Tralee, July 10.–We have just heard the following mysterious circumstances:– A woman, whose maiden name was Stonehouse, we understand, of very respectable connections, and whose family formerly lived in the city of Cork, many years since married a farmer of the better class, named Hennessy, in the barony of Iraghticonnor, in this county. Hennessy has since died, leaving one daughter, who was not long since married to a young man named Casey. Hennessy’s widow afterwards became the wife of a person named Kelly; she enjoyed a jointure of 40 pounds (or guinees) per annum, in right of the first husband, which jointure was payable from off a landed property possessed by Casey, in right of his wife, the daughter of Hennessy. It appears that Kelly, the second husband, has experienced some difficulty and opposition in receiving this jointure, and in consequence of some attempt lately made by him to distrain, a warrant for some alledged illegal act was granted against him, and he was lodged in our county gaol, where he lay when the shocking murder we are now called upon to notice, was perpetrated.
On the night of Monday last, a gang of ruffians broke into the house where Mrs. Kelly lodged, at Ballyquinmon, in this county, and cruelly murdered her, in the most barbarous manner. We have not heard of the plunder of any property, or that any other person in the house was injured. Kelly, the unfortunate woman’s husband, was yesterday admitted to bail, and passed through this town, homeward, to mourn over this dreadful scene of horror and destruction.– Cork Chronicle.
In our last we gave such particulars of this horrid assassination as had then reached us; and we have now to add, that on the first information received by John Weeks, Esq., one of the Coroners for this county, he, very early on tuesday morning last repaired to the place where the murder was committed, and on that day he held an inquest on the body of that unfortunate victim. Nothing material transpired on the inquest, the only witness examined was Honora Moore, the servant maid of the deceased (who has since been committed as an accomplice), who swore that the murder was perpetrated on the night above–mentioned, by some persons who entered at the window, very near witness’s bed; that they threatened to murder witness also, unless she covered her head with the bed clothes; that her mistress was butchered within a few feet of the bed where witness lay; that she did not know the voices of any of the assassins, nor would she know them if she heard them again. Her evidence was altogether inconsistent and inconclusive. The following verdict was returned by the Jury.–
We find that the deceased, Elizabeth Kelly, died in consequence of several wounds received from sharp instruments, which wounds were inflicted by persons at present unknown to us.”
The corpse was shockingly mangled. Shortly after the verdict was returned, that active magistrate, John Raymond, Esq., set every engine at work for discovering the murderers; and having posted up an offer of a reward of 50l., on the neighbouring chapel, in a few hours after he received such information as led to the apprehension of the following persons, who were fully committed by Mr. Raymond, to abide their trial for the murder at the ensuing Assizes, viz.–James Casey (son–in–law to the deceased), Michael Hennessey, William Moore, Bridget Sullivan, alias Hennessey, and Honora Moore. They were transmitted to town, and lodged in gaol yesterday evening.–Tralee paper.
James Casey, Michael Hennessey, William Moore, and Honora Moore, the prisoners were put on their trial for the murder of Elizabeth Kelly, and the Prisoner Casey applied to have the trial postponed until the next Assizes, on account of the absence of material witnesses, grounded on an affidavit sworn yesterday. Mr. Lloyd, Counsel for the Crown opposing the application stated that the names of the witnesses having been communicated to the Crown Solicitor last night, he sent a carriage to the residence of the witnesses and they were brought to town this morning, and were then in attendance. The prisoners said they had no money to fee Counsel or Attorney, and the Court asked if there would be any inconvenience in postponing the trial till the next Assizes, the Counsel for the Crown, replied that there would probably be a failure of justice, but that to avoid all objection the Crown Solicitor would supply the prisoners with money to have professional assistance, and this being answered the trial was fixed for Monday next. William Moore who is deaf and dumb was then put to plead, and a witness having been examined to prove that he did not stand mute from obstinacy, but by the conviction of God, and that he understood signs, the nature of the charge was communicated to him, and the Clerk of the Crown was directed by the Court to record a plea of not guilty for him.–Tralee.
