Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 10 May 2021), April 1814, trial of BENJAMIN HARMER (t18140420-52).

BENJAMIN HARMER, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 20th April 1814.

337. BENJAMIN HARMER was indicted for feloniously making an assault in the King's highway upon Richard Hurlock , on the 28th of March , and taking from his person, and against his will, a pocketbook, value 2 s. and a bank note, value 5 l. his property.

RICHARD HURLOCK . I am a lighterman , I live at Northfleet, in Kent. This happened on Monday, the 28th of March; I was coming from Ratcliffe Cross to go to King-street, Tower-hill, about eight o'clock at night; when opposite of the Custom House, London Docks , a person came down White's-yard; it leads into Blue Anchor-yard; the prisoner accosted me; he said, oh, Peter; he took me in his arms; is that you, Peter; he fastened his arms round me, not very hard; his hands were in my pocket; he left me after that, and I instantly missed my pocketbook.

Q. Was it merely putting his arms round, or did he close your arms down - A. It was putting his arms between mine.

Q. Did it prevent your arms from acting freely as you could have done before - A. Yes, he confined my arms. As soon has he had left me I missed my pocket-book.

Q. Did you consider him doing any violence to your person, or was it in a friendly way - A. I am sure it was not in a friendly way. He ran up the yard, and I followed him for the space of ten yards; he then turned back; I caught him coming back.

Q. What did you find upon him - A. Nothing. I have not found my pocket-book at all.

Q. How do you know he took it - A. I know, because half a minute before I put my hand to my pocket-book; I found it was there. It was only the distance of crossing the yard; the prisoner accosted me. I felt my pocket-book half a minute before.

Q. And in this pocket-book was a five-pound note - A. Yes; I had seen that five-pound note in my pocket-book about six o'clock, on board my own vessel. I was by myself; I doubled it up, and put it in my pocket-book, and put my pocket-book in my waistcoat pocket. I missed it instantly he left me.

Q. Are you clear it was the prisoner at the bar - A. Yes.

Prisoner's Defence. I know nothing at all of the man.

GUILTY, aged 21.

Of stealing from the person, but not violently .

Transported for Life .

First Middlesex jury, before Lord Ellenborough.