An Attempted Robbery at Berkhamsted

From The Times, 9th November 1818


Old News

Attempt at Robbery and Murder. A person has for some time been in custody on a charge of attempting to rob the house of Mr. Impey, near Berkhampstead, and murder his sister, an old lady, the only person at home when the attack was made. It appears from the investigation which has taken place, that a man entered the house on the 25th of October, knocked her down, and dragged her by the legs from the ground floor to the cellar, allowing her head to knock against each step in the descent; that in the cellar her cruelly beat her, and believing her to be dead proceeded to plunder the house, but was alarmed before he accomplished his purpose, and fled. Bishop, one of the Bow-street officers, who was employed to discover the robber, learned that a boy, named Joseph Bunn, had seen a man make his escape from the house about the time the atrocious attempt was made. It required threats to induce the boy to tell the name of this man, but he at last confessed that the person he had seen was the son of a respectable butcher, at a short distance from Berkhampstead. Bishop immediately apprehended the person referred to, and on taking him to Mrs Impey, she identified him, was confident that at the time he was exercising his barbarity towards her, that he was a man she knew, though he attempted to disguise himself with his hat, which was a very large one.

Joseph Bunn proved his seeing the prisoner in Mr Impey's garden, coming from the house at half-past 11, on the morning when the daring attack was made.

About the same time, the prisoner was met in a lane leading from Mr Impey's house by a man of the name of John Cannon, who called to him by name, but received no answer; he was then walking very quickly. John Cannon called upon him a second time, when he answered him, but apparently in a very reluctant manner, and asked John Cannon whether it was 10 o'clock; Cannon expressed himself surprised at the question, and told him it was above half-past 11, and observed that the church-bells had finished ringing long, and the people were all in church. The prisoner, whose name is Feardon, denied the charge, and attempted to prove that he was at another place at the time Mrs Impey stated that the attack to be made; but he failed in accounting for three quarters of an hour. He has undergone repeated examinations before the Magistrates, which finished on Thursday, when they fully committed him for trial, and he was conveyed to Hertford prison by Bishop, to take his trial at the ensuing assizes.