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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Jealousy
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: November 14, 1768
Date of arrest: Same day
Date of birth: ????
Victim profile: William Pimlot
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife
Location: London, England, United Kingdom
Status: Executed by hanging at Tyburn on December 21, 1768

Elizabeth Richardson

Executed at Tyburn, 21st of December, 1768, for murdering an Attorney-at-Law, in Symond's Inn, Chancery Lane

THIS unhappy woman was seduced from the precepts of virtue and honour at an early period of life, and, after subsisting some years on the wages of casual prostitution, was taken into keeping by Mr Pimlot, an attorney-at-law, who had chambers in Symond's Inn.

Whether she had cause for jealousy is uncertain, but she was inflamed with that passion to a degree of violence, and frequently went to his chambers in the expectation of finding him engaged with some other woman.

One Sunday evening Mr Pimlot was engaged with some friends at a house in Fleet Street; and Richardson, going to his chambers and finding him not there, determined to wait till his return. About twelve o'clock Mr Pimlot entered his chambers, without being perceived by the woman, and went to bed.

About half-an-hour afterwards she in a most riotous manner insisted upon being admitted, declaring, with horrid imprecations, that she would not depart till she had seen Mr Pimlot, who for some time made no answer. This exasperating her to still greater outrage, she gave vent to her passion in the most profane language, and, after breaking one of the panes of the window, went towards the passage leading to Chancery Lane, but turning back, she was met by Mr Pimlot, who gave her into custody of the watch. She was no sooner taken into custody than, with a sharp-pointed penknife, with a blade about two inches long, she struck Mr Pimlot under the left breast. The watchman said: "You break the peace, madam, and I must take you to the watch-house." Immediately after this Mr Pimlot, taking the knife from the wound, said, in a faint and tremulous voice: "Here, watchman, take this knife; she has stabbed me."

Mr Pimlot proceeded to the watch-house, being followed by the constable and his prisoner. He sat down in the constable's chair, and on opening his waistcoat the blood was seen issuing from his wound, Leaning down his head, he presently expired, without speaking. The knife was examined, and blood appeared upon the blade.

When she perceived the blood issuing from Mr Pimlot's wound she clasped her hands and exclaimed: "What have I done! Oh, Mr Wilson, it was I that did this shocking deed: instantly send for a surgeon, send for a surgeon! I have murdered my dear Pimlot." She was immediately sent to New Prison; and her tears and other passionate expressions of sorrow proved her to be deeply penetrated by affliction for the crime she had committed.

A watchman was sent for Mr Minors, a surgeon, in Chancery Lane; but he being in bed, two of his pupils accompanied the watchman. Upon their arrival they found the gentleman dead.

On the following day the body was opened by Mr Minors, who found that the heart was penetrated, and that the wound exactly corresponded with the figure of the knife. The coroner's jury being summoned, a verdict of wilful murder was found against the prisoner, who was brought to trial at the next sessions at the Old Bailey; and being found guilty, she was sentenced to be executed on the following Monday.

After her body had hung the usual time, it was carried to Surgeons' Hall for dissection.

The Newgate Calendar -


The Proceedings of the Old Bailey

23. (M.) ELIZABETH Richardson , otherwise Forrister , spinster, was indicted for the wilful murder of William Pimlot ; she stood charged on the Coroner's inquest for the said murder, Nov. 14. *

James Carpenter . I have chambers in Simond's Inn. The deceased, Mr. William Pimlot, had chambers on the ground, on the left hand of mine; when I am in my own chamber, I think they are No. 4. As to the day I can't recollect, it was on Sunday evening. I came home about twelve at night; (I speak of the night that Mr. Pimlot was killed; I heard of his death next morning as soon as I got up.) I went into my chamber and lock'd the door; I don't know whether I went to bed immediately or not; I believe I did not stay above half an hour. I believe I had not been in bed above half an hour, before I heard a great rapping at the Inn. I could not distinguish at what chamber; I thought it was in my own stairs; I got up and went to my own chamber door, and drew the inner door to me; then I opened my shutter, and shov'd up the window; I heard a talking. I saw a woman come out of Mr. Pimlot's stair-case. I think she was cursing and swearing at the time; saying, she would see him.

