Convicted at the Old Bailey, and sentenced to Transportation for a Curious Kind of Fraud
FREDERICK SMITH alias Henry St John was indicted before the Lord Chief Baron and Mr Justice Laurence for stealing a three-hundred-pound bank-note privately from the person of Thomas Bartlett. The prosecutor, who appeared to be a very weak man, stated that he was a slop-seller, and that the prisoner was introduced to him by one Benjamin Davis. The prisoner was represented as a captain in the army.
The prosecutor had parted with his wife, who had gone to Ramsgate, but wished very much to be reconciled to her. The prisoner told him that his wife and two attorneys were in a conspiracy to have him declared a lunatic, that they would get all his property, and lock him up in a madhouse for life. He therefore advised him to sell all his investments so as to save the money from them. By his advice, on the 7th of July, he sold out one thousand pounds Consols., and received six hundred and nineteen pounds as the purchase-money.
The prisoner then told him that he had a scheme in his head to reconcile him to his wife: that they should both go down to Ramsgate, and, if she would not come too, they would then threaten to send her son to sea, as she was very fond of him.
They accordingly went to Ramsgate; but the prisoner pretended that he could never see the wife, and advised that they should go to Fulham, where the son lived. They accordingly posted to Fulham, and went to Mr Newbott's, where the son was; but the prisoner told him that he was gone to Oxford. This was on the 10th of July. They then came up to town together, and the prisoner pressed the prosecutor to drink all the way, by which he became rather forward. He had the notes and all the six hundred pounds in his pocket-book, in his coat-pocket.
They came up to London together, and went to a public-house in Soho, kept by one Kelly, where they had some tea; and, when he took out his pocket-book to pay, all the notes were gone. He immediately told the prisoner that he must have picked his pocket, as no one else had been near him. The prisoner appeared much offended, and threatened to knock him down.
It was found by other evidence that the prisoner afterwards paid the three-hundred-pound bank-note to Haywood & Co., bankers, at Manchester, with whom he opened an account under the name of "Henry St John," and the clerk fully identified his person.
He was convicted, and transported.