Document A: Part 3 - Official Prosecution - Crime Against William Cooper
Isle of Ely Special Assizes - 17th June 1816
The King on the prosecution of Mr William Cooper
For a Riot of Robbery on Mr William Cooper
Brief for the Prosecution
Evans J Archer JunElyFor Sol Treasury
Isle of Ely
17th June 1816 at Ely
The King agst.
William Atkin Aaron Layton John Dennis Sarah Hobbs John Pricke John Cooper John Freeman Richard Jessop William Jefferson
For robbing William Cooper of £10
Brief for the Prosecution
See a copy of the Indictment hereto annexed
The Prosecution Mr Mrs Cooper is a shopkeeper at Ely -The Prisoners Atkin & Layton are possessed of some property
Cooper Pricke Hobbs reside at Ely. Atkin is a carpenter. Layton a bricklayer. Cooper and Pricke are labourers.
Hobbs is a soldiers wife. The prisoners Dennis, Freeman, Jessop and Jefferson reside at
Littleport - Dennis is a Publican and Pig Jobber and a man of some property, Freeman Jessop and Jefferson are labourers.
The facts of this case will be developed in the following
The prosecutor Mr William Cooper will state that there was a great riot and disturbance in the town of Ely, on Thursday morning the 23rd day of May last - that between the hours of 8 and 9 he (the pros.) who was then at a short distance from his own house, having heard that the rioters had assembled there, and demanded money went to his said house - that he found his windows broken and his shop pillaged - that the rioters having persisted in their demand of money under a threat of destroying his house the witness gave to the Rev. Mr Metcalf a magistrate who was standing by, endeavouring to prevent the rioters from doing mischief, £5 which he immediately paid to some one on behalf of the Littleport rioters - that prisoners Atkins & Layton then came to the shop window, and demanded £5 for the Ely people, which the witness accordingly gave to Mr Metcalf who paid the former to the prisoner Layton
And the witness will state that he paid the said sum of £10 this fear of receiving some injury to his person or property.
The Rev. and Mrs Metcalf will confirm Mr Coopers statement and he will also prove that the rioters broke the windows of the house and shop and took some canisters and other articles out of the said shop before Mr Cooper came home; and he will add that he divided the £10 which had been extorted from Mr Cooper as follows viz £5 to a person whom he believes to be the prisoner Dennis on behalf of the Littleport rioters and £5 to Layton on behalf of the Ely rioters - that when the witness had paid the £5 to Dennis for the Littleport rioters Atkin demanded £5 for the Ely people and that Layton said "I am an Ely man and a tenant of Mr Coopers" and that thereupon the witness paid him the £5 as before mentioned.
The witness will likewise state that the prisoner Pricke was very active among the few rioters and assisted in destroying the window shutters of Mr Coopers house and that he also destroyed a canister which had been taken out of Mr Coopers shop by some of the rioters.
