British Executions

William Creak

Age: unknown

Sex: male

Crime: robbery

Date Of Execution: 1 Aug 1740

Crime Location:

Execution Place: unknown

Method: hanging

Executioner: unknown


Mail robber: Executed, much lamented, on Bagshot-heath, and his body hung in chains, where he committed the robbery.

   THIS is another particular case, which we do not find. any reporters who have gone before us to have noted.

   We have already observed, that this species of public robbery, was formerly, though never pardoned after conviction, very common. It is now a matter of surprise, to reflect that such vast property, as always has been remitted by post-letters, should have been so insecurely guarded in their conveyance. A lad with the mail behind him, often carried thousands of pounds through lonely roads, in the dead hour of night. Hence, where there could be no resistance, every lurking cowardly thief, was able to take the mail at his pleasure; but happily, the disposal of the plunder seldom failed of leading to a discovery of the perpetrator.

   When the unfortunate man, who is the subject of the present report, was tempted to swerve from the paths of honesty, in robbing the mail, he was a linen-draper of good repute, at Henley-upon-Thames. He married the sister of one Kitson, a maltster of the same town, by whom, it appears, he was seduced to commit the robbery; and who then, having received a part of the plunder, basely impeached, and brought him to an ignominious death. We say basely, though the public received benefit from the information of Kitson, yet cannot we divest ourselves of detestation of such individual treachery.

   In consequence of this information, a warrant was issued for the apprehension of Creak, who had repaired to London with the remainder of the bank-notes, in order to pass them away. After considerable search, he was apprehended in the borough of Southwark; in the very, act of putting off some of the stolen notes, for payment of linens, and when he found that he was apprehended he stuffed the remainder into his mouth, and actually swallowed them before they could be recovered.

   He was indicted at the Assizes held at Kingston, for the county of Surry, in the month of August, 1740, and convicted of robbing the Western and Portsmouth mails.

   This man, though his offence was of so heinous a nature, may claim some compassion from the feeling reader. He had a large family, bore an excellent character among his neighbours, and his credit was still good with his merchants in London.

   Unsuspicious of others, he had given credit to a considerable amount, and was deceived in promises of payment. It also appeared that this was the only piece of iniquity, in which he had been concerned.