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1 FAMOUS TRIALS. ..

TABLEAU VIVANT. ___I .----1

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1 FAMOUS TRIALS. ..

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something white, and on proceeding to the spot where it was found it was the body of the pri- soner's wife. On the 6th of September high water took place at half-past three o'clock. At seven o'clock, when the cries were heard; at eight o'clock, when the boatmen went over to the island at nine o'clock, when the first search was made1. the tide was still receding; and at ten o'clock, when the body was found, it was low water. There was a small rock at the "Long Hole," and on this rock the body was found. At the time it was found the rook was quite dry, and the tide was removed 6ft. from it. Mrs. Kirwan was found lying on the rock on her back, with her bathing dress gathered up under her arms, and partly under her body was found a bathing sheet. Her bathing cap was missing', and the body was certainly warm when found by Patrick Nangle at ten o'clock. As soon as Patrick Nangle found the body he called out to his companion, but it appeared that he was for some time engaged in arranging it so as to give it a decent look before they came to the place where it was. When they arrived at the spot Mr. Kirwan rushed forward, threw himself on the body, and exclaimed "Oh, Maria, Maria!"—and then lie turned to the boatman and said, "Go and fetch her clothes." Patrick and Michael Nangle then went to look for the clothes but, being unable to find them, returned to the prisoner, who, on learning that their search had proved ineffectual, said, "I will go with you myself." He then went himself, and after a short time came back and said that if they went up to the rock they would find the clothes. Patrick Nangle then went up and found the clothes in a place which he had searched a little before, but without success, and this man was prepared to swear that they were not in that particular spot when he first examined it. The two boatmen proceeded to the boat, leaving the prisoner with the body, and it took nearly an hour to bring the boat round to the "Long Hole," where the body was. The latter was then wrapped up in a sail, placed in the boat, ajNi conveyed to Howth. The state of the body when found was an im- portant matter for consideration. It lay on its back; the face had some marks of scratches upon it, and blood was issuing from part of the breast, from the ears, and from another part of the body. When the boat containing the body arrived at Howth, it was observed that the sail which enveloped the body was saturated with the blood which had flowed from the wounds upon it. It was brought in a oar to the house of Mrs. Campbell art Howth, where the Kirwans had lodged, and was washed by three women. On the following day an inquest was held, and the principal witness at it was the prisoner him- self. The two N angles and a medical student, named Hamilton were also examined, and the matter was speedily brought to a termination. the verdict being, "That the lady had been drowned while bathing at Ireland s Lye. When the body was found there was very little water about the rock on which it lay but the depth of water at the different times of the day were this:—High water was about half-past three o'clock, and at that time there were eight feet of water above the small rock on which the body was found. At half-past six o'clock—the time the prisoner said Mrs. Kirwan left him to bathe after the shower—there wasi two feet six inches of water over the same rock. At seven o'clock, just before the cries were heard, there was upon the rook one foot nine inches of water. At eight o'clock, the time the boat left the harbour to go to the island, the quantity of water upon it was about three inches; and at half-past nine o'clock, which was about the time the body was found, the water was two feet below the rock in ques- tion. This was an outline of the evidence to be laid before the jury. The death of this lady, said the learned counsel, must have occurred either by accident, by suicide, or by homicide. The jury Avould have to ascertain whether the death was accidental, or whether it was the act of a third person, that act being no less than the crime of murder; and if by another hand, whether it was possible that another hand than the prisoner's could have inflicted it. As to suicide, the position of the body, the state of the lady during the early part of the day, and the almost impos- sibility of the body being found in the posi- tion it was, put suicide altogether out of the question. Could atscident have .had any influence in the matter? If the tide was a rising tide-if she was outside the rock, and had been washed in by a rising tide—it might have been supposed that the case was one of accidental drowning. But there was no rising tide. The wind was westerly, and the night wa,s ,tn, extremely calm, one;. IIJO neck of the bathing shift was untied. The aims were stiffened out from the body; the face was scratched, and the appearance of the body was not at all like what it would be if the. case had been one of accidental drowning. If it was a case of that kind, would the sheet have been partly under the body? Could any imaginable accidental circumstance have placed the sheet in such a position as that? The evidence first given referred to the terms on which the prisoner and his wife lived. It appeared that he occasionally ill-treated and even beat her; but the mistress of the house where they lodged at Howth stated that for the first fortnig-ht they did not live happily, but that during1 the remaining time, up to Mrs. KirAvan's death, she considered no couple could live more unitedly, and that she heard .