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

16th April 1729
William Boyce, Anthony Godfrey
Theft - pocketpicking divider

William Boyce and Anthony Godfrey , of St. Martin's in the Fields , were indicted for privately stealing from the Person of Sir John Shelly , Bart. one Gold Watch, a Chain and Seal, and 5 Guineas, the 27th of March last.

Sir John depos'd,

That having been at the House of Commons the Day mention'd in the Indictment, it was 7 a-Clock in the Afternoon before he had Din'd, after which, he order'd his Coachman to drive him to the Coffee-house at St. James's, whither it was his usual Custom to go in an Evening; but finding himself, while in the Coach, somewhat uneasy in his Stomach, he thought it might be of Use to him to walk in the Park, and take a little Air, and accordingly order'd his Coachman to set him down there; and walking, between 8 and 9 a-Clock at Night, he felt an Uneasiness in his Foot, he having before had the Gout;

whereupon he sat down on a Bench not far from the Ld. Chetwind's House, to case his Foot by loosening his Shoe; sitting there about 3 Minutes, while he he was stooping, he felt a Hand about his Pocket, and miss'd his Watch; upon which he immediately started up, and seeing the Prisoner close to him, he collar'd him, charg'd him with taking of it, and call'd out to the Centinel for Assistance;

upon which the Prisoner call'd out to Anthony Godfrey , and drawing out his Bayonet, threatned to stick him to the Heart if he made any Noise, or talk'd any more of being robb'd;

that Godfrey, who seem'd to be his Companion, (he seeing them walking together before he sat down) came immediately up to him, and the Prisoner bid him assist him to secure the Prosecutor, saying, He had attempted to commit Sodomy with him;

that the Centinel coming, and some other Persons, he charg'd them with the Prisoner, and the Prisoner also charg'd the Centinel with him, and so they went together to the Guard-House.

John Best depos'd That as he was coming from Buckingham-House, he saw Sir John sitting on the Bench, and that he catch'd hold of Boyce by the Collar, saying, he was robb'd of his Watch, if not of his Money; that, upon thus, Boyce drew his Bayonet, and threatned to stab him if he talk'd of being robb'd and that upon the coming up of Godfrey, he said that Sir John had handled his Privy-Parts for a quarter of an Hour.

The Prisoner's Confession was read in Court, which he made before John Slater, Esq; wherein he own'd the Fact, and that he gave what he took from Sir John, to Anthony Godfrey, and did never receive any Money, or Part from him.

Mr. Slater also depos'd, That the Prisoner, Boyce, did confess to him, that he had robb'd Sir John, and that the Accusation was false.

Isaac - , a Soldier, depos'd, That the Prisoner, Boyce, own'd that he had robb'd Sir John, and that Sir John did not do what he had accus'd him with; begg'd Sir John's Pardon, after he had been with the justice in another Room and own'd that he had fram'd this Accusation to bring himself off.

The Prisoners both denied the Fact at the Bar, and Boyce pleaded in his Defence, that he was sitting on the Bench in the Park, and was buckling on his Spatterdashes, and that Sir John came and sat down by him; that they sat together a considerable Time;

and that Sir John attempted Sodomitical Practices with him: But these Allegations having been sufficiently contradicted before, by the Allegations of several Evidences, the Jury found Boyce guilty of the Indictment. Death :

But the Proof against Godfrey not being so satisfactory, the Jury acquitted him.

[Punishment: Boyce : death - Godefrey : not guilty]



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