Human nature itself must be startled at the horrible crime for the commission of which this wretch was executed. The depravity of mankind appears in him to have met with one of its fittest and most atrocious representatives.
He was indicted at the Croydon Assizes, on Wednesday the 10th of August, 1831, for a rape upon Harriet Hogsden, his own daughter, a girl only seventeen years of age.
The evidence of the prosecutrix even placed the transaction in a blacker light than that in which it had previously stood. The prisoner and his family, consisting of his wife, the witness, and a younger sister, resided on Ashtead Common, in the county of Surrey; and so many of them as were able to work had employment on the farm of Mr. Haggett, in the neighbourhood. On the 27th of July, the prisoner's wife and youngest daughter went at four o'clock in the morning to work, the prisoner having been out all night. At six o'clock the prisoner came home and found the prosecutrix alone in the house. He then committed the fearful crime which was alleged against him, under circumstances of an appalling nature, which it would be impossible to repeat. The girl implored him to desist, and used every exertion in her power to repel his vile attack, but in vain. The presence of an infant -- the offspring, as the girl swore, of a former forced connexion with her unnatural parent -- had no effect in inducing him to desist, but only brought down oaths of vengeance if she dared to say one word of what occurred. The girl immediately sent for her mother and informed her of the dreadful scene which had been enacted; and the prisoner was, in consequence, taken into custody.
The prisoner, in his defence, strove to elicit from the girl that she had had an acquaintance with a packman, who was the father of her child, and that he had found him in bed with her on the morning in question, but without effect; the girl swore that she had never been intimate with any man except her father!
The wretched man then adopted a new line of defence, declaring that the girl was not his daughter; but this too failed, and at length the villain, driven from his second standing-place, asserted boldly that his daughter had been a consenting party to all that had occurred.
In a written defence which he put in, he endeavoured to persuade the jury that the charge had been trumped up by his wife and the prosecutrix, because they wanted to get rid of him; and urged that it was unlikely that he should be guilty of such a crime at such a period, when he had been up all night watching his mother's grave, where her remains had only been interred the day before; a fact which on inquiry turned out to be true.
The jury unhesitatingly returned a verdict of Guilty, and the prisoner was immediately sentenced to be executed; a sentence which was carried out on Monday, the 21st of August, 1831; when the miserable convict admitted the justice of his punishment.
We shall abstain from adding any further account of the life of this diabolical ruffian, exhibiting as its circumstances do a degree of sinfulness and crime not exceeded by any of those bloodthirsty murderers whose offences it is our duty to describe.
At his execution, as during his trial, he exhibited the most callous indifference.