Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 30 September 2020), October 1788, trial of GEORGE SCAMP JOHN PACE (t17881022-23).

GEORGE SCAMP, JOHN PACE, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 22nd October 1788.

629. GEORGE SCAMP and JOHN PACE were indicted for feloniously assaulting Joseph Robinson , in a certain field and open place, near the king's highway, on the 12th day of October , and putting him in fear and danger of his life, and feloniously taking from his person; and against his will, a silver watch, value 40 s. a steel chain, value 4 d. a key, value 1 d. and a hook, value 1 d. his property .

(The Witnesses examined apart by the prisoners desire.)


On the twelfth of October, I went to Palmer's-green, from Whitechapel, in the afternoon, and about eight in the evening, coming back across Islington fields , I was stopped; my brother was with me; John Pace stopped my brother, and held him, while George Scamp pulled my watch out of my pocket; they met us; Scamp asked me for my watch; he said, give me your watch; that was after Pace had laid hold of my brother.

Did Pace say any thing to you? - No, not till afterwards; Scamp caught hold of the chain, and pulled it from the watch; it came off; then I ran away with the watch in my pocket without the chain, about five or six yards; and Scamp followed me again; the other held my brother the while; then George Scamp came to me, and pulled out a pistol, or something like a pistol, and held it to my body; he pulled it from his pocket; I cannot say what it was; then he asked me for my watch again, and I gave it him; Scamp shook hands with me before he went; and I went back with him to my brother, and Pace asked me whether I had any money; I said; no; then they left us, and I saw no more of them that night; they went the way we had come; I went home; the next day, the 13th, I saw the officers, and on the Saturday following, I saw the two prisoners together.

Where were they? - Before the justice.

In custody? - Yes, I saw my watch and chain again at the pawnbroker's; I do not know his name; he is here; I saw it before I went to the justices; I believe it was on the same day; there is the watch, and chain, and seal, and key, and hook, all put on, they are here.

It was pretty dark? - It was very moonlight.

Had you ever seen the faces of the two prisoners before? - Not before that Sunday night.

How were they dressed that night? - John Pace was in a blue coat, to the best of my knowledge, and George Scamp had a lightish coloured great coat on.

Recollect yourself, and say now, whether you are able to swear to them with certainty? - Yes, my lord.

You are very positive? - Yes.

Look at them again? - Yes.

You have no doubt about it? - No.

Had you any doubt about them before the magistrate? - No.

Had any body pointed them out to you before you said you knew them? - No.

You are very sure they were not pointed out to you, but that you pointed them out? - I did not see my body to point them out to me.

Were there other persons there at the time? - Yes.

Did you fix on these men among the other prisoners? - Yes.

You are very sure you are not mistaken in the persons of the men? - Yes.

Mr. Garrow, Prisoners Counsel. I observe you have a defect in your sight? - Yes.

In general I know, (do not suppose I am trifling with you, or making game of you, I should be above it) I know in general, persons in such a situation, their sight is weak? - It is as strong as any body would expect.

From the ball of your eye being turned so much inward, it requires more exertion in you, and therefore exhausts the power of vision, more than in persons who look strait? - I can see to work at my business.

What is that? - A shoemaker .

That is not a business that requires very strong sight? - Yes, it does.

This was about eight in the evening? - Yes.

And you had not seen either of the persons before? - No.

Before you saw them at justice Wilmot's office, you had seen some of the thief-takers? - Yes.

When did you first see them? - The next day after I was robbed.

Was Shakeshaft one of them? - Yes.

Then after you had told of the robbery, they came to you, and told you they had found the two men for you? - Yes.

And that you crest go to the justice's? - Yes.

To see the two men that they had found? - Yes, we went to see the watch first.

Then of course, when you went to the justice's, you expected to find the two men that robbed you? - Yes.

You were told so by the runners? - Yes.

You fixed on these two men that were there? - Yes.

Were you equally sure to both the men? - Yes.

How long might this be transacting? - The space of three minutes or more.

You are equally sure to Pace, as you was to Scamp? - Yes.

Though he, according to your account, was the man that was engaged with your brother? - Yes, I was not quite so sure, but I knew him again.

What sort of hats had the men on that robbed you? - Round hats.

Court. But if you was not quite so sure as to Pace, before the magistrate, as you was to Scamp, what makes you quite so sure now? - I should not pretend to swear to the other, because I was not so much with him as I was with the other that robbed me, but I knew his face again.

But you say, you was not quite so certain as to Pace as you was to Scamp, was you quite so certain then? - No.

What makes you then quite so certain now? - I shall not take an oath to the man.

Do you mean to say, that now you do not swear to Pace positively? - I swear to George Scamp.

But you have already swore to Pace as being present when Scamp committed this robbery; are you sure that Pace was so present? - Yes.

Did not you say, you was not so sure as to Pace? - Yes.

Then you are not quite sure as to Pace? - I know it is the man.

Then you are now sure that Pace was the man? - Yes.

But before the magistrate you was not quite so sure? - I did not pretend to swear to that man.

