - I said, he had a darker coat on, a brown great coat.

Do you now entertain any doubt about him? - I have no doubt but he was the person who passed me, but I would not swear positively to him, nor could not.

Court, to Walker and Cox. I understand Mr. Peatt is not counsel for either of you;

therefore, if you have any questions to ask, propose them to me, and I will ask them.

Prisoner Walker. My Lord, the gentleman, when he came before Mr. Walker, the Magistrate asked him, if I was the person? and he looked at me, and said, he would not swear to me. - I said, as thus: I knew him perfectly well, but would not swear to him, as he had on a light coat, which light coat was fetched out from me a few evenings before the unhappy accident; and I had no doubt of them then; and I have no doubt now.

Prisoner Walker to Hunt. How many people were in the parlour at the office? - It is impossible for me to say; there were nine or ten came in with him, in order to see whether I should know him.

Prisoner Walker. Sir, there was not a man in the world, but us five; and the three officers stood talking to Mr. Hunt, and Mr. Freeman the officer called him out, and spoke to him.


I live in Smarts-buildings. I am a chandler. I remember the time this unfortunate gentleman was killed; it was the 16th of November, between six and seven in the evening. I live at the corner house, the bottom of the buildings, the furthest end from Holborn, on the left-hand side; I was just coming out of the door; there are two steps at the door; and I stepped down one step, and I saw three men; they seemed to be standing; but whether they had been running or standing, I cannot say; one was close to the pavement near my door; the others were on the other side of the kennel; one of the people was stooping down, as if looking to see whether any person was following him from Holborn, and as he arose, I heard him say, blast your b - grs eyes, it had served him right.

Court. It had, or you have? - It had served him right. I did not know what it meant till I came to the top of the street; the men turned round the corner of the street; that leads to the little alley, and I went into Holborn. I knew that man that spoke by his voice.

Who was he? - That was Payne.

How long have you known him? - I knew him some time.

How long? - About a twelvemonth.

Was you well acquainted with his voice? - Yes, he sometimes came to my shop.

Can you take upon yourself to say, that the man who used that expression was Payne? - Yes, upon my oath.

Did you know either of the other persons that were with him? - No, they were further from me on the other side of the kennel; it was so dark I could not see. I saw a hat picked up at Mr. Hodge's back door, and I saw the deceased in Mr. Hodge's shop, bleeding very much.

Do you know either of the other prisoners? - No, I do not.

Mr. Peatt. Had the person who said so any weapons in his hand? - I did not see any.

Prisoner Payne. He said before the Justice, that he did not know whether I was the man or not. - I never said any other words but these, and I have now no doubt about it.


I live in the Bull-and-gate yard, Holborn; that is some distance from Smarts-buildings. I was going by Newtoners-street, and I saw the witness, Mr. Hunt, and the deceased have hold of a man by the collar; they were going up Holborn towards Smart's-buildings, and Mr. Hunt said to the man he had by the collar, you have picked my pocket; no, says he, I have not, you may search me; oh! says Hunt, you are the man, I will take care of you; they walked on quietly till they came to Smart's-buildings; and then the man they had by the collar attempted to run away, and then Mr. Hunt and the deceased struck him with a stick, each of them; then Payne ran in, and he said, d - n your eyes, do not murder the man; then a

dreadful scuffle ensued; I staid to the end of the scuffle, and the two prisoners ran away down Smart's-buildings, and the gentleman was left at the corner wounded. I only saw two. I cannot swear to the man that Hunt had hold of, but I can swear to Payne, by seeing him follow him up Holborn.

Are you sure Payne is the man that followed them, and afterwards ran in and said, d - mn your eyes, do not murder him? - I am sure of it. I only saw two run, and he was one of them.

Did you know him at all before? - I never saw him before, but I had opportunity enough to see him then.

I believe you followed them? - I followed them all the way from opposite Lyon-street to Smart's-buildings. I did not follow them down the buildings; I heard them laugh, and make a noise.

