Tipperary (S. R.) Assizes
The Murder of Edmond Allen
This morning Mr Justice Harrison entered court at 10 o’clock, and resumed the business of the assizes. After a few trials, Judge Harrison took up the Damerville murder case, adjourned from the last assizes. Richard Hourigan was charged with the wilful murder of Edmond Allen. He pleaded not guilty. The Attorney-General (Mr Samuel Walker, QC), Mr Serjeant Hemphill, Mr Ryan, Q. C., and Mr S Curtis (instructed by Mr G Bolton, Crown Solicitor, and Mr Boyd S C S), appeared for the prosecution. Mr Molloy QC, and Dr Falconer (instructed by Mr O’Dwyer, sol., Tipperary), appeared for the prisoner. The prisoner, who is a respectable-looking young man about 30 years of age of the farming class, was, by his lordship’s directions, accommodated with a chair in the dock. He appeared perfectly cool and collected. The long panel was called over, and 140 answered out of 198. The Attorney-General, in opening the case for the Crown, said the issue which the jury had to try was whether the prisoner at the bar was guilty of the murder of Edmond Allen. It was his duty at the outset of this solemn inquiry – solemn to society which had been outraged by a terrible murder, solemn to the person who was charged with the awful crime, and, above all, solemn to them who were sworn to try this case on the evidence. It was his duty to lay before them an outline of the evidence upon which the Crown asked them to come to a conclusion as to his guilt. There was no doubt that on the 16th of January last, a little after four o’clock in the evening, Edward [sic] Allen was murdered near the entrance gate of Mr Austin Chadwick, which lies on the road between the town of Tipperary and the village of Lattin. It was further manifest that he was murdered by a person who stood near him at the time. Near the spot, about 900 yards away, was the house of the prisoner Robert Hourigan, who was and is tenant to Mr Austin Chadwick for 47 acres of land in that neighbourhood. Mr Chadwick held in his own hands Damerville House and the ground adjoining it, about seven acres of land. About the time of the murder he was about letting this ground. There had been no former tenant on it. This was not a case of anyone having been evicted. Hourigan was anxious to get that land, and made several offer for it to Mr Chadwick. He offered his agent, Mr Rice, L150 fine, and the same proportionate rent he was paying for his own farm which surrounded his land, and if he could get it on reasonable terms it would be an advantage to him, and equally undesirable that anyone else should get it. On the 6th of January, ten days before the murder, Hourigan was speaking to Mr Chadwick about this land in the presence of a constable, and Mr Chadwick told him he could give him no promise. The constable and Hourigan passed down the avenue together afterwards. The constable said he heard there was a good lot of money offered for the land. Hourigan asked by whom, and he replied he did not know. Hourigan observed that if Mr Chadwick did not give it to him he might go to the d___l. Allen, the murdered man, lived at a place called Galbally, in the county of Limerick, some eight or nine miles away from Damerville, and he was a great friend of Mr Chadwick’s, and he was supposed to have some influence with him. It appeared on the 13th of January, three days before the murder, he borrowed a pony from Mr Chadwick, and on the 16th of January, in the afternoon, he went from Galbally to return to return the pony. He brought the pony to Damerville House about a quarter past three o’clock. On that day Hourigan was in the town of Tipperary and came home about three o’clock, somewhat under the influence of drink. He took his dinner, drove out his cows to water, and then got on his horse, which was saddled, and proceed to exercise it in a field adjoining his house. That field commanded a view of Damerville Avenue and approach to the road. He could therefore see anyone on that avenue. It would appear that Hourigan, having waited some time in the field, went in and gave up his horse to a boy named Carroll, and the saddle was taken off. This would be a little before the murder was committed. Hourigan went into the kitchen for some purpose – it would be for the jury to say whether he went there for a weapon or not. Allen, having left the pony behind him at Damerville, proceed towards a friend’s house named Brown, who lived in the locality. That must have been about a quarter past four. He went down the avenue, out the entrance gate, and towards Brown’s house. He proceeded to the spot which was marked F on the map, and where it was manifest a couple of shots were fired at him from behind. As far as he (the Attorney-General) could collect from the doctor’s evidence there were altogether five shots fired on the occasion. Allen would appear to have staggered along for some distance, about 40 yards after the first shots were fired, and there the final shots which despatched him were manifestly aimed at him. There were three wounds