Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 08 December 2022), June 1785, trial of JOHN BURN (t17850629-68).

JOHN BURN, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 29th June 1785.

675. JOHN BURN was indicted for feloniously assaulting William Jones on the King's highway, on the 18th of June , putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and feloniously taking from his person, and against his will, one wooden cask, containing nine gallons of rum, value 4 l. the property of Elizabeth Stutfield , widow , and Charles Stutfield .

WILLIAM JONES sworn.

I am porter to Mr. Charles Stutfield and his mother Elizabeth, I was going to the New Road, Whitechapel , with nine gallons of rum, on last Saturday was se'nnight, between three and four, and five men met me, two of them took hold of my collar, and swore they were Custom-house officers, I told them I had a permit, the other three swore they were Custom-house officer, and they must have my keg and would have it, and I told them they should not, with that the two shoved it off my head, it staved directly, and liquor came out; I pursued after the prisoner and took him, and I went after the keg and took it up; they staved out the head clean, and all the liquor was lost; the rest of the men got off.

Was nobody going by at that time? - There were very few nigh me; the prisoner ran away, and I pursued after him, and he came with his double fist, and said, you take me, I said yes, I will have you, and one of the neighbours assisted me.

CHARLES STUTFIELD sworn.

On Saturday the 9th of last month I sent our porter William Jones with nine gallons of rum, to Mr. David Davis , of Whitechapel, with a bill and permit.

PRISONER's DEFENCE.

Coming along Whitechapel, I met Jones, and there were four more men walking along, I passed by them, and I heard one say to the other, I do not like that man, I believe he has smuggled liquor, I turned round and saw the four men make up to him, and I went up and spoke to him, and asked him what was the matter; they said it was smuggled liquor, then I was going away, and the liquor flew off his head, he called stop thief after me, and I said for what, he said I threw it off his head .

Jones. I take my oath that the prisoner is the man that took me by the collar, I saw them at a distance laughing and all playing the rogue together, this man was along with the other four, they were all in one company, they all came up to me together; the prisoner took me by the collar, and said, he and another in a blue coat were custom-house officers.

GUILTY , Death .

Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Mr. Justice BULLER.