British Executions

William Lee

Age: unknown

Sex: male

Crime: burglary

Date Of Execution: 20 Apr 1796

Crime Location:

Execution Place: unknown

Method: hanging

Executioner: unknown



Executed before Newgate, 20th of April, 1796, for Burglary

WILLIAM LEE was an Irishman, and he broke into the shop of John Dingwell and Gerald Baillieu, then eminent jewellers in St James's Street, and stole from thence a quantity of diamonds and other valuable articles. With this booty he set off for Dublin, and there offered a large diamond pin for sale, to Mr Ambrose Moore, a jeweller. Mr Moore, suspecting that Lee did not come honestly into possession of so valuable an article, interrogated him accordingly; and the thief replied that his wife lived as servant to the Princesses Elizabeth, Mary and Sophia, by whom the pin had been given her.

This story of Royal generosity did not, however, satisfy the Irish jeweller, who caused our hero to be apprehended as a suspicious person, and he was committed to Dublin Bridewell, where he offered the keeper, Richard Warren, seven hundred pounds' worth of diamonds to favour his escape, swearing that he would never discover the manner of his enlargement.

The keeper affected to agree to these terms, whereupon Lee delivered him a number of diamonds, but the faithless jailer detained both them and his prisoner.

News of this transaction reaching London, Messrs Dingwell & Baillieu applied to the Secretary of State, who directed Warren to bring his prisoner and the diamonds to London. On his arrival at the Old Bailey, Moore proved the transaction of the pin, and Warren produced the bribe of diamonds, which Mr Baillieu swore was the property of his partner and himself. Hannah Hannats proved that the prisoner set off for Dublin with one Sarah Chandler, who was disguised in man's apparel.

The diamond stealer was convicted, and executed before Newgate, on the 20th of April, 1796.