Tag Archives: trial

Making the News: Wybrants KINGHORN on trial

16 Sep

Wybrants KINGHORN is one of the few black sheep in my family tree, he is my half 3x great-uncle (perhaps more meaningfully described as the son of my 3x great-grandfather Thomas KINGHORN and his first wife Alicia DALTON). On several occasions I have written about Wybrants and his appearances in the Criminal Registers on Ancestry.co.uk and his rather unusual (and gruesome) cause of death.

    I have been spending some time looking into the mail coach accident that his grandfather was involved in, making use of the 19th Century British Library Newspaper Collection, and decided that the chances of finding a mention of Wybrants KINGHORN in the newspapers ought to be quite good. I wasn’t disappointed.

I found two reports in London newspapers of Wybrant’s activities from December 1853. The first is from The Standard (Monday 5th December 1853 edition) and provides only the briefest of details. It does include the word "burglariously" though which I am finding is a real tongue-twister to say.

MALBOROUGH STREET.

BURGLARY.- Wybrants Kinghorn was brought before Mr. Hardwick, on suspicion of having been concerned in burglariously entering the premises of Mr. Evan Astley, tailor, 72, Regent-street, and stealing therefrom property to a considerable amount. -The prisoner was remanded.

The second report is from Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper (Sunday 18th December 1853 edition) and it contains much more detail, than the first one, and makes fascinating reading.

SATURDAY’S POLICE NEWS.

MALBOROUGH-STREET.

EXTENSIVE ROBBERY. -Wybrants Kinghorn, a journeyman tailor, was brought before Mr. Hardwick, for final examination, charged with stealing a quantity of doeskin cloth, the property of Mr. Evan Astley, tailor, 72½, Regent-street. -John Foster deposed that he was in the employ of the prosecutor, and that on the night of Thursday, the 1st inst., about twenty minutes to ten, he locked up the workshop in King’s Arm-yard, and at a little after six the next morning he went and found the door open, and missed several coats, pairs of trowsers, and other articles, also three pieces of doeskin cloth, altogether of the value of 50/. The three pieces of cloth now produced he believed to be the same stolen from the workshop. -Mr, Evan Astley identified the cloth as his property. -Julia Pallett stated that she resided at No. 27 Broad-street. On Friday the 2nd inst., the prisoner came to her shop and produced three pieces of cloth, and told her he had got two waistcoats to make for a party, and asked her to lend him 4s. on them till Saturday, as he was hard up. She did so, and he left the cloth, which she subsequently gave up to Police-constable Ryland. -Sergeant Godfrey 5, C, said, he took the prisoner into custody on the night of the 2nd inst. He said he had taken the cloth, but knew nothing about the other property. Silverton, 323 A, proved that in May, 1851, the prisoner was tried and convicted of felony at the Westminster sessions, and sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment. -The prisoner, who denied the charge, was fully committed for trial.

 

There is one obvious discrepancy, Wybrant’s previous trial and conviction was in 1852 not 1851, which does make me question the accuracy of the report, but considering the official records may not have survived it is possibly the closest I am going to get to finding out what Wybrants KINGHORN got up to.

There is so much information in there, almost enough to create a re-construction of the crime. I shall certainly want visit the locations mentioned and find out about the other people involved. It also highlights the fact that I need to try and find some more details on his other criminal activities, to see what else he got up to.

For whatever reason though he was actually acquitted of the charge, despite having admitted to taking the cloth (according to the report). I would love to know how he managed to get away with it!

Criminal registers at ancestry.co.uk

3 Aug

Why do Ancestry always do this to me? I thought I had this week nicely planned out, I knew what I wanted to achieve this week and then Ancestry go and put up a new database, which I cannot resist exploring.

The database in question is the Criminal Registers (1791-1892) from the National Archives (Series HO 26 and HO 27). These have been in the works for a while as part of the Ancestry World Archives Project. I learnt about their release at lunchtime from the BBC News website, and couldn’t resist having a look on ancestry.co.uk and checking some of my surnames.

The disadvantage of this database is that it provides very little detail on what actually took place, but there is just enough here to provide a gateway to further research. I can see that newspapers are probably going to be quite useful here, and this database is going to open up a lot of interesting material that would probably never have come to light otherwise (unless an ancestor was found in prision during a census or was transported). Another good starting point mentioned by Ancestry is the National Archives research guide Tracing 19th and 20th Century Criminals.

A case in point is one of my elusive relations Wybrants KINGHORN (son of my 3x great grandfather Thomas KINGHORN). There are two entries in the database for him, the first trial on the 31st May 1852 resulted in imprisonment for 8 months for simple larceny. The second trial on the 9th December 1853 was for larceny in dwelling house after previous conviction, but this time he was aquitted. Both trials took place in Westminster, Middlesex which fits with what little I do know about him already.

Maybe the reason I can’t find him in the 1851 and 1861 census is that he was detained elsewhere or even using an alias. Whatever the reason I now need to follow this up and search for more details and clues to his whereabouts. I can see it is not going to be a quick process, but now Ancestry and it’s transcribers have provided me with a signpost it is up to me to try and find out more. Time to go and re-write my plans!

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