Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

!! Ballina Chronicle; March 20, 1850 "Limerick Assizes" - Part 1

Expand Messages
  • Cathy Joynt Labath
    BALLINA CHRONICLE Ballina, Mayo, Ireland Wednesday, March 20, 1850 LIMERICK ASSIZES John O Grady for the murder of his wife and servant girl, was called up to
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 18, 2005
      Ballina, Mayo, Ireland
      Wednesday, March 20, 1850

      John O'Grady for the murder of his wife and servant girl, was called up
      to the bar, upon whom all eyes were intently fixed. The prisoner, a tall,
      clever man, of a mild aspect and demeanor, past the middle age, was attired
      in a blue pilot cloth coat, dark vest and white cravat.
      The prisoner was first arraigned on two counts of the indictment - the
      first charged with the wilful murder of his wife, Anne O'Grady, at
      Martinstown, on the 1st of November, 1846; and the second for the wilful
      murder of his servant girl, Ellen Walsh, at the same place, on the above
      Mr. Sergeant O'Brien, in stating the case, said the facts of the murder
      were so clear that the jury would have no difficulty whatever in coming to
      the conclusion that they were perpetrated by the hands of the prisoner. He
      then detailed the particulars as they subsequently appeared in evidence. The
      only question to be decided was, whether, at the time the prisoner committed
      these brutal atrocities, he was within the meaning of the law, insane, or a
      person of unsound mind - an irresponsible agent, in the eyes of God and man,
      for the final deed which had been committed on the melancholy occasion of
      the 1st November, 1846.
      John Foley, sworn and examined by Mr. Henn - Recollects the 1st
      November, 1846; was in the service of John O'Grady, at Martinstown; knew
      Ellen Walsh; O'Grady told me to go out and feed the horse, that he would be
      going from home; I went to the stable for the purpose; I wasn't more than
      ten minutes feeding the horses, when he sent me to the field to look at a
      horse, and when I came back I met John O'Grady in the yard with a bayonet on
      his left arm upon a short stick; he asked me where the sheep were; I told
      him they were in the turnip field but that I hunted them out of it into the
      paddock - he asked me if I knew where the men used to be digging the
      potatoes every day, I said I did and he desired me to drive the sheep
      there. I did so. I was not doing so more than 15 minutes and when I came
      back to the house I couldn't get in as the door was fastened; I went from
      that into the stable where the horse was; I cleaned the horse and when I was
      shaking the litter I observed a spot of blood on the ground above where the
      horse was; when I raised the straw I observed the body of Ellen Walsh; she
      was in a shocking state under the manger, with her head and face covered
      with blood and her hair hanging about her; I went for and returned with the
      Police in half an hour; when I first met O'Grady with the bayonet he was
      coming from the direction of the stable.
      William Hurly corroborated Foley's evidence.
      Head Constable Corry sworn - Went to O'Grady's house when called on;
      enquired for the prisoner but did not see him; the windows of O'Grady's
      house were all darkened and strongly bolted; searched every room in the
      house except one, which I couldn't get the key of; searched the out-offices
      for O'Grady; but did not find him; found the body of Ellen Walsh in the
      stable, made up in straw except the head; there was a great deal of blood on
      the straw; I then went into prisoner's room; on entering I found the ramrod
      of a pistol, and in the bed was the body of O'Grady's wife; she was on her
      left side, in the centre of the bed, and the clothes in a sort of bundle
      over her; she had blood on her neck; I felt her pulse and found she was
      dead; I arrested O'Grady next morning in the house of a man named Hennigan,
      who lives only about an English mile form where the murder was committed; I
      found him lying in bed with his clothes on, except hat and shoes; He was
      rolled up in a sheet as if to keep the down of the bed from his clothing; I
      found a case of pistols, loaded, and capped in his pocket; also a powder
      flask and memorandum book.
      Mr. James Russell, J.P., sworn - Was at the Inquest on the 2d November
      in the barn of the prisoner's house; on the jury retiring to consider their
      verdict, O'Grady turned to witness and said he had one request to make of
      me; I told him I was there as a magistrate and to say nothing that would
      hereafter be given against him; he then said - as I know that the verdict
      that will be returned against me by the Jury will be that of murder, will
      you send for my attorney, until I get him to draw up a deed of assignment of
      my property, in order that the crown cannot confiscate on my family. Struck
      with such a request I communicated with Mr. Coote, and Mr. Keays,
      solicitor, was sent for; Mr. Keays took down instructions in writing; when
      the jury returned a verdict of murder, I called on the police to handcuff
      the prisoner he said, "Good God, Mr. Russell, will you march me through the
      country with these handcuffs like a murderer?" I told him that as I had
      command of the police, I would give him a seat in my own gig; he felt much
      hurt abut being handcuffed, and said, how can I hide them; I got the apron
      of the gig, threw it over his shoulder, and covered his hands; when we were
      going out the gat the crowds shouted, and I ordered the police to lead;
      O'Grady said to them, "boys, 'tis with my own wish I am going along with Mr.
      Russell and do nothing;" on our way we met Mr. Michael O'Riordan, a relative
      of the prisoner; O'Grady asked me to stop the gig 'till he'd speak to him;
      I again told him that he ought to say nothing as he knew I should prove it
      against him; he said that he knew that; he said to Mr. Riordan, "Good God,
      very little did you think a few days ago that you would see my father's son
      marched through the country this way as a murderer;" they shook hands and
      parted; when we went on I said I was astonished at his going on in such a
      way, as he knew I should prove all he said; he replied, "I know my only fate
