The Newgate Calendar - CHARLES CALLAGHAN,

CHARLES CALLAGHAN,
Executed for the Murder of Miss Gompertz's Butler.

            HARDENED depravity attended this unfortunate and guilty young man through his short and vicious life; for, though he was not more than nineteen years of age, he committed many depredations, and when justice overtook him he refused to repent. He died as he lived.-- without the fear of God in his heart.

            About the middle of December, 1813, the Misses Gompertz, who lived in Vauxhall, were alarmed one night by the report of a pistol, and, on going down stairs, found that their butler had been murdered by some villains, who had effected their escape. Several articles of plate were missing, and information of the robbery and murder was given at the different police-offices.

            Soon after, Callaghan, and one Hylas Parish, were apprehended on suspicion, as they were about leaving London, under very mysterious circumstances. No evidence, however, could be adduced against them, sufficient to detain them, on that charge; but, fortunately for the ends of justice, there were found on Callaghan duplicates of pledged property, which warranted their committal for a burglary in the house of Mr. Taylor, of Chatham.

            These youthful depredators had not remained long in prison when Parish was induced, in the hope of pardon, to make a full confession. He stated that himself and Callaghan became acquainted at Vauxhall Gardens, and that they subsequently lodged together in the London Road. Callaghan and he agreed to commit a robbery, in the hope of recruiting their exhausted finances; and Callaghan proposed the house of the Misses Gompertz as the object of attack, as he had lived there for some time in the capacity of footman. Having thus agreed on their plan, they went one evening, about dusk, to reconnoitre the premises; after which they went to the Surrey Theatre.

            When the performance was over. they returned, and, having gained admission into the garden, they forced open the kitchen window-shutter, but could not open the window itself, in consequence of which they cut out a pane of glass and, having disburdened themselves of their coats, they forced their way through. When they had got in, they were alarmed by a rustling. noise, .which soon ceased, and they supposed it was made by a cat. Parish stuck a light, he having some tinder with him; and, observing the tea-things on the dresser, they took up six silver spoons and a pair of sugar-tongs. Before they proceeded any further they took off their shoes, and then went into the pantry, where they were surprised to find the butler asleep in bed. This caused them to retreat into the kitchen, where they found two silver waiters. Callaghan then recollected that the butler had a watch, which always hung at the head of his bed, and desired Parish to go and fetch it.

            Parish accordingly went, and while he was feeling for the watch the unfortunate man awoke, and, thinking it was a cat that was annoying him, hissed it away; immediately after he started up, and ran to the kitchen window; at which Callaghan exclaimed 'Give it him -- give it him, Bill!' Parish accordingly, to intimidate the butler, fired his pistol into the ceiling; but Callaghan, coming up to him, placed the muzzle of his close to the unfortunate man's ear, aid blew his brains out. In their flight Callaghan left his shoes behind him; but they carried off part of the silver, which they pledged next day in town, except a small portion, which they carried to Gravesend, where they sold it.

            In consequence of this confession Parish was admitted king's evidence, and Callaghan was indicted at the Surrey assizes, March the 31st, 1814, when the testimony of his accomplice was fully corroborated by that of other witnesses. He made no defence, and was instantly found Guilty.

            On the ensuing Saturday he was executed, at the tap of Horsemonger Lane Prison, At half past nine o'clock he was removed to the chapel, from whence, after remaining a short time, he was brought out to have his irons knocked off, previous to his having the sacrament administered to him; in the course of which he was frequently exhorted to confess his guilt of the crime for which he was about to suffer. But the pious solicitude of the chaplain was of no avail; and in that state of obdurate hardihood which attended him throughout he was launched into eternity, after which his body was given to the surgeons.

 

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