02 March 2018
Brief Lives: Thomas Baker Sackett, convicted highway robber
There being no right of appeal, Thomas’s only hope was to petition the King, George IV, for his royal mercy. Following frantic efforts by a number of concerned worthies who petitioned on his behalf, he was at last granted a respite—but then only at the second attempt and with only hours to go before his appointment with the hangman. His sentence was reduced to transportation for life to the convict colony of New South Wales.
Thomas Baker Sackett (1796–1837) was born in Essex to calves salesman Thomas Sackett and his wife Rachel Baker. With a substantial inheritance from his grandfather, the younger Thomas took a farm near Billericay, but the venture failed. He returned to his former trade, setting up shop as a butcher in London's Whitechapel district. Later the same year, his wife died aged 26. His butcher shop also failed.
Thomas survived the harsh conditions in the penal colony of New South Wales for nine years, and died there aged 41 in 1837.