      is to be hanged, and I wished to "God the gallows were erected on that
      field, as it is the only atonement I can make in this world for the two
      dreadful murders I committed yesterday; " on our way he detailed the
      particulars of the murders to me; he said that on Saturday evening, after
      returning from Kilfinane in his car with his wife late, he took dinner; that
      some time after dinner his wife made tea or coffee and put by the side of
      the fireplace and left the room; he was reading the newspaper and after some
      time he told his sister to call Mrs. O'Grady down to tea; that she didn't
      go; that after some time he again asked why she didn't go; that she made
      answer that Ellen Walshe was there and she wouldn't go; that he then went up
      stairs and found his wife undressed, and in bed; Ellen Walshe was lying
      outside her; he said to Ellen Walshe, "you b___h of a w___e is it there you
      are?" - that he dragged her up and pushed her down stairs; that shortly
      after his wife came down dressed, filled out the tea, and never spoke to
      him; that he took the candle, and went up to bed; that about 11 o'clock his
      wife went up, undressed and went to bed without speaking to him, that he
      slept little all night; that he got up early next morning to let out the
      servants; that he saw Ellen Walshe coming out of the parlour; that he said
      to her you b___h of a devil is it there you are" - that he went to send
      Foley with the sheep, and then walked in the garden opposite the house; that
      he saw Ellen Walshe peeping, as if watching him, from the corner of the
      house; that he saw her run towards the stable; that he pursued her; seized a
      pitchfork which was at the door, rushed at her and struck her; when I saw
      that she was killed I didn't like to put my hands to her, and with the
      pitchfork piked her over under the manger, and covered her with straw; I
      then returned to the house, locked the door after me, went up stairs to my
      room and on opening the door said to my wife I had killed Ellen Walshe.
      "Have you, said she?", " I have, said I;" "I'll be the first to inform
      against you, said she," "Will you, said I;" " I will, said she, and be the
      first to prosecute you, upon which I fired one of them danmable pistols at
      her, and hit her; when I saw her struggling in the bed, I leaped upon her,
      caught her by the neck with my left hand and drove the contents of the other
      pistol through her; I then re-loaded the pistols to shoot myself, but saw
      the Devil at the gates of hell ready to receive my soul, and I cowed at it;
      I then sat down, and wrote the paper found in my room, determining to drown
      my self as it required less nerve than to shoot myself; I then reflected
      that as my friend, Walsh, would be suspected of the murder, it was better to
      have only one suffer for the crime; I was determined to send for the police,
      to surrender myself, but changed my mind, and resolved to take my chance, as
      I had only given the b___s and w___s what they deserved." he said he looked
      upon Ellen Walsh as a go-between his wife and a young man in Tipperary, and
      that on that account he had made up his mind to make away with her (Ellen
      Walsh); he added that he had intended to do it some time before, but could
      not devise a plan whereby he would escape detection; he spoke of her as a
      go-between with letters and messages with the young man in Tipperary; with
      the exception of a conversation in the bridewell of Kilfinan, relative to
      dietary, &c., nothing else particular transpired; he requested to be left
      his prayer book, which was done; often before him at fairs and markets in
      Limerick; never noticed anything particular about him.
      To the Court - I did not observe anything about him that day to suppose
      he was insane.
      Dr. W.D. Murphy sworn - Saw the body of Ellen Walsh; she had several
      contused wounds on the forehead, which gave the face a livid appearance;
      also wounds on the neck - all puncture wounds, close to each other; she died
      from hemorrage, her hair was matted with blood.
      Mr. John Peate Quinlan, sworn - The deceased, Mr. O'Grady, was my
      sister; she was married in spring, 1846; was then a medical student, and is
      now a medical man; never noticed symptoms of insanity about O'Grady; knew
      Ellen Walsh; her father was herdsman to my father; after my sister's
      marriage Ellen Walsh went to live with her; I remember O'Grady having
      charged Ellen Walsh with setting poison for him and his family; he charged
      Ellen Walsh with having had criminal intercourse with his youngest brother,
      and said she wanted to poison him to get possession of the place.
      Dr. Wm. Murphy sworn - Knows the prisoner since his (witness's)
      childhood; always thought him a very sensible, proper, steady man, and even
      told the deceased's relatives that he was calculated to make a very good
      kind husband.
      Dr. Robert Gelston sworn - Saw the prisoner a morning or two after he
      was committed to the county gaol; i am surgeon to the County Infirmary, and
      having heard that he was committed walked across the street and saw him; he
      was pointed out to me in the day room; when he observed me, he went behind a
      pillar as if to avoid being seen, and I therefore retired from the place; I
      saw him after he made the attempt to cut his throat; I saw it stitched up;
      when I first spoke to him he made no answer; he appeared dejected and
      thoughtful, like one who would feel remorse; I had a lengthened interview
      for an hour with him, in the Lunatic Asylum, after his transmission from the
      gaol to that institution in '47; I considered him sane and rational in his
      Dr. J. Wilkinson deposed that he had had sufficient intercourse with
      prisoner to enable him to form an opinion that he was insane in November,
      1846; saw him after he cut his throat; the wound was very serious; have seen
      many insane persons; was twelve months attending such patients in the old
      house of industry.
      To Mr. O'Hea- I gave the same opinion on the trial in 1847.

      ...to be continued...

      Cathy Joynt Labath
      Ireland Old News
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.