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John Bellingham’s unfortunate story begins in 1803 when, as a Liverpool merchant on business in Russia, he found himself the victim of a dispute between the Russian owners of a sunken ship and its insurers Lloyds of London.

Thrown into jail, and ignored by the British ambassador Lord Gower, he spent the next two years in a rat-infested cell while his business collapsed. Although the original allegations were dropped he was kept in custody for a further four years as a bankrupt.

Finally released in 1809, he returned to England a bitter man, convinced he had been abandoned by the British Government in Russia. He became a regular visitor to the Houses of Parliament where he attempted to lobby MPs to make representations on his behalf. Many were sympathetic but none would help.

A broken man, on April 20, 1812, Bellingham visited a tailor on Grays Inn Lane with an unusual request – a 9in deep breast pocket was to be added to the left inside of an overcoat.

It’s purpose became clear just after 5pm on Monday May 11, 1812, when Bellingham entered the lobby leading to the House in the hope of meeting Richard Ryder, the Home Secretary who had done nothing to help him. However, Ryder was delayed and instead it was the Tory Prime Minister Spencer Perceval who met a nasty end as Bellingham reached into his pocket and removed a pistol. A single shot to the heart killed him.

The assassin made no attempt to escape and appeared for trial four days later where, although recounting his sorry tale and pleading not guilty to murder on grounds of insanity, he was sentenced to death by hanging. Just seven days after Perceval's shooting he was executed in front of Newgate Prison – an occasion marked by a rare 53/4in (14cm) high drabware and silver lustre jug sold by Reading commemorative specialists Special Auction Services on September 13-14.

Printed in black with a named portrait of Bellingham and to the reverse with an inscribed cartouche reading John Bellingham who shot the Rt. Hon. Spencer Perceval in the Lobby of the House of Commons on Monday May 11th 1812, it was sold together with additional ephemera for £3000.