Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 18 February 2019), June 1731, trial of Thomas Martin Elizabeth Corner (t17310602-35).

Thomas Martin, Elizabeth Corner, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 2nd June 1731.

Thomas Martin and Elizabeth Corner , of St. Ann's , were indicted for assaulting William Catesby , in a certain Field, and open Place, near the King's Highway, putting him in fear of his Life, and taking from him 40 Guineas and 24 s. in Money , the 8th of May last.

The Prosecutor depos'd, That the Day mentioned in the Indictment, about half an Hour past 2 a Clock in the Afternoon, he was going in Stepney-Fields , and was there assaulted by the Prisoners, and us'd in a very barbarous manner, and lost forty Guineas and twenty-four Shillings in Silver; that the Prisoner Martin came behind him and threw up his Heels, and beat him in a very violent and barbarous manner, and he was very bloody, and that he lost his Money at the said time, and his Pocket was torn and turned, and he found but 28 Guineas, which with the 10 Guineas make 38, so that he lost 40 Guineas, and that both the Man and the Woman were upon him, that there being two Men coming cross the Field, they came and apprehended the Prisoner in the Fact, and that ten Guineas and a Halfpenny were picked up off the Ground in a Cow-Turd, and a Knife.

He being ask'd, at the Desire of the Prisoner, whether he did not give him abusive Language, and give him the first Blow? He reply'd, That he did not say any thing to him, nor strike him, nor give him any Occasion to use him so barbarously. The Prosecutor also being ask'd, if any of his Money was found upon either of the Prisoners? He reply'd, no; that they were not search'd till two Hours after, and there were 500 People got together about them.

Susanna Thorn depos'd, That she was in the Field about 12 or 14 Yards from the Prosecutor and Prisoners, and she saw the Prisoners follow the Prosecutor , who was a little before, and strike up his Heels, and the Woman came upon him, and then 3 Men came up and seized the Prisoner , and the Prosecutor said he had received 80 Guineas, and 10 Guineas were found upon the Ground. This Evidence being ask'd, if she heard any provoking Language given the Prisoners by the Prosecutor, or saw any Blow given by him? she reply'd, she did not .

Robert Bridgman depos'd, That he having been at Blackwall , was coming back, and being in the Field, he saw the People all together in a Heap, and thought they had been a Parcel of Boys, and the Woman started up, and she fell a pulling the Prisoner Martin off the Prosecutor, and that the Prosecutor got up and cry'd, what, no Assistance? For Christ's sake help me; see how I am beat, how I am robb'd, that he saw Money lying on the Ground, and the Prosecutor would not take it up, but told him, this Evidence, that if he would take it up, he would bear him harmless ; that he took up ten Guineas and a Halfpenny, which he delivered before Justice Priestly , and there the Prosecutor clear'd him of his Charge; that the Prisoner went voluntarily along with the Prosecutor, and did not resist at all.

James Hargrave depos'd, That he having been down at Blackwall was coming back with Robert Bridgman , and coming into the Field, saw a Heap of People together, and thought it had been some Boys a Fighting, and said, let them fight it out. That the Woman got up before they came to the Prisoner, that when they came near, the Prosecutor cry'd, help, help, will you see a Man robb'd and murther'd too; that they parted them, that they should not struggle any longer; that when the Prisoner would have gone away, the Prosecutor said, don't let him go, I had Money about me, perhaps I have lost some of it, that there was 10 Guineas and a Half-penny found upon the Ground, and Robert Bridgman took it up.

Wright Burdet depos'd, That he was with the Prosecutor the Day before at Cupid's Gardens , where he receiv'd 77 l. 9 s. of one Mr. Timbrel , a Timber Merchant, that he chang'd a fifty Pound Note for the Prosecutor, and gave him the Money , that he went Home with him to his House in Convent-Garden, and lay there that Night, and went Home the next Morning.