You did not swear to him then before the magistrate? - No.

What makes you swear to him now? - I know him very well.

Then if you knew him very well before the magistrate, why did not you swear to him before the magistrate? - I do not know.

Did you not swear before the magistrate, that Pace was one of the two men? cannot you answer that question? - No, my lord.

Did you or not, swear to Pace before the magistrate? you have swore to him now; did you swear to him then, is the question, what do you say in answer to that? - I said, that was the man.

Then you swore it was the man before the magistrate, you said it upon your oath? Yes.

Then you now finally say, that you swore before the magistrate, that Pace was one of the men? - Yes.

Do you now swear that Pace was one the men, look at him again? - Yes.

You do swear it now? - Yes.

Then you do take your oath that he was one of the men? - Yes, I know him very well.

Court. Let him go out of court, and not speak to any body.


I am brother of Joseph Robinson ; I was with him, on the 12th of October, in Islington-fields, about eight o'clock; it was quite a fine moon-light night.

What happened to you in Islington-fields? - Two men met us; the prisoners are the men; Pace took me by the collar, while the other robbed my Brother of his watch; the first which they said, wasPace asked me where I was going, and laid hold of me by the collar, and held a stick over my head, while the other robbed my brother; I saw the other run up to my brother, and I heard him say, give me your watch; I saw him attempt to take his watch; Scamp is the other; my brother scuffled with him, and got away from him, and ran a little distance from him; Pace said to the other, after him; and Scamp then followed him, and got the watch from him; it was at a distance; I did not see him take the watch; Scamp came back to me and Pace; and Pace said to Scamp, have you got it?

Did Scamp say any thing to that? - I will not be sure whether he did or not; Pace let go of me directly; and he asked me whether I had any money about me; I told him I had not; Pace said, we will shake hands with you; and he shook hands with me and went away.

When did you see the prisoners, or either of them again? - On the Saturday following, this was on the Sunday; I saw the two prisoners on the Saturday following, at Mr. Wilmot's office.

Were they in custody? - Yes, I knew them again when I saw them; I swore to both of them.

Recollect yourself, and say whether you took such observation of them at the time, as to be able to swear that these two prisoners are the men? - Yes, sir, I did.

Was there light enough to observe their faces? - Yes, I saw them at the time, Pace had hold of me by the right arm.

How were they dressed? - Pace had got a blue coat on, and the other had a lightish coloured coat on.

How were they dressed when you saw them before the magistrate? - Scamp was dressed as he is now, and Pace had a blue coat on then.

So that you have no doubt at all of the two prisoners being the men? - No.

Mr. Garrow. They were not with you above two or three minutes? - About five minutes; I was a little frightened; I had been told by the runners, that they had taken two men up; and I went, and saw them there.

Have you heard of any reward, in this case, if they are convicted; did the runners tell you that? - No, they did not; I never heard of it; but I have had no talk with the runners about that.


I am a pawnbroker; I live with Mr. Davidson, in the Borough; I have a watch here, which I took of a man, but I know nothing of the prisoners; I took it in on Monday, the 13th of October; the watch and chain, just as it is, I lent seventeen shillings on it, which he asked for; I gave it to the constable.


I belong to this office; I took the prisoners; Harper and Lucy were with me; it was last Friday night; they were both together in Islington-fields, by the side of the New River; it was between seven and eight; I searched Scamp, and found two duplicates on him; one of a silver watch, pawned at Mr. Davidson's; this is it; it appears October something, but it is a little defaced; William Davis , a watch, seventeen shillings; I asked Scamp how he came by this duplicate; he said, it was his own watch, and he had had it near three years; I searched the other, and found in his pocket, some small shot; and the next day I went to Davidson's, and found the watch in the Borough; there were three duplicates found on the other prisoner, but not relating to the business.

(The Prosecutor owned the watch.)


I took this blue coat from the prisoner, Pace, off his back; Armstrong brought the duplicate; I had the care of one prisoner; and he took the other to search him; he asked Scamp whose watch it was; he said, it was his own; Armstrong asked him how long he had had it; and he said, for three years; when he came before the magistrate, he said, he bought it of a soldier.

Court to Hayward. Is this your duplicate? - This is my duplicate; it is my writing.

(The watch deposed to by the Prosecutor.)

Prosecutor. I know it by the maker's name, and a piece of gauze with two letters of my name worked in it; I cannot say the number of the watch; I know the seal; it has a heart upon it.


As I was going over Tower-hill, I met a sailor; he told me he was distressed; and he shewed me this duplicate; he said, he had pawned the watch for seventeen shillings; and he sold it me for five shillings to it, as I wanted a watch; I gave him four shillings for it.


I have nothing to say any further than what I leave to my counsel.

The prisoner Scamp called six witnesses; and the prisoner Pace, called eight witnesses, who gave them good characters.


Tried by the second Middlesex Jury before Mr. Baron THOMPSON .

They were humbly recommended to mercy by the jury, as young men of good character, and having used no violence.