Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 11 December 2023), September 1772, trial of ROBERT CROOK CHARLES GIBSON (t17720909-18).

ROBERT CROOK, CHARLES GIBSON, Sexual Offences > sodomy, 9th September 1772.

622. (2 d. M.) ROBERT CROOK and CHARLES GIBSON were indicted, the first for feloniously making an assault on Charles Gibson , and against the order of nature, carnally did know the said Charles Gibson , and with the said Charles Gibson did commit and perpetrate that detestable and abominable vice not to be named amongst Christians, called Buggery; and Charles Gibson for that he at the time of committing the felony, aforesaid feloniously and wickedly was consenting to, and did permit him, the said Robert Crook the said felony and buggery to commit against the Statute, &c . September 3 . *

John Brittles . I am a Dye-sinker, Engraver and Button-maker; the prisoner ( Robert Crook ) is a shopmate of mine; we work for Mr. Bowyer. Crook and I lay together for fourteen months; when he came home at night on the 3d of September, he told me some man had been treating him with six pints of beer, in order to make him drunk.

Q. Did he say who the man was?

Brittles. No; and when he was drinking then he asked him to go out into the back yard; that he went out to make water, and the man followed him, put his hand in his breeches, and pulled out his y - d, and said it was a very good one, and he liked it very well; and so he pushed onward to the vault; that after he came there he worked his y - d till he made it f - d in his hand; that afterwards he pushed him down upon the seat, sit upon him, laid hold of his y - d, and pushed it into his b - e. I asked him if he perpetrated the fact; he said no he did not in the least.

Q. Did he say whether he entered his body or not?

Brittles. He said the man put it in, and jostled up and down; but he could do nothing at all because he had f - t before.

Q. Did he or not say whether he entered his body?

Brittles. I cannot be sure of that; I asked him if he knew what he was doing of; he said no he did not, for he was almost drunk; I told him that it was a bad affair, and if he was taken up he must be tried in a court of Justice; he said, the man ( Charles Gibson ) was to come down again as the next day; he came on Sunday night, and he saw him again and said he would have him taken up directly; he said before he would have him taken up as soon as ever he saw him; accordingly he went up to the watch-house, and acquainted the people of the watch-house of it; when they came they were both sitting in a box together drinking behind the bar, at the Red Lion, Moorfields; he said he went down into the yard another time, and the man followed him, but he gave him the slip; I asked him why he did not cry out, he said he was afraid.

Cross Examination.

Q. How old is Crook?

Brittles. Nineteen.

Q. From your account of the matter, Crook's confession to you purported, that he had been forced by Gibson?

Brittles. Yes.

Q. And that he was much in liquor at the time, and that it was against his inclination?

Brittles. Yes; he made him drink on purpose, I believe.

Q. I think, Crook, when he told you the story, proposed going before a Justice of the peace, did he, or did you propose it to him?

Brittles. After I told him it was a very bad affair, he took on and cried himself to sleep, and declared he would have him taken up. He went up to the watchman in order to have him taken up. Gibson was at that time at the Red Lion; they were both taken up together.

Q. Did Crook make any complaint before the Justice against Gibson?

Brittles. Yes; the same I have mentioned.

Q. He meant to prosecute Gibson?

Brittles. Yes; he told the story to Mr. Wilmot.

Q. Did he swear to it?

Brittles. I cannot tell; he said Gibson afterwards wanted to perpetrate the fact upon him, and he would not let him.

Council. The commitment is upon oath of Robert Crook for assaulting him and attempting to commit upon his body the detestable sin of sodomy; then the said Robert Crook is committed by the same Justice upon his own confession.

John Lee , a shop-mate of Crook's, deposed,

"that he lay in the same room as Brittle and

"Crook, and that he heard Crook give the

"same account to Brittles, as Brittles had deposed.

"On his cross-examination, he said Crook

"told Brittles that Gibson drew a pen-knife on

"him, and that he submitted to him by compulsion."

James Mills . I am a watchman in Moorfields; on Sunday the 6th instant Robert Crook and John Lee came and called me out of the watch-house; the story Crook told was as follows; that Gibson came on Thursday night to the Red Lion; that he had drank his pint of beer, and was going out; that Gibson would have him drink with him; that he went out to make water, and Gibson followed him, and said he wanted to speak with him; and when they came down to the vault Gibson said, did not you know Dick that lived at this house? he had a fine t - J, almost as big as my wrist; you are just such a lad as he was, let's see if your's is as big as his; that then he put his hand into his breeches, and got hold of his y - d; that then he worked his y - d till he s - t in his hand; that he kept chasing of him till he made the blood come from his y - d, and then he put Crook's y - d in his b - e twice or three times, I am not sure which; I told him to go to the Red-Lion, and I would follow him; when I went to the Red Lion, I saw Crook and Gibson in a box together drinking a pint of beer together; I went for Mr. Dennis; then Lee called Crook out; he had not been out long before Gibson followed him; Gibson came in again and sat down at the table; then we secured him.

On his cross-examination, he said,


"Crook came to him in order to have Gibson

"secured; that Crook said he was forced by

"Gibson; and that he believed Crook's drinking

"with Gibson at the Red Lion, was merely

"as a signal to point the man out to them."

