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!! Ballina Chronicle; March 27, 1850 "Murder of Mrs. Fitzpatrick - Kilkenny"

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  • Cathy Joynt Labath
    BALLINA CHRONICLE Ballina, Mayo, Ireland Wednesday, March 27, 1850 KILKENNY County Court The Hon. Mr. Justice Torrens entered the court at nine o clock
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 24, 2005
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      Ballina, Mayo, Ireland
      Wednesday, March 27, 1850

      County Court

      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
      for non-attendance.

      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
      the Crown.
      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
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