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The Newgate Calendar - JOHN ELLEM

Executed for Ravishing a Young Girl

            THIS brutal and unmanly villain richly deserved the fate he earned for himself; for he that forcibly violates the person of an unprotected female is unfit to fill any station in civilized society, and commits a private injury which nothing on earth can recompense, as his unfortunate victim may be said to walk through life an animated corpse, shunned by the living, and insulted by the wicked and the thoughtless, while the commiseration of the humane only renews those tortures which nothing but death can assuage. The man who subjects a female, otherwise innocent and lovely, to such a life as this, deserves more tortures than are found in physical death.

            John Ellem, a wealthy rope-maker, at Barking, was indicted at Chelmsford, July the 14th, 1815, for ravishing Anne Pearson, on the 24th of March.

            Anne Pearson, the prosecutrix, stated that she was sixteen last Christmas. On the 24th, her master, his wife, and the servant boy, went out to go to London, but her master returned in about half an hour; it was about six o'clock: he asked her if the kettle boiled, and told her to get the things; there was no person in the house but themselves; having placed the tea-things, he desired her to go up stairs and fetch his pocket-book; she went, but could not find it; she called down stairs to say it was not there; he again called up to look into his waistcoat pocket; she did, it was not there; she told him so, and he desired her to look into his jacket pocket; it was not there: she then heard him coining up stairs, and she, having a suspicion of his intention to take improper liberties with her, shut the door and locked it; he knocked at the door, and desired her to open it; she refused, unless he would go down stairs; he said if she did not open the door he would break it open, adding, what the hell do you think I want with you? She then opened the door; he immediately threw her upon the bed: she got up once, and had reached the door, but he again caught her and accomplished his purpose; he then went down stairs, and she followed in about two minutes; he walked about the room whistling; she left the house in less than half an hour, and went to her mother's. On her way she met a young friend, who asked her what she was crying about. She said her master had behaved rude to her; she told her mother the same, but did not then tell her the whole. Her friend came in shortly afterwards, and she told her the particulars, desiring that she would tell her mother, as she did not like to do it herself. In the evening, when she went to bed, disclosed the whole to her mother, who (on the Monday), this being Good Friday, sent for Mr. Desormeaux, the doctor.-- She was subjected to a very severe cross-examination. She said she could not have been heard to cry out; she could not get to the window; she denied having had any loose conversation with a milkman on that same day; she knew a Mr. Smith, a doctor, at Barking, but she had never applied to him for any medicines, or had ever spoken to him. Her mother, Mr. Desormeaux, and Caroline Walker, were called, who confirmed her as to her immediate disclosure of the facts, except that Mr. Desormeaux said, that, in stating the mode of perpetration, she had described it differently with respect to confining her hands. The prisoner, being called upon for his defence, said he left it to his counsel. They called witnesses to show a contradiction in parts of her testimony. The washerwoman's girl said, that, when she had brought the waistcoat, she had another girl with her, and that she came in a laughing manner, as though nothing had happened; but the principal witness was Richard Baker Smith, who described himself as a surgeon and apothecary, now residing at Ilford, then at Barking. He said the girl came to his house about ten o'clock on the night of the 1st of April. When he opened the door, he supposed she came about a certain disorder, and he asked her if it was so. She said no; but some young men had been playing tricks with her, and she wanted some physic. A woman was with her, wrapped in a red cloak. He told her to come in the morning. He was sure it was her, as he knew her and her family. Upon cross-examination he proved a most ignorant man; so much so, that he spelt dropsy, dropsee, and fistula, festerly. He insisted, however, that he was a regular-bred medical man, and had two hundred venereal patients from Barking alone, and produced a certificate, which, upon examination, proved to be a certificate written by himself. The girl, who was confronted with him, most solemnly denied ever having spoken to him. He named also the mother's brother as his patient. He happened to be in court, and denied the fact. The witness said, 'If not him, he had had his wife under his care.' His lordship expressed great indignation at the conduct of this witness. The foreman of the prisoner was called to prove a conversation between the girl and a milkman on the day of the transaction, which she denied. He said two other persons heard it, but they were not present. The noble and learned judge having detailed all the evidence on both sides, the jury, after a very short deliberation, found the prisoner Guilty. His lordship immediately passed sentence of death upon him, assuring him that he need not hope for mercy in this world.


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