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Broadside entitled 'Trials for rape, &c- D. Dobie, J. Thomson and D. Bertie'






A full-true, and particular account of the
Trial of, and Sentence upon, the great
Gilmerton Criminals, David Dobie and
John Thomson, for the Violation. Robbery,
and Murder of Margaret Paterson, in a way
so cruel, barbarous, and inhuman, as makes
the heart of the most obdurate melt with pi-
ty, and the very blood freeze with horror.
Together with the Indictment against the
Prisoners, the names and evidence of
the principal witnesses, and an inventory
of the articles produced on the Trial. con-
sisiting amongst other things, of the un
heard of and murderous implements by
which poor Margaret Paterson's destruction,
was. accomplished. And also the Speeches,
word for word, of Lord Meadow-bank and
the Lord Justice Clerk, and the behaviour
of the Murderers in the Lock up house, and
in the Condemned Cell.

And Likewise, a full. true., and particular
Account of the Trial of Mr Bertie, writer,
for- an alleged Kape on the Body of Mar-
garet Gray, a Girl of thirteen years of


The indictment of the Prisoners was read.
After the customary preamble, it went on as

That albeit, by-the laws of this and every
other well governed realm, Rape ; as also As-
sault, more especially when committed with
intent to Ravish; as also Murder; as also
Robbery ; are crimes of an heinous nature, and
severely punishable : yet true it is and of ve-
rity, that you the said John Thomson and
David Dobie are both and each, or one or
other of you, guilty &c. in so far as,
the deceased Margaret Paterson, having,
on the 17th day of' April, 1830. met with
which. the said John Thomson and David
Dobie or one or other of you, within the house at
Cellar bank or Cellar Park, in the parish of Libberton
and shire aforesaid, &co. and you the said John Thomson
and David Dobie, or one or other of you
having agreed to convey the said decreased Margaret
Paterson to the said village of Gilmertson; and the said
deceased Margaret Paterson having accordingly left the
said house, and having proceeded in company with you,
or one or other of you, along the road leading from the
said house to the village of Gilmerton aforesaid. &c.
you the said John' Thomson and David Dobie,
did, time aforesaid, & co., wickedly and feloriously
attack and assault the said deceased Margaret
Paterson. and did both and each, or one or other of
you-[Here the indictment particularly specified the
first charge, viz., that of the prisoners having wickedly
and seriously violated the person of Margaret Pater-
son, which it would be improper more particularly to
publish. The indictment then went on to vary the
charge in the usual way, by charging an assault with
inteut to Ravish.]?LIKEAS, you the Said John
Thomsan and David Dobie did, both and each, or one
or other of you, time aforesaid, at or dear the part of
the road, &c, &c. wickedly and feloniously attack and
assault the said deceased Margaret Paterson, and did
strike her several severe blows with your fists, and kick
her on the head and sides, and other parts of her body,
whereby she was, rendered insensible, and did?[Here
again the words of the indictment are unfit for-public-
cation. They describe particularly the soul harrowing
atrogities of the monsters, in forcing into the body of
Their already brutally maltreated and insensible victim,
three rough cornered pieces of stone a number of
pieces of small coall a quantity of coal dust! a quantity
of hay! and the bone of the corsets of the de-
ceased!!! or some other instrument, to the Prosecutor
unknown! And having mentioned the dreadful laceva
tions-and wounds thus produced, the Indictment went
on] ,----Of the injurious so inflicted, or of one or other of
them, the said deceased Margaret Paterson languishe if
till her death, which took place in the house in Amos
close aforesaid, then and now or lately occupied by the
said William Paterson, her father, on the 22d day of   
April, 1830; and the said deceased Margaret Paterson
was thus cruely murdered by you the said John Thom -   
son and David Dobie, or by one or other of you :
LIKEAS, you the said John Thomson and Divid
Dobie did, both and each, or one or other of you, time
aforesaid, &c. &c. wickedly and feloniously rob the said
deceased Margaret Paterson, and did take from her by
force and violence, a gold ear ring, a small tin box, two
pawn tickets for gowns, one pledged for 3 . 6d , and the
other for 4s. the more particular description of the said
pawn tickets being to the prosecutor unknown, three
shillings and sixpence or thereby in silver money, a key,
a checked cotton or muslin handkerchief, a green shawl,
a coarse towel, some pieces of card or pasteboard and
some pieces of bread and meat, being all the property
or in the lawful possession of the said deceased Mar-
garet Paterson:--

