Case against Hugh Belfrage and William Greening at the Old Bailey for Robbery with Violence

30 March 1846

Reference: Old Bailey Online, Reference t18460330-939

The following 4th Light Dragoons appear in this testimony, two as defendants, and two incidentally.
Hugh McLellan Belfrage, William Greening, Joseph Gosbell and James Willey

No. 939.
Hugh M'Lellan Belfrage and William Greening were indicted for a robbery on John Thomas Wilkinson, putting him in fear, and
stealing from his person and against his will 1 crown and 1 shilling, his monies, and striking and beating him.

Mr. Robinson conducted the Prosecution.

John Thomas Wilkinson:
I did live at No. 10, Green-street, Commercial-road - I got my living a fortnight since by attending gentlemen who are of unsound mind - I live now at No. 11, Liverpool-street - on the 25th of Feb. last I left Norbiton, in the afternoon, and went over to Hampton-court, and walked over the Queen's palace, looked at the pictures, and walked into the gardens — while I was looking at the pictures, I entered into conversation with a female and two males — I was invited by some persons to go into the Canteen — we had some meat and beer — a sergeant in the room challenged me to play a game at cribbage — I took it up — the other persons went away to tea, and said they would call for me, and we would all go to Kingston together — I went to the other side of the table, to a game of cards, expecting every minute this party to return and call for me — that threw me into conversation with the prisoners, and from that arose an appointment for Belfrage to walk with me to Kingston — I stopped at the Canteen until about half-past six, and they left — they were going to stable duty — Belfrage said be would rejoin me after stable duty was over, which he did — we left the barrack—room about a quarter to eight, and on the road stopped at the King's Arms public-house — a pot of ale was ordered, which I paid for, but did not partake of — we left Greening at the King's Arms, and Belfrage started with me on the road to Kingston — after we had got some distance, Belfrage wanted to go back to where we had left Greening, we went back — Belfrage had some conversation with Greening which I did not hear, but after we all got again some distance into the park, Belfrage said, "Don't walk in that pathway, let us turn aside" — we had got some distance, when he called out, "Bill, Bill" — in consequence of that, Greening came up — one came on one side of me and the other on the other, and demanded money of me — I cannot say which of them, but a demand of money was made — they were both together when it was made — I said I had no money to give them — in consequence of that I was knocked down — I received several blows, one on my nose and another cut just here (on the head), and then they knelt on my chest — after some time I said, "Well, if you will let me get up, I will give you some" — I put my hand into this waistcoat pocket, and took out a 5s. piece, and gave it to one of the prisoners — I did not know which it was at that moment — it appears it was the prisoner Greening — that was not sufficient, and they made another demand — I said, "What do you want more?" — Greening said, "Half-a-crown" — I said, "I cannot or will not give you that" — I took 1s. out of my pocket, and gave him that, and then after I got out of his hands, I ran out at the park—gate, to escape further violence, for they kept threatening me — I made for the door of a butcher's house, who I knew, the first butcher's on the right hand side of the park — I was at that door when the policeman came up — I gave Belfrage in charge — I did not perceive Greening at that time — I said I had been robbed and assaulted in the park by two soldiers, and pointed to Belfrage as one of them — the policeman took us both to the station — Belfrage made a charge against me, that I had taken indecent liberties with him — there was no mark on the 5s. piece — I had it a very short time in my possession — I made the observation that it was a very smooth one, and when the sergeant took the charge, I said it felt very smooth — I am quite sure I mentioned the 5s. piece at the station — Greening was not there then — I afterwards went to the barracks, and identified Greening — he was in bed — it was between ten and eleven at night.

Cross-examined by Mr. Doane:
Q. I believe you have represented yourself to be a Christian man, who has learned to forgive injuries, and who did not intend to appear against these men?