TRALEE, Wednesday, 14 Aug.—The trial of the wretched perpetrators of this foul crime was proceeded on last Monday, before the Honourable Baron Pennefather. The prisoners, James Casey, Michael Hennessey, William Moore (a deaf and dumb man), and Honora Moore, were arraigned on the first day of the present Assizes. Hennessey declared he would be ready for his trial on the Saturday following; Casey wished to put off his trial until the next Assizes; they both, as well as Honora Moore, pleaded "Not Guilty." William Moore could not plead; but, as well as he could signify by signs, he seemed to declare his innocence. The Learned and humane Judge seemed to entertain some doubt as to the strict legality of putting a man who, from the visitation of God, was unable to plead, upon trial for life and death; he wish to consult on that subject. On the prisoners being brought up on Saturday, Hennessey expressed no desire to put off his trial; Casey put in an affidavit, declaring that certain witnesses, residing twelve or fourteen miles distant, were indispensably necessary. On naming these witnesses, Mr. Raymond immediately left the Court, and sent off express, and, as it afterwards appeared, returned with those witnesses on Sunday. Casey next pleaded inability to defend himself for want of money to fee lawyers. To obviate all objection, the Crown Solicitor advanced the necessary sum, and Counsellor O’Connell was assigned. Finally, on Monday, Hennessey put in an affidavit as to the necessity of procuring the attendance of a witness residing at a distance of fourteen or fifteen miles; that the messenger dispatched by him with a Crown summons for this witness had returned, and informed him that the witness was absent in the county of Cork, and could not be served with the summons. The messenger was produced, who swore that he returned early on Saturday, and imformed Hennessey, who was then in the dock, that the witness he was sent to serve the summons on could not be found; notwithstanding which Hennessey expressed no desire to postpone the trial. The trial was then ordered to be proceeded on. Casey and Hennessey wished to be tried separately from the other prisoners.
Mr. Quin addressed the Court and Jury in an eloquent speech, explanatory of the circumstances of the case and the nature of the evidence.
Godfrey Leonard sworn.—Knew William Leonard, can prove his hand-writing; knew Denis Leonard; both William and Denis Leonard are dead; proves their hand-writing in a deed executed by Patrick Hennessey, William Hennessey, Michael Hennessey, and Elizabeth, the wife of Michael (the murdered woman); the deed was for the purpose of securing a jointure to Elizabeth of 40 guineas per annum, during her life, which was to revert on her death to her children by Michael Hennessey; those children were two daughters, one of them the wife of the prisoner Casey, and another, if alive, now in Dublin.
Patrick Kelly sworn.—His son, Patrick Kelly, was the second husband of the deceased Elizabeth; she was first married to Michael Hennessey; the deceased had two daughters by Michael Hennessey, one, if alive, is in Dublin, the other daughter is the wife of the prisoner James Casey. It was publicly known the deceased had a jointure, and the prisoner Casey was continually in the habit of saying he wished she was dead, that he might enjoy the annuity. Elizabeth is dead–she was murdered.
Cross-examined by Mr. O’Connell.—His son Patrick was married eight or nine years to the deceased; there was a pull and wrangle about the property; at present it affords little more than the annuity; cannot recollect the day he heard the declaration made by the prisoner Casey, wishing for the death of his mother-in-law; heard him often repeat it both by day and by night; witness made no reply to Casey on these occasions.
Patrick Kelly, jnr. sworn.—Was the second husband of the deceased Elizabeth; witness was in gaol seven or eight days; and it was while he was in confinement his wife was murdered; believes he was nine or ten days in gaol; was committed on Sunday, but does not know the day of the month; was liberated by Mr. Raymond, and went home the day after the murder; saw his wife dead and shockingly mangled; she had the appearance of being recently killed. Casey is married to the daughter of the deceased.
Cross-examined.—The prisoner Casey used often to dine with witness; they were upon friendly and civil terms.
John Raymond, Esq. sworn.—Proves the information sworn before him; the murder was committed near the house of witness; was called out of his bed on the night of the murder; went instantly to the house of the deceased; saw her lying on the ground in the kitchen, dreadfully mangled; there was such a quantity of blood that it came up above his shoes and on his pantaloons; her head was much swelled; and two stabs in her throat inflicted by a bayonet or some other triangular weapon; a wound from the same weapon through her breast, another wound on the belly; she had above 35 wounds on different parts of her body; her face was much swelled and blackened; the deceased was about 37 or 38 years old; identifies Patrick Sheehy, who swore the informations on which Kelly was committed to gaol; saw Kelly the day after his wife was murdered.
