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  • 23 Mar. 1846 News of the Day

23 Mar. 1846 News of the Day

The Freeman’s Journal – Dublin, Monday, March 23, 1846

Transcribed by Robyn

Donegal Assizes.

Extraordinary case of seduction, and receiving stolen money.

William McKEEVIR, a man of about thirty years of age, was indicted for that he, on the 22d October last, took away Anne Jane, the daughter of David GAMBLE, farmer at Cashgowan, from under the care and charge of her said father, and without his consent, she being under sixteen years of age.
David GAMBLE, sworn and examined – Has two daughters, Anne Jane, who is only fourteen years of age, being the eldest. In October last prisoner was in his service as labourer, and had been so from the previous May; he is a married man and has children. On the night of the 22d October witness and his wife had gone to bed, leaving their daughters and John MAXWELL, their little herd boy, at the fireside.

Next morning he found that she was away, went to prisoner’s house, and found that he was a missing; went to Glasgow with two of the constabulary, and that day six weeks from the disappearance of his daughter, he found her and prisoner in the Gorbals police office; his daughter was brought up under the Rev. Mr. MACONACHIE, Presbyterian minister; witness could have given 200£ with her.

[It was observed by counsel for the crown that this did not come with the clause of the act under which prisoner was indicted] – Overruled.

Cross-examined by Mr. MACKLIN – His daughter did not write to him from Glasgow; it was only casually that he learned she was there.

Mr SMYLY, Q.C., then called Anne Jane GAMBLE. She is a remarkably well-favoured girl, and delivered her evidence with much composure and firmness, although evidently labouring under very painful feelings. Being sworn, she deposed that in October last prisoner was serving as labourer to her father; about two months before then, when she was alone in the kitchen, carding wool, prisoner came to her with a bottle and poured what was in it upon her head, saying that it was hair oil, that he had got it from Wm. CULLEN, and that they on whose heads he put it would follow him through the world; she had never before allowed him to take liberties with her; one day, about a month after that, in the kitchen, he thrust her against the table, and said that he was not married to the woman with whom he lived as his wife, and had only made love to her, he also told her to rob her father of what she could lay her hands on. As it was all she would get from him, and to go away with him, the prisoner; on the night of the 22d October, he came to the house, and said to her that he would take her life if she did not go with him, and that, if she took any other man, he would make her a scandal to the world and her father would kill her; she had had intercourse with him before that; she went away with the prisoner that night; had been told by him not to mention it to her father; they left her father’s house, which is seven miles above Derry between ten and eleven o’clock, and walked to Moville, which they reached in the morning; an Ennishowen man gave her a ride part of the way in his car; they stopped in Moville till about two o’clock in the day, when they went on board a Scotch steamer which landed them at Ardrossan on the following day; they slept together in a house at Ardrossan as man and wife, and, on the following day, they went to Glasgow by the railway; she took with her from her father’s, a few clothes in a bundle; prisoner and she lived in Glasgow as man and wife for six weeks, till they were taken up by the thief-catchers, and lodged in the police office, where they were kept separately for a week before her father arrived.

Cross-examined by Mr. MACKLIN – After her return from Glasgow, she told what she has now told to Mr. MACONCHIE, whom she has seen thrice since then; it was two months after the pouring of the contents of the bottle on her head, that prisoner first had intercourse with her; believes that he was at work in Glasgow; she never told prisoner that if he did not take her she would poison him, but once, when she was in the garden cutting vegitable, he was at the ditch, and asked her to go and give him a kiss, on which she said she would rather give him poison; this was before any unlawful intercourse had taken place; she never took him away from his own fireside; she never said to him that she was going to be married to another man; but prisoner told the little boy that she was going to be married to Joseph COLHOUN; she had told the little boy that she would marry prisoner; on the night she went away, she had hurried her sister to bed; prisoner had often told her that he would take her life if she did not go with him.

His lordship, in charging the jury, observed that the indictment was founded upon a clause of the Act 10th, Geo.IV., which made it a misdemeanour to withdraw any girl under sixteen years of age, from the keeping and charge of her father or other lawful guardian, without his consent’ and it was for them to say whether the prisoner and committed that offence.

The jury at once found the prisoner guilty.

The same William McKEEVIR was indicted for that he, on the 22d or 23d of October last, received certain moneys, the property of David GAMBLE of Cashgowan, knowing the same to have been stolen. Guilty.

The judge, in addressing the prisoner, said that his was the grossest case that had ever come under hi observation; and it was a gratification to him that the conviction in the last of the two cases enabled him to pronounce a much heavier sentence that would be competent to him if he (the prisoner) stood convicted only of the misdemeanour, charged in the first indictment. He sentenced him to 14 years’ transportation.


Mary QUINN and Jane QUINN were charged with having at Glenfad, near to Lifford, on the 19th February last, murdered a male child, of which the prisoner Mary had been recently delivered. After counsel for the crown had adduced evidence, going far to establish the commission of the crime by some one though still insufficient for a conviction, the prisoner Mary, by the advice of her counsel, Mr. DOHERTY, put in a plea of “guilty of endeavouring to conceal,” on which the counsel for the crown withdrew the capital charge.

Verdict – Both prisoners not guilty of murder; Mary QUINN guilty of endeavouring to conceal.

(From our own correspondent)

Castlebar, Friday Morning, March 20.
I attended yesterday at Westport petty-sessions, where great excitement existed, in consequence of a summons being issued against Thomas NESTOR, at the suit of Samuel FLETCHER. For wilful and corrupt perjury, alleged to have been committed in the late coroner’s inquisition at Westport, when NESTOR swore he had seen FLETCHER fire a pistol, which shot the unfortunate woman, who died upon the spot.

Mr. O’DOWD, who attended as counsel (with Ignatius KELLY, as agent), complained of the shortness of the notice given to defendant, the summons have been only served upon the previous day; that he, as counsel for the accused, had only been made acquainted with the necessity for appearing at Westport, distant some twelve or fourteen miles from his residence, at the hour of ten o’clock on the previous evening and that having only just arrived in town, he had not time to receive sufficient instructions to defend the accused. He therefore prayed a postponement to the next court day. He also stated that the complainant, having received permission to send up a bill of indictment at the late assizes, had failed to do so, and now sought to take the defendant by surprise, by serving upon him a summons on this day before the sitting of the court.

Messrs. M. K. O’DONNELL and Neal DAVIS, who appeared for the plaintiff, resisted the application for a postponement, but the presiding magistrates (Messrs. Fitzgerald HIGGINS, Mathias MacDONNELL, Dominick J. BURKE, and Captain NUGENT) decided that the application for a postponement upon such an important case was just and reasonable under the circumstances, and they accordingly decided upon adjourning the case to Monday next, when a special court will be held at Westport to hear the complaint. Mr. O’DOWD stated that he was instructed to say that a new bill of indictment would be sent up against FLETCHER at the next assizes.