!! Ballina Chronicle; March 27, 1850 "Murder of Mrs. Fitzpatrick - Kilkenny"
- BALLINA CHRONICLE
Ballina, Mayo, Ireland
Wednesday, March 27, 1850
The Hon. Mr. Justice Torrens entered the court at nine o'clock
precisely, and ordered a jury to be called immediately. The hour being
somewhat earlier than had been generally expected, many jurors were fined
MURDER OF MRS. FITZPATRICK
Thomas Cullenan and Philip Dullard were placed at the bar and arraigned
for the murder of Catherine Fitzpatrick, committed on the 1st of February in
the 12th year of the Queen (1849). The indictment recited that the said
Catherine Fitzpatrick had been choked and suffocated by some person or
persons unknown, and that such person or persons unknown was or were
incited, moved, procured, caused and commanded to the murder by the
prisoners at the bar. Another count charged the murder to have been
committed by drowning.
The pri9soner Cullenan was rather a good looking person, dressed as a
comfortable farmer, and apparently between forty and fifty years of age.
Dullard, is a younger man, and apparently, from his dress, of the labouring
class. The expression of his countenance is forbidding in the extreme.
Messrs. Scott, Q.C., Sausse, Q.C., and Rollestone, Q.C., appeared for
Messrs. Armstrong and Maher appeared for the defence; Mr. Delany as
Mr. Scott, Q.C., proceeded to state the circumstances of the case to
the jury. He mentioned that the murder had been committed on the first of
February, 1849, the unfortunate lady, who was very old, having been found
dead with her head sunk in a well of her residence. She was found in a
position that would clearly demonstrate, he believed, to their full
satisfaction, that she could not place herself in, as she lay, on her back
with her head sunk under water, and her feet resting on the stone steps. Her
boots, in particular, were quite clean, although it was swampy and miry all
round, and they must have been dirtied had she walked to the well. She had
been living for a long time at the house of Coolcashin, and there farmed 150
acres of land, being a person of some wealth and respectability. Her farm
servant was named Kavanagh, but she was in the habit of receiving advice
and assistance in all her farm arrangements and business transactions from
a neighbouring farmer, Thomas Cullenan, one of the prisoners at the bar. The
learned counsel then went into a detail of the evidence which would be
produced to bring the case home to the prisoners; mentioning that several
witnesses would prove that they saw the parties lurking in the neighbourhood
about the time of the commission of the murder, and one man would depose
that Cullenan had previously endeavoured to bribe him to commit this
murder. - The motive for the deed he referred to the circumstances that
Cullenan had a short time previously effected an insurance for £450, on the
life of the old lady, which sum he would be entitled to receive if she was
put out of the way; and it was a very suspicious fact that a day or two
before the murder Cullenan had gone to the agent of the Assurance Company,
paid up a balance of a few shillings which he had been in arrear, and
ascertained that the entire transaction was securely perfected. The case was
purely circumstantial, but they would see how strong the circumstances were
against Cullenan, and in addition it would appear that he (Cullenan) had
endeavoured after his own arrest to fasten the crime on innocent
individuals, the servants of Mrs. Fitzpatrick.
After the examination of a great number of witnesses,
Mr. Armstrong addressed the jury for the defence in a very able and
highly argumentative speech.
At eight o'clock the jury retired to their room, and were scarcely ten
minutes in consultation when they returned, and handed in the issue paper,
finding prisoners Not Guilty, amidst the most intense interest.
The spectators had been prepared by the tenor of the judge's charge for
the acquittal of Dullard, but the fate of Cullenan held them in doubtful
suspense, and on the announcement of a verdict a low murmur of many voices
sounded through the court, but no other indication of feeling was expressed.
Cullenan, upon having his acquittal pronounced, slapped the front of
the dock smartly with his hand, producing a loud noise; and soon after,
addressing the governor, he observed, with rather a triumphant air, "Well, I
didn't behave bad." Dullard said nothing, and did not appear much moved by
the nature of the verdict.
Cathy Joynt Labath
Ireland Old News