Patrick Sheehy sworn.—Witness swore informations before Mr. Raymond against Patrick and Timothy Kelly; witness had paid his March rent, is tenant on the lands out of which Mrs. Kelly was paid her jointure, and his horse was taken by the Kellys for that jointure; witness opposed the Kellys; there was a riot, and witness and the Kelly beat each other; the warrant for apprehending the Kellys was given to Edward Cooke, the constable; the prisoner, Michael Hennessey, told witness he ought to swear against the Kellys, and that he, Hennessey, thought it too long until Patrick Kelly, the younger, was put into gaol; the prisoner, Hennessey, told witness that he should swear information against Patrick Kelly; witness got a man to write the informations; Mich. Hennessey was not present when they were written.
Cross-examined by Mr. O’Connell.—Swore no Whiteboy oaths; does not think he was amongst the Whiteboys for ten years past. The information the witness swore before Mr. Raymond is false, relative to a charge against Pat. Kelly for stealing a one-pound note; swore nothing against the prisoner Casey. Witness knew he was swearing falsely when he swore the informations before Mr. Raymond; was afraid of the Kellys which induced him to swear falsely; but he knew he was perjuring himself when he swore that Patrick Kelly robbed him of a pound note and some bacon; knew he swore lies, and knows he is eternally lost for having done so; Kelly never robbed him of a one pound note or any bacon; had a right to be afraid of James Casey, who sold some sheep of his; on hearing from the prisoner, Hennessey, that Kelly had sworn informations against himself, he swore falsely against them, to be even with them; swore the informations the next day but one after they were written; fear obliged him to perjure himself, and being told that the Kellys swore falsely against him; witness admits he was swearing by the name of God, and that he was damning himself; still would be more afraid of God than the Kellys. To a question arising out of the cross-examination—Several induced him to include the felony; did not spare James Casey, nor get him taken.
Judith Joy sworn.—Lived on the 8th of July last, at Drummin; identifies James Casey and Michael Hennessey in the dock; knows them very well; knew Elizabeth Kelly, she is dead; she was the wife of Patrick Kelly; the prisoner Hennessey lived next door to Kelly, the two houses were under a continuation of the same roof, and the doors were only a few feet assunder; witness’s house was next to Hennessey’s house; the house of witness was placed at a right angle with the other houses; should turn a corner to go from her own door to Kelly’s or Hennessey’s; her house was near the back of Kelly’s house; about 10 or 11 o’clock on the night of the 8th of July last, witness heard a great noise in the house of Mrs. Kelly; heard loud screams proceeding from the kitchen of that house; knew Mrs. Kelly’s voice, and it was she was screaming; her cries were mournful and very loud; there was a great rattling in Mrs. Kelly’s house, and the dogs were barking and yowling; witness went to the corner of the house, and saw the prisoner at the Bar come out; saw the prisoner, Michael Hennessey, come out first; he was dressed all but his hat; saw James Casey come out; saw William Moore, the dumb man, come out; and also saw Hanora Moore come out, they went towards the door of Michael Hennessey’s house; witness came back to her own house immediately afterwards; saw the prisoner, Michael Hennessey, at the back of her house, running towards the river, without his hat; the river is quite close to the house of witness; witness returned to her own house; saw Elizabeth Kelly next morning dead on a table, in the house where she was murdered.
Michael Murphy sworn.—Lives at Doon; knows the village of Listelton; the house in which Mrs. Kelly lived is between Listelton and Doon; witness was at Liselton on the evening Mrs. Kelly was murdered, and passed her house on his return home; the bridge of Drummin is near Mrs. Kelly’s house, and witness passed over Drummin bridge that night; saw James Casey and Michael Hennessey, the prisoners, that night, near the bridge; when witness saw them they were distant from about 10 or 12 yards; they were below in the river; heard the noise of a bayonet or some iron instrument falling on the stones; heard James Casey say to Michael Hennessey, “rouse up, for a dead person never told a story.” While witness was passing over the bridge, the deaf and dumb man, Wm. Moore, came up and pushed witness away; he laid his hand on witness’s shoulder; witness wore no body coat, had a loose coat on, his right sholder was uncovered by the coat, and it was on his shirt Moore laid his hand; Wm. Moore is the step son of the prisoner Hennessey; identifies the prisoners; knows Hennessey 20 years, Casey seven years, and Moore ten years.
