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The Trial of Honora Concannon

The Execution of Honora Concannon

From the Dublin Evening Post, July 29th, 1824:
"Honora Concannon was indicted for the wilful murder of William Higgins, a wretched old man, who got his living at Corofin, in County of Clare. The circumstances of this case evinced more hardness of heart - more of a bloody and barbarious disposition, than perhaps any case that ever disgraced the criminal records of this country".

The facts of this case as presented by police evidence, relatives of the deceased and a local magistrate, illuminate a gory scenario of wilful murder and savage butchery. Conor Higgins, a son of the deceased, discovered the trunk of his father's body in a pool of water near the river at Corofin. The head and legs were missing.

Tomkins Bren Esq., a local magistrate, visited the scene of the crime. There he observed marks of blood leading from the cabin of the prisoner, Honora Concannon, to a meadow in the direction of the river. He also observed marks of blood on her clothes and on the floor of her cabin. On searching her few possessions, a policeman discovered "an old frize grey coat", which was identified as belonging to the deceased, William Higgins.

Another witness, a neighbour of Honora Conannon, recalled seeing the deceased begging on Easter Sunday and saw him in the prisoner's cabin. She said "she saw him enter the house, and she never saw him again". It was presumed that Honora Concannon was a prostitute, "seduced into a course of vice which too many females have the misfortune to enter upon".

A Police Officer, Mr. William Taylor, "in consequence of a letter which he had received", found the head and legs of Higgins under a stone in a stream about 40 perches from the house of Honora Concannon. Inside the house, he found the sum of five shillings and three pence halfpenny, all in halfpence coins.

"The learned Judge then proceeded to charge the Jury - the jury had heard the evidence and it was for them to draw their conclusions, if they had any rational doubt, of the prisoner's guilt, they would acquit her - if they entertained no such doubt then they were called upon to do their duty, and to find a verdict of guilty. The Jury, without leaving the box, returned the fatal verdict - Guilty".

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