Inventory of Articles Produced in Court,

A green shawl, a woman's bonnet, a small
Sin box,, a gold ear-ring, a key, a handkerchief,
a coarse towel, three angular pieces, of, stone,
a small quantity of hay, a corset stick, a pair
of scissors, a woman's pocket.

When the prisoners were brought out of
jail to be conveyed over to the Lock up house,
Dobie recognized a person whom she had
known, and said to him. 'This is an awfu'
condition for me to be brocht till.'?' It is,
Dobie.' was the reply, ? to which he rejoined,
'Weel:?I'm as innocent as the child that's
unborn.' Thomson said nothing. Both the
men were rather meanly, but decently and
cleanly dressed ; and had the usual appear-
ance of carters in their Sunday clothes that
had already been well worn. Both are of slen-
der but athletic make ?Thomson about 5 ft.
10 in. high.

The declarations emitted by the prisonars
were of great length, and chiefly consisted of
rambling, inconsistent, and unimportant state-

Colin Pentland and his wife were called to
prove the accidental meeting of the deceased
and the prisoners at their house on the night
of the 17th of April, and their subsequent de-
parture together, with the carts for Gilmerton.

Walter Dingwall, residing at Gilmerton, was
called to prove that Thomson's horse had
brought his cart into the village of Gilmerton
without his master. This witness, and the
wife of one Bamberry, a slater in Gilmerton,
and others, found the shawl of the deceased,
her bundle of bread, &c. in Thomson's cart.

Alexander Denham and a young man named
Wright, and others, in consequence of Thom-
son being missing, set off on the road to Edin-
burgh in search of him, On their return, they
were attracted by the groans of the deceased
to the spot where she was lying, near the
third milestone ; and finding her to be in a
very deplorable state, they carried her to the
house of Bamberry, into which she was hu-
manely received. In mean time, a person
had met Thomson coming into the village, and
had said to him, from the circumstance of the
shawl being found in the cart, ' You have had
a woman with you to-night.' To which he
replied, 'Yes, she's just behind me.

Drs Renton and Morrison, of Datkeith,
proved the frightful nature of the injuries in-
flicted on the deceased, ?her extreme suffer-
ings,?her death in consequence of those in-
juries,?the appearances of the truly horrid
and shocking lacerations and wounds and the
consequent mortification, after death,?and
also the finding of the stones, &c. within the
body of the ill-fated woman,? The same Gen-
tlemen also, and other witnesses proved that
the deceased had declared, while in the pros-
pect of death, that both the prisoners had
committed the crimes to which she fell a victim

Several witnesses from Greenend and other
places proved that the prisoners had made
their treatment of the deceased a subject of
ribald jest and boasting to their companions.

The tin box, belonging to the deceased was
traced to the possession of Dobie ; and her
handkerchief was taken from Thomson's
pocket, when he was apprehended.

The Lord justice Clerk, in discharging the
Jury, stated that the verdict which they had
returned was perfectly consonant with the
opinions entertained by the Court. Sentence
was then moved, for.

