Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 31 January 2023), May 1732, trial of John Waller (t17320525-69).

John Waller, Miscellaneous > perverting justice, 25th May 1732.

89. John Waller was indicted for endeavouring to defraud John Edlin of his good Name, his Life, his Goods, and Chattels, by making before Mr. Justice Gifford, on the 28th of January last, a false Information in Writing, by the Name of John Trevor , charging the said Edlin and another Person with assaulting him the said Waller on the Highway, near Colney in Hertfordshire, putting him in Fear, and taking from him 4 Portugal Pieces, 5 Ducats, 2 Guineas, and a Piece of Mechlin Lace , October 18. 1731 .

Robert Hinton , Constable. The Prisoner by the Name of Trever, charged me with John Edlin . I took Edlin before Capt. Gifford, and the Prisoner there made his Information, which when drawn up in Writing, was read over to him, and he sign'd it (with a Mark) and entred into Recognizance to prosecute.

Justice Gifford. The Prisoner, by the Name of Trevor, charged John Edlin, and another, who was then in Newgate, with robbing him on the Highway between Coney and St. Albans. I thought that Edlin had an honester Look than the Prisoner, and that I had seen the Prisoner before, but I could not recollect who he was. I sent to enquire after the Prisoner's Character, and was told that he was an honest Man, and then I committed Edlin to Newgate. After this the Prisoner came to me again, and told me, that I had made a Mistake in committing Edlin on the Information of Trevor, it should have been on the Information of Waller, says he, for my Name is Waller, and therefore must beg you to alter it. O, is it you Mr. Waller? says I; I thought I had seen your Face before. Had I known your Name when you made this Information, I had turned you out of Doors, as I did Five Years ago, when you swore against two Street Robbers; but since it is so, I shall take a Note of it. And then I made a Memorandum on the side of the Information, That at the time this Information was taken, the Informant said his Name was Trevor (not Waller.) The Information was afterwards sent down to the Assizes at Hertford, where Edlin was to be try'd.

The Information of John Trevor , taken on Oath before Richard Gifford , Esq; one of His Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the County of Middlesex. Jan. 28. 1731.

He faith, That on Thursday, October 28. as he was coming to London with Henry Smith , from Leddon Boswell's, he was assaulted on the King's Highway, near Colney in Hertfordshire, about Five in the Evening, by three Men on Foot. Uriah Davis *, who is now in Newgate for stealing Cows, John Edlin , and another.

* See the Trial of Uriah Davis and John Edlin . Sessions Paper, Numb. 3. Page 92.

That they took him into a Gravel Pit near the Road, that John Edlin holding up a Stick, said, G - d Damn you, I want to borrow some Money; and then they knock'd him down, and took from him four Portugal Pieces, five Ducats, two Guineas, and a Piece of Mechlin Lace, value 5 l.

James Robinson . I was before Capt. Gifford, when the Prisoner gave his Information by the Name of Trevor. The Justice was cautions of sending Edlin to Newgate, 'till enquiry was made of the Prisoner's Character. Upon this the Prisoner took me, and one of Edlin's Friends with him, to the Crown in Aldersgate-street; says I, to the Man of the House, Do you know this Man? pointing to the Prisoner, but not naming him, I know no harm of him, says the Man, but I have liv'd here but 10 Weeks. From thence the Prisoner took us to a Man in a little Court in the Old-Baily. I ask'd him the same Question, and he told me, He had known the Prisoner these 12 Years, and knew no harm of him. We return'd to the Justice's, I witness'd the Information, and saw the Prisoner set his Mark to it. I took a Memorandum of the Name in the Information, and the Day of the Month, and went to Hertford Affizes. The Prisoner preferr'd the Bill before the Grand Jury there, by the Name of Waller. I told 'em the Case, and they sent for the Information out of Court to examine it.