What sort of noise? - Ha! ha! ha!

A sort of insulting laugh? - Yes.

Mr. Peatt. You never saw Payne before that evening? - No.

Did he strike before he ran in? - No.

Nor attempt to strike? - No.

What had he in his hand? - I did not see any weapons in his hands at all.


I keep the White Hart in Newtoner's-lane, near Smart's-buildings, Smart's-buildings is at the back of my house. I have seen all the three prisoners together. I saw them together the day the accident happened, and I saw them together the next morning. I know very little of them. I saw them together at my house about ten. I believe they drank together. They continued there best part of an hour.

Have you known them long? - No, I have not been there long; they have been but a very few times at my house. I saw them again the next day between ten and eleven. They were all there together; they might be there an hour or more.

Tell us of any conversation that you recollect passing between them? - I saw Payne shew his finger, and say Irish Mich. cut it; which way or how I do not know.

How was it cut, much or little? - I did not see it myself.

Do you remember what expression he used about its being out? - No, he called him Irish Mich.

Did he say it was cut to the bone? - He said it was cut to the bone; and that you might see the bone; I knew neither of their names but Mich. and Dick; Mich. heard this; they were both there at the time.

What did he say? - I do not recollect.

Did he deny it? - No, he said nothing to it; the boy was there at the same time.

Court. Did Payne say when he had cut it? - No, Sir, he did not mention any particular time; but his hand was well in the morning, and the next day it was tied up.


I am an officer of Hyde-street, Bloomsbury; I received information there had been a murder committed on the 16th of November; I received information on the Sunday following, in the morning, with a description of the persons from Mr. Hunt; I examined the descriptions minutely, and consulted my own mind about it; and I judged it must be the three prisoners; we went in pursuit of them, and on that afternoon I apprehended Walker; I found him at the White-hart public house, in Newtoner's-lane, at Mr. Talboy's, in the taproom; I took him to the round-house, which is very close, and I held him while a brother officer searched him, and we found a knife on him, which Beamish has; I marked it; I had no conversation with Walker; I did not tell him what he was taken up for; Mr. Hunt was sent for; on the Monday morning I put Walker into the back room at the public house, next to the office in a parlour; there was about a dozen men in the parlour with Hunt; I then went into the parlour, and went up to Hunt, as I had never seen Hunt before, says I, do

you know me, he said, no; then says I, look round the room, and see if you know any person here; then he turned his eye round, and fixed on Walker, and said, yes, I know that man too well; Walker had no irons on, nor any thing; and I received a description of Payne, and he was advertised; and I had some information from Parish; I went with Mr. Hunt to the Princess Royal, East Indiaman, and enquired for James Davis.

Who came to you and answered to that name? - The prisoner Payne.

In what disguise did Hunt see him? - I had some conversation with the commanding officer, and told him my business, and begged he would let some other people be brought up with the prisoner Davis, and put into his cabin; it was so done before Hunt saw him; I desired Hunt to go into a back cabin, and I went back myself; there were about a dozen in all in the cabin, all standing up; some of them officers; I said, to Mr. Hunt, now go in and see if you know any body; he went in, and immediately fixed on Payne; although he was dressed in blue trowsers, and with a night-cap on, close to his forehead; I knew Payne before; I knew him again directly; he then was asked if he knew any body round that room; he said, no, he did not; then I went into the cabin myself; he said, no, again; I went up to him, says I, Dicky, do not you know me; so he paused; and I said, come answer me; yes, Mr. Freeman; says he, I know you very well; I was present when he was examined before the Magistrate; there was an examination taken in writiting.

Was it read to him? - Yes.

Did he sign it? - Yes.

Did he make his confession voluntarily? - Yes.

Did you see the Magistrate sign it? - I did; it is my name, and hand writing; and he had before told me the whole; as I brought him to town he told me voluntarily.

Had there been any promises or threats made to him? - None at all.

