Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 10 August 2020), September 1771, trial of RIchard Thompson John Hogans John Priestley (t17710911-75).

RIchard Thompson, John Hogans, John Priestley, Violent Theft > highway robbery, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 11th September 1771.

624, 625, 626. (M.) RIchard Thompson , John Hogans , and John Priestley were indicted, for that they on the king's highway, on Rice Price did make an assault, putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and stealing from his person an amethyst ring, set in gold, value 5 l. one silver seal, value 2 s. one iron key, value 1 d. and 8 s. in money, numbered , August 30 . +

Rice Price. I was robbed on Thursday afternoon the 30th of August, about eight o'clock, in Stepney-fields , in the high road that goes to the half way house. I had hold of Mr. Morgan's arm; before I saw the men I was struck on the breast, and fell down on my back into the rut; one fellow snapt the pistol several times at my head, another turned my pockets inside out, while I was on my back; there was taken from me a five and threepence or a half guinea, three or four shillings, and a few halfpence, and in the pocket where the five and threepence or half guinea was, I had an amothyst ring, set in gold; also a key and a silver seal, which I found afterwards.

Q. Do you know any of their persons?

Price. Yes, Thompson; he had then on a blue waistcoat; there were two more; there is one turned evidence. I have great reason to believe Hogans to be one; I have some recollection of his person and face; as to Thompson, his face was very close to mine. The next morning a poor woman, going to market, picked up my friend's keys and mine on the very spot. She sold the seal for two shillings, the weight of the silver, which I have got again. They were taken up on Sunday, and I saw them on the Tuesday following before the justice. I pitched on Thompson; I was positive to him; and the other I was almost sure of.

Thompson. He swore to another man before justice Sherwood.

Price. No; I did not swear to any one that was cleared.

Philip Morgan . I am a cabinet maker. I was along with Mr. Price on the 30th of August, in Stepney Fields; we were stopped by four fellows.

Q. Do you know any thing of either of them?

Morgan. I have great reason to believe Thompson and Hogans to be two of them; I cannot be certain as to the other. I was knocked down; there were three attacked me as I got over the stile. I believe it was Thompson, Hogans and the one that is turned evidence. After I was knocked down I could not see what they did to Mr. Price: when they were gone I got up, and saw Mr. Price flat on his back in the road. I have recovered my keys again.

Q. What time was it?

Morgan. About half after eight; between eight and nine.

- Farrel. I attended at justice Sherwood's office. I have an office in New Prison; an information came to our office last Friday was three weeks; wherein a description was given of the prisoners. There was a man in New Prison said two people came to buy pistols of him; he described one of the prisoners, who I said I believed, I knew. I went down to East Smithfield, to Parrot alley; I went into a house there, and found Thompson and Priestly sitting by a table; they had been eating, I believe. I said how are you, I have a warrant against you, on suspicion of a robbery; no, said one Smith, for shoes; he advised me to say it was not for a robbery, but for three dozen of shoes. We searched the house for pistols, but we could not find any thing; we took them to justice Sherwood's; in going along we met Phillips; he said Thomas, what is the matter; he made answer, nothing of any hurt; he followed them to Fox's lane, Shadwell; he wanted sadly to know what was the matter; he went down Fox's lane; we then went and took hold of him, and brought him with us into a p ublic house; he did not know what he was taken up for; we put them into the watch house till Monday for further examination. On the Friday, which was the last examination, when they were going to Newgate, I said to Phillips, you see the prosecutor has sworn to you; if you know any thing you had better speak of it; he said he knew nothing of any shoes, but he did of some other thing; he told us that Thompson and the other were the first that stopped Mr. Morgan; he said he had not much money; then Thompson run the pistol in his eye, and beat him over his head with it; afterwards he said that Mr. Price was attacked by Hogans, and the little one, while they had Mr. Morgan down.

Thomas Phillips . I have known the prisoners three weeks; I got acquainted with them in East Smithfield. Thompson, Hogans, Priestly, and myself went out between nine and ten at night and committed this robbery as soon as we went out; it was at Tom Turdman 's hole, near Stepney, in the fields.

Q. Does the road divide the field?

Phillips. Yes; we met two gentlemen; I and Thompson went up to the first, and told him to deliver his money, or we should take his life; one of the gentlemen made a little resistance; I and Thompson got one down on his back; Thompson struck him on the face with a pistol, and then took what money he had from him, and his pocket book, and directly when we had done with the pistol's we handed it over to Hogan, and they took some money and a ring from the other gentleman, I don't know how much.

Q. What time did you go out of that house?

Phillips. Between nine and ten at night.

Q. Are you sure it was not twelve o'clock?

Phillips. It was not eleven; it was, I believe, between nine and ten.

Q. Are you sure it was Hogans and Priestly that robbed the gentleman of the ring?

Phillips. Yes.

Q. to Price. I understood you to-say it was Thompson?

Price. Thompson was at my head, I don't know who took the money out of my pocket. Before the justice we pitched on these four; having heard of the poor woman's having the ring, we went down to Limehouse to her; on coming back we called at the justice's, to tell him of the success we had had; and before we came, they had returned; and one of them had turned evidence.

Thompson's Defence.

I never saw the prosecutor before I saw him at the justices; I never had any other cloaths on.

Thomas Brasit . I saw the two men come into our shop last week, and bought some cloaths; Thompson and Hogans; they bought two striped jackets, &c. last Saturday three weeks.

Q. What trowsers had they on?

Brasit. I cannot say; that jacket Thompson had on that I sold.

Thompson. When I came to buy this jacket, I had an old striped one, and long trowsers on; I lodged in St. Catharine's; I have no friends; I came over from Virginia; I am a Scotch-man.

Hogans's Defence.

I know nothing of this man; I never saw the prosecutor 'till I saw him before the justice; as to the evidence, I never saw him 'till I met him in Nightingale-lane; and he met me and asked me what ship; I told him; he said he had been on shore sometime, and had eat nothing; I gave him four-pence halfpenny.

Priestly's Defence.

I never saw the prosecutor before in my life 'till he came to the watch-house.

Thompson, Guilty , Death .

Hogans, Guilty , Death .

Priestly, Acquitted .

They were a second time indicted for robbing Philip Morgan , on the highway, of one leather cased pocket book, value 2 s. two iron keys, value 2 d. one penknife, value 2 d. and 1 s. in money, numbered .

"The evidence was the same as on the last tryal; Mr. Morgan swore positively to Hogan and Thompson; but was not able to swear to Priestly."

Thompson, Guilty , Death .

Hogans, Guilty , Death .

Priestly, Accquitted .