10th September 1788
Reference Numbert17880910-23

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519. MICHAEL CONNER was indicted for feloniously returning from transportation, and being found at large , on the 10th of July last.

When the prisoner was arraigned he pleaded guilty; when he was thus addressed by the Recorder; I think it right that you should be fully informed of the consequences of your plea before it is recorded; if you expect to receive any favor from the court, or from your sovereign, on account of your pleading guilty, you may probably be deceived in that expectation, and the consequence of your pleading guilty, if it is recorded, will be exactly the same, whatever that might be, as if you was found guilty by a verdict of the jury; therefore it is for you to consider, whether you will abide by your plea of guilty, or take your chance of acquittal by a jury of your country: are you guilty or not guilty?

Prisoner. Gentlemen, I am guilty; when I found the gates open, I walked out of the gates; I saw nobody to hinder me or to stop me; I went at my liberty; I have three small children and a wife; they had no support; I had served my king and country abroad during the time of the war; and I thought it very hard to be kept here.

Court. Upon your plea of guilty; the only thing the court has a power to do, is to give judgment of death against you; if you have any matter to offer in excuse, in that case it must go in the form of a petition to your sovereign; but if you have any matter to lay before the court it must be by evidence; then this prisoner pleaded, not guilty.

JOHN OWEN sworn.

Here is a certificate of the prisoner's conviction.

(Produces it.)

(Read by Mr. Shelton, and examined by the Court.)

On the 3d day of May last, the prisoner made his escape from the Goal of Newgate;

afterwards Mr. Pitt and I apprehended him on the 10th of July, in Bambridge-street, St. Giles's; I know the prisoner to be the man that was convicted in April sessions; I am positive of it; I put him to the bar to take his trial; I took him away; and I afterwards brought him up to receive sentence; I recollect his being tried for stealing an iron bar, value 10 d. the property of John Edger , Esq;

Prisoner. Please to ask him what I was doing when he took me? - He was in a back yard filling a barrow, I believe, with some rubbish or mortar; he was doing some work.

JOHN PITT sworn.

I have no more to say, than that he escaped from me the 3d of May last, and we retook him the 10th of July.

Where did he escape from? - Newgate.

Prisoner. What was I doing when you took me? - He was filling a barrow with something; he was at work.


My Lord, I have a wife and three small children; my wife came to me several times, and said her children and she were very much distressed; as I was in confinement, knowing that they were in this distress, I found the opportunity of walking out of the gate, when I saw the rest of the strangers going out, and I walked out along with them; I have no witnesses; they all told me I was to be tried the last day of trying; I will fetch them tomorrow; I will bring my master who I have worked for these four years.

GUILTY , Death .

Tried by the second Middlesex Jury before Mr. ROSE.

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