On Thursday April the 4th, 1811, a man of the name of George Ratcliffe, suffered the sentence of the law in Kent for feloniously ravishing Sarah Roberts, at Plumstead, in that county. The prosecutrix was a young girl of the age of little more than 16; she gave the following account of the transaction:—
That she had been to her mother's at Bexley, and was returning home through a field in which the prisoner was at work with his team; the cart stood in her way, and she desired the prisoner to move it, which he did. She had gone on but a little way, when she was overtaken by the prisoner. He asked her where she had been, which she told him. He next inquired whither she was going, which she also told him. He then began some rudeness, which she repelled, but he threw her into the ditch; and, stopping her mouth with one hand, he perpetrated his purpose. She screamed and resisted as much as she could, and immediately as she got from him, she made her complaint to the constable. The prisoner was apprehended about two hours afterwards in the same field. The witness was confirmed in her statement by a woman lying in a neighbouring cottage, who heard her screams, and the constable who took the prisoner into custody. He found him in the field searching for his whip, which he had lost either before or at the time of the struggle.
The prisoner said the girl had been a consenting party to the act. The jury found him guilty, and the learned judge pronounced sentence of death upon him.