Court. Neither at that time nor before? - None at all; after I had got him into the boat; I sat myself down by the side of him; I said, Dick, this is a sad piece of business; I am very sorry you have done such a thing as this; he says, I assure you Mr. Freeman, I never cut a man in my life, nor I never drew a knife on any man in my life; I then said, why, you know who did; yes, says he, I do to be sure.

In what state did you find him as to his limbs? - I examined his fingers, and I found in the inside of his fore finger a new cut; it was healed, but there is a mark now.

Court. Had no conversation passed at all respecting the fact with which he was charged, of the story of this gentleman that was murdered? - Nothing at all; there was this said; says I, Dick, are not you a little surprised, did you know what I was come for; no, says he, I had no suspicion; till I saw you come into the cabin; that was all that was said.

Mr. Peatt. You brought him up to town? - Yes.

Did any thing thing material pass in your journey, what was the nature of your conversation? - I asked him every thing concerning the murder, and he told me.

Did you take upon you to give him any advice at all? - No, Sir.

Did you advise him to tell the truth or give up his accomplices? - No, Sir, nothing of that kind.

Nor you did not insinuate that it would be better for him? - Not in the least.

You drank pretty freely on the road I believe? - We did not go dry, Sir, but we drank but very little; it was past twelve, when I came to town; he was carried before the Magistrate the next morning; I was not in his company; he was in the round house; I was in and out occasionally before he signed the confession.

Do you know if he had been drinking with any body that morning? - I make no doubt but he might drink, but I cannot say; he had not to my knowledge.

In what state did he appear to be

when that confession was signed? - Perfectly as sober as I am now.

Read, Middlesex to wit. The examination of Richard Payne, otherwise John Davis, who stands charged on the Coronor's inquest with the murder of Duncan Robertson :

"Who says, that he was

"coming from his sister in Lombard-street

"on Thursday evening, the 16th of November

"last; the day that Robertson was

"killed; and on coming through Holborn,

"he saw a person who goes by the

"name of Irish Mich. but whose other

"name he does not know; and another

"person who goes by the name of Cox;

"Irish Mich. was following the deceased,

"and Mr. Hunt, and Cox, behind Irish

"Mich; and he says, he saw Irish Mich.

"take the pocket book from one of the

"gentlemen, who he believes was Mr.

"Hunt, who gave it into Cox's hand;

"immediately Mr. Hunt turned round,

"and said, you have my pocket book; he

"said, search me, I have no such thing;

"Mr. Hunt said, you must come with

"me to the first public house, then I will

"search you; they went together, and

"Irish Mich. stopped at the corner of

"Smart's buildings; and Irish Mich. said,

"there is a Magistrate sitting down here,

"we can go down and settle it; Hunt

"said, I know this end of the town better

"than you do; then Mich. held up

"his hand and made a blow at Mr. Hunt,

"who loosed him directly; then he saw

"several blows pass between Irish Mich.

"and Mr. Hunt, and the other gentleman,

"and saw Hunt and the deceased struck

"with a stick several times; this examinant

"saw Irish Mich. strike several times

"and chopping at the gentleman that was

"with Mr. Hunt; he then rushed in, and

"cried, for God's sake, do not kill the

"man; when he got to the bottom of

"Smart's-buildings, Mich. said, d - n

"his eyes, I have given him his gruel;

"this examinant said, he hoped he had

"not killed the man; Mich. went home,

"this examinant went with him, and Cox

"came in with the pocket book, and in

"the pocket book there was a duplicate of

"a coat for seven shillings, as Irish Mich.

"informed this examinant, as he could

"not read himself, and chucked the pocket

"book in the fire immediately; and

"said, he was afraid he had cut the man,

"for his knife was bloody; this examinant

"held up his hand, and said, you

"have cut my finger too bravely; and

"Irish Mich's fore finger of his left hand

"appeared to be cut also; then they all

"three went to the Bull ale-house, in

"Newtoner's-lane, kept by Mr. Wilson,

"and had threepenny worth of beer, or

"two-penny; then they all parted."

