The Newgate Calendar - JAMES BELL

JAMES BELL
Transported for Stealing a Body.

            The great singularity of the offence, as well as of the apprehension of this fellow, induces us to lay their short particulars before our readers. The prisoner was of that class called "Resurrection men," and the crime of which he was convicted was committed by him and three of his associates in this horrible traffic.

            Bell on the 17th December, 1829, was placed at the bar at the Maidstone Assizes before Mr. Baron Garrow, under a charge of burglariously breaking and entering the dwelling-house of Daniel Redday, at Deptford, and stealing therein a shirt, a worsted comforter, and the body of a black man whose name was unknown.-- It appeared that Daniel Redday was a lodging-house keeper at Deptford; an unfortunate black man had come to lodge in his house shortly before the 20th of November, and on the 19th died suddenly. His body was laid out in a back room with the shirt on, and the comforter round his head, until a coroner's jury could sit on him. In the course of the night of the 20th the prosecutor was alarmed by a noise in the room of the dead man. Not choosing to examine into the cause from within, he went out of the house, and soon perceived a ladder placed up against the window of the room in which the corpse was deposited, and four men, of whom the prisoner was one, on the ladder. In his hurry to apprehend them he ran against the ladder, and the whole four, with the corpse, the comforter, and the shirt, came to the ground. Three of the four men made a successful retreat, but the prisoner was taken into custody.-- The jury found him Guilty, and Mr. Baron Garrow, after having commented upon the heinous nature of his crime, aimed as it was at the best interests of society, sentenced him to be transported for life.

 

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