Q. Mention her own words as near as you can.

Carpenter. She swore I will see you, or you shall see me; I believe she said both: she went round to the end of his chamber, which was out of my sight; I apprehend to that window where his bed-chamber was: I heard a window immediately break, as though somebody struck it with their hand; I heard the glass as plain as ever I did any thing in my life; after that she came away, swearing that he should see her in the morning. I saw her come from that part and go out of the Inn: she went towards the gate for Chancery-lane.

Q. Can you tell what woman that was?

Carpenter. I could not be particular as to the woman, I could not distinguish her face; I really do not know whether it was the prisoner or not. I went to bed, and the next morning I heard this accident had happened; which alarmed me very much.

Q. Could you hear any thing from within the chamber?

Carpenter. No I could not, I went to the window and saw it was broke. Then I went to inquire into the circumstances of the affair; and mentioned what I heard in the night.

Q. What window was broke?

Carpenter. It was one pane of glass, in Mr. Pimlot's window: I believe that window was next to his bed-chamber; but I never was in his chamber.

Samuel Sowens . I am a watchman in the liberty of the Rolls. On the 14th of November, being Monday, in the morning about half an hour after one o'clock, I was in Weeden street, I heard watch called.

Q. Where is Weeden-street?

Sowens. That is a little street that comes into Chancery-lane. I said, who calls watch? I do, said Mr. Pimlot, follow me. I followed him into Chancery lane; she cross'd the way towards Simonds's Inn coffee house, which is at the corner of Simonds's Inn; he was alone at a little distance; I saw a woman upon a loitering order, she staid a little; he said, Watch, take charge of that woman, it was the prisoner: she was standing at a small distance; the words were scarce out of his mouth, before she flew to him with her right hand, and gave him a push under his left breast.

Q. How far distance was she before she flew to him?

Sowens. She was about five or six yards distance from him; I seized her right hand, and said, you strike, madam, you break the king's peace, I'll take you to the watch-house; I took hold of her, she said, for God's sake do not squeeze me so hard, I will go with you. The deceased turned round to the left, and said, Here, watchman, take this, delivering to me this knife. (Producing a small clas penknife, the blade about two inches long, with a sharp point, with some appearance of blood upon it.) He proceeded to the watch-house, and I followed him close with the woman.

Q. How far distance from the watch-house, when she gave him that push?

Sowens. It was betwixt eighty and ninety yards. I had the woman by the left arm, when I came up to the watch-house, I said to the beadle, Sir, here is a charge; that gentleman has charged this woman. I then saw the blade of the penknife was partly all over bloody, fresh blood. Sir, said I, here is a knife, the beadle took it, and laid it on the mantlepiece. The deceased went across the room, about four or five yards, and set down in the constable's chair, and pulled up his cloaths, and laid his belly all naked; there I saw a wound plain enough on his left side. He never said a word as I heard, after he said (Here, watchman, take this) he flung his cloaths open and leaned his head; his shirt had a very deep bosom, that also was bloody; the blood was fuming out of the wound as new beer out of a bottle: the prisoner clapt her hands together, and said, Oh, Mr. Wilson! it was I that did it, it was I that did it! And I think she said, send for a surgeon. Then I imediately went for Mr. Minors, the surgeon; two of his people came. When they came, he was dead; they came in less than a quarter of an hour; to the best of my knowledge, that was some minutes before two o'clock. Then the prisoner was sent to Clerkenwell New-Prison; the constable, Mr. Robinson, went with me. At the prison-gate, he got out of the coach, in order to have the door open. I said to her as we were in the coach, Madam, was it before the watch was called or after, that this rash action was committed? She held up her hands, Oh after, said she.

James Wilson . I am beadle of the Rolls Liberty.

Court. Begin where the watchman said, I have got a charge.