Court to Freeman. Before this examination was signed by Payne, was you in the room all the time? - I was.

Was any thing said by the Justice to lead the man to hope that if he did sign this confession, he should have any favour? - I will tell you what was said, my Lord: Mr. Walker says to the prisoner, you have heard the charge against you, if you have any thing to say now is your time to say it; but let me give you this caution, do not say any thing without you like it; you are not bound to say any thing unless you like.

Mr. Garrow to Mr. Hunt. Was there a duplicate for a coat for seven shillings in your pocket book? - Yes.

Freeman. I was after Cox all Saturday morning till office hours; Cox was taken on the Saturday; Payne's examination was read to him; there was no promises made to him; or any threat.

Did he say what he did say voluntarily and freely? - Quite so, without any word being put to him at all; Cox cried, and said he received the pocket book from Walker or Payne, from which he could not say; he then was asked if he knew any thing of the murder; he said no, for he did not go down Smart's buildings, but he went down Newtoner's-street, and went to Walker's room, and when he went up stairs there was Michael Walker and Richard Payne in the room, and Michael Walker 's girl, which was named Charlotte;

he then gave Walker the pocket-book, and he examined it, and there was a duplicate in it, but what he could not tell, and Michael Walker threw the pocket-book in the fire; he said nothing more; he was asked if he knew that Payne had made any confession; he said no; then said the Justice it shall be read to you; it was read to him; then he said what I have said.

Prisoner Walker. Can you mention any body that was in the room when I was brought in that you know? - Sir we have a manufactory opposite the office, and there was a quantity of the workmen in the room; they all crowded in the room.

Name some of those workmen. - There is one Mr. Jennings, Mr. Lewis, Mr. Aldridge, and several more; I did not particularly notice the names of the people that were in the room; there was the servant of the public house; there were a dozen or fourteen of them before we came.


I am an officer of Justice; I searched Walker while Freeman held him; I found this knife, and there are two letters on the haft; there is M. W. on it, take it which way you will.

Were there more persons than two or three in the room when Walker was shown to Mr. Hunt? - There were ten or eleven; there were several of the workmen of the manufactory; he was not at all pointed out, nor was he hand-cuffed.

(The hasp-knife produced.)

The point of this knife is broke, was it broke at the time you found it? - Yes.

Edward Treadway produced the coat all cut to pieces with the cut of a knife, and one of the buttons scratched, and the waistcoat all cut through and bloody.

(The knife and clothes handed to the Jury)

Mr. Hunt. That was the coat and waistcoat Robertson had on at the time of the accident.


I keep a publick house where officers of the East India company raise recruits; I know the middle man (Payne); it is near three weeks ago since I first saw him; it was at my house he was brought by his father and some of his friends to go for a soldier; I do not know by what name he enlisted; I observed his person during that time; he was near a fortnight at my house, so that I know him perfectly; after this I saw in a newspaper an advertisement that I thought applied to him; I gave information; in consequence of which I went with Freeman and Hunt to Gravesend.

Is that the man that you found on board the Princess Royal? - It is, we found him by the name of James Davis ; the prisoner was taken from my house to be enlisted into the 43d regiment, with another recruit; he was taken to Windsor, and there was rejected; and then it was he enlisted in the Company's service.


I live in Hart-street, Bloomsbury; I was called to attend the deceased on the 16th of November in the evening, between six and seven; I found the man very much wounded, particularly on the left shoulder, a very large wound appeared to me to be made with a very sharp instrument, about six inches in length, and nearly an inch deep; on examining the man further, I found a wound on his forehead, beginning just below the roots of his hair down the forehead, to the end of the nose; it missed the hollow part of the nose, it had not divided the nose totally, it was very deep; the next wound that I discovered was just above the left wrist, a pretty large wound, a transverse wound, the tendons were wounded obliquely, but not totally wounded; the incision was made in that kind of manner, that they formed a kind of flap; the man appeared extremely faint, and was weak, faint, and cold; I dressed his wounds as I thought proper, and his friend took him away.

