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JOHN HALE, RICHARD TERRY (the elder), RICHARD TERRY (the younger), JOSEPH TERRY, WILLIAM ADAMS, and THOMAS SPRATLEY, were charged with having, on the 7th day of August, at Gawcott, violently and feloniously assaulted Ann Pepper. The prisoners were agricultural labourers, residing at Tingewick, near Buckingham. John Hall was indicted as the principal, and the others with aiding and abetting him.
The prosecutrix was a stranger in the neighbourhood, and obtained her livelihood by making caps, which her husband sold by hawking them.. They were travelling from Bicester towards their home, in Lincolnshire, in company with three other hawkers; they reached Tingewick on the 7th of August and it being feast time they vainly endeavoured to obtain lodgings in the village, and were ultimately obliged to go to a barn, about a quarter of a mile out of the place, where all five, consisting of the prosecutrix and her husband, another traveller, named Noble, and his wife, and a third man, laid down to sleep. After the lapse of about two hours, they were disturbed, and the six prisoners entered the barn, using the most disgusting language towards the women. Noble, his wife and the other traveller escaped, and the prosecutrix and her husband were left to encounter the six ruffians. Pepper defended his wife until she was violently torn from him and he thrown down. He then ran to the village for assistance, but was some time before he could obtain any, the constables absolutely refusing to aid him. During his absence, the offence was committed. From the evidence produced by the prosecutrix, the violence and cruelty used towards her, in which the whole of the prisoners participated, was of the most horrid and revolting description.
The prisoners afterwards absconded, three of them having enlisted into the 28th Regiment of Foot, lying at
Chatham, under orders for India, and the elder Terry was taken in Warwickshire. The trial lasted the greater part of the day, the prisoners being defended by Messrs. Sanders and Wells, while Mr O'Malley conducted the prosecution. The evidence against the whole of the prisoners could not be shaken, and being convicted, they were severally sentenced and transported for life.
There were five other indictments, charging each prisoner separately with the offence, and the other five in aiding and assisting; but it was not necessary, after this conviction, to got through the other indictments.