The Rev & Mrs Metcalfe
Mr William Watts who is a schoolmaster at Ely, and was standing near Mr Metcalfe will corroborate Mr Metcalfe's statement and will state that he believes - Dennis to be the person to whom Mr Metcalfe paid one of the £5 notes; and he will add that he heard one of the mob say "the Ely people have as much right to £5 as the Littleport people" and that he then heard Layton say "I'll take the £5, I am Mr Coopers tenant"
Mr William Watts
John Magee gardener to the Lord Bishop of Ely will tell you that he saw some of the rioters breaking the windows of Mr Coopers house and the windows were broken Dennis struck at the window shutters with a gun which he had in his hand
Wm Apsey Esq resident at Ely will tell you that he saw Mr Metcalfe with some notes in his hand standing in the front of Mr Coopers house, that immediately afterwards, the witness saw Dennis hold up a £5 note in his hand and heard him say "Now I'll get them away" and that Dennis directly afterwards held up his gun as a signal to the mob who immediately departed -
the witness will further state that about half an hour afterwards the mob demanded money of Dennis. Mr George Stevens a Miller at Ely and that while that was taking place Dennis said "now I'll show you what I had from Cooper" and that he then showed rioters the £5 note which the witness - believed to be that which he (Dennis) had received of Mr Metcalfe -
the witness will further state that the prisoner Freeman was a very active rioter, and was armed with a pitch fork, and standing close by Dennis where the latter was - receiving the £5 of Mr Metcalfe - the witness will add that he saw said prisoner Jessop also very active amongst the said rioters armed with a hatchet with which he attacked Mr Coopers house;
That the witness saw him taking some books out of the house. This witness Thomas Spooner Esq who is also a resident of Ely will confirm Mr Apsey's statement as to the rioters conduct of Jessop and as to his being armed with a hatchet
Thos Spooner Esq
This witness Ralph Hills, who is a farmer at Ely, will confirm Mr Metcalfe's statement as to the activity of Pricke as a rioter in the front of Mr Coopers House, and his destroying the window shutters and cannisters as deposed to by Mr Metcalfe
Mr Ralph Hills
Those witnesses then said Ralph Hills and also Mr John Bacon who is one of the constables at Ely will tell you that the prisoner Sarah Hobbs was also very active among the rioters who were assembled before Mr Coopers house and that she assisted in breaking the windows of the house and Mr Bacon will add that he heard her say to some of the rioters "come let us go to Coopers he is a bigger rougue than Rickwood" and that the witness also heard her desire them to go through the church porch as it was a nearer way
Mr Ralph Hills
Mr John Bacon
This witness Mr Thos Harlock who is a resident at Ely will prove that the Prisoner John Cooper was a very active rioter among those who were Assembled before the prosecutors house and that the witness heard him say to the rioters "Go it my lads, pull the front down stick and stone" or words to that effect
Mr Thos Harlock
As to the prisoner Jefferson these witnesses Samuel Haynes and Thos Walton who are both residents of Ely will tell you that Jefferson Was very active among those who were assembled before Mr Coopers house - and that he was armed with a bludgeon - That the witness Haynes - saw him breaking the frames of Mr Coopers shop window and take a canister out of the shop, and throw it into the street and the witness Walton will prove that while he was endeavouring to persuade Jefferson to be peaceable the latter said to him "Damn your eyes if you don't get out of the way I'll knock your brains out, I won't be reconciled by any one" and then he proceeded to break Mr Coopers windows
Isle of Ely (to wit) The jurors for our Lord the King upon their Oath present, that John Dennis (1) late of Littleport in the Isle of Ely Victualer Richard Jessop (2) late of the same place Labourer. Aaron Layton (3) late of Ely in the said Isle Bricklayer William Atkin (4) late of the same place Carpenter Sarah Hobbs (5) late of the same place wife of John Hobbs of the same place Lab. John Pricke (6) late of the same place Potter John Cooper (7) late of the same place Lab. John Freeman (8) late of Littleport aforesaid Laborer and John Jefferson (9) late of the same place Laborer on the 23rd day of May in the 56th year of the Reign of our sovereign Lord George the 3rd by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland King Defender of the Faith with Force and Arms at Ely aforesaid in the said Isle and within the jurisdiction of this court upon William Cooper in the peace of God and of our said Lord the King then and these being feloniously did make an assault of him the said William Cooper - in bodily fear and danger of his life then and there feloniously did put of divers to wit 10 Books of the value of £5 and divers to wit 10 Canisters of the value of £2 and divers to wit 10 bank notes for the payment of divers sums of money therein mentioned and a mounting in the whole to the sum of £10 of lawful money and being together of the value of £10 of lawful money and divers to wit 10 promissory notes for the payment of divers sums of money therein mention a mounting in the whole to the sum of £10 of lawful money being together of the value of £10 of lawful money / the said goods and chattels bank notes being the property of the said William Cooper and the said bank notes and promissory notes being respectively in full force and the said several sums of money mentioned therein and secured thereby being then and there wholly unsatisfied from the person and against the will of the said William Cooper then and there feloniously and violently did steal take and carry away against the form of the statute in such case made and provided and against the peace of our said Lord the King his crown and dignity.
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