Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 01 June 2023), August 1849, trial of GEORGE STEELE JOHN MARTIN (t18490820-1555).

GEORGE STEELE, JOHN MARTIN, Violent Theft > robbery, 20th August 1849.

1555. GEORGE STEELE and JOHN MARTIN , for a robbery with violence on George Henessey, and stealing 1 memorandum-book, and 1 handkerchief, value 2s. 6d. 1 half-sovereign, and 6s.; his property.

MR. PARRY conducted the Prosecution.

GEORGE HENESSEY . I reside at 10, Lambeth-road, and am a tailor. On Saturday, 8th July, about ten minutes past twelve o'clock, I was passing the Westminster Hospital, and was hit on my temple; I do not know who by—it turned me round, and I fell on my back—I then saw Steele and Martin near me—Martin jumped on me after I fell, put his hand into my breast-pocket, and took out a half-sovereign, 6s., my book, and handkerchief—I struggled with him and tried to get away, and then Steele hit me and fractured my jaw—he hit me with a thing exactly like a life-preserver—they then all went away—there was a third man, but he did nothing, merely looked on—I did not lose my senses at all—some men came up and picked me up—there were no other people by when they assaulted me—when the policeman came up I was assisted to the Westminster Hospital—I was there a fortnight—my jaw

had been set—I had seen the prisoners once or twice before—I am certain they are the men—on the Tuesday they were brought to me at the Hospital with a third man—I got up from my bed, put my hand out, and shook hands with Steele, and told him I was glad to see him, and he said, "What is the matter Henessey?"—I said, "You know well what you did to me on Saturday night when you and Martin robbed me"—they were given in charge.

Steele. Q. Who was it came out with you from the public-house? A. I did not know there was anybody but myself—I had just come from the George and Ball, in Orchard-street—I was quite sober—I was going home when I was knocked down—I did not notice any one outside the public-house—there was no one with me before I was knocked down, till you came—I swear to you, because I saw you and knew you before—you had the coat on you have now.

Cross-examined by MR. PAYNE. Q. Do you mean to say no one was with you when you came out of the public-house? A. No one was with me—two others came out at the same time and walked with me to the corner by the Hospital, they then went towards the Park, and I went along by myself—I am sure it was not those persons that attacked me—I did not say on the next morning that I should not know either of the persons—I told the policeman on the Monday morning what they wore, and he brought them on the Tuesday—I was in the public-house from half-past ten till five minutes to twelve—I had a drop of ginand-water there—David Henessey keeps that house—he is no relation of mine—I did not see Martin there—it was on the Wednesday, not Tuesday, that the policeman brought the men—I do not know the policeman's name who helped me—I was not insensible before I got to the hospital—I am quite certain I did not say I should not recollect either of the persons—I am certain I had the money about me—I got 12s. of it in Westminster, and 7s. from Mr. Gray, of the Waterloo-road—I have worked for him nearly fourteen years.

MR. PARRY. Q. Did you become insensible at all? A. No; but I could not speak on the Sunday morning, on account of my jaw being broken.

DAVID HENESSEY . I keep the George and Ball public-house, Orchard-street, Westminster. On Saturday night, from about half-past ten until five minutes to twelve, the prosecutor was at my house—he left at that time, perfectly sober—I know the prisoners by being at my house several times—I had seen Martin that evening about half-past ten, the prosecutor was there at that time, I do not know whether Martin saw him—they are in the habit of frequenting my house.

Steele. Q. How long is it since you saw me there? A. Five or six days before this occurrence—I did not see you there that night—two friends left the house with the prosecutor.

Cross-examined. Q. Did Martin leave about half-past ten? A. Yes—I do not remember his mother coming and his going home with her—he was not taken into custody at my house—I think he was there on the Monday, and I believe on the Tuesday also—he was living in the neighbourhood, and always about the place—he was not assisting in cleaning the pots on Monday or Tuesday, he was there as a customer—I saw him on Sunday and Monday—I do not recollect that I saw him on Tuesday—I will not swear he was not there, he might have been—I do not know that he was apprehended there on the Wednesday—I did not hear my wife tell him that the policeman wanted him.

THOMAS NAGLE . I resided at Great Peter-street, Westminster, at this time. I know the prisoners—on Saturday night, 8th July, I was at the George and Ball, in company with the prosecutor about an hour—I went out about the

minutes to twelve, and saw Martin standing alone at the left of the door, leaning on a post—he could see the persons that came out.

Cross-examined. Q. What are you? A. I have been employed for the last fortnight in delivering circulars for the Railway Insurance Company in Old Broad-street—I now live at 10, Isaac-place, Thomas-town—I was out of employment at the time in question—I said that I had seen Martin, two days previous to his being taken—I mentioned it, I think, to Mr. David Henessey—I do not think I mentioned it to Mrs. Henessey—I will not swear I did not, I might have done so—I do not recollect that she said, "If you say that you say what is untrue"—I swear I have no recollection of her saying so—such a thing might have happened without my recollecting it—Martin was smoking a pipe or cigar when I saw him—he wore a blouse, as he does now—he generally wears a blouse—he wore a coloured handkerchief and a cap—he generally wears a cap—I cannot say what colour it was, it had no peak—I cannot recollect having any conversation with the policeman about this—I had been out of employment four or five months—I lived then on the money I had saved from my previous employment, delivering newspapers and books—I was once charged here with having received stolen articles—I was acquitted—that is the only time I have been before a Magistrate.

