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The Newgate Calendar - JOHN MAYCOCK


Executed 23rd of March, 1807, on the Top of the New Jail, Horsemonger Lane, Southwark, for the Murder Of an old lone Lady, Mrs Ann Pooley, in company with John Pope, who was admitted Evidence for the Crown.

   ON the 20th of March, 1807, Maycock and Pope were put upon their trial at Kingston, on a charge of committing this crime in the preceding month of August.

   The case was opened by Mr Knowles, who stated that it was one of a most aggravated nature, and perpetrated in the most deliberate manner, for the sake of plunder. From the compunctions of remorse with which one of the prisoners (Pope) had been visited, he had disclosed the whole of the guilty affair; and he trusted that, in the moment of need, at another tribunal, he might find mercy.

   Mrs Sarah Pooley, sister of the deceased, stated that her sister lived in Free School Street, Horsleydown, in a very retired manner, the house being almost constantly shut up, and no servant in attendance. The last time she saw the deceased was on the 26th of July when she carried her the dividend due on her stock, which amounted to twelve pounds. This sum she paid her in six two-pound notes of the Bank of England, all new. Having been informed of the murder, she procured a Mr Garrett to examine the house.

   John Mackrill Garrett stated that on the 20th of August he searched the house, and discovered the deceased lying on her back in the kitchen; her left leg was bent under her, her clothes were all smooth, but her pockets had been turned inside out. There were a pair of scissors, a thimble and a pen-knife lying by her side. The body was in a putrid state. On making a further search he found that all the drawers and boxes had been rifled, and that the murderer or murderers had entered the house by pulling out some bricks which were under the washhouse window. A Mr Humphries and his wife also assisted him in the search.

   Thomas Griffin, a corn porter, was acquainted with the prisoner Maycock; he met him about two months previous to the murder, when the prisoner said: "Tom, I'll put you into a good job." The witness asked what it was. The prisoner replied: "I know an elderly lady who lives by herself in a house which is shut up, and she is worth a deal of money; you and I, and a stout young fellow who works with Mr Burgess, will do her out of it." The prisoner did not tell the witness where the lady lived. He said his companion was formerly a bargeman at Ware. The witness refused to have any concern in the robbery, and when he heard of the murder he communicated the circumstance to his brother, who brought Mr Graham to his house (the witness being ill) to take his deposition. Previous to this communication, and subsequent to the murder, he had seen the prisoner, who told him he had plenty of money.

   Aaron Graham, Esq., was examined, touching the confession of Pope respecting the murder. Mr Graham stated that Maycock was not present when Pope made the confession, and that the proclamation offering a reward for the discovery of the murderers lay on the table. Mr Graham asked Pope if he had seen it, and he replied in the affirmative: that this question was put to him in order to induce him to confess.

   At this stage of the prosecution some discussion arose respecting the acquittal of Pope, it being contended by his counsel, Mr Guerney, that he was entitled to his acquittal, and that in fact he ought not to have been put upon his trial, he having confessed under the inducement of being pardoned.

   Mr Knowles, for the prosecution, contended that he ought to have been made a party with the other prisoner, but the Chief Baron ruled that Pope stood in the same situation as any other prisoner: that he had confessed under the promise of being pardoned, and that he was entitled to it. The prisoner Pope was accordingly acquitted, and the trial proceeded against Maycock.

   John Pope was then called, and his evidence was to the following effect: "I am a corn porter at present, but formerly had some craft at Bishop's Stortford, on the River Ware. I had known Maycock about a year and a half before the murder. About six weeks previous, he asked me to go with him to rob an old woman, who lived in a hugger-mugger way, at a shut-up house. We had many conversations upon the subject; and it went on till Saturday, the 9th of August, when he asked me to go that evening. I agreed. We got through the loophole, or kind of cock-loft window, which joins the Bull, and is part of the deceased's house. I took some bricks out in order to get in. I then unbolted the door and let Maycock in. We went down into the cellar, where we remained till about eight o'clock, when the deceased came down. Maycock went up to the top of the stairs, and the instant she opened the door he rushed at her, threw her down, and she screamed out: 'Oh!' I then ran upstairs, and saw Maycock kneeling over her, with his hand or arm on her neck, which he held until she was quite dead. She never moved after I first saw her. Said he to me: 'She is dead.' We then went upstairs and rifled the drawers, from whence we took out gold, silver, bank-notes and halfpence to the amount of ninety pounds. We divided the booty. The notes were all two-pound notes."

   The jury, after a short consideration, returned a verdict of guilty against the prisoner. The learned Chief Baron then sentenced him to be hanged on the following Monday, and to be dissected. When sentence was passed on him he observed, on going from the dock: "Thank you for that; I'm done snug enough."

   He was executed at Horsemonger Lane jail on the 23rd of March, 1807.

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