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

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  • Cathy Joynt Labath
    ...continued... THE CONNAUGHT JOURNAL Galway, Monday, April 12, 1824 LONDONDERRY ASSIZES RIOT AND HOMICIDE AT MAGHERA DEFENCE The Rev. John Colthurst- Witness
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 14, 2003

      Galway, Monday, April 12, 1824


      The Rev. John Colthurst- Witness is Curate of the parish of Maghera; lives
      there; was in the streets about seven in the evening of 12th June, the market
      day; at the house of a grocer named Kennedy, witness saw a number of people; saw
      Madden and Armstrong, constables, with a prisoner in custody, named Dillian;
      they were endeavouring to bring him to the guard-house; a number of people were
      around them; the prisoner and one of the constables fell; a man in the crowd
      said, no man should imprison Dillian; witness went to Ensign Elliot, and brought
      him down; Elliot went to his Corporal, and ordered him to bring down a file of
      men; the crowd was so great, Witness did not see Dillian afterwards; there must
      have been at least 40 or 50 men around the Constables; the Soldiers came and
      Ensign Elliot ordered them to fix bayonets; before their arrival there was a
      great deal of tumult and disturbance at M'Cracken's house; Witness soon
      afterwards saw the Officer disappear, and shortly after saw him all covered with
      blood; the multitude was then increasing very much; the crowd receded,
      apparently horror-struck at seeing Ensign Elliot covered with blood; while he
      was in the house, Witness heard a person say "don't be daunted boys, it is blind
      cartridges they are firing;" and another man shouted, "they have been keeping us
      down too long;" another man exclaimed "remember Garvagh;" The Soldiers fired
      after the Officer disappeared; when he came out, he took his party to Mr. Fall's
      Inn; he ordered the m to make ready; Witness saw stones throwing," towards us,
      from us; one party was throwing stones at another, the one party was at
      M'Cracken's and the other near the market-house; when the soldiers were at
      M'Cracken's witness saw a party of 20 or 30 men with three for four sticks,
      breaking M'Cracken's windows; the affray looked very desperate from where
      witness was standing; lives were in danger, form the heavy stones thrown;
      witness went to take a stick from a man, when a person come behind him and
      struck him on the face; witness was cut very deeply, and bled; witness was
      advising people not to go out in the riot.
      Cross-examined by Counsellor Doherty.
      Only heard of two persons having lost their lives that evening, Begley and
      Hegerty; but heard of M'Master dying afterwards; witness did not see any
      persons use a gun ,except the soldier; did not see M'Cracken that evening with a
      gun; saw Dillian's clothes nearly torn off of him in the endeavour to keep him
      in custody; Mr. Kennedy's son, David, was holding him by the clothes; Dillian
      seemed drunk; did not know than any guns were collected in M'Cracken's house;
      witness heard a man in M'Cracken's often say, "shoot the rebelly rascals;" no
      shot was fired then; witness heard some shots before he was struck; after the
      military went away, things were comparatively quiet; witness had assisted in
      taking a crook out of a man's hand.
      Ensign Jas. Elliot examined by Mr. Deering.
      Witness is an officer of the 77th regiment, and was in Maghera in June
      last; had the command of a serjeant and twelve rank and file there, in barracks;
      it was suggested by Mr. Colthurst, last witness, to suppress a riot; witness had
      walked down the street from Mr. Colthurst, to the first assemblage of people;
      there were then no disturbance at David Kennedy's house; witness remained on the
      street, and Mr. Colthurst desired witness to go and clear out Mr. Kennedy's
      shop; witness went and turned all the people out; John Dillon was in the shop,
      and had his coat off, and was kicking; the mob seemed to be becoming more
      violent, and the witness sent for the serjeant and a party of six soldiers; the
      riot continued violently, and witness sent for the remainder of his party; he
      marched them down tow where the riot was; witness conceived the rioters were
      attacking M'Cracken's house, and threw himself and party between them and the
      house; the riot continued and witness ordered his men to prime and load; he then
      with his party cleared the front of the house; the mob was close upon the party
      of soldiers; witness on turning around received a blow upon the cheek-bone and
      eye-brow; witness was insensible from the blow for six or seven minutes;
      believes the blow was given by a stone; before witness received the blow,
      M'Cracken came out of his house with a gun, which witness took from him while
      the soldiers were loading; M'Cracken's house was full of people, whose lives
      were in the greatest danger; witness's party would not have been able to keep
      off the mob without firing ;and witness being responsible for the safety of his
      soldiers, withdrew them to the barrack; while witness was retiring with his
      party, a large crowd came running down the streets with sticks, shouting, and
      witness ordered his men to face about and make ready.
      Cross-examined- The first thing he saw was a the crowd at David Kennedy's;
      saw no rioting there after Dillians' business; although witness was struck with
      a stone, he did not order the men to fire.- This closed the case for the
      His Lordship charged the Jury, who, after half an hour's consultation
      returned a verdict- Not Guilty.

      Cathy Joynt Labath
      Ireland Old News
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