JOHN BOOTH.
27th October 1819
Reference Numbert18191027-54
VerdictGuilty
SentenceDeath

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1431. JOHN BOOTH was again indicted for that he, at the time of committing the several felonies in the first eight Counts of this indictment mentioned, was a person employed by and under the Post Office of Great Britain, in certain business relating to the said office, that is to say, in charging letters and packets brought to the General Post Office in London , at Saint Mary Woolnoth, and that on the 9th of August , a certain letter then lately before brought to the said General Post Office, to be from thence sent by the post, for and to be delivered to a certain person at Wrestlingworth, near Potton, in the county of Bedford, that is to say, to William Knapp , containing therein one half part of one bank note for payment of 10 l., value 10 l., and one other half part of one other bank note for payment of 10 l., value 10 l., came to his hands and possession whilst he was so employed; and that he, on the same day, at the parish aforesaid, feloniously did secrete the said letter, containing the said two half parts of the said bank notes, the said bank notes being in force, and the property of Thomas Ryder , against the statute , &c.

SECOND COUNT, the same as the First Count, only for stealing the half parts of the said bank notes from and out of a letter.

THIRD AND FOURTH COUNTS, the same as the First and Second, only for secreting and stealing a packet, and for stealing from and out of a packet instead of a letter.

FIFTH, SIXTH, SEVENTH, AND EIGHTH COUNTS, the same, only stating the half parts of the said bank notes to be the property of William Knapp .

FOUR OTHER COUNTS, the same as the four first, only omitting to state the value.

FOUR OTHER COUNTS, the same as the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth, only omitting to state the value.

SEVENTEENTH COUNT, for stealing from and out of the General Post Office, a certain other letter, then lately before brought to the said General Post Office, to be from thence by the post, for and to be delivered to a certain person at Wrestlingworth, near Potton, in the county of Bedford (to wit), the said William Knapp , and one other letter.

EIGHTEENTH COUNT, for stealing from and out of the Post Office a packet instead of a letter, and one other packet.

JOHN WILLIAM RYDER . I am clerk to Mr. Thomas Ryder , Lincoln's Inn. On the 9th of August last, by his directions, I enclosed the halves of two 10 l. bank notes in a letter; I have the two other halves, which were sent on the 5th, and duly received. I got them from Mr. Knapp, to whom they were directed.

Q. Look at this letter - A. This is the letter I wrote on the 9th, directed to Mr. Knapp, Wreslingworth, near Potton, Bedfordshire. I enclosed two halves of 10 l. notes in this letter - No. 2292, dated 16th of July, 1819; and the other No. 19002, dated 30th of June, 1819. I wafered the letter, and carried it to the receiving office in Chancery-lane, myself.

Cross-examined by MR. ALLEY. Q. They were halves of notes - A. Yes.

JOHN ANTHONY . I live in Chancery-lane; there is a General Post receiving office at my house. On the evening of the 9th of August I made up the bag as usual, and dispatched it.

COURT. Q. The bellman comes to you - A. Yes, I sent the bag, sealed, to the Post Office, at five o'clock.

SAMUEL HURST . I am check clerk of the receivers' bags, in the General Post Office. On the evening of the 9th of August I received the Chancery-lane bag as usual.

DANIEL STOWE , ESQ. I am superintendent president at the General Post Office. On the 9th of August the prisoner was employed in the Post Office, as a charger of letters, and had an opportunity of taking any letter brought to the office that night.

Q. In consequence of suspicion which arose, was he on the evening of the 9th of August brought into your office - A. He was, and Vickery searched him.

Q. Look at this letter - A. It was found in his pocket, it was then wafered, and had not been opened; it had the stamp of that night on it, and contained the halves of two 10 l. notes, which it does now - I saw them marked. Mr. Parkins asked him how he became possessed of it? I think he gave no answer.

Cross-examined. Q. It could not have come into his hands in the course of his employment - A. Any letter might come into his hands in the course of his employ; he was a charger of letters. This has not been charged.

Q. Can you undertake to say it came into his possession in the course of his employment - A. No doubt of it. It is stamped, and ought to have been charged. He was brought into my office between seven and eight o'clock. The letters go at eight.

COURT. Q. The stamping is done before it comes to the charger - A. Yes, my Lord; but the stamping is a proof that it came into the General Post Office - they are stamped in our office.

Q. Is a person who is skilled in letters, able to tell whether they have bank notes in them - A. It is our duty to look at the letters, to see if bank notes are in them. We have a strong lamp, with a reflector, and by holding a letter under that lamp we can see, without any difficulty, whether they have an inclosure or not - this would be charged a treble letter. It is the duty of the charger to ascertain that.

Q. Probably, when a charger saw it, he would not be

able to tell whether there were one or two notes - A. It requires experience.

(The notes were then put in and read, Nos. 19002, dated 30th of June, 1819, and 2292 dated 16th of July, 1819.)

JOHN VICKERY . On the evening of the 9th of August, I apprehended the prisoner at the outside of the Inland office, and took him into Mr. Stowe's office. I desired him to produce what he had about him; he took from his pocket this letter (looks at it), it was opened in his presence, and contained the halves of two 10 l. notes, which it does now; he was asked by Mr. Parkins, how he came by it - he made no reply.

Prisoner. I have nothing to say.

GUILTY . - DEATH . Aged 33.

London Jury, before Mr. Justice Park.


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