September 25, 2022


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Derry assembly led younger Donegal lady to excessive profile homicide

An opportunity assembly of a younger lady in Derry in 1883 with an American led her to a central position as an eye-witness in a excessive profile nineteenth century homicide story which culminated with a dangling in London.

When Susan Gallagher (18), from Stranabrooey, Gweedore met Patrick O’Donnell (45), from Meenaclady it was the start of a journey which introduced her from Derry to South Africa and altered the course of her life ceaselessly.

Newly found proof from an archive file closed to public scrutiny for over 100 years means that O’Donnell who was hanged for the homicide of the notorious informer James Carey on board a steamship off the Coast of South Africa might have been the sufferer of a miscarriage of justice.

Susan Gallagher was by his aspect on board the S.S. Melrose when he shot the previous Invincibles chief who had a central position within the Phoenix Park murders of 1882 however who turned informer with a purpose to keep away from conviction and gave proof towards his colleagues, 5 of whom have been hanged in 1883.

For the reason that shipboard killing occurred on a British-registered vessel in worldwide waters as Carey secretly tried to flee into exile the authorities have been permitted to extradite O’Donnell to London to be tried within the Outdated Bailey.

Susan Gallagher was quoted by a variety of eye-witnesses who gave proof in courtroom as saying ‘Irrespective of, O’Donnell, you’re no informer’ as she threw her arm round O’Donnell’s neck after the killing.

The beforehand unseen proof from a British Residence Workplace file means that an Outdated Bailey decide, Mr Justice Denman who heard the case towards Patrick O’Donnell withheld essential data in courtroom which indicated that the jury believed that the killing was ‘with out malice aforethought’.

A killing ‘with out malice’ would equate to manslaughter and would have been punishable then by a brief jail sentence somewhat the necessary sentence of hanging which arose in circumstances of homicide ‘with malice aforethought’.

A newly revealed e book ‘The Queen v Patrick O’Donnell’ and a TG4 drama-documentary of the identical identify, reveals for the primary time proof discovered by writer Seán Ó Cuirreáin which means that Mr Justice Denman misled the courtroom, together with the defence and prosecution groups in addition to the press, when he amended and misrepresented the wording of a direct query from the jury which confirmed they have been inclined to consider the killing was ‘with out malice’.

Mr Justice Denman advised the courtroom that the jury, as they deliberated on their verdict having heard all of the proof, had submitted a query to him in writing wherein that they had sought a definition of ‘malice aforethought’. His reply was broadly reported by the media who attended the high-profile case.

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Nevertheless, the precise query posed by the jury which was not learn to the courtroom is included in a file on the O’Donnell case within the British Nationwide Archive which was ordered to be ‘Closed till 1985’ and it means that the jury had no downside in understanding the idea of ‘malice aforethought’ however somewhat sought to establish in the event that they reached a verdict of ‘homicide with out malice aforethought’ would the decide settle for this verdict.

“It’s extremely important that the decide misrepresented the jury’s query, withheld it in courtroom and changed it with an unasked query of his personal” says Seán Ó Cuirreáin.

“This was a essential deflection by him which left the defence staff at the hours of darkness and paved the best way to a responsible verdict.

“The suggestion that the jury sought the decide’s approval for a verdict that the killing was with out malice and the distortion of their legit question was, actually, a matter of life or demise for O’Donnell,” he added.

Ó Cuirreáin famous as ‘important’ that no reference was made to the jury’s query within the official transcript of the trial.

The entire newspaper reviews on the trial refer solely to the decide’s amended query as reporters have been unaware of true nature of the jury’s question.

Nevertheless, the handwritten be aware of the jury’s query in blue pencil was hooked up by Mr Justice Denman to 61 pages of meticulous notes made by him throughout the course of the two-day trial in a doc which was subsequent ordered to be closed to public scrutiny till 1985.

An earlier query posed by the jury was learn in full to the courtroom by Mr Justice Denman and his response to it attracted criticism from the defence staff who stated it favoured the prosecution case and was biased towards Mr O’Donnell.

This too was omitted from the official trial transcript.

Patrick O’Donnell, who was born within the Gweedore Gaeltacht however had spent a lot of his life in America the place he had turn into accustomed to carrying a gun, admitted to capturing Carey in entrance of witnesses however he argued that the killing was in self-defence.

O’Donnell and Susan Gallagher, who was launched to ship passengers and crew on the journey as Mrs O’Donnell, had unknowingly befriended Carey and his spouse throughout a three-week sea voyage from London to Cape City because the informer and his household tried to flee into hiding in South Africa below an assumed identify.

