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Extract from Stamford Mercury - Friday 06 August 1813



We last week recorded the conviction of Robert Kendell and Huffham White, for robbing the Leeds mail-coach, of whose guilt the connected chain of evidence of 38 witnesses afforded the most indubitable proof. The following is a summary of the evidence as it transpired on trial.

In the first instance, the arrival of the mail at Kettering, on Monday the 26th of October last, at the usual hour, with the different bags all safe, which were forwarded from thence with the Kettering and other bye-bags, were satisfactorily proved; as likewise the whole being safe at Burton Latimer, three miles from Kettering, when the guard after travelling about three quarters of a mile from Burton quitted his seat, and went over the roof of the coach, and rode on the box with the coachman till they approached near to Higham Ferrers when he resumed his seat behind the coach.

Having arrived at Higham, the guard, on going to unlock the mail box, discovered that the lock had been broken off, and on opening the lid, that the bags were taken away. At the different post towns the rest of the way to London, the guard gave information of the robbery; and on his making the circumstances known at the General Post office, the Postmasters-General, with that promptitude and anxiety for the public security so uniformly manifested by them on all occasions, immediately dispatched Bow-street officers to endeavor to ascertain how and by whom, the robbery had been committed. On Lavender's arrival in the country and making those enquiries he deemed necessary, he learnt that Kendall, a known suspicious character, lived at Wellingborough, in quest of whom he immediately went, and caused him to be apprehended; when, on enquiry, it appeared that Kendall with another man had travelled in a chaise-cart from Keyston toll-gate, Hunts, through Thrapston to Wellingborough, in the afternoon previously to the robbery, and that they would arrive at the point where the road from Thrapston to Wellingborough crosses the London road near the obelisk in the parish of Finedon, before the mail-coach would pass, and near to which place it was supposed the robbery was comitted, from the circumstance of four small bye-bags being found in the road unopened. On further investigation respecting Kendall's companion, there appeared very strong reasons to suspect that White was the party, as it was ascertained that he had occasionally been residing at Keyston gate, but was known by the name of Wallis. In consequence of these circumstances, so strongly combing it increase suspicion of White, rewards were immediately offered for his apprehension, which as at length effected through the vigilance and unremitted activity of the Post-office, and the aid it so judiciously and determinately called to its assistance.

From the evidence adduced, it was clearly proved that White was the companion of Kendall, and that they had been seen together several times, notwithstanding Kendall in his examination before the Magistrates, denied having any knowledge of the person who rode with him in his chaise-cart on the day of the robbery, and stated it was a person he accidentally met with and took up on the road.

In addition to the preceding circumstances, it further appeared in evidence, that about half an hour after the mail passed the obelisk at Finedon, two men were observed in a cart or gig travelling towards Wellingborough, and that one of them said to the other “It's a complete job, d—n you, drive on;” and that shortly afterwards one man in a cart or gig went through the turnpike-gate between Finedon and Wellingborough, who before he arrived at the gate was heard speaking to another person, who passed the gate on foot; the turnpike-gate keeper stated that no other cart or gig had gone through the gate that night. It was then proved that White and Kendall were seen together at Wellingborough the next morning (Tuesday the 27th), from whence the former took post-chaise to Bythorne, which is near Keystone gate, then kept by Mary Howes, who went by the name of Taylor; but at a short distance before he arrived there, he ordered the post-boy to set him down in the road, and he walked towards the gate. It appeared that after his arrival at the toll-gate, Mary Howes requested a person who was going through the gate to order a chaise and pair from the George Inn at Thrapston, to be sent to the gate to go to Huntingdon. The chaise arrived in a short time, and in which White and Howes immediately set off for Huntingdon, where they arrived about eight o'clock on Tuesday evening, and then walked together to Godmanchester; there they endeavoured to hire a horse and gig to convey them to Kisby's Hut, a public-house about 3 ¼ miles from Caxton, in Cambridgeshire: not being able to procure a gig, they went on the outside the Edinburgh mail to the Hut, where they stopped a short time, and were conveyed from thence to Caxton by the landlord in his taxed cart. From Caxton they travelled the direct road to London in post-chaises, arriving in Bread-street, Cheapside, about eight o'clock on WeDnesday morning, and were set down in the street. It appeared that in a short time after, White, accompanied by a woman, went to the Bull's Head Tavern in Bread-street, where the latter slept till Thursday evening, and the former till the Saturday following. One Samuel Richardson, a noted character, and who has been connected with the desperate gang of public depredators lately apprehended, swore that during White's stay at the Tavern, and previously to the woman's departure, White shewed to him a considerable number of notes and bills, which he told him had been taken from the Leeds mail, and particularly a bill of exchange for 2000/. which became due on the following day (Friday the 29th), and offered to sell them to Richardson, but the purchase of which he declined, saying that they would not suit him. The above 2000/. bill was identified as having been stolen from the mail that night it was robbed.

After the production of a variety of other testimony, all agreeing in the most satisfactory manner to substantiate the guilt of Whit and Kendall, the Jury, on receiving from the Learned Judge (Mr Baron Thompson) a charge distinguished for its impartiality, perspicuity, and humanity, found the prisoners White and Kendall guilty, and acquitted Howes, under the direction of the Judge, upon a point of law.

Immediately after, the Judge passed the awful sentence of death upon the two culprits, who are left for execution, which it is expected will take place on Friday the 13th inst.

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