Newgate Calendar - JOHN ROGER TURNER


Executed at the Old Bailey, May 5, 1805, for Forgery

            This malefactor had been clerk to Messrs. Stonard and Ryland, Corn-factors in Mark-lane, for several years, who were in the habit of purchasing stock for their country correspondents. By this means he knew that Mr. Waltham had 10,000l. stock in the 3 per cent. reduced. He informed a Mr. H. Engell, that he wanted to sell out 7000l. stock, requesting that Mr. Engell would recommend him a broker, the one that sold for him having run away. He was accordingly recommended to Mr. John Sherrot, a stock-broker, in Ratcliffe Highway, whom he called on, on the 8th of January, 1805, and gave him orders to sell out 7000l. stock. Turner was accompanied by another person, who afterwards proved to be his father-in-law, Mr. Price, a shoe-maker. Mr. Sherrott said he would have the business done the next day. They accordingly went to the 3 per Cent. Reduced Office, and the necessary proceedings for setting out were resorted to. Turner gave Mr. Sherrott a receipt for the value of the 7000l. stock, for which he was to receive a cheque. The receipt was in the usual form, and a blank was left for the attestation of the clerk at the Bank, after the transfer should be completed. Mr. Sherrott informed Turner, that before the transfer could be completed, the clerks must be convinced of his identity. He said, that he knew no person near the 'Change since his late broker had fled, and he therefore requested that Mr. Sherrott would satisfy the clerks on this head. Mr. Sherrott, however, fortunately declined identifying the man, whom he was a stranger to; when it was agreed that he should meet Mr. Sherrott at the Bank, the next day, with a friend, who would identify him. He, however, failed in the appointment; and Sherrott did not see him till half past four that day, when he came to his house, where he said that he had been in search of a Mr. Thomas Rutt, who had purchased stock for him, in order to clear up any doubts; but that he could not see him till the next day. Mr. Sherrott expressed great displeasure at the disappointment; for the stock had rose 2 per cent. and he was obliged to sell the stock at the price agreed for. Being hurt at the thoughts of paying these two pounds out of his own pocket, he was a little warm. During this interview, a Mr. Robinson, corn-chandler, in Ratcliffe Highway, who knew Mr. Turner, came in, and addressed him by name—"How do you do, Mr. Turner?" Turner pretended that he was mistaken in his person and name. When Mr. Robinson said, "Pray, don't you live as clerk to Stonard and Ryland?" Sherrott saw that he was confused; and told him, "as you said that your name is William Waltham, and it is not, I think it my duty to take you into custody:" and accordingly he charged an officer with him.

            On Friday, February 22, he was indicted at the Old Bailey, before Mr. Justice Le Blanc, for forging, uttering, and publishing, as true, a certain instrument, purporting to be a receipt for the sale of 7000l. of reduced 3 per cent stock, the property of William Waltham. During the trial, the above particulars were sworn to, and the receipt read, viz.—

            "Reduced 3 per cent. Annuities.
            "Received this 9th day of January, 1805, of Joseph Lightfoot, the sum of four thousand and seventy-seven pounds ten shillings, being the consideration for seven thousand pounds stock or share in the capital or joint stock in the 3 per cent. Reduced Annuities, consolidated by Act of Parliament, in the 22d of George II. and 25th of George III, and other subsequent Acts, charged to the sinking funds, transferable at the Bank of England, by me, this day transferred to the said Joseph Lightfoot.
            "Witness my hand,
            "W. WALTHAM."

            The prisoner's counsel asserted, that, as the receipt had not been signed by the witnessing clerk, it could not have the effect of forgery; but this objection was over ruled by the Court, who observed, that this indictment was for forging a receipt—it had nothing to do with a transfer.

            The jury found the prisoner guilty. On Wednesday, May 8, 1805, this unfortunate culprit suffered the sentence of the law on the scaffold, opposite the Debtor's door, at Newgate. He was a young man of prepossessing appearance and gentlemanly manners, fat and florid, and about thirty-four years of age. He was dressed in a black coat and waistcoat, white plush breeches, and boots. In place of having his hands tied with a rope, as usual, he produced a new muslin handkerchief, and for his girt, a silk twist, which were substituted. When he mounted the scaffold, the rain fell, almost in torrents, and at his own request he was instantly tied up, and launched into eternity. He left a wife, children, and an aged mother, to bemoan his untimely fate.


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