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The Newgate Calendar - JOHN LENNARD


Executed for Rape, 11th August, 1773

A PAIR of such finished villains as Bolland and Lennard can hardly be paralleled. The long course of iniquity of the former we have already exposed; yet, though on the same pursuit, there will be found some variety in the crimes of the latter.

Bolland was a principal in hunting down the miserable -- Lennard a follower; and hence their appetites in knavery differed widely in an honest master and his man. Bolland plundered by stratagem -- Lennard by force.

Vere, a sheriff's officer, having put an execution into a house of Mr. Brailsford, in Petty France, West minster, he placed Lennard, Graves, and Gay, three of his followers, in possession. On the second floor of this house lodged Miss Boss, a young lady, whom Lennard robbed of that which constitutes the fairest part of the female sex -- her chastity and peace of mind.

To enter into the particulars of the evidence given in Court, in proof of the guilt of this umnanly and most atrocious offence, would not meet every eye in its proper sense: we shall, therefore, let the outlines suffice.

On the 15th of June these three ruffians were in possession of the house for the cause above named; and the family were all out, in different pursuits of the means to raise money to redeem their goods, save Miss Boss, who was at work in her own apartment; when Lennard opened the door, and began in a familiar manner to speak to her. At first terror deprived her of utterance; but, finding him proceed to take those liberties which female virtue can never suffer, she resisted, screamed out, seized the villain by the throat, struggled until she was exhausted, and then sunk down, deprived of reason. In this situation, which would have raised the compassion of a brute, he used her in the way that constituted the offence for which he was justly executed.

A neighbour, hearing the cries of the distressed female, and suspecting some foul deed, knocked at the street door, and inquired the cause of the noise; to which Lennard, opening the window, replied that it was only a drunken woman: upon which the inquirer retired.

The three villains, Lennard, Graves, and Gay, were indicted for this cruel outrage; Lennard as the principal, and the others as accessories to the fact; and upon their trial they were all found guilty. Graves and Gay were burnt in the hand and imprisoned; but sentence of death was immediately passed upon Lennard.

Although convicted upon the clearest evidence, this obdurate man denied that he was guilty; and, on the Sunday before h suffered, he received the sacrament from the hands of the Rev. Mr. Temple, and then, in the most solemn manner, declared to that gentleman that he was entirely innocent of the fact for which he was to die; that he hd been repeatedly intimate with Miss Boss, with her own consent; and that all the reason he could conjecture for her prosecuting him was, that he had communicated this matter to Graves, one of the other followers, who availed himself of the secret, and found means to get into the young lady's room, and who really perpetrated the fact with which she had falsely accused Lennard.

In this story he persisted all the time be remained in Newgate; but Mr. Temple, suspecting his veracity, delivered a paper to Mr. Toll, another gentleman who usually administered spiritual comfort to the malefactors in their last moments, in which be requested him to ask Lennard about those two assertions before he was turned off.

This request Mr. Toll and his colleague punctually complied with, and the unhappy man then acknowledged that he had taken the sacrament to an absolute falsehood; that there was not a word of truth in his impeaching Miss Boss, but that he alone abused her; that he was taught in Newgate to believe that the falsehood might do him service; that be found his mistake too late, and all the atonement he could make was to acknowledge the truth before he left the world, and to beg pardon of God for having acted in so atrocious a manner.

All the charity which can be accorded to the fate of this most wretched man is to hope that his last confession and repentance were sincere, and that they might reach the throne of grace.

With Lennard, on the 11th of August, 1713, suffered the following malefactors at Tyburn -- William Eames, for uttering a bank-note of forty pounds, knowing it to be forged; Thomas Younger and Thomas Green, for a burglary in the house of Mrs. Mortimer, milliner, in Gravel Lane, Ratcliffe Highway; Joseph Holmes and Maurice Murry, for a burglary in the house of John Wiley, in Crown Court, Whitecross Street; and Thomas Plunket, for robbing Mr. Dudley on the highway.

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