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Co. Cavan – Murder of Miss HINDS

Map of Toberlyan County Cavan

Above map With our Thanks to Mapcarta, one of the “© OpenStreetMap contributors”

County Cavan Special Commission and the Murder of Miss HINDS

Note – the townland of Tubberlion, as it is spelt in this article, is also recorded as Toberlyon, Toberlyan and Tubberlyne. It is in the Civil Parish of Templeport , Barony of Tullyhaw, County Cavan.

19 Apr. 1856 Grand jury sworn;

Robert BURROWES M.P., foreman
Hon. Richard MAXWELL
Anthony O’REILLY
Theophilus CLEMENTS
John Henry ADAMS
Benjamin Samuel ADAMS
James FAY
Edgar Robert BREDIN
William TATLOW
William A. MOOTE
Abraham BRUSH
William SMITH

The Murder of Miss HINDS

James MURPHY, aged 37, one of the persons charged with the above crime, and who pleaded not guilty at the last assizes, was then put forward to take his trial. He is a man of dark hair, eyes, and complexion and stolid marked features. His countenance occasionally wore an appearance of anxiety, but for the most part he seemed listless and almost indifferent to the proceedings.

The Right Hon. the attorney-general, the Solicitor-general, Mr. CHRISTIAN and Mr. HENDERSON, prosecuted on the part of the crown. Mr. DOWSE was counsel for the prisoner, the cost of the learned gentleman’s appearance having been defrayed by the crown. The common jury panel was called over, a number of jurors having been challenged on the part of prisoners and others on the part of the crown, the following jury was then sworn;

Gerald GREGG foreman
William WHITE
Andrew BOYD
James Henry WILSON
William PLANT
William M’FADDEN
William MAGEE

The prisoner was then given in charge on an indictment alleging that he did on Friday, 12th Oct. 1855, aided and abetted by Patrick BANON, feloniously kill and murder Charlotte HINDS at Tubberlion, in the county of Cavan.
Mr. DOWSE applied that all the witnesses would be excluded from court with the exception of the medical gentleman. The witnesses were accordingly excluded.

James M’KEON – a young lad, examined – I knew the late Miss HINDS; I was with her since Patrick’s day, twelve months; she resided in Tubberlion; Miss SYNGE lived with her; the town of Ballyconnell is three or four miles from her place; I know Curren Wood and Curren lane; the latter joins the road to Ballyconnell; I remember the 12th October last; I drove Miss HINDS on that day on an outside car to Ballyconnell fair; she left home between 11 and 12 o’clock; we left Ballyconnell between 3 and 4 o’clock; we met a man named Andrew REILLY in the street of Ballyconnell; he was lame and Miss HINDS was kind enough to ask him up on the car; he and I sat on the right side of the car and Miss HINDS on the other side; at Curren lane I got off the car to lead the horse; I suppose it was then 4 o’clock, or after it; it was daylight; coming near Curren Wood we met a few persons going down the lane; close up to the wood we met two men who came from the direction of Miss HINDS’ house, and they passed on her side of the car; I was on the other side leading the horse and Andrew REILLY was sitting on the car; Miss HINDS sat on the side of the car which was towards the wood; both of the men had slicks; after they had passed I heard Miss HINDS scream; I stopped the horse and saw her knocked down by one of them, (witness burst into tears), she was away behind the car on the lane; I heard a shot fired by one of them; the horse ran away with me and I did not go far until I heard another shot; I held on by the horse as it went along the lane going to Miss HINDS’S house; I did not hear a third shot; when I got to Miss HINDS’S house I alarmed Miss SYNGE and the woman; they ran down the lane; I went for men and on my return I met Miss SYNGE and the woman carrying Miss HINDS home; I was taken into custody by the police that night; I have seen one of the men in Cavan; saw him afterwards in the gaol with several other men outside the office of the gaol, a dozen others; I pointed him out on the occasion; there he is there (was handed a rod, which he laid on the prisoner), on oath he is the man I saw attack Miss HINDS; I had never seen him to my knowledge before; he had a dark frieze coat on that day, and a straw hat on head; when I saw him in the gaol he had a black hat on and frieze coat and I remarked at the time that his hat was not the same, as he wore on the day of the attack.

