Limerick Evening Post and Clare Sentinel

4 February 1831

  Last week, a most revolting murder was committed near Newcastle, County Limerick. The deceased was an aged woman, who lived with her son, named MACKESSY. The daughter-in-law was prejudiced against her for being in the house. The unnatural young woman seized the first opportunity in her husband's absence, and, having strewed some pushes on the floor, took up a hatchet, with the repeated blows of which the old woman was shortly a corpse. Her monster daughter-in-law then concealed the body in a back yard till night, when she threw it into a pool of water not far from the house. The body was found the next day —an inquest was held— the case was investigated by the Magistrates, and the perpetrator was fully committed for the foul deed.

18 March 1831


  This day, Margaret MACKESEY, convicted of the wilful murder of Mary MACKESEY, was executed in from of the County Limerick Prison.  Since Wednesday, (the day on which she was tried.) she manifested the utmost sorrow for the offences, and her mind has been wholly absorbed in religious devotion, in which she was assisted by the Rev. Gentlemen appointed for the occasion, and who attended her to the scaffold.  She appeared about thirty-five years old, and her features, which were good, exhibited marks of deep care.  She has left four children, the eldest of whom is but six years old.
[Limerick Assizes]...


  This day, Margaret MACKESEY, wife of Edward MACKESEY, a farmer at Ahavoulk, near Newcastle, was tried before Baron PENEFATHER, for the wilful murder of Mary MACKESEY, her mother-in-law.  It was a case of circumstantial evidence, and the principal witness for the prosecution was Honora MACKESEY, a little country girl of eleven years, the niece of her husband.  She was, after a most patient and deeply interesting trial, found guilty of the crime without hesitation, and sentenced for execution on Friday next.  After judgment was given in a most earnest manner by the learned Judge, the unfortunate woman pleaded pregnancy, and a Medical Gentleman was ordered to enquire into the truth of the plea.
  The Judge directed a eminent Practitioner of Midwifery should be procured, and Surgeon FRANKLIN, jun., was instructed by the Court to examine the convict.  His Lordship laid it down as the law, that pregnancy alone, without quickening of the child, would not be sufficient to delay the execution, and directed the Surgeon to examing strictly as to both points.  The convict was then removed from Court, under an escort into an adjoining room, and underwent the examination.  In a short time after she was conducted to the dock, and Surgeon FRANKLIN was sworn and examined by the Court.  He stated as his opinion that the convict, though she might be, and he believed was, young with child, but not yet quickened; he added, his opinion was confirmed by the admission of the convict herself.
  She never spoke a word during the trial, nor called a witness in her defence.
  Sentence of death will be executed this day.


© Nick Reddan 2008

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