The Prisoner in his Defence pleaded, That he had been at Blackwall with Elizabeth Corner, and coming back they sat down to rest themselves on a Bank, and the Prosecutor came up to them, and abus'd them in a gross manner, and took hold of Elizabeth Corner's Ridinghood, and would not let her go; that he bidding him let her alone, the Prosecutor hit him a slap on the Face, and so they fell a fighting, but he knew nothing of his Money, th at he offered to be search'd, pull'd out his Pocket, and went voluntarily with him before a Magistrate.

Ann Baker depos'd, That she was going along the Field about three of the Clock, and she saw the Prisoners sitting about four Yards from the Foot Path, and a Gentleman pass'd by them and they never offered to meddle with him, or say any thing to him; that she had known Thomas Martin from a Child, and had known no Harm by him.

Richard Ayres depos'd, He had known Thomas Martin for six or seven Years, failed with him, and was drinking with him the 8th of May last at Blackwall , till about two of the Clock; that he told him, this Evidence, that he was going to Norway , and that he accounted him as honest a young Man as any in the Parish.

Isaac Gale depos'd, That he was in the Field, and saw the Prisoner and Prosecutor both engag'd together, and the Woman standing by them; that the Prosecutor said, Gentlemen, see how I am abus'd, and said he had lost Money, and Robert Bridgman took it up. That the Prisoner would have gone Home, but the Prosecutor said he should not; but the Prisoner refus'd to be led, but said he would go voluntarily with him before a Justice, and at Stepney pulled out his Pocket and offered to be search'd; that the Prosecutor did not charge the Prisoner with a Robbery or Felony, nor did Elizabeth Corner strike the Prosecutor.

Andrew Seymour depos'd, That he being a Constable, the Prisoner and Prosecutor came together to him, and desired him to go before a Justice, and he search'd Martin, and found no Money about him, and that at that time the Prosecutor did not charge him with robbing him, but only with an Assault, and a Suspicion of Robbery.

Henry Masters depos'd, That he had known Thomas Martin for ten Years, and he never knew him to wrong any Body.

Matthew Collier depos'd, That Martin had been his Apprentice, and while he was with him served him faithfully (he being a Weaver) but he leaving off his Business, the Prisoner went to Sea, and he never heard any thing amiss of him.

Thomas Field depos'd, He had known him seven or eight Years, and never knew any Harm by him.

John Ethorn depos'd, He had known him 9 or 10 Years, and had never heard any Complaint of him.

Alam Peller depos'd, That he had known him from three Years old, and that he always bore a very honest Character.

Several other Evidences depos'd to the like Purpose.

John Bringhurst depos'd, That the Prisoner in his hearing (not far from the Place where the Fray had been) did say several times, Search me, search me, I will go before the Justice with you.

Elizabeth Corner pleaded in her Defence, That she had been at Blackwall to carry some Things to her Son, and the Prisoner went with her to carry some of them, and that sitting down to rest them as they came back, the Prosecutor came, and said, we were going to make a Bawdy-House of his Field, saying, it was his (tho' it was not) giving them ill Language, and pulled and haled her by the Ridinghood, and struck Thomas Martin , and upon that they fell to fighting, but she knew nothing of the Prosecutor's Money, and was search'd and call'd Elizabeth Dowley , who depos'd, She search'd her, and found no Money about her.

Mrs. Brown likewise depos'd, That she knew Elizabeth Corner, and never knew any dishonesty by her.

It being intimated, that the Prosecutor was in Liquor; Francis Riches was call'd, who depos'd, That the Prosecutor came to his House at the Bowling-Green at Stepney about Nine of the Clock in the Forenoon, the 8th of May, and in Company of Mr. Lloyd and others, drank part of two three Shilling Bowls of Punch , and a Pot of Ale, and had a Mind to play at Bowls, and afterwards they went to the Sign of the Walnut-Tree over-against his House, and there they spent their Six-pence a-piece , and went away much about two of the Clock, or half an Hour after, and he believes that he was not drunk.

- Hargrove being ask'd as to the Condition the Prosecutor was in, he reply'd, he could not tell, whether he was drunk or sober; he might be stupified with the Blows he had receiv'd.

The Jury found them both guilty of the Indictment. Death .