( Mrs. Kirwan's mother, Mrs. Crowe, caution I her daughter frequently not to be too venture- some in bathing. The evidence of the boatmen and of the medical witnesses threw the only direct lig'Iit upon the mysterious case, and this is worth re- producing. Patrick Nangle, the boatman, said that he knew every inch of Ireland's Eve. He knew Mrs. Kirwan, who was a stout," good-looking Avoman, and appeared to be about 28 or 29 j years of age. He rowed Mr. and Mrs. Kirwan to Ireland's Eye on Monday, September 6, and twice before that. They came to the boat a little before ten o'clock. They had a bag and two bottles of water with them, and Kirwsn had a reticule bag. Mr. Kirwan had a cane-sword and a sketch-book. The island was a mile and a quarter from Howth. He landed Mr. and Mrs. Kir- was near the martello tower, which was un- inhabited. He brought Mr. Brew and his family over at twelve o'clock that day, and brought them back at four o'clock. He saw Mrs. Kirwan on the island thten-. Mr. Brew asked her did she want to come over, and she said "No." She told witness to come over at eight o'clock. The boat of a man named Doyle was over there that day. When witness's boat left at four o'clock there was no one on the island but Mr. and Mrs. Kirwan. He left the harbour with his boat at twenty minutes before eight to go for Mr. and Mrs. Kirwan. It was getting very dark then. On nearing Ireland's Eye he hailed Mr. Kirwan, Mid he answered. When he got ashore Mr. Kirwan was near the landing- place. He had the cane-sword, the bag, and the sketch-book in his hand. Mick Nangle asked him where was Mrs. Kirwan. He said she had left him an hour and a half before, and that he had not seen her since. Mick then said, "We had better go back for her." Mr. Kirwan and the other men went iva away to look for her, and witness examined Mr. Kirwan's sketch-book. After they were half an hour away he went towards the tower and called them. Mick Nangle asked had wit- ness not found Mrs. Kirwan. Witness said, "No; have you not found her?" Mr. Kir- wan said, "Let us go back the same way." Witness went towards the "Long Hole" with Mr. Kirwan. He kept singing out, "Maria Kirwan!" for Mr. Kirwan told witness her name, and he himself kept exclaiming, "Oh! Maria! Oh! Maria!" Mick Nangle kept close in another direction, and Mr. Kirwan slipped. Witness stopped, but he said, "Don't let me be the cause of delaying you." Witness then went on and found the ilady in the "Hole." Her bathing dress was up under her arms, and there was a sheet under her; her head was lying back in a hole, and her feet were in a. pool of water—size about half a .gallon. He saAv outs on the forehead and under the eye; there was blood coming down by her ears, from the side and breast, and other places. After Mr. Kirwan came up he threw himself over the body and cried, "Oh, Maria!" He sent witness to look for her clothes, and he could not find them. Mr. Kirwan himself then went to look for them, and after remaining away for three or four minutes he came back and told witness to go up to a, rock, which he pointed out, and that he would find them there. Witness did go, and found the clothes in that very place. He could swear positively that he had examined the same place before, and that the clothes were not in it. They then made preparations and) remojved the body. At this time the tide was on the turn, coming in. There was nothing to wet Mr. Kirwan's feet that he knew of. He got no wet in their time. Cross-examined, witness said that Mr. Kir- Avan was very near being killed himsei. that evening where the body was found; witness called out and caught hold of him, or he would ha.ve gone over the rock. The body was not stiff when lie saw it; there was froth about the mouth; there were a good many scratches over and under the eyes. The strand was gravelly; if there had not been a rock at the mouth of the hole Mrs. Kirwan would have been carried out by the water if she were in it before the water fell. The wounds were more than scratches; there was a positive cut in one place where the blood came from. There, were no crabs to injure the body. Witness; was examined at the inquest, buL- \wajs if-adel to) draw back when he came to the part about the sheet and before the time he tied her up. Michael Nangle, another of the boatmen, corroborated the evidence as to where Mrs. Kir- I wan's body was found. Witness was coming over to her, when Mr. Kirwan told him to go back for the clothes. He did not go on the rock, but searched along the strand. Pat Nangle and witness went back together, and told Mr. Kirwan they could not find the clothes. Mr. Kirwan then went up the hill, and witness after him. Mr. Kirwan brought back a shawl and something like a sheet in his hand, and slipped when coming down. One of the boatmen, Giles, got wet that night when puttin g the lady into the boat, but Mr. Kir- wan did not get any wet while in their com- pany. He did not sea Mrs. Kirwan's face till next day. There were then cuts and scratches on it. The water was very smooth in the pool. The day was calm; wind from north-east. Several witnesses deposed to having heard cries proceeding from the island about the same time, viz., between day and dark; but the direction and nature of these cries seemed uncertain. The women who