A Boy, executed at Wisbech, in 1810, for the Murder of another Lad of Twelve Years of Age
RICHARD FAULKNER was, at the Summer Assizes for Norfolk, 1810, capitally convicted of the wilful murder of George Burnham, a lad about twelve years of age, at Whittlesea, on the 15th of February, by cruelly beating him to death, for no other cause than for revenge on Burnham's mother, who had thrown some dirty water upon him.
The prisoner was not sixteen, but so shockingly depraved and hardened that after condemnation he repeatedly clenched his fist and threatened to murder the clergyman who attended the jail, or anyone who dared to approach him. Indeed he was so ferocious that the jailer found it necessary to chain his hands and feet to his dungeon, where he uttered the most horrid oaths and imprecations on all who came near him; and from the Friday to Saturday night refused to listen to any religious advice or admonition. At length, to prevent the termination of his existence in this depraved state, the expedient was devised of procuring a child about the size of the one murdered, and similar in feature and dress, whom two clergymen unexpectedly led between them, by the hands, into the cell, where he lay sulkily chained to the ground; but on their approach he started, and seemed so completely terrified that he trembled in every limb; cold drops of sweat profusely fell from him, and he was almost continuously in such a dreadful state of agitation that he entreated the clergymen to continue with him, and from that instant became as contrite a penitent as he had before been callous and insensible. In this happy transition he remained till his execution on Monday morning, having fully confessed his crime, and implored, by fervent prayer, the forgiveness of his sins from a merciful God!