The Times, London, Monday 17th September 1827, p. 3.
OLD BAILEY Saturday, Sep. 15
Thomas Sackett was indicted for stealing from the person of Mr. James Sharp a pocket-book, containing bills of exchange and other securities to the value of 1,000l.
Mr. Sharp stated that he was clerk to Messrs. Hankey and Co. the bankers. On the day stated in the indictment, about four o’clock in the afternoon, he was passing through Copthall-court, going towards Bell-alley, when he was hustled by a number of persons, who tore his coat open and robbed him of his pocket–book, containing the above property. He could not identify the prisoner as one of the party.
Mr. Thomas Edwards, a member of the Stock-Exchange, stated, that he saw the prisoner among the persons who were actively engaged in hustling Mr. Sharp, and hearing from him that he had been robbed, he went after the prisoner, who was walking away at a very quick pace. He seized him, and de-tained him until the arrival of an officer. Two other men, who were with the prisoner, succeeded in effecting their escape.
Mr. C. Clarke stated that he saw the prisoner among the persons who hustled the prosecutor: two of them ran away, but the prisoner was secured by the last witness, and afterwards taken to the Mansion-house.
Brady, an officer, said he apprehended the prisoner. On searching him he found some silver in his pocket.
Two witnesses were called to his character, who admitted they knew nothing of him for the last six months.
The RECORDER summed up the evidence, and the jury, after retiring nearly an hour and a half, returned a verdict of Guilty – Death.
The RECORDER then ordered him to be called up for judgment: and, in passing sentence, observed that he was induced to do so at that period, because there might, perhaps, be present some of the prisoner’s companions in crime, and he trusted that the awful fate which awaited him might operate as a warning to them. Such was at present the state of the metropolis, that there was no security for property either in houses, warehouses, or when carried about the person: and it was absolutely necessary to make a severe example of those who, in mid-day, and in defiance of the law, and of that security which the public had a right to expect, dared to unite with a desperate gang to assault and rob persons engaged in their lawful business. He could not hold out any hopes of mercy to the unfortunate prisoner, and advised him seriously to prepare for the worst. He then passed on him the sentence of death in the usual form, which the prisoner heard with the most perfect indifference.
The Times, 17 Nov 1827, p. 2.
At the close of the Privy Council the Recorder of London was admitted, and made his report to the King in Council of the convicts capitally convicted at Justice-hall in the Old Bailey, at the last September sessions, when the following were ordered for execution—Keaton, Smith, Lowe, Powell, and Sackett.
The Times, 19 Nov 1827, p. 3.
THE APPROACHING EXECUTIONS
The five unhappy men who are ordered for execution on Thursday next, were all convicted at the September sessions. Their names are, John Powell, Thomas Sackett, Charles Smith, John Keaton, and Edward Lowe. [The crimes of these convicted men were not related.] [Report of Powell's conviction omitted.]
Thomas Sackett was convicted of stealing from the person of Mr. James Sharp, clerk to Messrs. Hankey & Co., the bankers, a pocket-book, containing bills of exchange and other securities of the value of 1,000£. Mr. Sharp was passing through Copthall-court, in the afternoon of the 4th of August last, when he was hustled by a number of persons, among whom was Sackett, who tore his coat open, and robbed him of his pocket-book, containing the above-mentioned property. Upon the prisoner's being convicted, the recorder told him that no hopes of mercy could be held out to him, as it was absolutely necessary to make a severe example of those who, in mid-day, and in defiance of the law, and of the security which the public had a right to expect, dared to unite with a desperate gang to assault and rob persons engaged in their lawful business. [Reports of other convictions omitted].
The Times, 22 Nov 1827, p. 3.
Last night a respite was received at Newgate for Thomas Sackett who had been ordered for execution this day. It will be recollected that Sackett was convicted of robbing an old gentleman near the Exchange of a pocket-book, containing bills of exchange to a large amount. The Secretary of State has desired it to be distinctly understood that Sackett's life has been spared upon the ground of its having been ascertained, subsequently to his being ordered for execution, that his character up to a recent period had been unimpeached.
