CHARGE of ATTEMPT to EXTORT MONEY
by an INFAMOUS ACCUSATION.
I will frighten the gentleman, 1844
Saturday 6 April 1844
George Pampline, aged 16, and William Matthews, aged 17, were indicted for having, on the 23rd Nov. last, at Caister, accused Mr. Charles Moore, of Great Yarmouth, of an attempt to commit an abominable crime, with intent to extort money from him. Mr. Prendergast, with whom was Mr. Palmer, conducted the prosecution, the prisoners were undefended by counsel. The case having been stated by Counsel, the following witnesses were called.
Charles Moore said: I keep a draper's shop at Great Yarmouth, in the Market-place, near the King's Head inn, from which it is separated by an alley. I reside at Caister, about four miles from Yarmouth, in this county. On Thursday, the 23rd Nov. last, I had been coursing at Somerton. On the evening of that day, I was at the house of Mr. Wigg, at Caister. At five o'clock on the same evening, in consequence of a message delivered, I went into the yard. There was a boy in their yard who said he wanted to speak to me. There is a bullock shed in the yard. I see the boy now who was in the yard. He is the taller one of the two, named Pampline. He asked me to give him some halfpence. I asked him who he was, and where he came from? Before he had an opportunity of answering me, the other boy, Matthews, jumped out from behind the bullock shed, and said to me, I know your name; your name is Moore, you are a shop-keeper, and live at Yarmouth, in the Market-place. I saw you acting with that boy, (pointing to Pampline), the night before last, in a Court at Yarmouth; and if you do not give us something, we will make you pay dearly for it. I immediately went back to Mr. Wigg, who was standing a few yards from me. I asked him to walk with me to the boys. He did so. The other boy was there when Matthews repeated the words. I asked him what he had to say, and he repeated the words. I enquired at what hour? and he said at or about eight o'clock. I then went up to him and he avoided me, and went forward. I said, You young blackguard, I did not happen to be in Yarmouth at that hour. I gave him a kick, and he ran away. I had a great coat on, and could not stir about so brisk as I otherwise would have done. Matthews having ran away, I turned to Pampline, and asked him his name. He made me no answer; I repeated the question again, and he said, I should not have come here, if it had not been for the other boy. I told him, I would see him at the police-office, on the following morning. I gave a description of the boys to my assistants, and afterwards gave them in charge of the police. They were taken at first before the Borough Magistrates, and afterwards the case was heard before the County Magistrates. Mr. Moore, in answer to a question, said, that the young men in the shop were on the look-out for the boys on the following day; and saw them go past the window. They were brought in.
Mr. Mayers Wigg said, I am a farmer, living at Caister. On Thursday, the 23rd Nov., the prosecutor was at my house. He was called into the yard; I did not go out with him, but was standing at my door. I saw the prisoners in the stable yard. Mr. Moore called me, and on my going up to him, he said, in the boys' presence, What have you to say?! The boy Matthews said, pointing to Mr. Moore, I saw you acting with that boy, the night before last, about eight o'clock in a Court at Yarmouth. Mr. Moore observed, You hear what he says. The boy Matthews again said, I won't say exactly; but it was about eight o'clock. Mr. Moore said, You young blackguard, I was at Caister at that time; and he then gave the boy a kick, and he ran away. Pampline staid behind. Mr. Moore asked him his name, but he did not answer. Pampline, when again asked what he had to say? muttered, I did not know it was you, Sir; I would not have come here but for the other boy.
Pampline here asked, Did he not put something in my hand? Mr. Wigg. I never saw the prosecutor give you any thing.
Charles Christopher Nuttall, said, I am a shopman to Mr. Moore. I reside with him at Caister, and attend the shop during the day at Yarmouth. I close the shop generally about eight o'clock in the evenng. I remember Mr. Moore being at Mr. Wigg's, at Caister, on the 23rd November. He came home from Mr. Wigg's, and made a communication to me. He described the prisoners. I was standing in the middle of the shop, next morning, when I saw two boys go past. I saw them go past the shop door, and stop against the window. I went and asked the boys to come in. I brought them into the shop, and then called Mr. Moore. He was in the counting-house at the time. He came, and desired me to send for a policeman. I did so, and the prisoners were taken into custody. On the prior Tuesday evening, Mr. Moore left the shop to go home about half-past six. He got home on that evening about half-past seven o'clock. I found him at home writing in his parlour. It was his general custom to walk home two or three nights in the week.
Elizabeth Dyson, deposed, I am servant to Mr. Moore, at Caister. On Tuesday, the 21st November, Mr. Moore came home to Caister at half-past seven o'clock. I know the time because the parlour fire was not then lighted. He did not go out after that. Casiter is distant from Yarmouth about four miles.