James Dennis . I am headborough; last Sunday was a week, at 10 o'Clock at night, I was sent for to the Red Lion; I saw Gibson and Crook drinking together; I saw Gibson take hold of Crook's hand, and put his head across his face, and I believe he kissed him; he put his face close to him; they sat in a darkish place; I could not see clearly; and he said come my dear, my love to you, and drank to him; Crook was called out of the door, I believe, by Mills the watchman; I followed him; Crook said, Mr. Dennis, I have something particular to say to you; I will tell you the whole affair, that man that was drinking with me is a buggerer; he forced me to bugger him twice last Thursday night; he came here, sat down, and asked me to drink with him, and he began to talk to me about men's things, that such an one had a large thing, and another had a large thing; at last he said what sort of a thing do you think that woman would require (speaking of a person in the house); at that time, says he, I went into the yard to make water, he came into the yard while I was making water, took hold of my y - d, and begun to work it with his hand; he then asked me to go down to the vault with him, which I did; he pushed me back upon the vault, and worked me in the same manner on the seat of the vault till I did it in his hand; after that he kissed me very heartily; then Gibson unbuttoned his own breeches, put my hand to his p - e parts, and kept tickling me about ten minutes; then he said now it will do; he then turned round, and put his naked breech into my lap, and put his hand behind him, and put my y - d in his body. I asked him what he thought of himself, he said Gibson forced him to do it; I said don't tell me of forcing of you, do you think any body could have forced me to do so? I would have knocked his brains out; why did you not cry out for assistance?

Q. Did he give any reason why he did not call out for assistance?

Dennis. No; I took them both into custody, when he came to the watch-house, he told me further, that he went out a second time, about an hour after the first time; after they had drank two or three pints of beer, Gibson asked him to go out to the vault again, and that then he put it into him again, but said he could do nothing; that he tickled him, and acted all that beastly stuff over again. I asked him particularly, Did you enter his body? he said he did.

On his cross-examination, he said,

"that Crook

"had, previous to telling him this, communicated

"his intention of having Gibson taken up,

"and that he gave him charge of Gibson."

William Toovey . I was officer for the night; Mr. Dennis, the beadle, sent for me to the watch-house about half an hour after ten, to take charge of the prisoners; I found the watch-house full of people; there were two shirts brought there; Crook was giving an account of what had passed between him and Gibson; he said Gibson forced him to do what has been related before; he said when he was upon the vault, Gibson placed himself upon him, and worked himself up and down till he hurt him very much in his body; that he made a second attempt; that Gibson tried it then, and it would not do; then he kissed it, and rubbed it; (this declaration was made before a great number of people); I went out of the watch-house then; when I came in again I said that he should take Crook to another watch-house in our liberty, and I took care of Gibson. When we took them before Justice Wilmot, Crook told there how Gibson had used him; Mr. Wilmot said he looked upon them both alike guilty, and committed them both: there was a shirt produced there that was bloody; I am informed it has been washed since; he acknowledged both in the watch-house, and before the Justice, that he entered Gibson's body.

John Gray . Crook was brought to our watch-house, in Swan-yard, on Monday morning, by Dennis; Crook said that on the 3d of September he left off work in the evening, about seven o'clock; went to the Red Lion in Moorfields, to drink a pint of beer; that just as he had drunk the beer, Gibson came in and sat down by him; that Gibson asked him to drink with him; that when he called for another pint, he asked him if he knew Dick that had lived there; said he, he had a fine - fit to do Mrs. - ; he said after that, he went out at the door to make water, and Gibson followed him, and said, what sort of a c - k have you got? Dick was just such another slim young man as you; let me teel it; which he did; he said it was not so big as his; that then he took him down to the vault, forced him down on the seat, onbuttoned his breeches, then worked him till he made it come, and then sucked it; that he worked it again sometime; that then he pressed him very close, called him his dear, hugged him and squeezed him and sat down, put his hand behind him, and put it into his b - e, and worked up and down till he hurt him vastly, and he believed made him bleed. I asked him if he was in his body; he said he was; that then they went into the house, and sat down, and drank two or three pints of beer; that the y staid in the house about an hour; that then he (Crook) said he wanted to go to the necessary, and he went down, and Gibson came to him when he had been there about a minute, and used him twice as he had done before; that then he said now let me enter you, and unbuttoned his breeches; but he said he catched hold of the door, and gave a spring up, said he should not, and ran from him.

Cross Examination.

Q. Who carries on this prosecution?

Toovey. Our parish.

Crook's Defence.

I have nothing to say but what they have said.

Gibson's Defence.

This man forced his discourse to me by producing four or five rings, and a breast buckle, and wanted me to buy them. I was in liquor; I lost a silk handkerchief and a penknife out of my pocket; I did not suspect that he had it, till he acknowledged before the justice that he had borrowed it to pick a marrow bone with. If I was guilty of it, how came he not to secure me in the public house, when so many people were there. I staid till the house was shut up; I went out and wished him a good night; I went again last Sunday was a week to know if he had got these rings finished, for they were in the rough when he had shewed them me before; he told me then that they were metal only, to be cast, and he was a button maker; I said there was no harm, and shook hands with him; he went out with that young man to make this declaration to the constable. If I had been guilty of any such act I should have suspected them, and have gone about my business; instead of that I called for a fresh pint, and waited for his coming. I went to the door and saw these men talking together; I knowing no harm, came in and sat down by the bar; up came one of the men, and said you are my prisoner; I asked him for what; and told him he mistook. I went to the watch-house, and then heard this man say what he did, but not so black as before the justice; he sent home for his shirt; it was all soul in the skirt; he said that was not it; he sent home for another; when that came it was in the same condition; somebody asked him whether he had been buggering somebody in the other shirt at the bean feast, which he said he had been to; he said, no, the necessary was soul, and he had fouled himself in that manner.

Crook called John Brittles , who had been his bedfellow for fourteen months, who deposed that he never had reason to suspect him addicted to any thing of the sort. His master Mr. Bowyer, for whom he had worked fourteen months; Richard Coope , who had known him thirteen or fourteen years; Thomas Lowe about fourteen months; Thomas Povey about twelve months; John Cardwell about twelve months, and Peter Osborn three months, who all gave him the character of a very sober, honest youth.

Gibson did not call any witnesses.

Both acquitted .