Cross-examined – It was the dress and the hat made me know him when I first saw him; I had never seen him before; I will go back to gaol; I was accused myself of knowing something of Miss HINDS death; I know Terry BANON; he is in goal; I had no conversation with him in the gaol, except to bid him the time of day; I don’t know of anything to prevent his saying more to me; he was locked up; how could he speak to me when the turnkey was with him; the turnkey did not prevent him from bidding me the time of day.

Did the turnkey ever prevent you talking to each other?
I don’t know whether he did or not.
Cross-examination continued – I know a man named M’CARTIN; I did not see him in the gaol, I did not see him from the time I was arrested up to the present day; I was three months in gaol before; I was brought out to identify MURPHY; I did not previously know whether I would see MURPHY or not; I was not told what I was brought out for; Mr. KELLY, the magistrate, was in the office of the goal and he asked if I would know the man that murdered Miss HINDS and I said I would; I looked through the window and pointed him out; I don’t expect anything for giving evidence; I don’t know anything about a reward.
Don’t you know about the reward of £500?
How could I know it and I in goal.

Andrew REILLY, an old man, examined – I was born on the lands of Tubberlion, in the county Cavan ; Miss HINDS lived in a small cottage there and I was her neighbour and tenant of hers; her place was three short miles from Ballyconnell; a man named M’CAULEY lives in the lane between Curren Wood and the high road; I was in Ballyconnell on the 12th of October and sold oats; I saw Miss HINDS there; she was the best natured woman at all; about 3 o’clock I suppose we left Ballyconnell; Miss HINDS was on one side and I was on the other, and the boy sat with me on the right hand side of the car; the side he sat on faced the wood; I did not see where the men that killed her came from; I heard a scream and turned round and she was then standing on the road and I saw two men, one of them had a short lump of a stick and struck her on the head with it; I fell off the car and the car and the mare ran away and the boy began roaring; I saw one of the men pull out a pistol, and I threw myself down; I heard two shots and then I made off, one of the men was called Patrick BANNON and his hair was red, he had a cap on his head; the other had a straw hat; to the best of my knowledge it was the fellow that wore the cap that gave her the blow; I could not tell who had the pistol; he had the straw hat and I did not see his face; the wife of a man named M’CAULEY and I afterwards found Miss HINDS; we lifted her, but she did not move; her boy came with others and she was carried home.
Cross-examined – I knew Patrick BANNON very well; he used to work for Miss HINDS, but never since M’KEON worked with her; the other man had his head down.
To the jury – The man with the pistol had a straw hat on him; BANON had the peak of his cap down; BANON was a neighbour of mine.

Mrs. M’CAULEY examined – My husband’s name is Thomas M’CAULEY;  I live in Curren lane; our house is on the same side of the lane as the woods; I knew Miss HINDS; I was at Ballyconnell market on the day she was attacked; while my husband and I were at dinner after we returned, we heard a car pass, my back was to the window; shortly after I heard a shot, but I could not tell from what direction it came; I heard a second shot; I thought it was Mr. L’ESTRANGE shooting in the wood; my husband had charge of the wood; after the second shot some persons came and said Miss HINDS was shot; I went as straight as my feet could bring to where she lay; I found her lying on her back and not a soul near her; I went on to the house of MASTERSON on the other side of the lane; MASTERSON’S wife was at the door, and told me she was out of a faint; immediately afterwards I heard a noise coming out of the wood; it was old Andy REILLY and we both went to where Miss HINDS lay, we held her in our arms until her niece came to her; there was nothing in her but the life; I observed her tongue moving inside her cheek and that was the only sign of life; she was brought home on a door.

