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Newgate Calendar - CHARLES DON


Convicted at the Summer Assizes 1810, at Chelmsford, and Sentenced to Death, for Horse Stealing.

            CHARLES DON was indicted for stealing a cart horse, the property of James Goodeve Sparrow, Esq. of Gosfield. The horse in question had been seen about noon on the Sunday on which it was stolen, and was missed between four and five o'clock the morning following, when persons were sent in search of it. It was taken from the farm-yard of Mr. Sparrow. The prisoner arrived about half past seven on the same morning at a public-house at a considerable distance from Mr. Sparrow's, mounted on the horse without a saddle, and nothing but a halter, when he called for some beer, and said he was going to Cambridge, and offered afterwards to sell the horse, it being, as he alleged, too heavy for him. The landlord, having a suspicion, from his appearance, that the horse was stolen, said he did not himself want to buy him, but would undertake to find a gentleman who would buy him. He went accordingly to General Elwes, a magistrate of the county, who resided close by him, told him his suspicions, and brought the general back with him to his house. General Elwes, being of the same opinion with the land lord, detained the prisoner; and, in the course of the day, those who went in pursuit of the horse, arrived, and identified him, and the prisoner was then fully committed for trial.

            On being called upon for his defence, he said he had found the horse wandering on the road about seven miles from the public-house, that he had mounted him and rode him to where he was stopped, that he had never offered to sell him, but on the contrary meant to go forward with him to the end of his journey. Lord Ellenborough remarked on the inconsistency and dishonesty admitted by the defence, and left the facts to the jury, who immediately pronounced him Guilty—Death.


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