washed the body of the deceased deposed to the nature of the in- juries they discovered. Blood flowed from a cut about the eyes, and on the cheek and fore- head the. ears were loaded with blood; there was a cut on the breast from which the blood flowed freely. The right side was blackened from under the arm to the knee. These wit- nesses stated that they observed Mr. Kirwan's boots, stockings, and trousers were wet. The medical student who examined the body previous to the inquest stated that, no sus- picions having been hinted, he made only a superficial examination; he detected no frac- ture or depression on the head. There was a scratch or abrasion of the skin on the right temple and on the (ve. The right ear was cut where the ring entered—it was like a bite. Saw no mark on her sides; did not see a deep cut across the breast. Dr. Hatchell said he was called upon on the 6th of October to make a post-mortem examina- tinn of the body. He went to Glasnevin Ceme- tery for j he purpose. There was about 2ift. of water in the graye, arising from the nature of the ground. The body had all the appear- ance of a. body which had lain some time in water. The water was in the coffin, and must have hastened the decomposition. He examined the head very carfully. He did not find any marks of violence on the scalp. On the right eye, on the right cheek, and right arm, he found abrasions. The eyes were blood- shot. In the lobe of the left ear there was an earring, and in the right the ring and the lobe were wanting. The upper lip was swollen, and the tongue protruded and was marked by the teeth above and below. The brain was in a semi-fluid state, and was of a I light pinkish colour all through. The fluidity was natural, but it was a little more pink than he should have expected to find it. He examined the trachea and the vertebrae of the neck, but found nothing remarkable. He found a deep scratch or superficial cut under the right nipple. There was an extensive livid mark from the right arm down to the. knee, but that was gene- rally presented in dead bodies. It was not on the left side. This livid appearance was a shifting appearance common to defunct bodies. There were no marks on the points of the fingers. Another part of the person was swollen with blood, caused by congestion. That would be caused either by pressure or anything that would impede the natural circulation of the blood. The lungs were congested. That would be caused by anything suddenly slopping respiration. The heart was healthy. From the appearance of the body he was of opinion the death was caused by a sudden stoppage of respiration. He thought, from all the appear- ances of the body, pressure must have caused the steppage. He was of opinion pressure was the sole cause; simply drowning would not have caused those appearances to the same ex- tent. There was something besides drowning. Cross-examined, witness stated that there were appearances on the body that would not be accounted for by drowning alone the con- gestion of the vagina and of the lungs, the swelling of the upper lip and the inside of the mouth, were such appearances. He first formed that opinion when he made the examination, and lie did not think the congestion of the lung could have been produced to the same extent by drowning alone. He made an infor- mation a day or two after the examination. Mr. Butt, Q.C., addressed the jury on behalf I of the prisoner. The fact of the prisoner and Mrs. Kirwan being on the island alone rendered it the more difficult for him to prove his inno- cence than otherwise would be the case, but even on the evidence brought forward by the Crown it was perfectly manifest that no mur- der had been committed. 118 contended that death had ensued from a fit taken in the water. Every particle of the case was consistent with that idea. If the prisoner wanted to murder his Avife it was not by scratching her eyelids or that idea. If the prisoner wanted to murder his wife it was not by scratching her eyelids or cutting her breast he would attempt the deed. The learned counsel referred to the evidence with respect to cries, and said that those which Larkin deposed to having heard were, in all probability, the exclamations and voices, of Mr. Kirwan and the boatman when searching for Mrs. Kirwan on the island. As to the evi- dence of Dr. Hatchell, for the sake, of the honourable profession to which that gentleman belonged he regretted the disgraceful exhibition he had made of himself that day. He sub- mitted that- it was due to the case—due to the administration of justice—due to the prisoner at the bar—that some person who Assisted at the post-mortem examination, and on whom the jury could rely, should have been produced, Dr. Hatchell's evidence being of such a nature that they could not, with any regard to their oaths, safely act on it. The Crown had such a witness in the person of Dr. Tighe, who was, perhaps, at that moment in court, and they did not produce him. Evidence would be pro- duced on the part of the prisoner which would establish beyond all doubt that Mrs. Kirwan's death was not caused by violence, and that the scratches and marks on her body were not of that description which would warrant such a pre sumption. For the defence two surgeons of repute were called, who deposed that, in their judgment, all the symptoms proved were quite Consistent with the idea that the deceased had died of epilepsy. The great flow of blood might arise from great congestion, and congestion would be prodiaced

1 FAMOUS TRIALS. ..