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!! Connaught Journal; Oct 7, 1824; Report on Murder of John Cosgrave/Coskenny

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  • Cathy Joynt Labath
    THE CONNAUGHT JOURNAL Galway, Thursday, October 7, 1824 MURDER-THE MEATH POLICE Mr. Ford presented the following report to the Committee:- I arrived at
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 1, 2006
      Galway, Thursday, October 7, 1824

      Mr. Ford presented the following report to the Committee:- I arrived at
      Rathmollon, on the 28th at twelve o'clock, although I did not receive any
      communication until eight o'clock in the morning of that day, respecting the
      necessity of my attendance. On my arrival, I was informed that on the
      morning preceding, the Coroner went to the house of the father of the
      deceased, accompanied by Captain Despard, Chief Peace Officer of the
      District, and Mr. Wilkins, who attended on behalf of the Police, together
      with the medical men, and several others who had been summoned to attend as
      Jurors. After having inspected the body, the Coroner adjourned to the
      village of Rathmollon and proceeded to examine several witnesses, who were
      examined by Mr. Wilkins, on behalf of the Police. The Court had just
      commenced the examination of the first witness on the second day, when I
      arrived and having stated that I attended on behalf of the next of kin of
      the deceased, the Coroner, at my request, read the deposition that had been
      taken on the previous day.
      The report here states the names of the Jury, and the several witnesses
      who were examined. - The following is the substance of the most material
      portions of the evidence:-
      John Duffy saw Police striking the deceased, and heard them cry
      out,"murder the bloody Papists."
      Mary Reilly deposed, that she did not hear any riot in the town; there
      was a noise in her house, but no fighting; there was loud talk in a closet;
      prevented Delapp, the Peeler, from firing towards the stairs; Delapp said he
      would have his aim, pointing his gun out to the hall, and witness said he
      should not, and pushed the gun down, upon which he hit her on the arm-did
      not see any of the constables beaten; there were no arms with the country
      people, not even a stick; she did not see deceased in her house that day;
      heard firing immediately after the police left her house; police drank
      spirits in her house that day at twelve o'clock; it was their lairing; they
      did not pay for it; two of them came into her house with Mrs. Lantry, wife
      of Serjeant Lantry, and two of the police followed; she had no license;
      police desired her to sell, and that nothing would happen to her. (Here
      Captain Despard asked her, did not the gauger also permit her to sell
      spirits, and she replied that he did not;) did not hear or see any persons
      attempting to take the arms from the police.
      Lieutenant Ellis, of Summer-hill, (is not of the Police establishment);
      saw rioting between the police and country people; saw country people coming
      out of Mrs. Reilly's house without their hats; asked witness to pick them
      up; saw a policeman knocked down by a countryman; heard a shot, and saw
      deceased fall; saw several countrymen run away alarmed at the shot; saw
      deceased taken up about half an hour afterwards; called to the country
      people to go for the Doctor, and they objected for a long time to come near
      the window where the witness was.
      Upon being cross-examined, witness stated that he knew of no riot
      before the police went into the house; there were no arms in the hands of
      the country people, but saw one man take something from under his coat, and
      it was he who struck the serjeant; believe it was a policeman fired the
      shot; knows him only by his white trowsers; none of the police came to the
      assistance of the man; the policeman nearest the deceased was the person who
      fired the shot; heard a woman's voice in favour of the police, and assisting
      them, and calling on the people to keep off; the people were running away in
      all directions; the woman's voice was certainly encouraging the police.
      Patt Kirwan corroborated the testimony of Moran as the to conversation
      of Delapp at Trim.


