News of the Time: MP near on garroted for his valuables

I trust you will kindly afford me your valuable assistance towards placing that portion of the public residing in the suburban districts of London on their guard, and also enable me to call the attention of the Commissioners of Police to the fact, that highway robbery, with violence to the person, is in this year 1851, likely to be as common, and, in consequence of the mode of effecting it, more easy and free from detection than it ever has been within the present century. On Saturday … when returning home at night, and as usual walking quick, I was, without any warning, suddenly seized from behind by some one, who, placing the bend of his arm to my throat, and then clasping his right wrist with his left-hand, thereby forming a powerful lever, succeeded in effectually strangling me for a time, and rendering me incapable of moving or even calling for assistance, although there was plenty at hand, whilst a second easily rifled me of all he could find. I was then violently thrown on the ground, or rather I found myself lying there when I came to my senses. Two passers by, one a neighbour, raised me up, when we were immediately joined by a policeman, and by two more in less than a minute; but as I could not express myself coherently at first, the men had plenty of time to escape, and pursuit was impossible. I believe the approach of these persons disturbed the men, for they did not get all I had about me, and I escaped the finishing rap on the head usual in these cases.

O’Neill, Gilda. The Good Old Days: Poverty, Crime and Terror in Victorian London (pp. 42-43). Endeavour Press. Kindle Edition.

Related Entries