13th April 1774
Violent Theft - highway robbery
255. (1st. M.) THOMAS MORGAN was indicted for that he in a certain field and open place near the king's highway, in and upon Edward Minton, did make an assault, putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and taking from his person, eleven half-pence and two farthings, the property of the said Edward Minton, Feb. 13th ++.
Edward Minton. I live at Twickenham with Mr. Wilday; I have lived with him four years and a half; I have known the prisoner almost two years; the first of my acquaintance with him, was at the Crooked Billet, a public house in St. Paul's church-yard; he was at my master's house twice; he wanted to borrow money of me; I had it not in my power to lend him any.
On the 13th of February he came to my master's house and desired to see me; I went to the door; he said he was very glad to see me; I said I had forbid him my acquaintance some time ago, and should not ask him in; he said he did not desire to be asked in, but said he had some particular business with me; I told him I was busy; he said he would come again in half an hour; he came again and I took a walk with him from Twickenham towards Richmond ; when I had got a little way, I asked him what he wanted; he asked me to go a little further, and I went with him to the second field; then I asked him what was his business;
he said he was going abroad and would be obliged to me to lend him five guineas; I said he had a great deal of assurance to ask it of me; he said it would be worse for me if I did not; I desired him to explain himself; he said then if I did not he would swear sodomy against me; I threatened to take him into custody and take him before his former master, he said, d--n me, he would swear the same against him and his brother too: then I walked away from him as fast as I could; he came up to me and asked me to lend him four shillings to pay his reckoning at Twickenham where he had been in company.
Then he laid hold of me and d----d my eyes, and said if I did not lend it him he would blow my brains out; he then put his hand on my breeches pocket and said here is money; then he put his hand in my waistcoat pocket and took out the half-pence and ran away; he said he was going to Richmond. On the 12th of March he came to my master's; I was then in town; when I came home, the maid told me such a person had been enquiring for me; by the description she gave of him, I knew it was the prisoner; I went in pursuit of him; I ran three or four miles before I overtook him; I took him at Brentford; I charged a constable with him, and had him before Sir John Fielding, who committed him.
On his cross-examination he said he was not an hired servant to Wilday; that he asked in the capacity of a hired servant ; that he always had access to his master's table; that the business he transacted for him was marketing, gardening, and going of errands; that when his master came to town, sometimes he came with him; afterwards he said he did not come with him, but followed him; that his master came to town very often and lodged at the Bolt and Tan Fleetstreet; that he had been with his master at the Cock coffeehouse, Temple-bar; that he once met the prisoner at the Goose and Gridiron, but that his master was never there with him; that he had given the prisoner several shillings at different times, but never gave him but a shilling at a time; that he liked the prisoner at first, till he was told he was a person of very bad character; that he was told he had robbed a gentleman;
that after this he met him dressed like a nobleman; that the prisoner passed, and then turned back after him, and said he was sorry he would pass him and not speak to him; that he told the prisoner he would not have any acquaintance with a man that had no visible way of living; that it was three o'clock in the afternoon when he robbed him; that it was in the high-road to Richmond; that he did not go to Richmond after him, though he (the prisoner) told him he was going there, because he knew where to find him, and that he did not think he would run away; that it was a month or six weeks after when he came again to enquire after him; that he (the witness) came home in half an hour, and pursued him directly and took him at Brentford; that he was two days in a week in town with his master; that he had a lodging in Shoe-lane for two days in the week, but could give no account of his master's business in town, but that he was in town with him to do messages for him.
John Wilday. I was at my father's on the 13th of February; the prosecutor came in and told me he had been robbed by the prisoner; he asked me what was best to do; I advised him to go to Sir John Fielding 's; he told me the circumstances of the robbery, the same as he has done now. I know nothing of the prisoner. I went with Minton to apprehend him; Minton ran before; when I came to Brentford I saw the prisoner in custody.
On his cross examination he said the prosecutor told him, that the prisoner, when he robbed him, said he would charge him with sodomitical practices; that the prisoner said he was going to Richmond; that the prosecutor was servant to his (the witness's) father; that the prisoner and he dined together once at his father's table; that he did not know his father's business, nor what the prosecutor was employed in when he was with him in town.
John Henley. I am a constable; I was sent for to take charge of the prisoner; I put him in a chaise between the prosecutor and me to take him to Sir John Fielding ; when he was in the chaise, he said to the prosecutor, what are you going to lie with me now? What do you want to do with me, now you have got me in the chaise? he said he should know that when he came to Sir John Fielding 's: then the prisoner said, you know, Mr. Minton, we have been acquainted a long while together; you won't swear my life away for a few half-pence; he said don't you think you are a villain to take so much from me by violence? I brought him to Sir John's, and he was committed.
Prisoner's Defence. I never robbed him of a farthing in the world; he gave me a great deal of money; I have had of him and his master I dare say to the amount of 20 £. one time and another; he said he was not his master, he kept him there; I asked him what he did; he would not give any account of it; Wilday at Brentford said, though he had lived so many years with his father he did not know how he lived.
[Verdict: Guilty - Punishment: Death]