Offence: Deception > forgery
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Edward Abraham . I am clerk to Mr. Hughs, the proctor; the prisoner came the 15th of this instant to prove a will; he came in the name of James Bennet , saying, he was brother to the testator, William Bennet , and that this, holding a will in his hand, was the will of William Bennet , and wanted it to be prov'd. I went with him before Dr. Paul, and he swore he was the sole executor of that will, and that that was the last will of William Bennet . It was ingross'd, and carried into the office, and as a case was depending in the office, between the deceased's father and one Knox, it was put off from time to time, till we could send to the deceased's father. The father came, and so did this pretended executor, about it. My master told the father there was a will made by his son, William Bennet , and a brother of his was left executor. The old man said he had no son living. The prisoner, before the father, could not say any thing, but owned, before he came out of the office, his name was James Young ; and said, at Guild-hall, a man had made the mark, and likewise wrote the witnesses names to the will, and that he knew the man very well, and was to be found somewhere in Rosemary-lane, near the Crooked-billet, his name something like Blackman. The father took the prisoner up on suspicion of the will being forged, and carried him before a Justice, and there said his name was James Young
John Redman . I am clerk under the commissioners of the navy; I have the books of the Boyne and the Guernzey's prize here; here is due to William Bennet , from August 8, 1743, to the time he was discharged from her, September 8, 1746, 35 l. He went on board the Guernzey's prize the same day, and continued there till he fell over board, and was drowned, Nov. 13. 1746. Due on board her, 2 l. At his death there was 37 l. due to him.
Joseph Bennet . I am father to the deceased William Bennet ; on the 15th of this month, I was at the Proctor's office; Mr. Hughs ordered me to go over to the Paul's head; he brought in the prisoner, and said to me, is this your son? I said, no; I have never a son in the world. I was so confus'd, I could not retain all that was said, but the prisoner fell down on his knees, and begg'd of me to forgive him. I said, the law should take its course. We went to Guild-hall; the Justice asked me if my son could write? I said, he could very well; (the will having a mark to it, and wrote by it, the mark of William Bennet ) There the prisoner own'd it was a forg'd will, and that it was one William Brockman , who liv'd on the back of Johnson's-change, in Ragg-fair, next door to the Crooked-billet, that wrote it; and, that some other persons wrote other names, not their own, to witness it. I went down to this Crooked-billet; and there one William Brockman liv'd but he was not within; so I came away, and was not there since. The prisoner own'd his name was James Young , at the office, and before the sitting alderman. I asked him, how he came to find out the ticket ? (for he had found out the merchant that had it) he said, it was his business to find out tickets. I was some time before I could find it out.
That morning I was intoxicated with liquor, and one William Brockman owed me some money; the will I got from him; he told me, he was real executor of it, and said, he was afraid of being arrested at the commons for debt, so I carried it in order to execute it for him.
Q. Did he bid you say you was the testator's brother?
Q. Who is that Brockman?
Prisoner. He is one who takes Rs off; he lives next door to the Crooked-billet, in Rosemary-lane.
Sarah Pointer . The prisoner married my daughter; he was unhappily drawn into this by one William Brockman , an Irishman, who has been at sea. I have been seeking for him night and day, but cannot find him; I know he did it, I was there when it was done; the prisoner is a harmless, honest man.
Guilty , Death .