Terence BANON examined – in October last I lived at Tubberlion on the grounds of Miss HINDS; I knew a person living on those grounds named Thomas DUNN; I remember the Wednesday before Miss HINDS was killed; I was at Tom DUNN’S house on that night; I went from it to COSGROVE’S public house along with Patrick SMYTH, brought a bottle at COSGROVE’S, we saw Rose COSGROVE, the mistress, the servant and Edward and Sally M’IVENEAGH; we drank something there and brought away whiskey in the bottle to Tom DUNN’S house; it has a kitchen, a parlour and bedroom, the parlour has one bed in it; we saw Thomas DUNN that night and a stranger; the latter was in the parlour; I never seen the stranger to my knowledge before that night; I heard he was James MURPHY (took the wand and pointed to the prisoner, saying – There’s the man); I was in DUNN’S house on the following Thursday and saw MURPHY there in the parlour; can’t exactly say whether he was standing up or sitting; I saw him more than once; on the Wednesday night we drank the whiskey in his company; Patrick SMYTH and Thomas LYNCH were also present; LYNCH lives at Killabeggan cross roads; I know a servant boy named HEAVY that lives with Thomas DUNN; I saw him in the kitchen on the Wednesday night, but not in the parlour where the stranger was; on Thursday I saw Philip M’CARTEN in the room with the stranger; Thursday morning I went to the house of a person named LOGAN and in the course of the same day got two pistols from him; I brought them to Thomas DUNN’S they were detonating pistols, the strange man there then.

Did DUNN say anything to you in his presence about the pistols? No.
About charging the pistols? He did; he first said they had no powder to charge them; this was in the parlour and the strange man was near enough to hear it; DUNN asked me would I go for powder; in consequence of that I went to Ballyconnell for it on that Thursday and bought some in the shop of Mr. FARIS, six pence worth; I also bought a penny worth of caps; a little boy that stood behind the counter supplied it; I returned with them to Thomas DUNN’S house; the strange man was in the parlour when I returned; in his presence I charged the two pistols with the powder and slugs; I got them from Thomas DUNN; he cut them in my presence from a piece of sheet lead; while I was charging the pistols the strange man said he was putting too much powder in one of them; on the Thursday night I went to the house of Felix PRIOR, along with Pat. SMITH and James M’KERNAN, on the townland of Kned; we got a pistol from PRIOR; he reached it to me, I think, first, and I gave it either to Patrick SMYTH, or John M’KERNAN; this was after nightfall and PRIOR had been in bed; I went home afterwards and slept at home that night; on Friday the 12th I was digging potatoes on my brother’s land; my brother and Mark BANNON were with me; John M’KERNAN came into the field we were in and either called or beckoned to me from the head of the field; I went to him and accompanied him to James CURRY’S; I got from James CURRY £10; I had two pounds in my pocket; I got one of the pounds from Felix PRIOR and the other was my own; in consequence of what took place between us I went back home to my brother’s and from that to the canal or river; I got too <sic> boys working with a cot, or boat, on the canal that day; they were the two sons of long John BANON; their names were John and Pat; I helped them to empty the turf out of the cot; afterward I went into Michael BANON’S house, and then returned to the canal; after a while I saw red Pat BANON and the man I have pointed to coming towards me; when I first saw them they were on John BANON’S land; the Koulogue side of the canal, that is, the Tubberlion side and did not remark them until they were just on me; I took them into the cot: Patt BANON said “Well Terry, that job’s done”. “Is it” said I; “It is” said he; this was just as they were coming into the cot; the two told me that they shot her, Miss HINDS, they said, at the end of Curren Wood, in the lane; I don’t remember anything passing in the cot more than that; we just crossed the canal in it; I gave the money to them; I gave four pounds to MURPHY and eight pounds to Red Pat after we came out of the cot; the two men said they did not stir until she was dead and they dropped a small sword and a loaded butt in the lane; I saw four pistols between the two of them; I don’t remember how many MURPHY had, but he had some; after I had landed them, they went up through Skeeland and I went back across the canal and left the cot there; before I parted with them they changed head dress; at first MURPHY had a cap and Red Pat a straw hat; when they were going away from me, MURPHY put on the straw hat and BANON the cap; I never knew Tom DUNN to have a sword of his own; I saw a sword at his place on that Thursday night; it had a handle and was small in the blade; it was a small sword I think; I don’t know how it was pointed; I don’t know whether I would know it again or not; I saw it in the parlour where the strange man was. That was Thursday night. A sword fastened in a wooden handle was shown to the witness and he said ‘I don’t know whether that is it or not.’

Examination continued – I was arrested on the Saturday after Hallow-eve, and I have been in bridewell and in gaol ever since.
Cross-examined – I know M’CARTEN; he was in the house the morning we loaded the pistols; since the occurrence I saw him at his own house, but not since I was arrested; I swear it to the best of my skill and knowledge; I had no conversation with him since I was taken, nor was he in gaol with me; I received no message from him in gaol; I was examined as to what I could prove; I was taken prisoner, charged with the offence and was examined by Captain KELLY and the Messrs. GILOGLY; young Mr. GILOGLY said it was better for me to tell the truth if I knew it; I understood that I would get off.

