The Newgate Calendar - JOHN ALMOND


Convicted at the December Sessions, 1807, of forging a Will, and executed before Newgate

   JOHN ALMOND, aged forty-five, was an inspector of lamps for the parish of St James's, Westminster; from which, and another similar situation, he derived an income of about one hundred and fifty pounds per annum. Abraham Priddy was a lamplighter, living in Marlborough Row, Carnaby Market. The prisoner had lodged for some time at Priddy's house, and by that means became acquainted with his circumstances, and formed the plan of fraud for which he forfeited his life. His trial came on at the Old Bailey, before Mr Justice Grose, December, 1807.

   Thomas Harrison, a clerk in the Prerogative Office, Doctors' Commons, said that on the 11th of June the prisoner brought to the office a deed purporting to be the will of Abraham Priddy, by which the prisoner, who was declared in the will to be the testator's brother-in-law, was made his executor and residuary legatee. The will further stated that the said Abraham Priddy was possessed of three hundred pounds in the four per cents., and gave the sum of fifty pounds to his wife, and two other sums of fifty pounds each to two other persons, who were afterwards proved to have no existence. The prisoner had been formerly a clerk in the Prerogative Office, and had engrossed many wills, so that the witness knew his handwriting, and observed to him at the time that this will had been written by him; to which the prisoner replied it was. To this will was affixed the mark of Priddy, who, the prisoner said, was now dead. Everything was transacted regularly, and an attested copy of the will was received by the prisoner on the 12th or 13th of June. Witness acted according to the instructions of the prisoner, and wrote on the other side of the will, "Abraham Priddy, testator, formerly of Marlborough Row, Carnaby Market, and Smith's Court, Windmill Street, St James's, late of the hamlet of Hammersmith, died on the 10th instant." The witness perfectly recollected the prisoner's handwriting, though it was about twenty-three years since he was clerk in the same office with him, and he had never seen him write but once since then.

   Abraham Priddy said that he had known the prisoner sixteen years. One day he took the opportunity of advising him, for some trifling reason or other, not to go into the City to receive his dividends that half-year; to which witness replied that it was of no consequence to him (the prisoner) when he went. Upon witness's going into the City, however, some time later, the stock was gone, and was found to be transferred to the prisoner, who had given himself out as Priddy's executor. Witness added that he could neither read nor write, and had never made a will in his life. The forged will was now read, and the witness was asked if the prisoner was his brother-in-law; which was answered in the negative. Mary Priddy, wife to Abraham Priddy, said that, some time before this happened the prisoner had asked her, in the course of conversation, what stock her husband had in the bank. She told him, with great simplicity, that he had three hundred pounds four per cents.

   It was afterwards proved by John Rose, a stockbroker and Charles Norris, a clerk from the bank, that the money in the four per cents. had been transferred over to the prisoner, in consequence of his producing the forged will, and who, in that transfer, subscribed himself executor to the deceased Priddy.

   The jury, after a short consultation, found the prisoner guilty. On the morning of his execution, 20th of January, 1808, he received the Sacrament; after which he proceeded to the fatal platform, before the debtors' door, Old Bailey, when he was launched into eternity.

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