Wilson. I was in the watch-house alone, the door was half open when he spoke; I threw the door open immediately; there I saw the deceased and the watchman, with the prisoner under his arm; he said, that gentleman charges this woman; upon this the deceased went across the room, seemingly as if nothing ailed him; I took the woman by the arm, and set her down on a bench on the other side. Said the watchman, the gentleman gave me this knife. I clapt it down on the mantlepiece; I turned round with a design to ask the gentleman, what the woman had done; there, to my great surprize, I saw he had opened his breast; I saw the wound. Lord have mercy, said I; what have you done? get a surgeon: Oh, said she, get a surgeon. Mr. Wilson, I did it. He had a deep bosom to his shirt, deep enough to shew the wound; it was bleeding. I did not examine the shirt, but I saw a hole in his coat.

Q. What sort of a wound was it?

Wilson. It was a wound just as if a pig had been stuck. It appeared in a different shape, when the blood was coming out than what it did after he was dead: It appeared as if it had been done by a knife. When I said, send for a surgeon, she said, Mr. Wilson, it was I that have done it; get a surgeon, and save my dear Pimlot. She spoke of it several times, and seemed to be in a very bad taking. She said, I do not want to screen myself; get a surgeon to save my dear Pimlot.

Q. What did you understand by her saying, she did not want to screen herself?

Wilson. I understood it, that she meant she would not run away, if I went for a surgeon. She repeated that several times.

Q. How long do you think he might live after he came into the watch-house?

Wilson. I believe, there might be breath in him about seven minutes after he sat down in the chair; he died like a young child going to sleep, not an eye nor a hand, or any thing stirred; he never stirred hand or foot; he died without any stirring; he never spoke in the watch-house. His dying thus made it very hard to know when he died.

Q. Did you observe the knife?

Wilson. I did. It was bloody. The prisoner desired me to give her leave to kiss him; she went across the room and kissed him, and said, My dear Pimlot, I shall never see you more.

John Robinson . I was the constable of the night at that time, I was out when the deceased came in, the two young surgeons were there when I came in, which was about a quarter of an hour after two o'clock; the deceased was dead at that time. The surgeons probed the wound, and measured the probe to the blade of the knife, and said, it just answered to it. I saw the wound, they took the penknife to match to the hole, and it did match. I said to the prisoner, did you do it; she said, she did, twice over. She said it several times. We got a coach and went with her to New-Prison; I asked her to tell her name, she refused to tell it. I was got out at the prison door, she seemed to be in a great deal of trouble; she rang her hands, but said nothing. The watchman was in the coach with her, while I knocked at the door. I did not hear what past then.

Isaac Minors . I am a surgeon, and live in Chancery-Lane; I was called out between one and two that morning; I being ill and could not go, sent my pupil and my apprentice; they returned soon after, and said, the gentleman was dead. The next evening I was sent for to open the body. I found a wound in the interior ventricle of the heart, which I apprehend to be the immediate cause of his death. I could not possibly form any judgment what kind of instrument it was done with; I traced the wound from the integument into the heart. It was between the fifth and sixth rib on the left side; it had the appearance of a small wound; (a wound will contract after given) it was larger internally than externally; it had the appearance as if given by a knife, or sharp instrument; it had not gone to the opposite side, it had only just penetrated the interior ventricle of the heart.

Q. How deep was it from the outward part of the body?

Minors. It was three or four inches; if the heart was beating to that side the body at the time the blow was given, the knife need not have reached so far as three or four inches to get at the heart. I believe, that wound to be the cause of his death.

The prisoner said nothing in her defence.

To her Character.

Catharine Davenport . I live in No. 3, New-Street Square, the prisoner lived with me a lodger some years ago; she was then a sober, modest, meek-spirited woman.

Charles Doagale . I have known the prisoner about two-and-twenty years; she served her time to an aunt of mine, a mantua-maker, at that time she was a sober honest girl, looked upon to be a mild, meek girl; her right name is Forrister. I knew her father well, he was a very honest man.

Guilty . Death .

She received sentence immediately (this being Friday) to be executed on the Monday following, and her body to be dissected and anatomized.



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