1851 : Samuel Cole, alias Pluckrose, a Mugger

Source: The Manchester Guardian
Date: 5 February 1851
Place: Haggerstone

DARING HIGHWAY ROBBERY NEAR LONDON

At the Worship-street Police Court, on Monday, Samuel Cole, alias Pluckrose, a powerful, determined-looking fellow, of notorious character, was placed at the bar before Mr. Arnold, charged with being concerned with another man not in custody, in the following daring assault and highway robbery upon the person of Mr. William Bishop, a professor of dancing, residing at Grove Terrace, Stoke Newington. The prosecutor stated that he was crossing Haggerstone Fields on his way home, about nine o'clock in the evening of Thursday se'nnight when he was overtaken by the prisoner, who at once accosted him, and made some remark upon the darkness of the night. Witness assented, and expressed his apprehension that he had missed the footpath, to which the prisoner replied that he was well acquainted with the neighbourhood and offered to assist him in discovering the path. He declined to avail himself of his services, and the prisoner fell back a few paces, but almost immediately returned, and announcing that he had found the track, asked him for his hand and he would lead him to it. He accordingly extended his hand, which was firmly grasped by the prisoner, and at the same moment he was seized round the neck by some one behind him, who forced his head back, and flung himself upon the ground. He called loudly for assistance, but before he had time to rise, the prisoner flung himself upon him, and catching hold of his trousers pocket, in which was his purse, containing 13 in gold and silver, and a banker's cheque for four guineas, instantly severed the cloth with some sharp instrument, and tore away the pocket and its contents. The prisoner then made a snatch at his watch guard, which he jerked with such violence as to snap it in two, and the watch itself slipped down under the waistband of his trowsers, but the prisoner retained possession of the chain; and hearing at the moment the sound of approaching footsteps, both his assailants rapidly made off, and escaped with their booty. The witness added, that though he could not clearly distinguish his features, from the darkness of the night, he was positive that the prisoner was the man, and that he had on a cap, and wore a short coat, or dark-coloured shooting-jacket. The prosecutor produced his trousers which were cut in the manner he had described, and also his watch key, which was discovered on the ground near the spot shortly after the robbery.

Police-constable Morell 135 N, said that about eight o'clock on the night in question he had occasion to visit a low coffee-shop in the Kingsland Road, where he found the prisoner seated with four other men, the whole of whom he recognised as convicted thieves. Almost immediately after he had left the house the prisoner and his companions emerged from it, and proceeded in the direction of Haggerstone Fields, and he noticed that he was dressed at the time exactly as the prosecutor described. Witness subsequently received information of the outrage and went on Saturday night to the same coffeehouse to apprehend the prisoner on another charge of felony, and having found him there he conveyed him to the station house, at which the prosecutor shortly after attended, and selected him from among several others as the man who had attacked him on the Occasion referred to.

In answer to the charge, the prisoner stoutly denied the identification. The prisoner, however, was recognised by Alderman, the gaoler, as a convicted thief, who had been repeatedly in custody for similar offences, and he was ordered to be brought up again for the formal completion of the evidence. - London paper.

This is Samuel Pluckrose, PL1934, in Tree1010. He was brought to trial at The Old Bailey on 3 March 1851. You can read details of his trial here.

Haggerstone is a region in East London lying between Shoreditch and Bethnal Green.

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