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Thread: McGills accused of Murder

  1. #1
    Member Fuzzy's Avatar
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    McGills accused of Murder

    On my mothers fathers side I managed to go back as far as Thomas McGill b1801 In Kent, he married a Maria Langford and they had 12 children. They are in kent on the 1841. On the 1851 they are in Lambeth in London under the name of Fosher. Maria died in 1854 of Cholera. Thomas McGill evaporated into thin air! I always wondered why this family moved to dirty london from Kent. Thanks to the additional records now on Ancestry I discovered recently why. In 1849 Thomas, Maria and one of their sons James were accused of murder although they were aquitted I decided to Google and found this brilliant article, It begins outlining the discovery of a woman called Mary Abbot, found dead in a ditch wrapped in carpet after which I have highlighted a few paragraphs for you to read :



    A witness had seen Mary enter the McGills’ house and had heard Mrs McGill say: “Come in, my dear.” But when Mrs Hill had asked Mrs McGill, after the murder, who her visitor was, Mrs McGill told her she was a young woman from Brompton. There was little doubt, however, that it was Mary who went into the McGills’ house. Three witnesses all positively identified the body of the girl as the person they had seen knock on the McGills’ door.

    When questioned by the police, however, Mrs McGill steadfastly refused to give the name of her visitor and screamed: “1 shan’t tell you. I won’t. So that’s an answer.” It was enough to convince the police that the McGills knew a great deal more about the murder than they were willing to tell. As a result, Mrs McGill’s husband was taken into custody.

    By the time the inquest resumed a week later, another surprise witness had come forward. He was Richard Baker, master of the Strood Union, who said that he had seen Mary Abbott with James McGill, the son of the family. And when it was also learned that James lived in Gravesend, the link between the murdered girl and the McGills was established beyond question.

    There was also the vital evidence of the piece of carpet which had been found covering Mary Abbott’s head and a piece of which was found tightly clutched in her hand. Mr McGill frankly admitted that the carpet was his. But, he said, it had been in the ditch a month before the murder. On the other hand, Mrs McGill claimed she had never seen it.

    The conflicting statements were sufficient for the jury to return a verdict of wilful murder against Thomas McGill, Maria McGill and James McGill. The mystery it seemed, had been solved. In March the following year, all three stood trial at Kent Assizes. The witnesses were paraded in front of the jury. The case lasted for 12 hours.

    But all the evidence was circumstantial. The jury deliberated for half an hour and returned to cause a gasp of surprise to echo round the court. They found all three defendants not guilty.

    It was one of the most surprising verdicts ever been returned at the Kent Assizes. And it was one that was never accepted by the people of Strood.

    After their acquittal, under the pressure of public opinion, the McGills were forced to leave the district, never to return.


    What I would like to know is how can I get hold of a transcript from the Kent Assizes? I want to know more about this case !!!
    KAREN xx

  2. #2
    The National Archive index lists this item at the Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre
    L52 ' Kent Spring Assizes 1849: The Queen (on the Prosecution of John
    Tuff v. Thomas McGill & others for Murder): Brief for the
    Prosecution' [ defendants were of Strood] (1 doc.

  3. #3
    Member Fuzzy's Avatar
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    thanks so so much Judith much appreciated
    KAREN xx

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    Member Fuzzy's Avatar
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    Hi judith,

    Could you give me a link to this as am not having any luck finding it on the national archive site

    many thanks
    KAREN xx

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Fuzzy View Post
    Hi judith,

    Could you give me a link to this as am not having any luck finding it on the national archive site

    many thanks
    Here's the link I followed. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/n...%20CH%2046.pdf Then I put McGill in the search box at the top of the PDF to find the reference. I don't think the actual papers are online, you'd have to visit the Medway Archives, or contact them to ask for a copy.

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  7. #7
    Member Fuzzy's Avatar
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    Many thanks girls, it looks as if I will have to phone the Medway Archives
    KAREN xx

  8. #8
    Hello
    Who is Mary Abbott and why did he kill her?
    How did he get away with it?
    Are there any photos of William McGill please

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lwin View Post
    Hello
    Who is Mary Abbott and why did he kill her?
    How did he get away with it?
    Are there any photos of William McGill please
    Lwin,
    There is no mention of a William McGill above - just Thomas, James and Maria.
    If you have a FMP sub, there is extensive newspaper coverage. See this link for results which should be in date order. The first relevant article is the one dated 17 Oct 1848
    http://search.findmypast.com/search/...14398392&d=asc

    Christine
    Researching:
    HOEY
    (Co Fermanagh, other Ulster counties and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) BANNIGAN and FOX (Ballyshannon, Co Donegal, Ireland and Portland, Maine, USA) REYNOLDS, McSHEA, PATTERSON and GOAN (Corker and Creevy, Ballyshannon, Co Donegal, Ireland) DYER (Belfast and Ballymacarrett) SLEVIN and TIMONEY (Co Fermanagh) BARNETT (Ballagh, Co Tyrone and Strangford, Co Down)

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