(FROM A CORRESPONDENT.)
Shortly after two o'clock yesterday, a respite of the execution of this unfortunate man was received by Mr. Wontner, the keeper of Newgate. It will be the recollection of our readers, that the prisoner was tried and convicted in September last, for feloniously assaulting Mr. James Sharpe, a clerk in Messrs. Hankey's banking-house, and taking from his person a pocket-book, containing bills of exchange of the value of 1,200£. Sackett was one of five unfortunate beings ordered for execution this morning, at the last Council. Since that time, the greatest exertions have been made by many respectable persons, to avert the sentence; but they were uniformly told that nothing short of the most satisfactory testimonials to the character of the prisoner during the period immediately previous to his apprehension, could receive any favourable attention. Sackett's friends are most respectably connected, and he has two sisters married to persons of property and good reputation at Colchester. In their great distress, they applied for aid to Mr. Harvey, one of the representatives for that town; and with his accustomed zeal and energy, he immediately undertook to collect and arrange a body of testimony from persons of unimpeachable credit, which was forthwith submitted to the attention of the Marquis of Lansdowne, from whom it received immediate and successful consideration. We understand that Sackett began a life under very favourable circumstances. Having married the daughter of a substantial farmer at Rivenhall in Essex, he hired a large tract of land near Billericay in that county, where he conducted himself with the most exemplary propriety; but farming going ill with him, he left the country in 1823, and came to town, and with the remnant of his property he commenced the trade of a carcass-butcher in the Commercial-road. Shortly after this he lost his wife, and the event proved his downfall; for though it is to be apprehended that even before her decease he had formed some very irregular connexions, he was deterred by her judicious conduct and advice from yielding to their influence. Her death was the dissolution of his domestic comforts and he vainly sought for consolation in the wild and wicked haunts of desperate characters. Still there is reason to believe that Sackett was rather their dupe than their associate; and that the part he took in the daring outrage which had well nigh led to an ignominious death, was not that of an original contriver, but of a dependent auxiliary. We trust that the partial restoration of the property which has already been made, will not serve as a protection to the more hardened culprits, nor be the means of relaxing the efforts of Messrs. Hankey for their detection.
(From the Essex Herald.)
Sackett, one of the unfortunate men condemned to suffer on Thursday next, is well known as an inhabitant of this county, having first married the daughter of Mr. Sutton, a farmer, at Rivenhall. The father of Sackett was a calves' salesman to a very great extent, constantly attending Romford-market, and among other persons from town he became acquainted with Mr. Gibbs, an extensive carcass-butcher in Whitechapel, to whom he apprenticed his son, at a time when Joshua Hudson, the noted pugilist, was also under articles to the same person. After work the one led the other to the scenes of which Hudson has since been the frequenter, and Sackett ranks as no mean pugilist. He occupied a farm at Billericay, and has at time been possessed of considerable capital. A few years since he took by descent, owing to some informality, the extensive premises at Witham, occupied by the late Mr. Matthew Bernard Harvey.
The Times, 23 Nov 1827, p. 3.
Yesterday morning John Keaton, aged (as stated) 46, but we think his age could not be 40; Edward Lowe, aged 40; John Powell, aged 23; and Charles Smith, aged 21, underwent the extreme penalty of the law at the front of Newgate. [There follows a report of the crimes of the convicted men and a graphic description of their executions].
The scene altogether was more than usually solemn, and deeply affected all who witnessed the conduct of the men before they were brought out. The throng of spectators was very great.
Sackett was to have been executed with them, but he was on Wednesday afternoon respited.
The Times, 24 Nov 1827, p. 3.
Letter to the Editor.
Sir,—I beg leave to acquaint you that the paragraph you copied from the Essex Herald, stating that Joshua Hudson, the noted pugilist, was under articles to me, is incorrect. He never was in my service, nor am I aware that the unfortunate T. Sackett ever had any intercourse or acquaintance with him during his apprenticeship to me. I am, Sir, &c., A. GIBBS. 57, Aldgate High-street, Nov. 23.