in his back. The person who murdered him must have waited for him or followed him from the entrance gate of Damerville House. That, as he had already mentioned, was 900 yards from the prisoner’s house, some six or seven minute’s walk. The unfortunate man was manifestly shot in the back in the first instance, Three shots were found in the back – one behind the shoulder blade, another in the right arm, another below the arm pit, and another under the right temple. Any of these wounds would probably have been fatal. He also received a wound on the left eye from a sharp cutting instrument – probably a penknife. When these shots were fired they attracted the attention of two witnesses who of all others were the most important in this case. They were two boys who were walking the field opposite Damerville House, named James William Glasheen and James O’Donnell; both of them would be examined; they were about 14 or 16 years of age. They stood at a ditch outside Damerville, and probably mounted the ditch, in order to get a better view. When they heard the shots they ran from that spot towards the road directed by the shots in order to ascertain if they could see anything. Where they stood was 300 yards from the road and they ran towards the road. One of them, O’Donnell, happened to be grandson of the caretaker of Damerville, a man named Corbett. He met his grandfather, and after stopping a moment to speak to him, he ran after his playmate. They ran towards the road, the road where the body of the murdered man was lying. There were bushes here and there, but a person in the field would be able to see the upper portion of the figure of a man on the road. As the boys approached the road they saw Richard Hourigan, the prisoner, walking away from the scene of the murder, and within a few yards of the murdered man. Shortly afterwards they came to a clearer view, and they then saw the prisoner fully upon the road, walking leisurely in the direction of the own house. He was walking away from the place where the body was lying, and both hands in his pockets – perhaps it might be hiding the weapon which had committed the awful deed. The jury would have to ask themselves whether these boys were truthful or not. There were on the threshold of life, and arrived at the age when witnesses were generally found truthful. It would be for the prisoner to satisfy the jury if he could, that he was there innocently, and that he was not there after committing the murder. The shots were also heard by several others, they were heard by a man named Looby, who lived in the neighbourhood, by a servant man at the opposite side of the road, and by others. The boys passed where the body was lying in the water table on the side of the road, and proceeded about 190 yards and met a woman named Catherine Kelly in an ass’s cart, driven by Denis McCarthy, her servant, on their way home from Tipperary. They came to the spot where the body was lying, which of course attracted their attention. Several other persons also came up. Mrs. Kelly shouted to the persons who were coming up behind. They lifted Allen, and ascertained that he was dead; they put him in a sitting position against the wall, and remained some time, being joined by others. Catherine Kelly then proceeded towards her home at Lattin. The last that had been seen of Hourigan up to this was when he was hurrying from the scene of the murder to his own home. It would take a man walking a moderate pace about seven minutes to pass from Hourigan’s house to where the man Allen was shot. Mrs Kelly having proceeded towards Lattin, when within some 1,000 yards at the Damerville side she met Hourigan coming towards Damerville from his own house, riding a horse barebacked. It would be for the jury to say whether his proceedings after the murder were not taken for the purpose of groundling [sic] the alibi, which he (the Attorney-General) understood was to be the defence set up in the case. An important conversation then occurred. “Robert,” said Mrs Kelly, “There is a man on the road dead.” “Where?” said he. “Down near the road.” He said “He is not dead.” She replied “The man said he is dead.” He then said “Were there many there?” She told him, and she then said “Robert if your business is not of great importance I would not care about going over.” Hourigan then turned back and galloped his horse home. After referring to further details of the evidence for the prosecution, the learned gentleman called upon the jury, according to the solemn obligation of their oaths, to find a true verdict according to the evidence.
The several witnesses named in the opening statement, and a number of others were examined, and most of them underwent a severe cross-examination.
The case for the Crown closed at the rising of the court at six o’clock.
On this day the case was resumed, when witnesses were examined for the defence, and after the charge of the Judge, the jury retired for ten minutes and brought in a verdict of acquittal.
Limerick Reporter and Tipperary Vindicator, July 16, 1886