MR. PARRY. Q. Did you know Martin? A. Yes—I have seen him fre-quently at the George and Ball—I cannot be mistaken about him—I think I have seen him there day after day—I knew him two months previously—I had seen him before on the afternoon of that day, and again between nine and ten—he was dressed the same at twelve as he had been before—I have not the slightest doubt he is the man.

MARK LOOME (policeman, B 11). I received information, in consequence of which I took the prisoners and another man into custody on Wednesday afternoon—I took them to the Hospital, where Henessey was in bed—Steele held out his hand, and Henessey held out his, and shook bands—Henessey asked him why he knocked him about on Saturday night, and said, "When I was getting up you struck me again a second time"—Steele said he was not in Westminster until after one o'clock—I told him I saw him and three other men at the corner of Dean-street at twenty minutes to twelve (I had done so, Martin was with him)—that is 170 yards from where Henessey was robbed-Steele did not say anything—the prosecutor said, "When I was getting the better of you, Steele struck me again"—Martin then said he was, in bed at ten that night—I told Martin that I saw him in company with Steele and two other men at ten minutes before twelve, and I spoke to Martin, knowing him to be a suspected character, that I would not have him hanging about the street.

Steele. Q. Did you see me that night? A. Yes, twice—I did not speak to you then, because you had done nothing—I measured the distance after this occurrence—I have not said that I did so the night before—I did not have any information from the prosecutor till the Wednesday morning.

Cross-examined. Q. Where did you take Martin? A. In Strutton Ground, in the street—I had seen him at the George and Ball in the course of the day, and on the Monday and Tuesday—I suspected him then, but I was not satisfied, I wanted more information—I did not say anything to him—I knew I could find him—I first heard of the robbery on Sunday morning—I went to the prosecutor that morning, but he was not able to speak till the Wednesday morning, in consequence of the injuries he had received—I was coming up Dean-street on the Wednesday night about twenty minutes to twelve, when I saw the prisoners—I looked at my watch—I spoke to Martin—I am sure

it was not on the Monday after, or the Thursday or Friday before—my attention was called to the robbery next morning, and then I recollected having seen them the night before.

WILLIAM REED (policeman, B 111). I know the prisoners—on Saturday night, 8th July, I was on duty, and at five minutes past twelve o'clock can down to the corner of Princes-street, Broad Sanctuary, Westminster, and saw the prisoners and another person—Steele was standing at a distance from Martin and the third person—they all joined company, and walked on toward where Mr. Henessey was knocked down—I went up Dean-street and back again, and then at about a quarter-past twelve, went into the Broad Sanctuary, and saw some persons picking up the prosecutor, and I assisted.

Cross-examined. Q. Did you see any women with the men? A, There were several, and a great many men.

MR. PAYNE to MARK LOOME. Q. Do you know Mary Gibson? A. Yes—this matter happened on the morning of 9th July—I did not meet Gibson that morning with her husband—I swear I did not say, "Gibson, make her tell me who has done this robbery"—I believe I saw her on 12th or 13th, after the prisoners were apprehended, but I did not say anything of that sort to her or her husband.

MR. PARRY proposing to read the statements made by the prisoners before the Magistrate, MR. PAYNE suggested that proof should be given of the Magistrate's signature, upon which MR. JUSTICE ERLE said, "The recent statute was ex-pressly intended to prevent this inquiry; if the statement purports to be signed by the Magistrate, and has been transmitted to the Judge, it may then be read without further proof; I am to take judicial notice whether it has been trans-mitted to the Judge, and if the officer of the Court hands it to me, and it purports to be signed by the Magistrate, all is done that is necessary,"

The statements were then read as follows:—"Steele says: I am quite innocent; I was not seen during that night there; I was not in Westminster at all; I knew nothing of it till about half an hour before I was taken." Martin says: 'I know nothing of it, no further than I am innocent of it; there was a female who said she put a cloth round his head, and she knew the parties who did it, and they were dressed exactly like us, but she would sooner suffer imprisonment than tell who they are.'"

Steele's Defence, On the Monday morning I saw Mary Gibson standing at the public-house with a quart pot in her hand and crying; I asked what she was crying about; she said she and her husband had met Loome, and he said to her husband, "Make her tell me who it is that has done this robbery;" she did not tell who it was, and he had been coming constantly to her place ever since I have been here, and she has moved from Orchard-street to Castle-street; she told a female who I cohabit with, that she knew the men that knocked the man down and robbed him, that she saw him knocked down, and saw the three men run away, and she went up and wiped his head; she said I was quite innocent, and should not suffer for it, but they have both refused to come up.

MARY MARTIN . I am the mother of John Martin, the prisoner. On the night of this robbery I was coming down Dean-street, and saw my son going along by the George and Ball about ten o'clock, or a little after—he went and sat on the step of a door—I asked him to come home with me, or he would be locked out—he came straight along with me up-stairs, and never went out again—we occupy the first-floor—there was a string in the door, and I opened it, and the landlady's son was sitting at the table, and we went up-stairs together—he would have an opportunity of seeing us—when we got up-stairs

I lighted a candle, and he sat down and shelled a pint of peas, and then he went to bed with my child, who is five years' old—he did not go out again till next day, between ten and eleven—the landlady keeps the key of the street-door—I hate subpœnaed the landlady and boy here—I served them with it—I got it from Mr. Clark's office, and gave 3s. 6d. for it—(William Butman and----Butman were called upon their subpoena, but did not appear)—I am quite sure this was on the Saturday night before the robbery was committed.



Transported for Twenty Years.