Carey was one of the vital reviled and despised figures in Eire on the time and his proof towards colleagues who have been later hanged was seen as treachery.

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It emerged later that when the couple met in Derry, O’Donnell proposed that he would pay her passage to Cape City if she accompanied him and that they might marry en route in London.

She agreed to the association however a priest in London refused to marry them as they have been unknown to him.

They agreed to proceed their journey and marry on the first alternative in South Africa.

They left Derry by boat for Liverpool on the primary leg of their journey to new life the place O’Donnell hoped to make his fortune within the diamond mines within the Kimberley area.

A Derry Journal reporter who visited O’Donnell’s native Gweedore was the primary to determine an essential truth within the case: Patrick O’Donnell was already married to a girl from the neighbouring parish of Cloughaneely who was dwelling in Philadelphia.

It later emerged that O’Donnell and his spouse Maggie McNulty had been dwelling individually as he sought work in varied palace in Pennsylvania and neighbouring states.

An try at reconciliation between the couple had failed shortly earlier than he left America with a view of going to South Africa to make his fortune within the diamond mines there.

The standing of Patrick O’Donnell and Susan Gallagher’s relationship was essential as proof from a spouse couldn’t be heard by the courtroom as husbands or wives have been prohibited by regulation at the moment from giving proof when a partner was charged with against the law.

Susan Gallagher was summoned by warrant by Patrick O’Donnell’s legal professionals to be introduced again from South Africa to London within the hope of giving proof on his behalf.

When interviewed by his legal professionals in London on her return they determined to not name her as a witness as they felt her proof may do extra hurt than good to their case.

Patrick O’Donnell’s spouse Maggie McNulty accompanied by her brother-in-law, Roger McGinley additionally travelled from the US to Britain within the hope that she is likely to be allowed give proof on his behalf.

The case towards O’Donnell within the Outdated Bailey had already concluded with a responsible verdict delivered by the point she had crossed the Atlantic and he or she returned instantly to Philadelphia.

O’Donnell was lauded as a hero for killing the informer whose demise was celebrated all through Eire and within the Irish-American communities the place he had spent half his life.

An ‘O’Donnell Defence Fund’ established in America accrued $55,000 (c. €1.5 million now) to make use of a excessive powered authorized staff to defend him. Since O’Donnell had been granted American citizenship throughout his years there, the US President pleaded that he not be hanged.

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The long-lasting French author Victor Hugo additionally took up his case and contacted Queen Victoria straight with an pressing request to spare his life.

Such appeals have been rejected and O’Donnell was hanged at Newgate Jail on seventeenth December 1883.

His demise secured his fast standing as a nationwide hero at dwelling and overseas and he was celebrated as an Irishman who had died for Eire.

Within the aftermath of trial Susan Gallagher went to America and resurfaced in New York in June 1885 when she sought to sue Patrick Ford, the writer of The Irish World who had raised funds for the defence of Patrick O’Donnell.

She claimed that O’Donnell ‘desired’ her to have £500 (roughly $2,500 then) of the cash that Mr Ford had raised for his defence, that she had lived with the Ford household however had obtained solely a portion of what she believed was as a result of her.

Mr Ford asserted that O’Donnell ‘by no means named Susan Gallagher, nor did he ask that one penny be given her’. He stated that ‘together with the bills’ he had given Susan Gallagher $500 ‘out of pure generosity’, though she was ‘not entitled to a penny’. $300 of the quantity he had given her was ‘in strong money’ he stated.

Patrick Ford additionally revealed that Patrick O’Donnell had requested that ‘his spouse in Philadelphia’ Maggie McNulty be given £200.

Mr Ford stated he was ‘beneficiant’ with Mrs O’ Donnell and gave her $1,500 {dollars}, ‘$500 greater than he advised us to offer her’.

Two giant Celtic crosses have been erected to commemorate Patrick O’Donnell, one in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin, the second in his native Gweedore, the place a public occasion in his honour continues to be celebrated yearly.

The Queen v Patrick O’Donnell is revealed by 4 Courts Press, value €17.95 (paperback) and accessible on-line from or from all good native booksellers.

The Queen v Patrick O’Donnell can also be the title of the 90-minute feature-length drama-documentary commissioned from unbiased manufacturing home ROSG by TG4.

The drama-documentary has already secured worldwide recognition with shortlisting at movie festivals in Vancouver, Canada and Madrid, Spain and can have its first pageant screening in Eire on the Galway Movie Fleadh (Twentieth-Twenty fifth July).

Derry assembly led younger Donegal lady to excessive profile homicide was final modified: July sixteenth, 2021 by cassoscoop