MICHAEL WALKER, RICHARD PAYNE AND ROBERT COX
Executed opposite Smart's Buildings, Holborn, London, 18th of December, 1786, for Murder
MICHAEL WALKER, Richard Payne and Robert Cox were members of a young but desperate gang of street-robbers. Cox was not quite fifteen years of age when he suffered. On the 17th of November, 1786, Mr Robinson was walking with his friend, Mr Hunt, a painter, through Smart's Buildings, Holborn, when the latter, feeling something at his pocket, seized a man's hand. Yet the villain was dexterous enough to convey what he had stolen to an accomplice, whom Mr Hunt instantly collared, and a general scuffle ensued. There were more of the gang than those above named opposed to Mr Robinson and Mr Hunt, who maintained the unequal combat until other people came up, when the thieves ran off.
Mr Robinson was dreadfully wounded. He was cut across the eyes and nose with a knife, and had several desperate stabs in the body, and was otherwise much maimed. While he endured these wounds the villains called to each other, "Damn the rascal, cut his heart out!" and they were so intent upon this that one of the buttons on his breast was cut through, and his coat ripped more than eighteen inches in length. Mr Hunt was also wounded, though not in a degree to cause danger to his life; but Mr Robinson was carried home in a mangled condition, with little hope of his recovery.
In a short time the malefactors above named were apprehended, and sworn to by both the sufferers. Mr Robinson soon after died of his wounds. They were convicted and, unpitied, suffered the sentence of the law. For this purpose a temporary gibbet was erected opposite Smart's Buildings.
Walker was greatly affected at his fate, and held a book in his hand, Payne appeared in a state of stupidity. Cox, the boy, cried bitterly; and when he came within sight of the gallows he screamed, and was in a state of distraction when turned off.