Lord Meadowbank ?My Lord justice
Clerk?It is little more than eighteen months
ago that the melancholy duty devolved on me
to propose sentence of death on & pannel con-
victed before you of a crime at that time con-
sidered almost unparalleled in atrocity. The
utmost stretch of our imagination then did not
lead us to anticipate the psosibility, that there
were living in the midst of civilized society men
who could be guilty of still greater atrocities
-?of more unparalleled brutality?revolting
to every feeling that actuates the mind of man.
I am perfectly certain that, were the details
of this case unfortunately made public, as,
thank God, the power of the law has enabled
you to prevent, those details would have ex
cited such feelings in this Christian communi-
ty as never were before excited. It is hardly
possible to imagine that persons would have
been found living in this Christian land who
could have brought their minds to the com-
mission of such atrocious crimes Melancholy
it is to think that, had this unprotected female
been wandering the world amongst the barbaro
barbarous people, she would have been in a
state of comparative safety to what she was
within three miles of the metropolis of this
most civilised country; such is the fact that

this poor Unhappy woman, after having fallen
into the hands of these abandoned men, was
treated in a manner which, of necessity, was
to produce death?she was robbed of the mis-
erable pittance which she had in her posses
sion ; and this was committed on a person on
whom they had the intention to satisfy other
brutal passions, This is the worst feature of
the case. I have not words to express the
feelings which the details of this day have
necessarily excited in my bosom. I have al
luded to them generally, and shall only far-
ther allude to them by saving, that I think it
Was impossible for any human being, who
heard the evidence, to entertain a doubt of
the perfect propriety of the verdict which has
been returned. With these observations, I
have now simply to propose to your Lordship
to pronounce the sentence of the law, which
is that of death, and that it shall be carried
into effect on Wednesday the 18th of August

The Lord Justice Clerk?John Thomson
and David Dobie, you have heard the verdict
which has been recorded, and the opinions
which their lordships entertain in regard to
your case as exhibited in evidence against you ;
and following their example,? feeling that no-
word which I can use are capable of describ
ing the unparalleled brurality, cruelty, and
wickedness, of the foul transaction which has
been disclosed this day. I shall not enter into
details farther than to remark that the exhi-
bition you have made is calculated to make
every man blush. Such wickedness and brutal
abomination could not have been believed to
have been committed, had it not been sworn
to in evidence. Following the principle of law,
by which the proceedings have been conduct-
ed with closed doors till this stage of the pro.
ceedings, I shall-refrain from saying any thing
f the crimes of which you stand convicted on
the clearest evidence ever produced before a
jury. But it is my duty to warn you to pre-
pare for the inevitable fate which awaits you
in this world ; and I warn you, in the most
earnest manner, to prepare to appear before
the judgment seat of the Almighty, to answer
for all the deeds done in the body. Rest as-
sured that if ever there was a case in which
the law will take it, full course it is yours.
You are now to consider That your days on
earth, are numbered, and that you have now
no other duty in the world but to pray for
forgiveness of all your crimes--to humble
yourselves at the footstool of your Creator.
Do not lose a single moment in setting about
heartfelt repentance?and God grant that it
may be sincere,?and that forgiveness be ex-
tended to you for your crimes. His Lordship
then sentenced. the pannels to be executed at
Edinburgh, on the 18th August and their
bodies given to Dr Monro. professor of ant-
tomy for dissection.

Dobie addressed the Lord Justice Clerk in
in these words, ' My Lord, I have one thing to
say, if you please. They cannot dissect the

On the way from the Court to   the   Lock
up house, both the prisoners   maintained the
same appearance as they had done throughout
the trial? that is to say, there was a restless   
recklessness in Dobie's movements and in the
expression of his countenance while Thomson
was   collected,   silent,    and   seemingly   quite   
passive in the hands of his conductors.   There
was; however, an occasional quivering of his;,
person,an a solemn thoughtful   expression   
on his pallid countenance,   which   indicated   
that he felt more than   he wished should be   
observed by the spectators.                              
Until the   evidence   had   been   all   gone   
through; Dobie induced a hope of being ae-   
quitted ; for he had adopted means for secur-   
ing, as he thought, evidence   in his   favour.

