Highwayman, who conspired a Revolt in Newgate and saw the Ghost of another Malefactor there. Executed 22nd of December, 1697
EXECUTED on 22nd of December, 1697, was a highwayman named John Shorter, of about thirty years of age. Whilst this fellow was in Newgate, about two years before, he had designed with some other malefactors to have seized on the waiters of Newgate, and to have burnt Mr Tofield's papers, the notary then in the lodge of that prison; withal designing to wrest the officers' arms from them, and to fire upon them if they opposed. They further designed to have bound the officers as they came one day from the chapel, and if they made the least opposition to have cut their throats; and that after their escape they would go on the highways, take travellers' horses, and, mounting them, would ride off. Moreover they had agreed that if anyone knocked at the lodge under the gate they would let them in and bind them also, and then lock them up with the officers in the dungeon or condemned hold. One of these confederates being a smith, he was to have been employed in knocking off the others' fetters; and if the turnkeys had any money in their pockets they would take it from them, to carry themselves off and buy provisions. And if the trained bands, or the mob, should come to seize them, they would fire upon them with the officers' blunderbusses, and would be masters of the prison till the King should send them a pardon, or else they would be starved or shot to death.
Shorter not only confessed this crime, but also owned that he knew of the murder of one Lorimer, in Newgate, but was prevailed upon by one Tokefield, and John Hart, not to discover it; he further said that the latter of these persons carried the bloody knife three days in his pocket; and he verily believed that the day before he suffered death himself at the gallows he saw Lorimer's ghost as he was at prayers in the chapel of Newgate, which put him into a great consternation, as was visibly observed by Mr Smith, the ordinary. Thomas Randol was one of the persons concerned with Shorter in this conspiracy. This offender was executed on Wednesday, the 22nd of January, 1695, for the murder of Robert Stevens, a Quaker. He was conveyed in a cart to the deceased's door, in Whitechapel, and from thence to Stone Bridge, by Kingsland, where, after he was dead, his body was hanged in chains on the gibbet he suffered on, and continued there till it was consumed by the weather.