BBC Home > BBC News > England

Police release Dick Turpin e-fit

17 July 09 01:47 GMT

Police e-fit specialists have drawn up the first "realistic" picture of infamous highway man Dick Turpin, 270 years after he was sent to the gallows.

The image has been created using descriptions published in an 18th Century newspaper.

The notorious criminal was executed in York in 1739.

The e-fit will appear on a 'Wanted' poster as part of a York Castle Museum exhibition of the cells in which Turpin spent his last night alive.

With no surviving drawings or paintings of Turpin, police produced the image using the descriptions issued by the London Gazette newspaper in 1735 and 1737 after the government offered a reward for his capture.

One article, published on 21 June 1737, read: "Richard Turpin was born at Thackstead, in the county of Essex, is about 30 years of age, by trade a butcher, about 5ft 9ins high, of a brown complexion, very much marked with small pox, his cheek bones broad, his face slimmer towards his bottom, his visage short, pretty upright and broad about the shoulders."

Katherine Prior, from York Castle Museum, said: "Richard Turpin is one of the most infamous highwaymen in the world but interestingly very little information on what he actually looks like survives.

"We have worked with North Yorkshire Police to create an e-fit of Mr Turpin, just like they would do from a description of a criminal today. The results are not pretty."

The poster claims he is wanted for murder, burglary, highway robbery and horse stealing.

After his death, as Dick Turpin, he became the subject of legend, romanticised as a devilishly handsome rogue and heroic highwayman.

Related BBC sites

*