Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 24 October 2021), April 1786, trial of DANIEL KEEFE (t17860426-8).

DANIEL KEEFE, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 26th April 1786.

326. DANIEL KEEFE was indicted for feloniously assaulting Henry Clyatt on the king's highway, on the 1st day of April last, and putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and feloniously taking from his person and against his will, a silver watch, value 40 s. a metal watch chain, value 18 d. and one key, value 1 d. his property .

(The witnesses examined apart.)


On Saturday the first of April, I was robbed in the back lane by St. George's turnpike , at a quarter before nine at night; I was coming out of Moorfields to my father's in Stepney causeway; the prisoner was standing up against the rails, towards the fields, and he let me go past him; he came after me, and took hold of my collar, and demanded my watch, I told him I had none, and he felt it in my fob, and he swore very bitterly, if I did not give it him, he would cut my throat; with that I took it out of my pocket, and there was somebody coming, and he saw them, and he took it out of my hand, and went gently along; I pursued him, I had a stick in my hand, and I knocked him down with my stick.

Had he any weapon? - Yes, he had a knife.

Did you see the knife? - Yes.

When did he shew the knife? - When he first demanded my money.

Was the knife open? - Yes.

What sort of a knife was it? - A clasp knife; when I knocked him down, he got up again, and made towards the rope-ground, and I kept him off with my hand from going down the rope-ground; I kept calling out murder all the time.

Did any body come to your assistance? - Yes, John Cheeseman ; we took him into custody, I said he had got my watch, and we took him to the house opposite Justice Green's, and staid there some time till the officers came to us to search, and when they came, they found the watch in his right hand breeches pocket.

Did you see it found? - Yes.

Was it your watch? - Yes.

Are you sure of that? - Yes, the name is on the dial plate.

He did not make any use of the knife, or offer you any violence with it? - No, Sir, he promised he would not.

What became of the knife, when you knocked him down? - I do not know.

Are you sure he had the knife at first? - Yes.

You did not find any knife upon him afterwards? - No.

Have you the watch? - The constable has it.

Prisoner. He talks of my having a knife, and his seeing it, it was impossible to see, this was Saturday, the first of April, it was impossible to see, I could not see my hand, and I had no knife at all.

Prosecutor. I am sure it was a knife, I saw it, I was close under the lamp.

Prisoner. There is never a lamp in that place, I am sure of that, because it is very near my place of residence.

Was it moon-light, or dark? - A very dark night.


I was in my own house, and hearing murder, I went out, and a gentleman said, he was robbed; it was in Sun-tavern-fields, Brick-lane.

Do you know a place, called Back-lane? - Yes, it is opposite to the Rope-grounds; I went out immediately, and this gentleman said, I have been robbed of my watch, and this man has got my watch, he was close to the man, but had not hold of him; I immediately caught hold of the person that had the watch; he immediately said d - n your eyes let me alone, the watch is mine; Sir, says the prosecutor, it is my watch, and in the dial plate is Henry Clyatt , my name; we secured the prisoner, the prisoner made answer, and said, d - n your eyes my name is Henry Clyatt , and let who dare touch the watch; I said, then I will take you to the magistrate; and I took him to the office; before I got him down to the publick-house he denied his name, and said his name was Daniel Keese , and said somebody had put the watch in his pocket.

Prisoner. I am afraid he is a man of very infamous character, as to any advantage he might take of me; I was a little in liquor; I never denied my name.


(The Watch produced, which the Witness took out of the Prisoner's pocket.)

This is the watch I took from the prisoner; I have had it ever since.

(Deposed to by the Prosecutor.)


My trial came very hastily upon me, I did not expect it this afternoon; nobody is here now. I had been drinking with the prosecutor, and there were some women of the town, and as we were coming out, the prosecutor gave me his watch to take care of, and I had lent him three shillings and sixpence, and he asked me for his watch, and I said I would not till he paid it; he tried to take it from me, but did not, and he tried to knock me down, but did not; and when he saw his efforts did not succeed, he sung out that I had robbed him.

Prosecutor. This is a story, and all false; I never was with him at a public house.

GUILTY , Death .

Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Mr. RECORDER.