On this day in 1718…
Peter Atyon , of St. James’s Westminster, was indicted on two indictments; one for stealing a Pocket and a Head-dress, val.2 s. of Margaret Davis , the 12th of April last. The Prosecutor deposed, as she was going along the Street she was thrown down, and her pocket pulled off, and that it was found torn in pieces by the Prisoner while he was confined in the Round-house for another Fact committed the same Night. The 2d Indictment was for stealing a Pocket, a Guinea, and some other things, from Frances Rowley the same Night. The Prosecutor depos’d, the Prisoner pull’d off her Pocket, and was running away, but she follow’d him and caught him immediately. The Facts being plainly proved he was found guilty of both Indictments.( Death .)
How do I know this? Because all 52 million words of The Proceedings of the Old Bailey are now online…and searchable.
I’m pleased to say that no Edward Willett crops up, although many other Willetts do.
Here’s an article that describes how this amazing resource was digitized. And an amazing resource it is, a font of story idea for writers, information for historians, and simple fascination for everyone else.