!! Times; Aug 13, 1835 "Galway Assizes"
- The Times
London, Middlesex, England
August 13, 1835
(FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT)
Dublin, Aug. 10
GALWAY ASSIZES- Crown Court, Thursday.
Michael Ryan and Thomas Collins were placed at the bar, charged with the
wilful murder of Honora Ryan.
Patrick Hession was the first witness sworn- Was in the service of Mr.
Killikelly as a shepherd. Recollects the 2d or 3d of February. It was on the
night of Monday. Met a woman's cloak. Took it up and brought it home. Went in
the same direction again. Saw blood on the cloak
John Atkinson, the son of Chief Constable sworn.- On the morning of Tuesday
went out on a search three-fourths of a mile from Dunmore. Saw a man with a
bundle of clothes, a cloak and a gown. There was blood on the gown. Saw them
with Patrick Sweeny. Gave them to the policeman. On searching saw a human body
in the river. Its head was cut off. Found the head 12 yards above the body,
lying in the centre of the river; took it up by the hair, and upon examination
found a head fitted to the body; the neck was shrunk and would not fit; knows it
to be the body of the woman; found a small pair of shoes; saw the blood 13 or 14
yards from the river; the ground was wet with it; it appeared in three several
places opposite to where he found the body; saw wool between the teeth; was
present when the remains were recognized by the wife of one of the prisoners;
this was on Tuesday; the coroner was sent for, and swore the jury in the evening
of that day; saw a dark gray cloak.
Felix M'Donnell sworn and examined.- Lives at Park, in this county; knows
the prisoners; one of them lived in his service; knows the other; lives half a
mile from him; knew Honora Ryan; saw her the last time in January last; saw her
dead on Thursday, the 5th of February, in Dunmore; went to Dunmore; by chance
went into where the remains lay; instantly recognized the remains to be the
remain of those of Honora Ryan; did not observe the head; recognized the
features and the gown she wore; she was a married woman, the wife of Michael
Ryan, the prisoner; came to my house to visit her husband; came more than once;
remained not more than an hour to my knowledge; saw Ryan next morning; Ryan came
up to me at Blake's door, two miles from Dunmore; saw him at the inquest;
brought him in to Dunmore; Ryan saw the remains at Dunmore; he thought it was
his wife; I had no doubt, and thought he should have much less; he then said it
was; Ryan said he did not see her for three weeks, but afterwards acknowledged
to have seen her within 10 days; he refused to come to Dunmore; I brought him
in; cautioned him not to tell me anything that would condemn himself; he said
the rest of the servants were out, but that he was within that night; used to
sleep with Thomas Kelly and Pat Walsh; wore a stable jacked purchased by me; the
distance was five miles from where the body was found to my house; gave up Ryan
to the police; Mr. Birmingham, the magistrate, came to me, and we found Collins
and his wife there; went to the inquest; the police arrested Collins and the
rest of my servants; called in prisoners one by one; Collins begged of me to let
him go; told him that I could not; Ryan and his wife lived on bad terms; told me
he never would live with her; he wished she was dead and damned; that he was
compelled to marry her; visited Ryan yesterday; remained a quarter of an hour;
paid him three visits; got 10l. and the expenses of witness; is not an embryo
magistrate; knew her head; knew her gown; recognized her instantly; told him
yesterday he ought to call in a clergyman; Ryan sent for me each time; Kelly is
in my service; Walsh is not; examined her accurately; saw gloves and a
The other evidence was confirmatory.
Mr. Hosty, the coroner, sworn-[ The Crown Counsel handed in as evidence the
declarations of Ryan, the prisoner, to which Mr. Fallon, the prisoner's counsel,
objected. After a long argument the Judge said, thought he had an opinion of its
admissibility, he would yet wish to consult with his brother Crampton.] Received
the declarations from Mr. Tulley; duly precautioned the prisoner against saying
anything that would tend to criminate himself; read them over for the prisoner;
he acknowledged that they were all right; the prisoner signed them in witness's
presence; he (witness) and other gentlemen then subscribed their names to this
voluntary confession; the prisoner's declaration was read; he acknowledged his
guilt; it also affected the other prisoner; Collins denied the truth of it, upon
which Ryan said, "You can't deny the fact, as I never would commit the deed were
it not at your instigation." Collins persisted in his denial.
A long discussion took place between counsel on both sides. The Judge said
he would take care that it should not be considered conclusive. The Judge then
asked the prisoners if they wished anything to say anything, as the Court and
Jury were ready to hear them.
Ryan said he knew not what he was about when he made that confession; that
he was taken in by the gentlemen.
Collins, the other prisoner, strongly before God protested his innocence.
After a long charge from the Judge, the Jury retired, and after remaining
some time in the room returned with a verdict of Guilty. At the announcement of
the verdict the wretched prisoners seemed unconscious of their fate,
particularly the old man Collins. At this moment his Lordship, who seemed
greatly affected, proceeded to pass sentence of death on them, which he did in
so feeling a manner that he scarcely left a dry eye in court. They were ordered
for execution on Saturday (this day.)
EXECUTION OF MEENY AND M'DERMOTT FOR THE MURDER OF THE POLICEMAN.
On Thursday last, at an early hour, vast crowds were hurrying from every
direction to witness this truly feeling exhibition, and at about 2 o'clock there
could not be less than from 5,000 to 6,000 people present; indeed, from the
Court-house to the gaol was one moving mass of human beings, and every other
quarter that could afford a view was equally thronged. After the clergyman had
given them some religious consolation, they shook hands with each of them and
retired, shortly after which the fatal drop gave way, and both were in a few
moments hurried into eternity.
Cathy Joynt Labath
Ireland Old News