Richard Turpin was born at the Blue Bell Inn (later the Rose and Crown) in Hempstead, Essex, the fifth of six children to John Turpin and Mary Elizabeth Parmenter.
Testimony from his trial in 1739 suggests that he had a rudimentary education and, although no records survive of the date of the union, that in about 1725 he married Elizabeth Millington. Following his apprenticeship they moved north to Buckhurst Hill, Essex, where Turpin opened a butcher's shop.
Turpin's involvement in the gang deepened and From 1734 to 1735 they committed numerous home burglaries and became nortorious enough for the Duke of Newcastle offered a reward of £50 in exchange for information leading to their conviction.
By August 1735 most of the gang, had been captured, punished or had died in custody. Turpin however, remained at large having turned to highway robbery sometime in the summer of that year. Events turned against Turpin's career as a highwayman when on 4th May 1737 he was recognised by Thomas Morris, a servant of one of Epping Forest's Keepers. Turpin shot and killed Morris on 4th May when Morris attempted to capture him. Morris's killing unleashed a flood of Turpin reports, and a reward of £200 was offered for his capture.
The turned up in Yorkshire in October 1738 under the alias of Palmer. There he shot another man's game cock in the street and was arrested. The Justices of the piece were suspicious of 'Palmer' and suspected him of horse theft, which was indeed true.
Events conspired against him when horses he had stolen were found at his father's Inn. Then a letter from 'Palmer' to his brother-in-law, Pompr Rivernall, fell into the hands of the authorities and his handwriting was recognised.
Dick Turpin was tried for horse theft, which was a capital offence at the time, in York in March 1739. He was found guilty and sentenced to death. He was hung on the 7th April 1739, aged 33.
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