Edmund Tooll, Highway Robbery

Now, ladies and gentlemen, this is Edmund Tooll, convicted on three counts of highway robbery and one count of murder. Mr. Tooll, if you'd care to say hello...

"Ach, call me Tooley. Me da was Mr. Tooll. Ya, I'll talk to em. They told me you'd be comin this way with a tour an that I was to tell em wot I done. I'll tell em.

"I'm here cause they say I robbed some men, an killed one of em, too. I've been here for months now. I remember my trial was...well, it was a long time ago, I think. The warden tells me that my walk is comin soon, probly in February and that after I'm dead they'll hang me body where they say I killed that man.

"I'm writtin a paper to tell em all wot really appened there. I know it won't help, but I've gotta git it off me chest. Do you want to hear it?

"You do? Ah, good. I'll tell ye straight, this is how it appened - I was poor, so poor I had naught to eat at night. Now, I'm not askin ya ta feel sorry for me, jes listen. I heard about these men, they was a gang of highwaymen, who'd let me join if I liked. So I did. I was money to buy food with was all I wanted. We robbed some people, sure, but we never killed no one until Mr. Leaver. Murder is such a orrible thing to do and I never meant to kill anyone. We'd marked him and was gonna steal his sword...I meant to shoot his horse, I swear. I'd never kill a man in cold blood."

"I killed a man, O God forgive me, I killed a man. O Jesu Maria! Have mercy on my soul." [1]


Mr. Tooll and his cohorts are uncommon among highway robbers. Usually, when victims have obeyed the traditional command to "stand and deliver", they are allowed to walk away unharmed even though it is often those same victims who identify and prosecute the robber, sending him to the gallows at Tyburn. Consider also the fact that robbery from the person is a crime punishable by death, so it could not increase the penalty to which the robbers are subject if they were to kill their victims. It might even save them from swinging at Tyburn.[2]

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