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!! Connaught Journal; Apr 12, 1824 "Riot and Homicide at Maghera" Part 1 of 2

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  • Cathy Joynt Labath
    THE CONNAUGHT JOURNAL Galway, Monday, April 12, 1824 LONDONDERRY ASSIZES RIOT AND HOMICIDE AT MAGHERA A few minutes after nine, his Lordship, Mr. Justice
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 14, 2003
      Galway, Monday, April 12, 1824


      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
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