!! Connaught Journal; Apr 12, 1824 "Riot and Homicide at Maghera" Part 1 of 2
- THE CONNAUGHT JOURNAL
Galway, Monday, April 12, 1824
RIOT AND HOMICIDE AT MAGHERA
A few minutes after nine, his Lordship, Mr. Justice Vandeleur, entered the
Court. The Galleries were crowded to excess.
The Rev. Mr. Kennedy (one of the prisoners) was allowed a seat below the
deck, beside his Counsel.
The Jury agreed to join in the challenges; the Rev. Mr. Kennedy being
allowed to challenge several.
After 23 had been challenged by the prisoners, and 27 by the Crown, the
following Gentlemen were sworn by the Jury:
George Mackie, Alexander Brown, R. Morton, Joseph Alexander, Samuel
Alexander, Alexander Moore, David Allen, Robert Maxwell, Samuel Hood, Samuel
Walker, Thomas Cong and Samuel Moore.
Samuel Clark, James Slass, Charles Rainey, H. M'Cracken, Joseph Sloss,
James M'Cleery, Jas. Scott, John Armstrong, G. Scott, James Hipson, and Rev.
Charles Kennedy, were charged in two indictments- 1st, For aiding and assisting
in the murder of Denis Hegerty, at Maghera, on 12th June last, this said Hegerty
having been killed by a shot from a gun fired by John Downlie, alias Downing;
also for aiding and assisting in the murder of Patrick Beglay, at Maghera, on
the above day.
To these indictments they severally pleaded not Guilty, and the Counsel for
the Prosecution called
John Gribben, examined by Counsellor Sheil.
Witness recollects 12th June last, the fair-day of Maghera; witness was
there that day; there was a riot between six and seven in the evening, in the
streets, between two parties; they met near William M'Cracken's house; he is in
the dock; one party was forced to retreat into M'Cracken's house; a party came
out and called for "the face of a rascal;" they said they would best any of the
Ribbonmen on the street; the party in the upper end of the town came down ,and
again attacked their opponents; they met near M'Cracken's again; they struck
each other both with sticks and stones; the stones were thrown by both parties;
one of the parties took shelter again in M'Cracken's; a shot was then fired from
M'Cracken's; his house had not then received any injury; a man came out with a
gun and fired it up the street; he presented his gun in the direction of the
Ribbonmen; the street was then full of them; both parties again met, and fought
from M'Cracken's to near the Market-house, and back to the same ground again;
the Ribbonmen were successful in going towards the market-house- the Orangemen
were successful in coming back; the Orangmen then entered M'Cracken's house; the
Ribbonmen then attacked the house with stones; when they were retreating back a
man came out of M'Cracken's house with a gun; his name is John Downing; he snapt
the gun thrice, pointed towards the Catholics; it missed fire; he then went
into M'Cracken's and brought out a gun, which also missed fire; he again went in
and brought out a gun, along with another man, named Crocket, who also had a
gun; and Downing knelt on one knee, saying, "I have him under my eye;" he fired
the gun, and Denis Hegerty fell ; he was on the street; witness was ten yards
from Downing when he fired; Hegerty died in an hour after he received the shot;
at the time the shot was fired, witness cannot swear one of the prisoners was
there; witness ran off when Hegerty was killed; many shots were fired from the
lower (Orange) party before the men were killed; Downing lived in Dreenan.
Cross-examined by Counsellor Rolleston:
A great many were in the fair that evening; does not think there were more
than on former occasions; there had been riots before this on a fair day.
Counsellor Rolleston-Now don't mention these odious names of the parties
again, I'll not mention them--would to God they were never heard of, but buried
with their hateful feelings for ever in oblivion.
Cross-examination continued- Witness was on the street, walking quietly;
had nothing in his hands that day; hand no stones; in the first engagement
cannot say how many were engaged on both sides; both parties struck each other
violently; saw some of the arties on both sides cut; one party was defeated and
driven into the house; there were more outside than inside of M'Cracken's-the
beaten party took shelter in it; they came out , ten in number; the street was
nearly full; there was a second engagement, and the small party was again driven
into the house; it was as bloody as the first; neither at the first or second
engagements were stones thrown at the house; stones were thrown by both parties
at each other; the party came out of the house a third time, and another battle
ensued; one party beat the other party up street, and were beaten back again;
this battle was more violent than the two others; does not know the number
present; there was great bloodshed, battery and murder; did not see bloody heads
by stones, but by sticks; the windows of B. M'Cracken's house were all broken in
pieces; the sign was demolished by both sides; the parties were on both sides of
the sign; the Ribbon party threw most at the house; Witness stood in Robert
M'Dowell's parlour, looking through a broken pane in the window fronting the
Market-house to the Well; was sober and saw distinctly what he has told; did not
see Mr. Colthurst in the street; saw him during a previous riot; that riot was
between the same parties; it occurred 20 minutes before the three battles
already mentioned; but all was quiet after it; saw Mr. Colthurst, an Officer,
and Soldiers in the first riot; Witness was still at the broken pane; did not
see the Officer struck and knocked down; M'Cracken's house is opposite to where
Witness stood; did not see an Officer come out bleeding; saw the soldiers fire
some shots; people were about them, but no violence was done to them; all kinds
of parties were about the Soldiers; Witness did not belong to any party; Witness
did not wish to hurt either side; he had good neighbours on both sides; it was
nothing to Witness who would win; all are alike to Witness; there was shouting
on both sides to "fire away;" they were throwing stones.
By a Juror- Does not know which of the parties broke the peace first.
...to be continued...with DEFENCE
Cathy Joynt Labath
Ireland Old News