John FLYNN proved that he was at the fair of Longfield on the 10th of October. On that day at evening Thomas DUNN came to his house and a stranger (now proved to be James MURPHY) went down to the Skeelan river and crossed it in a cot.

Patrick HEAVY proved he was servant boy to Thomas DUNN in October last, and saw a stranger in his master’s parlour with him the evening of one of the days before the murder.

Thomas TROTTER, a young lad, proved that he was shopboy to Mr. FARIS in Ballyconnell and that on the day before the murder he sold a quarter pound of powder to a man and that it was the only powder he sold that day.

Dr. George ROE examined – I did not know the late Miss HINDS until I was called in to attend her about 12 o’clock on the 13th of Oct.; I examined her person; she had a long and extensive wound which had been dressed the night before; it must have been inflicted with a blunt instrument; the next was a gunshot wound between the eyebrows; it did not appear to penetrate the brain; there was also a punctured wound on the cheek which was inflicted an instrument such as the sword produced; there was also a bruise on the back of the head that had been perhaps, caused by the fall; when  I saw her she was in a state of great collapse, and I did not think she had many hours to live, but she was perfectly sensible; I spoke to her several times on that occasion; before she gave her testimony she had been informed by me and those around, that she was in a dying state; I led her to believe from my manner that there was no hope of recovery; she lived 13 days after being assaulted and died on the 24th of October; I made a post mortem examination on the 25th the skull was opened; her death was occasioned by a bullet or rather a small flat piece of lead, which I have in my hand and which perforated the entire brain; this is a second piece of lead, which is part of a bullet; I have in my hand a third piece, which did not enter the brain; she was a remarkably healthy woman; the sword now produced, or any sharp instrument, would inflict such a wound as she had on her cheek.

Mr. F. GAHAN, county surveyor, then proved the maps of the scene of the murder which has been used, is correct.

Miss Catherine SYNGE examined – I lived with Miss HINDS; I recollect the day she was shot; the boy came to the house with the horse and car and gave the alarm and I immediately went to the spot; she could not speak but was conscious and pressed my hand; she knew afterwards that she could not recover; she told me that red Pat BANON was one of her murderers, that she did not know the other by name or appearance; more than seven times afterwards she mentioned red Pat BANON, whom she knew, as he had worked with her the harvest before; he had listed in the militia about six or eight months since, but deserted, came back to the neighbourhood, then went to Scotland and afterwards returned about a month before the murder was committed, at which time I saw him.

The case for the crown closed here. Mr. DOWSE then requested that he should not be called on to state his case at that hour and the court was adjourned to half-past nine o’clock on Thursday morning.

Thursday, April 10th

The trial of James MURPHY was resumed. Mr DOWSE addressed the jury on behalf of the prisoner.  Chief Justice MONAHAN charged the jury at considerable length and they retired to consider their verdict twenty minutes before five o’clock.

At twenty minutes before seven o’clock the jury returned the verdict that James MURPHY was Guilty.

Friday April 11th Conspiracy to Murder Miss HINDS

Thomas DUNN, aged 37, was put forward to stand his trial for the above crime. He seemed depressed and in ill health. Up to March 1855, he had been a guardian of the Bawnboy union, in the county Cavan. About two years ago he married a wife, who has had one child. He sold a farm for £150 about fourteen months ago, and shortly after his arrest, he sold a farm which held under Miss HINDS for £114, the last life in the lease of which was that of an old man named Andy REILLY, who appears as a witness on the present trial. The following jury were sworn to try the prisoner;

Thomas HAMILTON, foreman
Bernard Parr DAWTON
William WILSON
Thomas NIXON

The clerk of the crown then read the indictment which charged that on the 12th October 1855, the prisoner Thomas DUNN, in conjunction with Patrick BANON, did feloniously murder Charlotte HINDS and that he (DUNN) on the 10th October in the year aforesaid, and of malice aforethought, incite and procure and counsel Patrick BANON and James MURPHY to commit said murder.

