Selling Sparrows
Convict Database
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Victorian Punishment
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The three accused men had been born and bred in Bedfordshire. The first, Thomas Dockerill from Stanbridge, was believed to be the ringleader of the gang. Dockerill was much the tallest of the three at nearly 6ft, and the eldest at twenty-nine years.

The second man, George White, was raised in the tiny hamlet of Thorn, but now resided in Houghton Regis. George was twenty-four years old, 5ft 7ins tall with a fresh complexion, round face, light brown hair and grey eyes. He was of stocky or stout appearance and wore a light smock, common to agricultural labourers at this time, breeches, and leggings adorned with bright buttons.

The third man, William White, was from Chalk Hill, Dunstable, also known as Puddlehill. He was the youngest at twenty-two years and the shortest, standing 5ft 5ins tall and with light hair and blue eyes. His normally pale complexion was heightened by his obvious nervousness of the proceedings.
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At the start of the trial, which was to last nearly six hours, it was by no means certain that the prosecution had a strong enough case against George and William White to get a conviction. But the evidence against Thomas Dockerill was quite conclusive. The case against the Whites rested solely on the identification by the two police officers, one of whom could not be certain, especially in the case of William, that they had the right men.
Witnesses both for the prosecution and for the defence sat eyeing each other, waiting to be called to give evidence. But for Dockerill there was no witness.
At the end of the proceedings, when the verdict was pronounced it caused much excitement, with shouts from the accused, and William being carried from the dock in a dead faint.
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