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Law and Order in LondonCrime and Punishment: Riley and Nutts
Posted on Feb 06, 2003 - 05:55 AM by Bill McCann

James Riley And Robert Nutts were executed before Newgate, 24th of June, 1801, for Highway Robbery. They were convicted in the previous January but owing to the indisposition of the king who could not sign the death warrants, they were "reserved" until June. They were hanged on what was a very busy day at Newgate.


HESE men were capitally indicted for assaulting and taking from the person of Andrew Dennis O'Kelly, Esq.,on the king's highway, on the 3rd of December, at Hayes, near Uxbridge, three seven-shilling pieces, one half-guinea, one half-crown and several shillings. This gentlemen was the nephew and heir of the once famous Colonel, ironically styled Count Dennis O'Kelly, the fortunate owner of Eclipse, the best racer of the English turf. The Count, from a mean origin, was advanced to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel of the Westminster Regiment of Middlesex Militia, and at the time of the riots in London, in the year 1780, manoeuvred the regiment, as Major, before the King, in review, in St James's Park. The nephew succeeded also to the lieutenant-colonelcy, but was soon dismissed the service, by the sentence of a general court martial.

The prosecutor swore that about eight o'clock on the evening of the 3rd of December, as he was going in a post- chaise to West Wycombe, he was stopped, about a mile on this side of Uxbridge, by three footpads. The prisoner Nutts stood at the horses' heads, while the other prisoner, Riley, opened the chaise door and demanded his money; he gave him all the loose cash he had in his pocket, as stated in the indictment. They then demanded his pocket- book and watch; he assured them he had none. The prisoner Nutts then came to the other side and searched him, and took from him some loose paper, which they after- wards returned. The third footpad, who was not taken, felt in his breeches pocket, and took from him fifty pounds in bank-notes and a bundle of linen that lay upon the seat of the chaise. They then made off.

He proceeded to the next public-house, in order, to get assistance, but could not procure any, nor at Uxbridge. As he was going on to West Wycombe, when he was about a mile from Uxbridge, he was overtaken by a person on horseback, who informed him that two of the men had been taken. He swore particularly to one of the shillings, from a certain mark upon it. Nibbs, the constable of Hayes, was walking on the footpath when Colonel O'Kelly passed by in the chaise. Seeing some men on the road make up to the chaise, and suspecting they intended to rob the person inside when the carriage was stopped, he went on to the Adam and Eve and got assistance, and he and four other persons pursued them into a field, and secured the two prisoners, but not till they had made a desperate resistance; they fired two pistols, both of which, fortunately, flashed in the pan.

These desperadoes were convicted in January Sessions, but, owing to the King's indisposition, were, with forty more condemned culprits, reserved until the 24th of June, when they suffered along with James M'Intosh and James Wooldridge, for forgery; and Joseph Roberts and William Cross, for highway robbery.

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