In the course of the Attorney-general’s speech the prisoner DUNN, who was for some time supported in the dock by one of the turnkeys, fainted. Dr. HALPIN immediately afforded assistance. After about ten minutes the prisoner was restored.

clerk of the Crown “Get a chair for him”.
Prisoner “Oh, you need not mind it, Sir. I have been unwell a couple of days.
A seat was provided for the prisoner.

James M”KEON, the servant boy who drove Miss HINDS car through the lane in which she was murdered was examined. He repeated the detail which he gave on the former trial, and identified the convict MURPHY.

Cross-examined – The two men who attacked the car were about seven yards when I observed them; they had what appeared to be walking sticks; the lane is narrow; I was leading the horse at the opposite side; I only observed the dress of MURPHY; when I heard the shriek, I turned back and saw MURPHY strike Miss HINDS with a stick; I could not then see the other man; he must have been on the other side of the man who struck her, I did not observe the man I noticed was disguised; when the first shot was fired the horse ran away; I was a good deal alarmed from the time I looked back until the horse ran away, I saw only the one man; while I was in gaol, I was asked to look and try if I saw the man who was at Miss HINDS murder; I saw Terry BANNON in the gaol; I suppose I was originally charged with the offence myself, but after the last assizes I was allowed liberty in the goal; I had no conversation with Mr. David VEITCH in the gaol; the man I identified had a black felt hat on him when I saw him in the gaol and what I took to be a grey frieze coat; I could not say whether or not he then had on the coat, which he wore when I saw him on the road; that was three months after the occurrence; I lived with Miss HINDS since Patrick’s day 1855; I am a native of a place within about six miles of Ballyconnell; I saw Red Pat BANON while I was living with Miss HINDS; he was rather a fat man, with red head; I did not observe whether the second of Miss HINDS assailants was of that appearance; before the day of the murder I never saw MURPHY, and not afterwards, until I identified him in the gaol yard.

Andrew REILLY was then examined; his evidence was similar to what he gave on the former trial.

Terence BANON was the next witness, and was examined – He identified Thomas DUNN and deposed – Last summer, in August I think, I had a conversation with DUNN and Miss HINDS; he said that if there was some money got, he would get a man that would shoot her; I said I would give £2 myself; he said that was of no use and desired me to go to Jane DONOHOE, the other Terry BANON’S wife and get four or five pounds from her; that Terry BANON is a first cousin of mine; I went to her, big Jane, we used to call her at home; I went some days after I had the talk with DUNN; I got £2 from her; she then lived at Tubberlion, and her husband was one of Miss HINDS’S tenants.

(The prisoner here became ill again and had to be attended by Dr. ROE, physician to the gaol. In a few moments he recovered and the case proceeded).

Examination of the witness continued – Some short time afterwards saw Tom DUNN at his own house – a man named James CURRY was with him; they were engaged in cutting a whitethorn hedge; CURRY was another of the tenants of Tubberlion; I said to DUNN that I had £4 and that I had got £2 from Jane BANON and there was £2 of my own; he told James CURRY to take it; CURRY denied having anything to do with it; DUNN told him to take it, and so did I too; he did take it after some force; DUNN told CURRY that he would be (i e have) to give £2 or £3 himself; DUNN told him to hold the money until there would be a man got to shoot Miss HINDS; some short time afterwards, a week or ten days, I saw DUNN again; he told me to go to Felix PRIOR, of Kned, to get £3 or £4 or £5 from him; I don’t remember which; I went and saw PRIOR; the first time I saw him I got no money from him; I told DUNN what took place between us, that Felix PRIOR was not willing to give anything towards it, or have anything to do with it, and that I got no money from him; some days after I saw DUNN again, and he told me to go back to PRIOR; it was about a  fortnight or three weeks that I went to PRIOR’S a second time; it was to get money; on the second occasion I got £1 from him. The witness was examined at considerable length to the proceedings of himself and other parties concerned on the day of the murder.

The evidence was the same as has already appeared in the report of MURPHY’S trial. It related to the getting of the blood-money from CURRY, waiting for the murderers on the Skeelan river, ferrying them across after the murder, his conversation with them about the job being done and his paying Red Pat £8 and James MURPHY £4.