This happened on Thursday evening?

- Yes; I was informed the patient died on the Monday; his wounds did not appear to me when I saw them, provided the man had been in a good state and habit of body, to be dangerous at that time.

Mr. Garrow. You now and then have known people to recover after a fractured skull? - Yes, and many patients die of a small puncture, the wounds altogether certainly might be dangerous.


I am a surgeon; I was called in on the evening of the accident; he was in bed; he told me he had been wounded by some men; I found he had been dressed by a surgeon; I did not think it necessary to remove the application; he said he had a wound on his shoulder; I desired to see it, and on his putting his arm out of bed, and turning down the bed clothes, I saw him laying in a bath of blood; I thought it necessary to remove the bandage from his shoulder where the wound was, and the blood vessels were bleeding very freely; the blood was stopped, and I understood the next morning, he was composed and quiet; I visited him and found him very languid from the loss of blood; very little symptom of a fever, if any; on the next day, being Saturday, I found him very feverish; he had had a very restless night; somewhat delirious in the night, and had torn off the bandages, and appeared exceedingly hurried in his spirits, and terrified, in agitation, and pertubation of mind; on that evening he became quite delirious, so that it was necessary to have a guard over him; on Saturday I found his fever had increased; he then was in a state of spasm, and continued so all that day till the evening, delirious at intervals; a messenger came to me on Sunday evening at nine, informing me that four men could not hold him; I ordered them to get a strait jacket and take care of him; a strait jacket was sent for from our work-house, and with great difficulty put on; on Monday I called to see him, he then was in a state of stupor, a torpid state, snoring; I forewarned them of his danger; and he died in half an hour; I did all I could for him.

As a professional man, is it your opinion that the wounds occasioned his death? - There is not a doubt; there cannot be a doubt.


My Lord, on Sunday morning Mr. Freeman came in to ask for a girl; I was then up stairs; in the evening they apprehended me, and said it was no matter what I was taken up for, I should know by and by; he put me in the round-house; on the Monday morning, he took me up, and three more that were in the room, where Mr. Hunt sat, and another gentleman in company; they had a bowl of liquor; they drank one to another; they told me to sit down, and took no notice of me; then Freeman and these three came in, and talked to Hunt, not concerning me; at last Mr. Freeman called Hunt out of doors; then he came by himself in again, and sat down, and leaned his hand under his jaw, and turned about and looked at me serious; then Freeman came in, and asked him if he knew any body here; yes, says he, I think I know this man, meaning me; says Freeman, that will not do; oh, says he, I am pretty sure I know him; then says Freeman, if you are sure come along; when we came before the magistrate, Mr. Hunt said I had his pocket-book, but he could not be sure; he said, he had it twenty minutes, or a quarter of an hour before; he said, he supposed that I conveyed his pocket-book behind me; he walked on, he said little; he took no notice of any body else at the corner of Smart's-buildings; then he said, that I said there was a Magistrate, and that he struck at me with a stick, and that I rescued myself out of his hands, and he pursued me; then he said another man came up in a dark blue jacket, and pretended to assist me; the Justice asked him if it was a striped jacket; he said, he could not tell whether the stripes were upright, or athwart; he could not swear to the man; then the Justice asked him if he saw any

weapon; he said no, he observed nothing at all in my hand: upon my next examination, he came up, and the Justice asked him if he could swear to any body, or to me; he said no, he could not swear to any body at all, any further then he supposed I was the man that had my hand in his pocket; then the clerk asked him the value of the pocket-book; he said he could not say; says the clerk, was it worth twopence; says he, I think it was, but no more, for there was nothing in it that he could remember; he said he could not tell what it cost, it was so old and so long ago; he said he did not see it with me, or see me give it away; only he supposed I had given it away; upon my next examination they took up the boy Cox, and asked him if he knew any thing about it; then Beamish came in to me, and said, there now, it serves you right, Cox is gone to confess against you all, and I shall have you and several more; says I, I know nothing at all about it; says he, he is gone across the way, and he wishes all ill luck to you, and that you may be hanged; says he, if it was my case, I would not suffer death for any man, for it is in your own power to save yourself; I told him I knew nothing at all about it, and they committed me.