Edward Cooke sworn.—Is a constable; knows the prisoner Michael Hennessey; saw him in gaol; had a conversation with him there; Hennessey sent for witness; Hennessey was in the gaol yard when witness came up to him; witness asked what he wanted? Hennessey said he wanted to see Mr. Raymond; witness said Mr. Raymond was going to the Assizes of Limerick, and that the prisoner could not see him; witness then said to Hennessey, “it is now all in vain for you, unless you tell some truth; tell me where the bayonet is hid.” Hennessey said, “I took the bayonet away from James Casey, who was going back to murder Elizabeth Kelly’s little son, and I hid the bayonet,” said Hennessey, “in the ditch.” Witness afterwards found the bayonet very near the place Kelly(sic) said he hid it, in Frank Creagh’s bound’s ditch; found it in a week after he had the conversation with Hennessey in gaol; Casey sent for witness, and witness went up with the gaoler to Casey’s room; Casey welcomed him and desired him to sit down; Casey then said to witness, “you can be of every assistance to me, by speaking for me to Mr. Raymond;” witness said, “I fear there is no use in my speaking to Mr. Raymond;” Casey answered, “there is, as Mr. Chute, the sheriff, has taken me in hands;” that Mr. Chute, of Chute-hall, had taken informations, and that if Mr. Raymond pleased, he (Casey) would be admitted as King’s evidence, and would thereby save his life; Casey said there was another person more deeply implicated in the murder than either himself or Michael Hennessey, and that person was Patrick Hennessey; and that Patrick Hennessey had made an agreement between him (Casey) and Michael Hennessey, by which he (Casey) was to give Michael Hennessey a lease of two lives of a house and garden, the grass of a cow, two goats, and a pig, for assisting him (Casey) to murder his mother-in-law, Elizabeth Kelly; and that to secure the performance of this bargain, he (Casey) passed his note to Hennessey, on unstamped paper for 50l. conditionally that the agreement should be fulfilled, and the murder perpetrated; that he (Casey) had no further concern in the murder than gagging his mother-in-law, and that he left all the butchery and the stabbing to Michael Hennessey; that the unstamped note for 50l. was left in trust in the hands of Patrick Hennessey; that Casey described to witness where this note could be found in the desk or house of Patrick Hennessey; but that when Patrick Hennessey was afterwards apprehended by Mr. Raymond and witness, a strict search was made, and no such paper could be found.
Cross-examined.—Witness heard of the reward of 50l. before he had the conversation with the prisoner; Judy Joy fostered a son on witness; the boy is now about eight months old; did not give Judy any money for these three weeks past.
Francis Crumpe, Esq. M.D. sworn.—The body of Elizabeth Kelly was disintered for Dr. Crumpe’s inspection; describes many dreadful wounds; they appeared as if inflicted with a bayonet; the face and neck were in a state of putrifaction.
Caleb Chute, Esq. Sub-Sheriff, sworn.—Knows the prisoner Casey; Casey and his wife proposed to lodge informations; witness held out no inducement or encouragement to them, but the contrary.
His Lordship said Mr. Chute’s conduct was perfectly proper and correct.
Richard Chute, of Chute Hall, Esq., sworn.—Took Casey’s information, which is now produced, the information was sworn before him; he gave no hope or encouragement to Casey, but the very reverse.
Here the prosecution closed, and Daniel Griffin was called on the defence.—Witness knows the prisoner Casey; Casey and his wife lodged in the prisoner’s(sic) house; the night of the murder Casey came into witness’s house between 10 and 11 o’clock; the house of witness is a quarter of a mile from the house where Elizabeth Kelly was murdered.
John Whitley sworn.—Remembers the night Mrs. Kelly was killed; was sent on that day by John Connor for some money Casey owed him; had some delay at the Cashen Mouth; rowed himself across in a boat; went on to Mrs. Kelly’s, where he arrived about ten o’clock at night, and there saw the prisoner Casey standing at the door, in conversation with his mother-in-law.
Here the case closed, and the Learned Judge charged the Jury, who, without leaving the box, found both prisoners, James Casey and Michael Hennessey—Guilty.
His Lordship immediately proceeded, in an address to the unhappy convicts the most pathetic and impressive, to pass the awful sentence of the law—that they should be hanged and anatomized on the Wednesday following (yesterday).
Casey, from the docks, made some foolish protestations of being seduced to this barbarous crime by pecuniary distress, and the instigation of the Hennesseys; and requested stay of execution for four or five days, to settle some temporal affairs.
