Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 27 September 2022), October 1819, trial of ANN WILSON (t18191027-70).

ANN WILSON, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 27th October 1819.

1447. ANN WILSON was indicted for feloniously assaulting Hendrick Hoffman , on the King's highway, on the 10th of October , putting him in fear, and taking from his person and against his will, one watch, value 2 l.; one pocket-book, value 1 s.; one 5 l., and five 1 l. Bank notes , his property.

HENDRICK HOFFMAN. I am a sailor . On the 10th of October I left my ship, which laid at Millwall, went ashore, and went up Ratcliff-highway, about seven o'clock in the evening, to pay some money to a man. I went into a public-house with him and my shipmate, and staid there about three-quarters of an hour; I was not in liquor. I could not drink any thing as I had got the toothache. I went out, and sat on a step opposite the house, holding my face; a woman came up, who asked me if I was ill, and if she could help me? I said it was no business of her's, and she went away - it was then near ten o'clock; we were close to a gas lamp. I looked at her, she came back again to me, and said my shipmate wanted me - I had left him in the house. I stood up, and supposing I might have missed him, I said,

"Where is he?" She said,

"Come along," and laid hold of my right arm; we walked a little way. I said,

"I don't see him, I dare say he is in the house." She said,

"Come along, and you will soon see him." We did not walk much farther before she laid hold of my watch-chain, pulled my watch out, and ran away with it as fast as she could. I sung out,

"Stop thief! she has robbed me of my watch." I had hardly sung out, before I received a severe blow on the left side of my head, from a stick behind me. I twisted round, and received another on my shoulder, which broke my collar-bone - I have been in the hospital ever since. I fell down, rose again, and received another blow on the left side of my ribs; I fell again, and could not sing out or draw my breath. Two or three men came up, pulled my pocket-book out of my waistcoat-pocket, took all the silver I had, and dragged me round the corner of Old Gravel-lane - only the men were there then.

Q. Is the prisoner the woman who robbed you of your watch - A. Yes, my Lord, I have no doubt of it - I did know her before. There were a 5 l. and five 1 l. notes in my pocket-book, which I lost.

Prisoner. Q. Will you swear that you was not tipsy - A. I was not - she forced my watch out. It was not with my consent that she took hold of my arm.

WILLIAM PAXMAN. I am a watchman of New Gravel-lane. On Sunday evening, the 10th of October, I was turning from Elbow-lane to New Gravel-lane, and heard the cry of,

"Stop thief! I have lost my watch." I went towards the cry, and found the prosecutor lying in the middle of the road. I saw two men run away, sprang my rattle, and the watchman on the next beat stopped one of the men; we took him to the top of the lane, and the prosecutor said a woman had taken his watch - the prisoner was then standing at the top of the lane. I took hold of the man, and the other watchman took her; we took both to the watch-house, but found nothing on them. There was a third person, whom we did not catch.

WILLIAM STEVENS . I am a watchman in the neighbourhood. I heard the cry of of Stop thief! and saw the man, Strickbury, close at my elbows. He saw my lanthorn, and tried to pass me. I caught him, and gave him to Paxman; a boy pointed the prisoner out to me, and I took her.

JOSEPH M'CARTHY. I am near thirteen years of age, and live in King-street, Gravel-lane. On Sunday night, about ten o'clock, I was sitting at my mother's door, heard this man cry Stop thief! and saw the prisoner pass the door; she stopped on the other side of the way. I saw her give a watch into a man's hand. and heard her say,

"Don't cry, dont say any thing;" the man went down the lane, and she remained there - this was after the watchman had sprung his rattle. I saw Stevens, and told him what I had seen; he took her to the watch-house. I am sure she is the woman who gave the watch to the man, for I saw her face.

PETER PAGE . I saw the prosecutor sitting on the step of a door, and saw the prisoner speak to him - I am certain it was her; I took particular notice of her - I thought she was his wife. I saw him after he had been robbed, and the side of his head was bloody. I saw her take hold of his arm, and persuade him to go with her; the streets are lit with gas. I am sure she is the woman.

Prisoner. Q. Was the prosecutor drunk - A. He was leaning on his hand. I at first thought he was drunk, but afterwards found he had the toothache.

Prisoner's Defence. I was returning from the Fox and Grapes, public-house, saw the prosecutor sitting on a step, very sick, and the watchman told him to go on, but I persuaded him to take a coach. Several men came up, and said if I did not go away they would knock my brains out.

HENDRICK HOFFMAN re-examined. She pulled my watch out in a moment. I strove to get hold of her arm, but she got off.

GUILTY. Aged 22.

Of stealing from the person, but not with force and violence .

Transported for Life .

Second Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Justice Park.