THE mischief attending forgery is still greater in the hands of a female of address, than of the greatest adept of the other sex; because in putting off the counterfeit, she is less suspected. When we came to the case of Anne Hurle, we did not, indeed, expect so soon to bring forward another woman guilty, even in a greater degree, of the same mischievous offence. Ann Hurle made her attempt upon a weak individual; but Mary Parnell took the public at large to impose upon, to the ruin of many a poor family.
Mary Parnell was, according to her own account, an unfortunate girl, aged twenty-three, who was indicted at the Old Bailey, July 12, 1804, for feloniously forging, on the 9th of the preceding March, a certain Bank of England note, value 5l., with intent to defraud the Governors and Company of the Bank of England. There were several other indictments of a similar nature.
Charles Baddeley, a shoe maker, in the Strand, swore, that the prisoner came to his shop, March 9, and purchased two pair of shoes: they came to twelve shillings and six-pence: the prisoner tendered him a 5l. note. Having looked at it, and compared it with another, he did not think it was a good one, and asked her where she had taken it. She said she could not tell. She took another bank-note out of her pocket, which appeared a good one. This, however, he returned, and said he would keep the first that she tendered, and take it to Bow street, or the Bank, on Monday morning, desiring her to come on the Monday morning, when she should either have the note or the change. The prisoner never called on the appointed day. This witness was particular in identifying the person of the prisoner: as she held her pocket-book in her hand, he observed, that one of her fingers was cut across: it was an old sore.
William Wilmot, foreman to Mr. Baggett, shoe-maker, Cranbourne-alley, Leicester-fields, said, that the prisoner came to his master's shop, March 9, about eleven o'clock in the evening, and asked for two pair of shoes, one pair of double soles, and one pair of single; the price was eleven shillings and six-pence. She tendered a 5l. Bank of England note: it had no name whatever on it: it was quite new. She drew it from a little red pocket-book: she seemed to be confused while doing this, and appeared to have more notes in the pocket book. The witness had not change enough in the till, and his master was not at home; he went, therefore, to Mr. Perkins, linen draper, next door to Mr. Baggett's, and procured change for the note. On his return, his master came in: he gave the change to him, and Mr. Baggett gave it to the prisoner, who took it and the shoes. William Perkins, linen-draper, corroborated the testimony of this last witness; and William Smith, a Bow street patrol, said, he found a pair of shoes in the prisoner's lodgings, and showed them to Wilmot, who thought they were the shoes he sold to the prisoner: they were double soles, and of the same size and description.
Ann Levermore, who keeps the Pewter Platter, St. John-street, West Smithfield, said, that the young woman at the bar, came to her house some day between the 19th and 24th of March, for a quart of brandy, the price six shillings: she said she had nothing smaller than a 5l. note, which she took out of her pocket-book. The witness went upstairs for change, and a friend of hers, Elizabeth Walter, who was sitting in the bar, saw her very much agitated. The witness gave her the change, and she asked the price of the bottle, which was three pence. She told her to take sixpence for it. The witness gave the note to Mr. Harris, the collector of Mr. Hanbury the brewer. She knew the note by the paleness of the Britannia, and the figures, 4 and 8, being larger than the others. Elizabeth Walter confirmed the above. She suspected the note was a bad one, from the agitation of the prisoner; and when she was going away with the brandy, she desired her friend to send her little girl out, to watch where she went to.
James Cook, an apothecary, residing in Bridge Road, Surrey, said, that the prisoner at the bar came to his shop in the middle of April, to purchase a bottle of Gowland's Lotion. She offered a 5l. note, and not having change, he directed his boy to get change for the note—She seemed anxious for the boy's return, and wished to get out, to see where he was gone. She was afraid, she said, the boy had lost the note. He was only gone about five or ten minutes. On his return, he gave her the remainder of the change. She had on a gown, with a white ground, and a chocolate spot. Robert Godyere, the boy, (twelve years old,) said, he went to the next door, as ordered by his master, to get change; but the shop being shut up, he went to Mr. Gower, who keeps the Red Lion, Globe-place, who gave it to him. William Gower confirmed the boy's testimony, and identified the note.
John Willats, a cutler, in the Poultry, said, the prisoner came to him on the 3d of May, and purchased a dozen knives and forks, which came to thirty-three shillings. She offered a 5l. note in payment, and gave her address, Ann Brown, No 57, Wood street, which name and address he wrote on the note. Stephen Walker, who lived two years at No. 37, Wood street, Cheapside, said, that no person of the name of Brown, nor the prisoner at the bar, ever resided in the house since he lived there.
The inspector of bank-notes of the Bank of England, and the engraver to the Bank, proved Mr. Baddeley's note, Mr Bagget's note, Mrs. Levermore's, Mr. Cook's and Mr. Willats's forgeries:—they were signed also with names, which did not exist in the Bank as cashiers.
Edward Crocker, one of the Bow-street patrols, who searched the prisoner's lodgings, in company with Mr. Bliss, found a gown, (which the prisoner acknowledged to be hers,) and a bottle of lotion. Mr. Cook said, that the bottle was like that which he sold, and the gown like that which the woman had on that purchased it. The prisoner, in her defence, said, she was a very remarkable person, and it was very odd they could not give a better description of her. She had a particular cut on her hand, as well as on her finger, and she had but one eye, which had not been observed by any of the witnesses. As for the Gowland's Lotion, a gentleman, she said, made her a present of it, with a shawl. She had no witnesses in her behalf, and the jury found her guilty. She was executed as above-mentioned.