Tuesday, 17 May 2016

17th May 1816: A 13 year-old boy confesses to arson at Lawshall, Suffolk

The Bury & Norwich Post of 22nd May 1816 reported that in the evening of Friday 17th May 1816, a culprit had been found for the arson attack that took place at Lawshall on 12th May 1816:
Many persons under very suspicious circumstances were taken into custody, but no positive discovery had been made until Friday evening last, when a boy, suspected of being concerned in setting fire to his master's (Mr, Bradley's) barn at Lawshall, and committed for further examination, made a voluntary confession in the gaol to J. Benjafield, Esq. that he was the sole perpetrator of that act; and on further examination on Saturday, in the presence of Dr. Ord, Mr. Benjafield, Mr. Singleton, Rev. R. Davers, N. Colville, and P. Lathbury, (all Magistrates for the County) he repeated his confession, upon which he was fully committed for trial, by the Rev. Dr. Ord and John Benjafield, Esq. The boy, whose name is James Pleasants, is but little more than 13 years old—a sad instance of early depravity!

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