Francis Owen, Damage to Property > arson, 5th May 1736.

Reference Number: t17360505-76
Offence: Damage to Property > arson
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

90. Francis Owen . was indicted for that he on the 6th of March , in a Stable in the Yard of John Armitstead , wilfully and maliciously did set on Fire, to the great Damage of the said John Armitstead .

Jane Garnet . The Stable belongs to Mr. Armitstead: I saw him go three Times, about 8 o'Clock at Night the 6th of March; and the Second Time he went in, I heard a Noise, saw a Flash like the Noise and Flash of a Gun: he came out, and went back again, shut the Stable Door and I saw no more of him. I was the first Person that saw the Fire in the Stable, and the Smoke coming out of the Windows; it was about half a quarter of an Hour after I saw the Flash and heard the Noise. I ran in Doors, (for I was sitting at a Shop in the Inn-Yard ) and cry'd out Fire; and when I came out the Flames flared out of the Windows.

James Rathall . When the Maid cry'd out Fire I happened to be in the House. The Stable Door was fastened with this Cord. The Prisoner us'd to lie in the Rack among the Hay. He owned in the Compter that he fastened the Door with this Cord, and said he could

not tell what induc'd him to do it; the Devil he thought was in him; he told us he did it with Gun-powder, which he laid in the Rack among the Hay; that when he had plac'd the Gun-powder he came out, and shut to the Door; by and by he went in again, and returned. The third Time he went in, he said he laid his Face to it and blow'd, that then it went off, and immediately the Stable was in a Flame. I found some of the Timber damaged; part of the Rack and some of the Joists.

Richard Huntmill . I was in the Compter with him, and heard him make this Confession, and farther, that he bought the Gun-powder at the Bottom of Snow Hill; that he did it up in Paper, and put it in the Hay, and put Fire to it: but it not going off the first Time, he try'd the second Time, and the third Time he stoop'd down to blow it and then it went off. He had a long Beard, and it was very much sing'd as were his Eye-lashes, which was done by the Flashing of the Powder in his Face. He could give no Account why he did it.

Will. Harrison . I am Engineer to the Hand in Hand Fire-Office: The Prisoner used to go out with the Engine: He came down and told me, the Bell-Inn in Warwick-Lane was on Fire: I ask'd him if it was a Chimney, (for I was loth to put the Company to Charge without asking) and he told me he saw the Stable all in Flames before he came away.

William Breamer , and William Wilkinson confirmed the Evidence of Rathall and Huntmill.

The Prisoner, in his Defence, said, the Accident happened by his falling asleep in the Hay with a Pipe in his Mouth.

William Tapping , Samuel Lawrenson , Rich. Grainger , George Lightfoot , John Carr , Richard Lawrence , Robert Orlandy , Abraham Child , John Josselin , and Richard Lane , gave the Prisoner the Character of an honest industrious Fellow. Guilty Death


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