Cache-Control: public, max-age=1024000 The Newgate Calendar: Henry Macnamara


Hotel Jewel Thief, who was transported for committing several Robberies, 21st of May, 1832

HENRY MACNAMARA was taken into custody on the morning of Sunday, the 29th of April, 1832, at the New Hummums Hotel, Covent Garden, on a charge of robbery, committed under somewhat remarkable circumstances; and on the following day he underwent an examination at Bow Street, before the sitting magistrate.

The prisoner had gone to the New Hummums on the previous Saturday night, and had requested to be accommodated with a bed. His appearance was such as to lead to a supposition that he was a person of respectability, and there was no hesitation in complying with his desire. His luggage, which consisted only of a carpet-bag, was conveyed to the apartment assigned to his use, and when he had partaken of a handsome supper he retired to rest. The New Hummums was a hotel much resorted to by single gentlemen, or casual visitors to the metropolis; and on the night in question its accommodation was as much in request as usual. Major Hampton Lewis occupied a sleeping apartment on the floor beneath that in which the prisoner's room was situated; and in the same corridor were other four bedchambers, all of which were also in use. In the middle of the night Major Lewis was suddenly awakened by hearing some person in his apartment, and on looking up he saw a man, attired only in his shirt and trousers, making his way towards the door, carrying off his gold watch, chain and seals, and also his purse. He jumped up and pursued the intruder, but did not succeed in catching him until he had reached the passage, when he seized him by the shirt and braces. The fellow struggled hard and succeeded in extricating himself, and ran off upstairs; but the noise had by this time alarmed the other inmates of the house, and instant search was made for the thief. Every room was examined; and at last the constables, who by this time had been called in, arrived at that to which the prisoner had been conducted. They found him in bed; but when they called him up they perceived that he still had his trousers on, and that his braces and shirt were torn. The detached remnants of these articles were found, on examination, outside the door of Major Lewis's room, having evidently been torn off in the scuffle; and the watch and purse of that gentleman were also discovered on the stairs leading to the corridor in which the prisoner's apartment was situated. This was a chain of circumstances so conclusive, as denoting the guilt of the prisoner, that he was carried off in custody to the station-house. Afterwards other four gentlemen, who slept in the apartments adjoining that of Major Lewis, discovered that they too had been robbed. One gentleman missed a shirt-pin; another some English and French money, amounting to about three pounds, fifteen shillings; a third a loaded pistol, which he carried for his protection, and his purse, containing a considerable sum in gold and notes; while the rings and purse of the fourth had been purloined from his dressing-table. In a room opposite to that which the prisoner had occupied the whole of these articles were found strewn indiscriminately about the floor under the bed; and with them was also discovered a key, which, on examination, proved to fit the lock of the prisoner's carpet-bag.

Many other cases were, at subsequent examinations, brought against the prisoner, who was recognised as having been guilty of almost innumerable offences within a very short period; and he was also identified by one of the keepers of Maidstone Jail as having made his escape from that prison, where he had been sentenced to be confined for three months as a pickpocket.

On Monday, the 21st of May, the prisoner was tried at the Old Bailey upon the charges preferred against him, and verdicts of guilty were returned. The crimes which he had committed rendered him liable to capital punishment; but the ends of justice, it was felt, would be amply satisfied by the permanent removal of this offender from the scenes of his former exploits, and from the opportunities of renewing his depredations, and consequently he was sentenced to transportation.