Who picked Pockets at Newgate, became a Highwayman, and was executed for stealing Ribbons, 31st December, 1750
JOHN EVERETT was a native of Hertford, in which town he served his apprenticeship to a baker. The young men in the neighbourhood declined associating with him, and held him in universal abhorrence, so ungracious were his manners and so strong was his propensity to wickedness.
Upon the expiration of his apprenticeship he connected himself with a gang of notorious gamblers and other dissolute wretches, in conjunction with whom he perpetrated a great number of villainies, but for several years escaped the vengeance of the law.
By persuasions and the promise of a sum of money Everett and a man named Wright induced a young woman to make a charge of felony against two innocent men, who were put on their trial, but happily acquitted, as the perjured evidence was not able to authenticate her accusation. In revenge for their failing to supply the girl with the money they had promised she lodged an information against Everett and Wright, who were in consequence indicted for subornation of perjury, and sentenced to stand in the pillory at the end of Chancery Lane, where they received very severe treatment from the populace.
Soon after the above punishment had been inflicted Everett was tried at Hicks's Hall, and sentenced again to stand in the pillory, for having fraudulently obtained a thirty-six-shilling piece. He was afterwards convicted of having circulated counterfeit Portugal coin, and ordered to be imprisoned for two years in Newgate.
Soon after Everett's trial a company of gentlemen went to Newgate to visit a criminal, and in a short time they discovered that they had been robbed of their handkerchiefs. The circumstance being mentioned to Everett, he pretended to be much surprised, and intimated that there was but little probability of the property being recovered. However in a little time he produced the handkerchiefs, and received some money from the gentlemen as a reward for his supposed honesty.
While he remained in Newgate he picked the pockets of almost every person who came to visit the prisoners. He was continually uttering the most reprobate speeches, and seemed to delight in the practice of every species of wickedness. Upon the expiration of the time he was sentenced to remain in prison he found sureties for his good behaviour for two years, and was discharged.
Having stopped a young gentleman in Fleet Street, he was asked if a robbery was intended, upon which he knocked the gentleman down; but a large dog belonging to the injured party immediately seized the villain, who, with great difficulty, disengaged himself just in time to escape being secured by the watch.
Everett and a woman of the town went to a small inn at Hoddesdon, in Hertfordshire, which was kept by an old widow, and being invited into a room behind the bar, after having each drunk a glass of wine, the widow and her female guest went to walk in the garden. In the meantime Everett broke open a bureau and stole sixty pounds in cash and several gold rings. They kept the widow in conversation till the time of going to bed, in order to divert her from going to the bureau, and the next morning decamped with their booty. They took the road to Nottingham, whence they crossed the country to Newmarket, and then returned to London.
Everett's numerous villainies had rendered his name so notorious that he was fearful of being apprehended, and therefore he went under the name of George Anderson, and lived in a very private manner till the money he had obtained was expended.
He now procured a knife eighteen inches long, and determined to levy contributions on passengers on the highway. On the road between Kentish Town and Hampstead he attempted to rob a countryman; but he being of an intrepid temper a desperate contest ensued, in which Everett proved the conqueror, and dangerously wounded his antagonist, from whom he, however, obtained but a small booty.
At length he was detected in stealing a quantity of ribbons in a shop in London, and was apprehended, but not without making a vigorous resistance, in doing which he dangerously wounded the shopkeeper in the face and hands with a knife.
For this crime he was tried at the Old Bailey, convicted, and received sentence of death. The night after the warrant for his execution arrived he laid a plan to escape. He was furnished with implements for this purpose, and for sawing off his fetters, by his wife and his kept mistress, who, on this occasion, agreed. Being discovered, the former was sent to one of the compters, and his concubine to the other. On this he behaved so insolently and outrageously that it was necessary to chain him to the floor of his cell, where he remained, blaspheming and threatening vengeance to the keeper and turnkeys, until he was brought out for execution.