While be was in the jail, be wrote a letter to   
one of, his cousins, a female residing in Gl-   
rnerton, instructing her to swear that she had   
seen Thonson give him the tin box belonging   
to Margaret Paterson ; and this would have   
accounted   for one of the strongest circums   
stances against   him.    The letter, however,   
never reached the hands of the woman. It was   
intercepial,   and given   to the .Sherial,   who   
sent for the female. and by an   interrogatory
ascertained that this was an attempt to suborn   
a witness and consequently frustrated it.    It   
wag perhaps for the same reason that several   

persons from Gilmerton, who were in the list
of witnessed, were not called to give their
evidence for the Crown, as it was probable,
from their-intimacy with the prisoners, and
other circumstances, that Dobie might have-
been tampering with them also.

In the Lock-up house, Dobie said that:
some of the witnesses had sworn falsely ; but
this was chiefly in reference to the amount of
silver that the poor murdered woman had in her
in her possession.

At seven o'clock in the morning, the pri-
soners were placed in the usual carriage to
be conveyed back to the jail. After they had
taken their seats, a tear or two were observed
in the eyes of Thomson. Dobie wept plenti-
fully, and lamented for his wife and children-
(He had sent a sixpence to his wife while the
trial was going on, the day before, by one of
the witnesses )?Thomson soon assumed his
usual appearance of indifference He fre-
quently looked at the people through) the car-
riage, and remarked that it was ' a fine morn-

When they got into the condemned cell,
Dobie said to Thomson, ' If the woman had been in my cairt,"jock, naething o' this wud
hae happened. The woman was a murdered
woman,?there's nae doot o' that ! But how
thae stans an hay an' things cam about,
(he added with an oath) I dinna ken.' Thom
son made. no answer to ail this, which must
be regarded as a confession by Dobie that he
was coocerned in the crimes, though not in
the worst.of them ; and Thomson's silence
was a still stronger though tacit admission of
the full Treasure of his own guilt.?-particularly
as neither 0f the prisoners made one single
complaint of the justice at their sentence.
Dobie spoke often of his wife and children,
for whom he lamented the disgrace he had
brought on them, and he expressed his hope
that his mother and his wife would be admit-
ted to see him- Thomson never once opened
his mouth., Dobie put an end to the scene.
by saying, ''Come, bring us thus elaes (mean-
ing the prison dress :) an' let's pit all thir
yins.' the behaviour of the men, since, has
been firms,.and becoming their situation.

The Gilmerton Carters. ? Dobie and Thom-
son are now confined in the same cell; and are
attended by che Rev. Dr Lee. Since their
condemnatory they have been, very quiet. not
a word of rejection has proceeded trom one
aginst the other. They are both compara-
tively illiterate and ignorant. Dobie can read
and write, and Thomson is able to read, but
it would appear they have derived little or no
advantage from these acquirements.

The awful nature of his situation, from the
first, made a deep impression on Thomson's
mind. Since he uas indicted he has been very

dull ; and has become spare In his person.--

His coedemnation has had a still greater effect
on his spirits, as he appears at times quite ab-
stracted and lost in meditation, while at other
time; he is restless and uneasy.?Observer.


The Indictment, after commencing in the
usual term, set forth That, by the laws
of this and every other well governed realm,
Rape is a crime of an heinous nature and
severely punishable: yet, true it was and of
verify that, that David Bertse, the prisoner at the
bar. was guilty of the same, he having, on the
1 th day of May last, in a house situated in East Cumberland-strtet, then in the occup-
tion of Mrs. Jane Skirving, and in a room in
the said house, which he (the prisoner) occu-
pied as a lodger, wickedly solicited Margaret
Gray, servant to the said Jane Skirving. and
on her rejecting his solicitations, did attack
her with force and violence in the said room,
-?and that on the said Margaret Gray getting
away from him, he did some time afterwards
in the passage of the said house, again attack
he said Margaret Gray, and did seize her by
the arm and forcibly drag her back into his
room. wherein, in spite of all the resistance in
her power, he consummated the crime, with
great force and violence?[and the particulars
of which, as stated in the indictment, are unit
for publication.]

