Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 20 February 2019), February 1788, trial of MARTHA CUTLER SARAH COWDEN SARAH STORER (t17880227-25).

MARTHA CUTLER, SARAH COWDEN, SARAH STORER, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 27th February 1788.

178. MARTHA CUTLER , SARAH COWDEN , and SARAH STORER were indicted, for that they, on the 9th of February , in the king's highway, in and upon Henry Solomons , did make an assault, putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and taking from his person, a man's hat, value 10 s. the property of the said Henry .

A second Count, for that they, in a certain dwelling-house, did make an assault, putting him in corporal for and danger of his life, and taking from his person, fourteen guineas, and 10 s. in monies numbered, the property of the said Henry.

(The indictment was opened by Mr. Knowlys.)

(The witnesses were examined apart at the request of the prisoners.


I am a glass-manufacturer ; I live in Horse-shoe-alley, Whitechapel; on Saturday, the 9th of February, about 10 o'clock in the evening, I was going to my barber's to be shaved, opposite Gun-alley ; as I was going into the shop, a fellow called me by my name; I crossed the way to him; he went up the court and I followed him; there were three or four women at the end of the court, the prisoner Storer was one, she called me by my name, Solomons; she took off my hat, and ran in doors with it; I said, I wish you would let us have none of that sun, let me go about my business; then there were two or three of them, Cowden was one of them, I cannot swear to the others; they made very bad expressions, which I would not chuse to mention, and bid me go in and fetch my hat, and they immediately came round me and pushed me into the passage; Storer was in the parlour, and said, here is the hat, come in; upon that, I went in; Cowden and Cutler immediately followed me in, they were in as soon as I; all three of them together threw me down upon the bed; it was a small room that would not hold above five or six when the bed was let down; Cowden laid upon me; Storer held my mouth fast; Cutlerstood with her back against the door; Cowden took out of my pocket fourteen guineas and some silver, which was more than ten shillings, but I will not be positive to a shilling or two; I had received the money about an hour and a half before; Storer took it from Cowden and gave it to Cutler, and she ran out with it; Cowden gave me my hat, and said, I might go about my business; I said to myself,

"by G - d I have lost all my money;" I met Benjamin Ealing at the end of the court; I told him to call the watchman, and he did.

Where were the other two women? - In the house, but I did not see Cutler till about half an hour afterwards; she was brought back by the patrol to the watch-house.

When you came out of the house, did you see the watchman? - Yes; I told him all my money had been taken away from me, and he went into the house, and took Storer and Cowden; when Storer was taken, she was going to strike me; the watchman was present; they were carried before the magistrate, and committed.

You are sure the prisoners are the same persons? - Yes; I am very sure of it.

Upon your oath, had you gone at all into the house at all willingly with these women for any purpose whatever, or was it against your will? - No, I did not go willingly, nor for any purpose of that kind.

Prisoner Storer. Did you see me that evening before you saw me in the house? - Yes; I saw her in the court.

Prisoner Cutler. There was no barber's shop near the place? - Yes; I have been shaved in that shop these eight years.


I live at No. 3, Gun-court; on Saturday, the 9th of February, about a quarter after ten at night, I was coming home with my wife from market; as we were coming into the court, I heard a noise at No. 1, where the prisoners lived; I peeped into the room, it was a casement, and it was not quite shut; I saw the prosecutor lying on the bed, struggling very much; I saw Cowden lying upon him.

How did you know it was Cowden? - Because I saw her very plain with a light that was upon the mantle-piece; I had known her before she came to live in the court; Storer had her hand on his mouth, and Cutler stood with her backside against the door; I sent my wife to call the watchman; but before the watchman came, Mr. Solomons came out, and said, I am robbed, I am robbed; two women came out, but neither of the prisoners; after that, I saw Cutler run out; then I ran in and saw the prosecutor without his hat; Cowden then gave him his hat again.

Was the prosecutor then in the house, or out of the house? - Just within the house; the watchman came, and we brought Cowden and Storer to the watch-house; about half an hour afterwards, Cutler was brought to the watch-house.

How was this bed situated? - Just as you come in at the door; the window was at the side of the bed, so that you could see any part of the bed, and the foot of the bed came towards the door; upon the Monday they were taken before Justice Wilmot and committed.

Cutler. Did you see me in the room after you had taken me up by a warrant from the Rotation-office? - Yes, I saw her in the room, with her backside against the door, I had taken up Cutler and Storer that night about seven o'clock, for abusing me; Storer had cut my hand with a knife, and Cutler had taken up a poker, and struck me over the head, and cut my hat, but they were discharged, and were home again before eight o'clock.

Court. What business are you? - I deal in old copper and brass, and buy bad shillings.


On the 9th of February, about a quarter after ten o'clock, I was going my rounds, I was told there was a robbery in the court; I saw the prosecutor come out at the door; he said he had lost fourteen or fifteen guineas; I saw Storer in the house.

Storer. Yes, blowing the fire.

Was she blowing the fire? - No; then Cowden came in; the prosecutor was then in the house, and said, take care of that woman; for it was she that robbed me; and he said Storer had helped to throw him on the top of the bed, and helped to rob him; I assisted in searching the prisoners and their room, but found nothing.


I am a watchman; I was told there was a robbery in Gun-alley; I went to the house and saw the prosecutor; he said he was robbed; I assisted in taking Cowden and Storer to the watch-house.


I am a patrol; there was an alarm, that a man was robbed; I took Cutler coming into the court, about half an hour afterwards; I found three shillings upon her, and that was all.

To Solomons. You said it was Storer that took your hat; did you always say so? - Yes.

You are sure of that? - Yes.


I know nothing of the matter, I live across Moorfields, I went to see Cutler, and the watchmen were there and they took me; I was not in the house before, and I know nothing of it.


Ealing had us taken up by a warrant, he beat us and hurt us very much, and we were discharged, and he swore he would be revenged of us; I know nothing at all of it.


I was making a fire in my own room when the watchman and prosecutor came in; says he I have been robbed, and the first I meet, I will make suffer for it; Ealing had had us taken up with a warrant, and used very ill, and he swore he would be revenged of us to-night; I am entirely innocent.

(The witnesses were all asked if they knew of reward in case of a highway robbery, to which they all said no, except Whiscomb, who said he had heard so.)

To Whiscomb. Do you know if there is a barber's shop near this court? - Yes, almost opposite to it.


Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Mr. ROSE.