A. I did not, that is the truth — I did not speak those words to any individual — if there is any such communication from me, it is in writing — it was my intention not to appear against them — I said so to a woman of the name of Holmes — she lives in New-street — that is not near where I was living — I once lived at a public-house — Mrs. Holmes was living close by at the time — there was not a young man named Crower at the public-house — he was at his own residence, I suppose — on my solemn oath, Mrs. Holmes did not charge me with writing beastly and disgusting letters — she did not forbid me to enter the house, because I was such a beast — I represent myself as a medical attendant — I have been called so — I have not had a medical education — what I have been is nothing to the point — at starting into life, I was in a merchant's counting-house — after that, about the year 1823, I was clerk to Messrs. Storey and Company, of John-street — I was there about nine months — they did not get rid of me at all — I left because there was something unpleasant occurred, some little misunderstanding between me and my mistress in the house, and my master said, "I do not think anything at all about it, but women are particular; I wish you to receive something more out of the house; you shall have more money" — after that I went to my father, a solicitor, at several places at Spitalfields and at Brighton — after that I went to learn the Lancaster system in the Borough-road, and I staid there from three to six months — I then left and went to the office of Mr. May, a solicitor, in the Bethnal-green-road — I staid there two years — I went next to the office of Mr. Pixen, a solicitor — I was taken ill, and left there — I was ill for twelve months, and then went back to the office of Mr. May — I next went into business for myself, as a general dealer, for nine months, at No. 6, William-street, Green-street, Bethnal-green — I was indebted to my landlord, Frederick Summers — he was in the habit of not only letting his house, but of lending me money, and sending me in goods on credit — I was indebted to him in £23 for goods and rent, and as an honest man, I wished to repay him — I gave up my business, furniture, and all the ready money I had in my possession — never mind where I went to next — you must think I have a very excellent memory — I next went to Mr. Luke's, a coal-merchant, of Rotherhithe, as collector and clerk — I do not know in what year that was — I was there twelve months — I think after that I was some time out of a situation — I cannot tell how long — the next thing I did to get an honest living was to go into the Docks as a labourer, and no disgrace — it was the London Docks, I think; no, it was the St. Katharine's — I do not know how long I was there — I cannot say what year it was, you are so quick and hasty — I had a very good character — after I left the Docks I was in the habbit of serving my friends, and any connectios I might meet with, with tea — it is more than ten years since I began dealing in tea — I continued tea-dealing amongst my friends more than a year — I cannot say whether it was two years — I think after that I went to the St. Katharine's Docks, and to the London afterwards — I was there one or two seasons, about twelve months, and then advertised, and got a situation with Alderman Farebrother's brother, as clerk — that was in 1836 — I remained with him one month — I left because my father was taken seriously ill — I consulted with Mr. Farebrother, and said I had a wish to go to see him before he died — he gave me leave to go to Horsley to see my father — I staid some time, till my father died — when I returned Mr. Farebrother had made up his mind to do with one clerk instead of two — he said he was very sorry; he liked all I did and all I said, and gave me his advice to have a quarter's writing lessons — after that, in consequence of an advertisement for a religious person and a teetotaler, I got a situation as keeper at London-house, Hackney — the first time I staid there six weeks — I was then out of a situation six weeks, and then went to Dr. Oxley's — I was there six months, and left because I did not like the situation — I next went to Whitmore-house, Hoxton, an asylum for lunatics — I staid there between three and six months — I was uncomfortable there — Miss Binfield said if I went out so often I must leave — I gave notice to leave — they gave me six weeks' wages, and I left — one Sunday evening a little boy came and said a medical gentleman wanted to speak to me, and sent me to a medical gentleman at Clapham, and be agreed to give me a guinea a week and my board and lodging, and in a few days I went to the Westminster-road—I stopped six months there, felt myself uncomfortable, and gave notice to leave — I was then twelve months at Grayton, and after that I was at Northumberland-house — I have also been sent for to go down to Worthing, but did not go — I have been going from one house to another, just as the patients may be — that is how I have been going on, up to this time, with the exception of being at the office of Messrs. Smith and Naylor — last year I was with Miss Thomas, of Norbiton, Kingston — I went to her in the latter part of Feb. — in March I went as keeper at Mr. Armstrong's, at Peckham-house, and was there till the latter end of July, and from there I went again to London-house — I had some words with Dr. Oxley there, and left; no, I went to Dr. Oxley's first, and from there to Peckham-house, and from there I went to Grove-hall, Bow, in or about Dec. last, I left there — since that I have been one month at Norbiton, in a gentleman's family — I went there through Miss Thomas — at this time I was living in Greenfield-street — I had been living there since I left Grove-hall — when I first went into the Canteen it was about four o'clock — I had some refreshment with a man and woman who I met there — I did not begin tossing and betting with the sergeant when they left — I was playing at cards with the sergeant — I was doing so before my friends left — I did not lay wagers with him — I simply played one game — if I had lost one game I should not have played another — I have said that I won four pots — that was at cribbage — that is not what is usually called betting — we played for a pint of half-and-half each game — I won four pots — the sergeant paid for it — the prisoners were in another part of the room, playing by themselves — I did not play with them — it is impossible to say who began the conversation — I might have made an observation on the game — I did not see them betting — I swear I did not see Greening put down a crown piece on the table, and the other man a sixpence — it is impossible to say what caused the invitation for them to accompany me to Kingston — I do not know how they knew I was going to Kingston — I was at the Canteen from about four till about half-past six o'clock, and then they said neither of them could leave till they had done stable duty — they were absent about an hour, and I went into the barrack-room — I do not recollect Gosbell — I recollect Willey — I remember the trumpeter being there — I was chatting and laughing with two or three men in the barrack-room — I had something to drink — I took hold of the trumpeter's trumpet, and he told me it was a fine of half-a-gallon — it is for him to say whether I put my arm round him — I do not know whether I did.

Q. Look at this man (pointing to one.) On your solemn oath, did you not grasp him round the waist and ***?

A. Why is not the trumpeter here? am I in the place of the prisoner? — I have no recollection that I grasped him round the waist in the presence of the prisoners *** — I accompanied the two prisoners to the King's Arms — I drank nothing there — they called for some drink — I very likely went off with Belfrage — I wished Greening good night — I did not tell Belfrage it was the nearest way to Kingston to walk out of the straight road.

Mr. Robinson.
Q. Will you undertake to swear you did not catch hold of the ***

A. I have no recollection of doing it — I should think I did not — I cannot undertake to swear whether I did or not — I do not think that I did — I have no recollection of doing such a thing.

Verdict Not Guilty

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