The indictment then went on to state, that
he pannel, having been apprehended, and
taken before the Sheriff substitute, had emit-
ed before him. on the 11th and 13th of May

two several declaration which being to be
used in evidence against him, had been lodged
in the usual place for his inspection, as also a
medical certificate singed by Dr Thatcher.
and another medical certificate signed by Dr
Black surgen to the Police Establishment,
and by Mr A. L. Black and Mr sidey, sur-
geons, ?and also one other article, which,
though it was named in the indictment and
produced on the trial, it would be in proper
to mention here.

The trial commenced about twelve o'clock ;
and the prisoner having been placed at the
bar. pleaded Not Guilty.

The Examination of Margaret Gray (who is
not more than fourteen years of age, and who
is a doughter o' very decent parents at loppa.
where her father is a mason) occupied two
hours and a quarter. She underwent a lone
and very minute cross examination ; but she
was not materially shaken in her principal

There were twenty witnesses in all. for the
Crown, amongest whom were, Margaret Gray,
Mrs Skirvin., Catherine Johnston. Ann Gray.
the Medical Gentelmen mentioned in the
indictment, Lieutenant Harvey, and Serjean
Charles Sicwart. jun ; of the Police Establish-

The alleged facts of the case were that on
the day the libelled, the Pri-soner and Margaret
Gray being alone. in Mrs Skirving's house.
the absence of Mrs S., and the rest of the fa-
mily, the prisoner offered the poor girl first
one pound note, then two pound notes and
then there pound   notes, if she would comply
with his wishes. These temptations having
been rejected by the girl, the pannel, as al-
leged, next proceeded to use violence in the
way libelled is the indictment After the com-
mission of the crime, he had left the house.
but he returned to it again, and was in bad
when he was apprehended, about eleven,
o'clock on the same night, He has all along
positively denied the crimes,

The prisoner is a young man about twenty
eight years of age, dark complexion, roman
nose, short stature, and of gentlemanly dress,
and appearance. He was Clerk to a Writer
in Edinburgh. He came from Brechin.

The exculpatory evidence occupied a very
considera be portion of time, and there were
several very respectable witness to the cha-
racter of the pannel.

The Lord Justice Clerk having made a long
and able summing up of the evidence, the
jury retired to consider of their verdict.

During the absence of the jury, the pannel
remained in a state of the utmost agitation
and anxiety. He repeatedly gazed round
him with an indescribably haggard expression
on his countenance, over which hung a cloud
of the blackest gloom and most dismal melan-
choly. At times he laid his head down on
his hands and arms; and for a few moments
seemed asleep; and then he would raise his
head again with the same unaltered expres-
sion. It struck almost every person in Court,
that his apparance now was like that of a
maniac, or rather of a drunk man, arousing
from Sleep and trying to collect his dissipared

After an absence of about twenty minutes,
the jury returned at eleven o'clock at night
and pronounced by, their Chancellor the fol-
lowing verdict:- My Lords: Owing to the
contrad ctory statement of the evidence, we
find the charge Not Proven.'

On bearing these joyful words, the prisoner
sprung to his feet clapped his hands uttered
an exclamation of gratitude to the jury and
(all in an instant) appeared as if he wished
to seize his hat, and bound at once out of
the Court.                              

Persons who shook the prisoner by the hand
state that it felt like the clammy band of a
person newly dead, or dying.

Mary Taylor or Leslie, and George Leslie,
were accused of stealing a watch. Mary Tay-
lor guilty of the theft, and George Leslie
guilty of reset.

The female prisoner was sentenced to seven
years transportation, and the man to eighteen
months confinement in Bridewell.

Forbes and owen, Printers?[Price One Penny.]

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Date of publication: 1830   shelfmark: F.3.a.13(9)
Broadside entitled 'Trials for rape, &c- D. Dobie, J. Thomson and D. Bertie'
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