      Peter Fitzsimmons saw Cosgrave, the deceased knocked down by the blow
      of a gun, given by constable, with his two hands on it; one policeman
      advanced from between two others, and he was the person who gave the blow;
      there had been a scrimmage at Reilly's house, and it had all ceased at the
      time the blow was given; deceased was walking towards the police when the
      blow was given.
      After this witness was examined, I stated that on the part of the
      deceased's friends, I would not call any witnesses; that after the
      particularly insolent manner in which I was spoken to, the day before, by
      one of the Jury, I would not offer any observations on the evidence. But I
      was not now admonished at the Juryman's warmth, as I had since learned that
      he was the firs cousin of Delapp, the constable. I could not, however, omit
      observing to the Coroner-that where one of his Majesty's subjects had lost
      his life within a few yards of those who were called the preservers of the
      peace, not one of them had come forward to give any explanation of the
      Mr. Wilkins, in reply, said, that he had directed the police to be in
      attendance, and they were accordingly there, and if I wished I might examine
      them, but they were already asked, and they said they knew nothing about the
      I said that was very extraordinary, and I hoped that they would present
      themselves for examination.
      The CORONER proceeded to charge the Jury.- He stated that he was no
      party man, no Orangeman, nor never had been one, and he laboured throughout
      to shew that the words "Papists," &c. were not used, contrasting the
      evidence of those witnesses who said they were, with the evidence of Lieut.
      Ellis, and also with the silence of others.- As in that, I begged leave to
      observe, that those who were silent to it, were not asked the questions and
      as for Lieutenant Ellis, he did not hear the expression made use of by Mr.
      Matthews, ast his own window.
      The CORONER recapitulated all the evidence, and on the deposition of
      James Cosgrave, the father of the deceased, observed that if they believed
      the evidence, and that from the observation made by his father the deceased
      believed he was dying, and was in possession of his senses at the time he
      made the declaration, they should find a verdict against the two constables
      named by the deceased.
      The Jury retired for a short time, and returned their verdict, "that
      the deceased, John Cosgrave, otherwise Coskenny, came by his death by means
      of a wound on his forehead, inflicted by one of the police constables, as
      yet unknown, by a gun, or some other weapon, at Summerhill, on the night of
      the 22d of September, of which wound he languished and died on Sunday, the
      26th of September, at Isaacstown."
      I cannot but remark, that the deceased was left from Wednesday to
      Sunday without any Magistrate calling upon him for the purpose of
      ascertaining whether he hand any declaration to make. Mr. Mockler, who came
      to the town with Captain Despard about an hour after the affair occurred,
      was aware that the man was badly wounded; so was Captain Despard acquainted
      with the fact. In the early part of the investigation it was sought to prove
      the man was drunk.
      Surgeon Trotter, in his evidence, said, his appearance of drunkenness
      might have proceeded from the effects of the blow. As evidence, how
      peaceable that Country must have been, I cannot but state that I was
      informed that serjeant Lantry, who was stationed at Summerhill, passed a
      fortnight or three weeks at Mr. Mockler's, superintending his harvest
      labourers. I have been informed of this fact by respectable persons, who
      stated, that they could prove it, and that it was notorious in the country.
      If it is not so, and that Mr. Mockler, and Captain Despard should agree with
      me, that it was not a proper disposal of the man's time, who was paid by the
      public, they will disprove it.
      Mr. Ford, after giving in the report, said , there was a circumstance
      attending this occurrence, which, as expressive of the feelings of the
      peasantry upon the occasion, he considered it of importance to mention. In
      the country it is the custom amongst the people to affix to the head of the
      bed in which a corpse is waked, a cross of ribbon; it is white upon an
      unmarried person ,and black for a married one, but upon the present
      occasion, the deceased, who was unmarried, had a red cross attached to his
      bed, and placed upon the coffin in its progress to the place of interment,
      and to any one acquainted with the sensitive character of the Irish, it
      would be unnecessary to observe the effect of such a significant emblem. It
      was also, he said, a remarkable fact, that the only Catholic policeman in
      the squad at Summerhill, was removed to another station the day previous to
      the fair.-(Hear, hear.)
      He had also to state, that almost the whole of the party of police
      engaged in this affair, had been tried at various times for acts of violence
      to the country people.
      It was resolved, that, at its rising, the meeting should adjourn to
      Counsellor Bric having been called to the Chair, and thanks returned to
      the Chairman, the meeting adjourned to Tuesday next.

      Cathy Joynt Labath
      Ireland Old News
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