I have nothing to say for myself; I know nothing of the other prisoner only by sight; I am innocent.


I was taken up twice; I delivered my self up; I am innocent as a child unborn.

Court. Gentlemen of the Jury, the three prisoners at the bar stand before you, upon a charge of having wilfully murdered Duncan Robertson , on the 16th of November last; and having observed the very great patience and attention that you have bestowed on this trial, I have every comfort that I can have in such a case as this; because I am sure, that any defect of mine will be supplied by you.

(Here the learned Judge summed up the evidence, and then added:)

Gentlemen, as to the examination, it was very difficult to prevent its being read after all that you heard opened about it; but I have only this to say to you, that you are to take the whole of a confession together, if you believe it to be true; you are not bound to give credit to what you do not believe, but as much of it as you can believe you will; as far as it affects the other two prisoners, you are bound to give it no credit; you cannot give any credit to any part of this confession, that goes to affect either Walker or Cox; because a man is not at liberty to swear himself off, by swearing against any other prisoner, and thereby to shift the guilt off his shoulders to theirs: One cannot help making this observation upon the confession itself, that if you believe the witnesses you have heard, this confession cannot be true as far as it regards Payne, for the witnesses have made him as principal an actor in the scuffle as Walker; whereas he gives the coolest and quietest account of his own behaviour, as if he was a perfectly indifferent spectator; as if he happened to see them; as if he hardly knew them; he calls them,

"one man

"that goes by the name of Cox, another

"that goes by the name of Mich;" that he lamented very much what Walker did, and interceded with him not to go so far, and as much as he could, he was a meritorious man, instead of a guilty man; but in that part of his confession, where he speaks of Michael Walker having cut him with this knife, that is evidence against Walker, although a charge against Walker; because the publican tells you, that at his house, he there publicly shewed the wound he had received from Michael Walker with the knife, and Walker did not disown it; and it is also evidence against Cox in this respect, that Cox brought up a pocket-book to the lodgings of Walker, where it was burnt, after Walker had examined it, and seen a duplicate in it; and you recollect this examination was read over to Cox by the Magistrate, and he then did, before the Magistrate, confess,