Mr. Scrivener. I being Clerk and Cryer on the Home Circuit, it was my Post to swear the Witnesses that go before the Grand Jury. This Bill was brought to me by the Prisoner, and Henry Smith and James Robinson , the other Witnesses, whose Names are Indors'd on it, came with him. I swore him by the Name of John Waller , according to the Indorsement; the Bill was found, Billa Vera. Edlin and Davis were brought to their Trial. The Prisoner and his 2 Witnesses were call'd, I believe, 40 times, but none of 'em appear'd. Edlin and Davis were acquitted, and the Recognizance of the Prisoner and his Witnesses were Estreated.

Prisoner. Mr. Robinson said to me, The Court will not break up to Night, and we may as well go to Bed.

Mr. Robinson. No, it was the Prisoner that said so to me.

Mr. Scrivener. They were call'd till after a 11 at Night. The Court fate till 3 or 4 in the Morning to finish, that so they might be time enough at the next Assizes, on that Circuit.

Court. Who proves this Bill?

Nathaniel Nott . I am Clerk to Mr. Mitchel, Clerk of the Assizes at Hertford. This is the File of the Indictments of the last Circuit at Hertford, and this is the Bill against Uriab Davis and John Edlin , for robbing the Prisoner. Court. Who indors'd the Names? Mr. Nott. The Clerk of the Indictment. Court. Was the Indictment read to them in English, before they were sworn to give Evidence?

Mr. Nott. Yes.

[Then the Bill was read in Court.]

Court. Set up John Edlin. Was you near Coney-Hatch in Hertsordshire, on the 28th of October last, about 5 in the Evening? Edlin. No; I was in Albermarle-Mense, at the Bottom of Dover-street, as you go to May-Fair. I live with a Horse Courser there. Court. And you was not in Company with any Person, who took Money or Lace from the Prisoner at that time?

Edlin. No. Court. And you never was guilty of any such Crime? Edlin. No. Prisoner. He was charg'd with stealing Cows in Feb. Sessions. Edlin. But I was accused wrongfully, and therefore was acquitted. I lost 3 of my Toes lying in Jail.

Court. James Cullimore . Where was Edlin on the 28th of Oct. at 5 in the Evening? Cullimore. In the Yard, at Albermarle-Mense. I was out of Business at the same Time, and lay with him at Night. Court. By what particular Token do you remember the Time. Cullimore. It was the Day before my Lord-Mayor's Day; and we supp'd together at Hdy-Hill, the Bottom of Dover-street ; Edlin had a good Character.

Tho Sellers . I was with Edlin in Swan-Yard, at the end of Dover-street, on the 28th of Oct. Five a Clock in the Evening is the Time we do our Horses.

Daniel Bolton . I am Under-Clerk of the Assizes on the Norfolk Circuit. The Prisoner having ill Success at Hertford, came to Cambridge, on the Tuesday following, and gave me an Information against 2 Men for robbing him, and they were both capitally Convicted. The Country was not satisfy'd, and there were Suspicious that the Prisoner was a Rogue. Baron Cummins order'd me to enquire into his Character. I enquir'd of a Gentleman at Thetford ; Waller, says he, Why, he's the vilest Fellow living; He makes a Trade of swearing away Mens Lives for the Sake of the Reward, granted for convicting Robbers. This Gentleman gave me Direction to write to a Gentleman, for a Description and Character of the Prisoner. I wrote, and receiv'd an Answer at Bury. The Answer describ'd him exactly, and by good Fortune it came just time enough to prevent the Execution of the 2 Men. The Prisoner pretended in his Evidence against these 2 Men, That he call'd at the George at New-Market, and that one of them came and begg'd of him; that he gave him 6d. then, and afterwards treated him in the Road, they both travelling the same Way; but at Botsom's-Hill, this Man was so ungrateful as to assault him, and the other Man coming up at the same time, they robb'd him of 3 Jacobus's, 9 Guineas, and a Peice of Mecklin-Lace, for he pretended to be a Holland Trader, and then they strip'd him, and bound him, and there be lay till he was reliev'd by a Passenger. The Jury found him Guilty .

[Pillory. See summary.]

[Fine. See summary.]

[Imprisonment. See summary.]

[Provide sureties for good behaviour. See summary.]