Executed before Newgate, 8th of February, 1804, for Forgery, at the Age of Twenty-two
ANN Hurle, only twenty-two years of age, was on Saturday, 14th of January, 1804, capitally indicted at the Old Bailey for having forged and counterfeited, uttered and published, as true, in the City of London, a letter of attorney, with the name of Benjamin Allin thereunto subscribed, purporting to have been signed, sealed and delivered by a gentleman of that name, residing in Greenwich, in the county of Kent, a proprietor of certain annuities and stock, transferable at the Bank of England, called "Three per Cent. Reduced Annuities," for the purpose of transferring the sum of five hundred pounds of said annuities to herself, with an intent to defraud the Governor and Company of the Bank of England, against the statute.
George Francillon, a stockbroker, said he was acquainted with the prisoner at the bar for five or six months, and recollected her applying to him on Saturday, the 10th of December, at the Bank Coffee-House, requesting him to take out a power of attorney for the sale of five hundred pounds Reduced. She told the witness it was to be taken out of the stock of a Mr Benjamin Allin, of Greenwich, who, she said, was an elderly gentleman; she also said she had been brought up in his family from her infancy, and that her aunt had been for many years housekeeper and nurse to Mr Allin. The prisoner then said that this five hundred pounds stock was a gift Mr Allin had made to her for her great attention to him during her stay at his house. The witness, on hearing this, took out a power of attorney from the bank office, and delivered it to her that same day, when he desired her to take it to Greenwich, in order to get it executed. She told the witness she would have it executed that afternoon and return with it on the Monday morning, in order to transfer the stock into her own name. She accordingly brought back the deed on Monday morning, at eleven o'clock, executed in the name of Benjamin Allin. He then desired her to wait a few minutes till he went to the proper office at the bank, in order to have the power passed; and as she had said she was inclined to sell the stock, he told her he would inquire the price of it in the market and let her know. Having left the power of attorney at the bank, he returned in about twenty minutes afterwards, and the clerk of that office told him that Mr Bateman, the clerk who passed the powers, desired to see him. He accordingly went, in company with the prisoner, to the gentleman, who said that the signature of Benjamin Allin differed from that gentleman's handwriting which they had at the bank. The witness told Mr Bateman he did not know Mr Allin, but only Ann Hurle, who wished the power of attorney. She, on being questioned by Mr Bateman, said she had been brought up in Mr Allin's family from a child, that he was a very old man -- nearly ninety years of age, in a very infirm state of health, and, if the handwriting differed, she could account for it in no other way but by his not being accustomed to writing, which might occasion some difference in the signature; but if it was necessary she said she would take out a fresh power of attorney.
Benjamin Allin said he resided at Greenwich, and had a person of the name of Jane Hurle in his service, and knew Ann Hurle, her niece, but had not been much in her company, nor in any company whatever. On being shown the power of attorney, he deposed that it was not in his handwriting, and that he had not signed any paper since the first day of December.
The prisoner was called on for her defence, but she made none, saying she left it to her counsel. No witnesses were adduced to speak in her behalf. She was much affected, and fainted twice during the trial. The jury, after deliberating a short time, returned a verdict of guilty.
The unfortunate Ann Hurle was ordered for execution. She was brought out of the debtors' door in Newgate at eight o'clock. The mode of execution by the drop having been for the time changed to that of the common gallows, she was put into a cart and drawn to the place of execution, in the widest part of the Old Bailey, where she expiated her offences in penitence and prayer. When the halter was fixed she seemed inclined to speak, but her strength evidently failed, and she was incapable. Her appearance, upon the whole, excited emotions of compassion among the spectators, who at last became so clamorous that the sheriff, in a loud voice, described to them the impropriety of their behaviour; after which they were more silent. The cap was then pulled over the face of the sufferer and the cart drawn away. As it was going she gave a faint scream, and for two or three minutes after she was suspended she appeared to be in great agony, moving her hands up and down frequently.