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Old Bailey Proceedings - Trial Accounts
London's Central Criminal Court

15th January 1725
Benjamin Goddard & Richard Rustead
Violent Theft - Highway Robbery
Theft - extortion

Benjamin Goddard, of S. Dunstan's in the East, was indicted, that he, with Samuel Axtell and John Bollan, did assault Robert Wise on the Highway, putting him in Fear, and taking from him a Pair of Crystal Buttons, set in Silver, val. 5 s. on the 8th of Nov. last.

Benjamin Goddard and Richard Rustead, were indicted for a Trespass in conspiring to charge Robert Wise with an Intention to committ Sodomy with John Bollan, and by that means extorting from the said Robert Wise a Diamond Ring value 8 £. and several Sums of Money .

Robert Wise deposed, that on Sunday the 8th of Nov. about Six at Night, as he was making Water at Bear-Key, a Man (whose Name he has since heard is Bollan) came to him, and thrust his Hand into his Breeches, when immediately two others, (Goddard and Axtell) started upon them from behind some Hogsheads, and cry'd, Now, by G - , we have got him; - A Sodomite! A Sodomite!

He was very much surprized at the Charge; which they perceived and swore that if he would not make it up with them, they would presently carry him him before the Justice, and take their Oaths that they saw him going to commit the Fact with Bollan.

He was in a great Surprize, and assured them, that if they would let him go, he would give them a Pair of Crystal Buttons. Goddard took them, but swore that they must have something else, or it would be the worse for him, and so they followed him home.

They told him, as he was going in, that if he did not come down again quickly, and bring them some Money, they would carry him to Newgate directly.

He promised them to try what he could do. They bade him borrow a Guinea of the Maid, if he could get it no otherwise. He brought them two York-Building Lottery-Tickets, of 30 s. value each, with which they went away.

At two other times they brought the Prisoner Rustead with them, and extorted 15 s. from him.

On the 17th of Dec. at Night, the two Prisoners waited for his coming out; and in Gutter-Lane Rustead clapt him on the Shoulder, and swore that they had now got a Warrant to carry him to Newgate; and they would certainly execute it, if he did not help them to 4 £. for Goddard was going to live in the Country, and wanted a little Money to fit him out.

He told them, he believed that he had got 40 s. about him, and he would give them that, if they would never trouble him again: They swore they never would. He gave them the Money, and as soon as they had got it, they insisted upon his making it up 4 £. But still promising, with repeated Imprecations, that if he comply'd, they would never come after him any more.

At last he gave them the other 40 s. and so they parted for that time: But the next Night, hearing the Bell ring, he went down to see who was at the Door; he opened it, and saw nobody at first; but quickly Rustead stept up, and said he must needs speak with him, and would have taken him out.

He was unwilling to go, and therefore desired the other to come in, which he did. Rustead then swore that Goddard (whom he called Brother) was gone out of Town, and had left some Rings in Pawn, and he must have 4 £. to redeem them.

He found 'twas in vain to put Rustead in mind of what he swore the preceding Night. But having no Money about him, he gave him (tho' with great Reluctance) a Diamond Ring from off his Finger, with which he went away.

But the other being vexed with himself for parting with the Ring, went after Rustead, to try if he could get it again, upon the Promise of some Money.

He had gone but a little way, when, to his great Surprize, he found Rustead and Goddard talking together. They told him, they must and would have 40 s. more, or it should be the worse for him.

This occasioned a little Disturbance; and a Boy coming by, and hearing something of the Matter, Oh! says he, I know one of these Fellows, his Name is Rustead, he uses the Walks in Moorfields; which the Prisoners hearing, ran away, and he (this Evidence) never saw 'em again, till they were apprehended, which was not long after.

It appeared that the Prisoners were drinking together at the Farthing Pye-house by Moorfields, from whence they sent a Man to sell the Diamond Ring.

This Fellow happening to offer it to the very Goldsmith of whom the Prosecutor bought it, the Goldsmith knew it again, and stopt him, and he discovered where the Prisoners were waiting; by which means they were presently apprehended.

Rich Baily the Constable depos'd, that Goddard own'd that he took the Buttons from the Prosecutor; and that upon his Information he found Bollan and Axtell, and apprehended 'em; but they being bailed, have since fled for it.

That Rustead own'd, that he knew that the other three had followed that Practice of getting Money several times before, and that he himself had most of the Money from the Prosecutor.

The Prisoners than made their Defence. Goddard deny'd that it was he that took the Buttons, but said, that accidentally meeting the Prosecutor, (to whom he was before a Stranger) he (the Prosecutor) told him where he lived, and that he had twice committed Sodomy with Bollan.

Rustead said, that meeting with Goddard in Moorfields, Goddard told him what the Prosecutor had said, upon which the Prosecutor took him by the Arm, and said, Pray don't go to my Master's House to disgrace me, for I am a young Gentleman, and it will be my Ruin; and at the same time gave them Money not to discover it.

It appeared highly improbable, that any one in his Senses should confess such things to Strangers, and then tell them where he lived.

The Jury acquitted Goddard of the Robbery , but found them both guilty of the Misdemeanor.

[Punishments: fine; pillory; imprisonment]



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