Ann Sherlock said, I remember my master coming home on Tuesday evening at half-past seven o'clock, beause I had not lighted the fire when he came home. The usual time for lighting the fire was eight o'clock. He did not go out again that evening.
Wm. Brooks deposed as follows: I live with Mr. Moore, at Yarmouth, as errand boy. I remember on a Tuesday evening, last November, two boys were looking in at the shop window. I know the prisoners at the bar to be the same bys. They asked me where Mr. Moore lived? I told them I would show them where he lived. they asked me, has Mr. Moore been walking up and down the shop? I said Yes. They asked me where his residence was? and I told them at Caister. Nothing more passed. The prisoner then walked away. This was about ten minutes after six o'clock in the evening. Mr. Moore was still in the shop.
Benjamin Collin said, I am a house-carpenter at Yarmouth. I also fiddle at the Half Moon tap public-house in the evening; it is not far from Mr. Moore's shop; I was there in the evening of Tuesday, Nov. 21; I went there about six o'clock. I saw the two prisoners come in about half-past six o'clock on the same evening; they had a pint of beer, and they asked for lodgings; they remained in the Half Moon tap all that evening up to 11 o'clock. I asked Matthews where he came from? and he said from Chelmsford; they were horse-keepers, and had come to Yarmouth after work. I saw the prisoners on the next evening, about six o'clock, as I was going down the Market-place. They asked where Mr. Moore's shop was? and I told them a little further on.
Mr. Samuel Barnard Cory, said, I am Clerk to the Magistrates of Norfolk, at Yarmouth. The prisoners were brought before the Magistrates there upon this charge. They heard the charge made against them, and the witnesses examined. Both of them made and signed statements. They were told that whatever they said would be taken down in writing, and might be used against them at a future time.
The examination of Matthews was put in and read, in which he stated, that the accusation he had made was not true, and that Pampline incited him to make it.
Mr. Bateman sworn, said, I am one of the magistrates of Yarmouth; and I heard this case on Friday, the 24th Nov.; Pampline said, he wished to make a statement; I told him, whatever he said would be taken down in writing, and it might be produced against him on a future occasion.
Mr. Samuel Palmer deposed, I was present when the prisoner made a statement before Mr. Bateman. I took the statement down in writing. It was not signed, in consequence of the absence of the Clerk.
The examination of the prisoner Pampline was then read, in which he detailed particulars of an alleged interview with Mr. Moore, unfit for publication.
Pampline being called upon to state what he had to say in defence, merely asserted that his former statements were true.
Matthews said, all that I know, is what my partner told me. I know nothing more than that I saw some gentleman go down the row with him. I know nothing more about it.
The learned Judge, in summing up, stated the law in reference to such offences. Any one accusing, or threatening to accuse, a person of an unnatural offence, with a view to extort money, was guilty of a felony. His Lordship having recapitulated all the circumstances as contained in evidence, the jury consulted for a few minutes, and returned a verdict of guilty against both the prisoners.
The learned Judge, in passing sentence, said, you boys have been found guilty of a very serious offence indeed, that of accusing a person of unblemished character, and which character will not be at all affected or injured by the inquiry in this court to-day, of an unnatural crime, the bare mention of which makes one shudder, in order to extort money. The punishment for this offence might be transportation for life; but as you are very young, I shall not cause that sentence to be carried into effect. I shall, however, pass a sentence upon you, that will deter you, and others, from doing any thing of the kind again. I must make you an example, that will prevent other boys from accusing any man of any offence, much more prevent others from accusing any person of a crime of this description. The sentence of the Court is, that you, and each of you, be imprisoned, and kept to hard labour for one year the first fortnight in solitary confinement, and that each of you be twice publicly whipped during that time.
We understand, that Matthews made a confession after his committal to gaol, of which the following is a copy.
My name is William Matthews, I am 17 years of age. I belong to Braintree, in Essex; I left Chelmsford last Wednesday week, the 15th November, with George Pampline, and came to Yarmouth on Tuesday last, about 4 p.m. The same evening when we were at the Half Moon drinking some beer, Pampling said to me Bill, I shall have three or four sovereigns to-morrow. I asked him how he said, I will frighten the gentleman out of it. I says how he says, because he took me up in the court and said he would see me again. Pampline says if he will not give me any money we'll say we will go up to the police station and get a policeman. He said, you must swear you saw him go into the court with me, and then ran away, and that I had not seen him (Pampline) before, and that I did not know him. Pampline then told me to be sure and swear what he had told me and all would be right. We then went to bed together about eleven o'clock. I am truly sorry for what I have said, and humbly beg Mr. Moore's pardon. I did not know him at all nor did I see him.
SOURCE: Norfolk Chronicle, 6 April 1844.
CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "I will frighten the gentleman, 1844",
Homosexuality in Nineteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 8 October 2016