The Learned Judge informed him that he had no power to grant him even the short time he required, as the law not only fixed the punishment, but the precise time when it was to be inflicted; and he conjured the prisoners to make the best use of the short time they had to live, in their best endeavour, by faith and repentence, to reconcile themselves to their offended God; they had shown no mercy—they sent the unhappy victim of their brutal ferocity to her last account, without a moment’s preparation.
Michael Hennessey said, in a whining voice, “My Lord, I am a man of heavy charge.” Casey said he did not care for death; he deserved it. He addressed Mr. Raymond, and said he forgave him.
The prisoners were then removed. Michael Hennessey is an elderly man; James Casey appears to be about 25 or 26 years old.
With feelings of horror we are now to notice a circumstance, which—the awful occasion, the time and place considered—we will venture to say stands unparalleled on the records of human depravity. We noticed before that the wretched James Casey had declared in open Court that he forgave Mr. Raymond; at the same time we well recollect that he called to Mr. Raymond, and requested that gentleman would come close to the dock, as he (Casey) wanted to speak with him. It was after sentence had been pronounced, and, fortunately for Mr. Raymond, he did not comply with the prisoners request. Casey had then in his hand a penknife, with which he had been mending pens for writing notes to his Counsel. Must not the human heart shrink with horror, and sicken with disgust, when it is known that this wretched man has not only acknowledged to the Rev. Mr. Eagan, but has publicly declared, it was his premeditated and fixed intention and resolution at that moment, if Mr. Raymond had approached him, to plunge the knife to that gentleman’s heart—that he had also used every endeavour to persuade Mr. Raymond to visit him in gaol, where it was his determination to assassinate him, and that he endeavoured to procure a pistol for that purpose!!!
It is evident how highly indebted the public must feel to Mr. Raymond, by whose exertions so dangerous a character has been brought to justice.
The two wretched convicts, James Casey and Michael Hennessey, were this day executed at the drop in front of our gaol. Casey seemed resolute and resigned; he acknowledged the justice of his sentence in an audible voice, and implored forgiveness from Heaven. He expressed his earnest hope that his fate and dreadful example this day exhibited, would serve as a warning to others, and deter them from plunging into crime; he exhorted all his hearers to avoid bad company and dissipation, which brought him to his ignominious death. Hennessey seemed less firm than Casey, but penitent; he preyed incessantly, loudly calling on God for mercy; he acknowledged his heinous guilt, but most solemnly declared, as he expected or hoped for forgiveness from the almighty, the William Moore, the deaf and dumb young man, had no knowledge of, or concern in, the murder of the hapless Elizabeth Kelly. Both the miserable convicts were then launched into eternity; they died with scarcely the appearance of a struggle. the bodies were immediately after conveyed to the County Hospital for dissection.
NAI REFERENCE: CSO/RP/1822/1378. 5 Oct. 1822.–Petition of Patrick Kelly, Ballybunion, County Kerry, to Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquis Wellesley, Lord Lieutenant, Dublin Castle, requesting appointment to post of employment under Government: claims that he succeeded in bringing to justice the killers of his wife Elizabeth Stonehouse ‘who had been barbarously and inhumanely murdered on the night of the 8th of July last, by her son in law, James Casey and one Michael Hennessey’, indicates that his wife had an annuity of forty guineas flowing out of lands of Lahardane, barony of Iraghticonnor, which provided the motive for her murder, and expresses fear that ‘his own destruction is already contemplated by the friends and accomplices of said murderers’. Statement signed and attested by 12 persons.
NAI REFERENCE: CSO/RP/1822/2505. 21 Nov. 1822.–Letter from Mathew Barrington, (Crown Solicitor, Munster circuit), 13 Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin, to Henry Goulburn, Chief Secretary, Dublin Castle, reporting on petition of Patrick Kelly, Ballybunion, County Kerry, outlining case and seeking employment: confirms that Kelly ‘prosecuted to Conviction at the last Assizes for the County of Kerry James Casey and others for the murder of his Wife’ but notes in conclusion that ‘Kelly has lately died having been found dead in his bed some days back’; includes memorial of Kelly to Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquis Wellesley, Lord Lieutenant, Dublin Castle, seeking a situation under Government and making reference to case under which Casey, a relative through marriage, together with Michael Hennessey, were prosecuted and executed for murder of his wife, Elizabeth Stonehouse, who held an annuity of forty guineas out of lands of Lahardane, barony of Iraghticonnor, County Kerry.