Image of two men kissingHomosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook compiled by Rictor Norton

The Trial of John Casey


[Trial of] John Casey, for a Robbery, April, 1722.

JOHN CASEY, of St. James's, Westminster, was indicted for assaulting Francis Godelard in an open Place near the Highway, putting him in Fear, and taking from him 1 Shilling, on the 5th of November, 1721.

Francis Godelard. In the Dusk of the Evening, as I was sitting on the Bench, at the end of the Mall, (in St. James's-Park) next Buckingham-House, the Prisoner came and sat down by me, and asked me what was a Clock. I told him six, Are you sure of it? says he, Can you be positive that it's exactly six? Let me see your Watch. I did not like his Inquisitiveness, and so I got up and walk'd down the Mall. He presently follow'd, and, coming up to me, demanded half a Guinea. I ask'd him, for What? and his Answer was, I have Occasion for it. I told himi I had no Money about me. By God, but I know you have, says he, and with that he took me by the Collar, and dragg'd me towards the Canal, and there thrust me down, clapt a Handkerchief to my Mouth and swore, if I made the least Noise, he'd do my Business for me. Then he searched my Pockets, tok out a Shilling, and ask'd me where my Watch was, I said, I had none. He swore I lyed, and with that he broke the Wastband of my Breeches to search me farther. I cry'd out Murder, and two Soldiers coming up, he told them I was a Sodomite. They ask'd him, How he knew that? and he answer'd, Why don't you see my Hand in his Breeches? The Soldiers carried us before the Justice, who committed us both to the Gate-house, but we were afterwards bail'd out. An Attorney advis'd me to prosecute him only for an Assault; but I was afterwards advis'd by another Attorney to charge him with the Robbery.

Richard Allen, a Soldier. Being upon Duty, I heard a Disturbance in the Grass, between the Mall and the Canal; I went towards the Place, expecting to find a Man and a Woman engag'd, but approaching nearer, the Prisoner call'd to me, and said, Come hither Soldier, here's a Sodomite. When I was got up to 'em, I saw the Prisoner having hold of the Prosecutor's Privities. I ask'd the Prisoner the Reason of it, and he said, He wants to Buggar me; take him Prisoner, and so I surrender'd them to my Serjeant. I heard nothing of the Prisoner's being charged with a Robbery.

Turnkey. I ask'd the Prosecutor if the Prisoner had robb'd him, and he answer'd No, I had no Money.

The Jury acquitted the Prisoner.

We shall see in September following, the Tryal of John Casey, for another Robbery, of which he was convicted [see below].

SOURCE: Select Trials at the Sessions-House in the Old Bailey, From the Year 1720, to this Time, Dublin: Printed by S. Powell, for G. Ewing, and W. Smith in Dame-street, and G. Faulkner, in Essex-street, 1742, vol. 1, pp. 153-4.

Note on John Casey's End

See also the trial and dying speech of John Casey's older brother William Casey. John Casey and Arthur Hughes were indicted in September 1722 for assaulting and robbing Michael Honeybourn on the highway near Pimlico and stealing a silver watch from him in 24 April 1722. Hughes had only recently been released from Tothill-fields, Bridewell, for pick-pocketing. A third member of their gang, John Levee, alias Junks, was not caught. They were found guilty and sentenced to death. John Casey, who was 18 years old, had taken up robbery (like his brother William) for the past year or so. John Casey and Arthur Hughes were hanged at Tyburn on Monday 24 September 1722.

Rictor Norton

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "The Trial of John Casey," Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook. 10 April 2000, updated 16 June 2008 <>.

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