James CURRY examined – was a tenant of the late Miss HINDS on the lands of Tubberlion; last harvest I was on Tom DUNN’S land; I saw DUNN, we were cutting a quickset hedge when Terry BANON came up to us, unfortunately for me; he said he had £4 for killing Miss HINDS; he wanted me to take it, but I refused to take the money when I heard what it was for; I told him to give it to Thomas DUNN; DUNN said he would not take it at all, as he was a poor man and was afraid he might go through it; he said to me  “do you take it and give some help yourself”; I said I would not; Terry BANON said it would be worse for any one that would not give help; I unfortunately took the £4 from Terry BANON; I recollect the day Miss HINDS was killed; on the Wednesday night previously I called at Tom DUNN’S house he was not there; it was nightfall; I saw Frank SMITH, Pat SMITH, DUNN’S wife, his mother and all his workmen; I can’t swear I saw Tom LYNCH; I stayed about half an hour and DUNN came in before I went away; I was not in the room called the parlour; it was quite dark when I left; on the morning of Friday I was stacking turf in my own garden; I saw John M’KIERNAN that morning about ten o’clock, he had a conversation with me; I know James REILLY; after the conversation with M’KIERNAN, I went to James REILLY and got a £3 note from him and then came back to my own house and saw M’KIERNAN and Terry BANON and gave all the money to Terry BANON; either nine or ten pound; a £3 note was amongst the money; after the murder I saw Tom DUNN, he said it was an unfortunate job and he felt uneasy.

Cross-examined – The servants I saw in DUNN’S house when I came in on Wednesday were Pat HEAVY and LUNNY; when DUNN came in there was no one with him; I remained there about ten minutes; afterwards M’KIERNAN wanted me to go with the money I had, to the river, to two strange men and I refused to go; I was a tenant to Miss HINDS; rather a favourite one; she was very kind to me; I gave £2 towards the transaction; I don’t recollect whether HEAVY went to bed or not while I was in DUNN’S house on Wednesday night; I was arrested on the 11th of January and have been in gaol since.

The court was then, at 20 minutes to 8 o’clock, adjourned to Saturday morning at half-past nine.

Conviction of DUNN and Sentence of Death

Chief Justice MONAGHAN said;

“James MURPHY and Thomas DUNNE you, and each of you, have been found guilty; you James MURPHY of the murder of Miss Charlotte HINDS and you, Thomas DUNN, of counselling, advising, and initiating MURPHY to commit that murder. Your cases have each been made the subject of a long and patient investigation. The evidence given upon both trials and the witnesses produced upon both trials have been substantially the same, so that if there was a possibility of any mistake in the evidence given in the first trial, there was a possibility of that mistake being discovered and rectified upon the second. It is utterly impossible that anybody who carefully attended to the evidence given upon each of these trials, as I, in discharge of the awful and painful duty the law imposed on me did, could entertain a particle of doubt as to the propriety and the inevitable necessity under which, the jury who tried you and who heard the evidence were placed, of coming to the conclusion they did, that you, and each of you, are guilty of the awful crimes with which you are charged.

With respect to you, Thomas DUNN, it appeared clearly in the course of your trial that so early as the month of August last, being a tenant resident upon the property of that unfortunate victim Miss Charlotte HINDS, you with several others of the tenants upon her property, entered into a conspiracy, the object of which was to deprive her of life. The means that you devised, or at least were party to devising, were the collection of a small sum of money, some ten or twelve or fourteen pounds in order to hire an assassin for the purpose of perpetrating the fearful outrage which you contemplated. You DUNN, upon that occasion aided in the collection of that fund; you probably subscribed some small sum of money towards it and in prosecution of that object you fearlessly and in noonday, communicated with several of the persons on that property. You placed your life in their hands. The result has been now, as it has always been and ever will be in such cases, for it is one of unalterable judgments of the almighty God the dispenser of all things, upon persons implicated in such offences, that the persons in whom they trust will always be the first to betray them. Accordingly the present case, scarcely was the crime committed when two persons implicated in it came forward to give evidence against you and several others of their companions engaged in the same outrage. You, on the 8th or 9th of October last, arranged with a person named Patrick BANNON, that he, for the sum of eight pounds, should be one of the persons to perpetrate this murder that you contemplated. Having made your arrangements with him, for although there was no direct evidence of what passed between you, from what happened afterwards, nobody can doubt what occurred upon that occasion. You left your own house on Tuesday 9th October, for the purpose of looking and searching for another person to aid him in carrying out your nefarious object. You went to MURPHY, you found him and you found in him, a person ready to carry out your object for the paltry sum of four or five pounds.