that as far as it regarded him, it was perfectly true; therefore that fact being allowed of, and confirmed by Cox himself, is evidence against him, but further than that, any thing that was done by Walker against the deceased, as striking with a knife, or any thing of that sort, is no evidence at all against him respecting that fact. Gentlemen, we have now got to the end of this very melancholy story; and I have but a very few words to say to you, because I conceive the law upon this case to be as clear as possible: the law upon this case I take to be this; that wherever two or three people or more set out together to commit an illegal act; where they go with a purpose of committing such a felony as you have heard of, or any other felony, picking pockets being one as you know; and in consequence of that act, death ensues; they are all chargeable for that death. It is not at all necessary, Gentlemen, that they should have struck the blow, one of them striking the blow communicates the guilt to the rest; it is as little necessary that they should have set out, or that they should have had in their minds any sort of idea of committing murder before they came home, it is not necessary that they should have had that in their thoughts; but if they went out for the purpose of committing a felony, which is such an offence as they must naturally suppose, and the law will always presume, might tend to mischief, they must be answerable for the mischief; for the law will presume, that when they come for the purpose of committing this act, they came also for the purpose of carrying it into execution. That, Gentlemen, I take to be the law on the subject; and I am very happy to have those by me, who will correct me if I am wrong; if that be so, then consider how the facts appear against the prisoners at the bar. They are all found on the morning of this accident drinking in a public house, where they continued an hour together; in the evening, when the accident did happen, Payne and Walker are seen at the moment that the pocket of Mr. Hunt was picked, and one was seen in the act of passing what was taken out of Hunt's pocket into the hands of the other; when they had gone about two or three hundred yards, the person who had picked the pocket endeavours to rescue himself, and he struck at the gentleman who secured him; a scuffle ensued between them; the other person, who had been seen to receive something from that person, immediately comes up to his assistance, and attacks Hunt; puts himself in a posture of assault; the scuffle lasted a considerable time, till it terminated in the unfortunate way you have heard. The boy is not spoke to during that part of the transaction, otherwise than by Hunt, who says he saw a boy, but who he cannot swear to, busy about the two prisoners; but the pawnbroker says the first person he saw run down the buildings was Payne, instantly after him the boy, and directly after, Walker; so that as near as could be, to the time of the accident happening, those three are seen together; (for he knew them all, having been in his shop more than once); they are all three together again the next morning before it was known how fatal the effect was; and added to this, you have it in proof, that Michael Walker , who was the person in all probability that gave these death wounds to this unfortunate man; he was found with a knife upon him; you have it in proof, that the next morning Payne did not charge him in anger; by his account, he charged him with having given him a desperate cut on the finger, which Walker did not deny; and when the boy had his examination read over to him by the Justice, that they were very careful in warning him not to say any thing that might affect himself; you find him confessing, that he received the pocket book from one or the other, but which he cannot tell, and that he carried it to Walker's lodging; and that in the pocket book was found a duplicate; and that is confirmed by Hunt, who says, there was a duplicate in the pocket book. Now if all these three things, taken together, satisfy your minds that these three people were in concord together to pick a gentleman's pocket, that they came out together, or met together,for the purpose of picking any pocket, the law will then presume that they did intend to go through with the business; and that if they made resistance, it was their purpose to succeed, if they could; and though in charity one would presume it, neither of them saw the least probability when they set out, that murder would be the consequence; yet if murder was committed by either of them, they are all three equally guilty together; but if they were not together for the purpose of committing a felony; if they met accidentally, if they had not the least idea what one was to do, or how each was to assist the other; if it was mere matter of chance that they were together; in that event the law will not impute to more than one, the crime of murder; but if you believe that they were all there for the purpose; that one was assisting in securing it, and passing it from hand to hand; the law will then impute to them all the murder of this unfortunate man.


GUILTY, on the Coroner's Inquisition.

Proclamation being made, the Recorder proceeded to pass sentence as follows.

Prisoners. You have been convicted of the crime of wilful murder, a crime perhaps of all others, the most agravated that human nature can commit; the laws of God have concurred with those of all civilized countries, in declaring, that whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: of this most enormous crime you have been convicted upon the clearest and most satisfactory evidence that can appear in a Court of Justice: associating together for the most nefarious purposes of plunder and of mischief; you have gone forth like wild beasts, to prey upon the innocent and unoffending, determined to wade through blood, if necessary for the accomplishment of your purpose. You have, incited by no other provocation, than the lawful and meritorious defence made by the parties for the preservation of their own properties, proceeded with the utmost cruelty with a dangerous weapon to mangle and wound the unfortunate deceased; his death has been the consequence of those wounds, and that death has compleated your crime; and there is one circumstance which peculiarly aggravates the enormity of your guilt, for after the completion of such a crime, instead of being struck with awe at the crime you had committed, you are found in the most flagitious manner, huzzaing and glorying in your crime, and bidding defiance to the laws of your country. Under circumstances such as these, you can expect no mercy from those who are intrusted with the execution of the law; the execution of your sentence must be certain and inevitable: happy will it be for you, if the wretched situation in which you now stand, should work a change upon your hardened and obdurate hearts! I pray God, that that effect may be produced; and it only remains for me to discharge my duty, by pronouncing on you the dreadful sentence of the law, which is, that you Michael Walker , Richard Payne and John Cox , and each of you, be taken from hence to the place from whence you came, and from thence, on Monday next, to the place of execution, there to be hanged by the necks until you are dead, and your bodies to be afterwards dissected and anatomised according to the statute; and the Lord have mercy upon your sinful souls.

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

View as XML