With respect to you, MURPHY, you appear to have been actuated by no previous ill-will towards this unfortunate woman. You were no tenant of hers and probably had never previously seen her. But such was the depravity of your mind, that without having any possible object, except to earn a few pounds, you lent yourself to the instrument of carrying out the purposes and designs of others. Accordingly, you, on the next evening of Wednesday the 10th of Oct., in company with this man, when you thought that by travelling at night, you would not be identified by those who saw you, accompanied him to his house. Such was the confidence that you, DUNN, had in the persons all about you, that without the least concealment you called at the house of persons, BANNON and others and there was no doubt whatever, but the persons from whom you made those inquiries, must have suspected and knew the object for which you were making them. You MURPHY, having been brought to his house on that night, freely entered and showed yourself to the persons engaged in that conspiracy. But you thought, and vainly thought, concealing yourself in a room in his house, and showing yourself only to the persons implicated in this conspiracy, you being a stranger in the neighbourhood, would escape the results that have now befallen you. However, the finger of providence marked you out.  You went out from the house accompanied by the man Patrick BANON, knowing this unfortunate woman had gone to the market of Ballyconnell, and that she was likely to return.

You, Thomas DUNN, thought that because you were not present at the perpetration of this awful crime, because on the contrary, you went away towards a public market, some miles distant from the place where this murder was committed, you would have escaped the punishment your crime so richly deserves.

You now both see from the awful position in which you are placed and the vainness of any such expectations. You, each of you, have, but a short time to live. It is utterly impossible that you can have the least expectation of the sentence of the law that I am about now passing upon you being in any way mitigated. The law leaves no discretion with me, and the law obliges me to pass upon you that sentence, which your conduct so richly deserves. I am not disposed to increase the pain you must now feel from the condition in which you are placed, by dilating at any length upon the enormity of the crime you have committed, I can only exort you, and each of you, to employ the short time of life that is now remaining to you in endeavouring to make peace with your offended God, the greatest whose attributes is the mercy that he extends to repentant sinners. I implore you, as you cannot expect mercy in this world, that you may endeavour to use the short remainder of your life, that you may obtain from that almighty God the mercy, the laws of civilised society render impossible you can obtain in this world. And for that purpose I implore of you, that you with as little delay as possible, put yourselves in communication with the clergymen of that persuasion to which you may happen to belong. It remains now, only for me to complete the awful duty that I have to perform by putting upon you the awful sentence of the law.
Both of their lordships having here assumed the black cap, Chief Justice MONAHAN proceeded;

“The sentence of the court is that you, James MURPHY and that you also, Thomas DUNN, be each taken from hence to the common prison of her Majesty the Queen, in this county of Cavan and that you and each of you, on Friday the 16th of May next, be taken from the said prison to the place of execution and there be hanged by the neck until you be dead; and with respect to you, James MURPHY, that your body be buried within the precincts of the goal, and may the almighty Lord of heaven have mercy on your souls.

DUNN – “My lord, will you allow my body to be given to my people?

Chief Justice Monahan – “With respect to you MURPHY, the law requires that you should be buried within the precincts of the gaol, but it is not so with respect to you DUNN.

DUNN (firmly) “My lord, I hope we’ll die peaceably. We forgave our enemies all through. I have no enmity to any man, and I hope will die, as we are going to die innocent. I never either sided, or assisted, since I was born in the case, and I am convicted now upon perjured evidence that imbrued their hands, in the blood of that woman themselves and have thrown it on me. I never gave a shilling since I was born. I hope my body will be given to my people.

The prisoners who did not seem affected by the sentence that had been passed on them, were then removed.

The convict James MURPHY, is married and has four children and is a native of Crocknavady, in the County of Leitrim.

The approver Terence BANON, is not related to Red Pat BANON, the remaining alleged murderer, and who, rumour says, walked to Dublin after the perpetration of the murder.

The river Skeelan is crossed by a bridge at about half a mile below where the assassins passed over in a cot.


Transcribed and compiled by Teena from the Longford Journal