A particular account of the Trial and Sentence of ROBERT
SCOTT, the; Edinburgh Carrier to Earlstoun, who is to be
Executed at the spot where he committed the horrid deed,
on Wednesday, 29th October, 1823, for the barbarous murder
of James Aitchison, cooper, and Robert Sim, horse-dealer,
Greenlaw, on the road near Earlston, and who, after he had
effected his horrid design, cut off their noses and put them in
their mouths, with an account of his dreadful behaviour before
the Court; his body is to be sent to Edinburgh for dissection.
On Tuesday the 16th September, 1823, came on before the Circuit Court of Justi-
ciary at Jedburgh, the trial of ROBERT SCOTT, late carrier betwixt Edinburgh and
Earlstoun, accused of murdering James Aitchison, cooper in Greenlaw, and Robert
him, horse-dealer there, and did, with a sheep-stake, or bludgeon, or stone, or some
other lethal weapon, to the prosecutor unknown, cruelly and barbarously inflict vari-
ous severe blows and wounds upon the persons of the above persons; whereby the head
and left leg of the latter were fractured and broken, and the head of the former was
severely wounded ; and did, likewise with a knife, or other sharp instrument, to the
prosecutor unknown, in a cruel and barbarous manner, cut and slit the noses of the
aid persons, in consequence of all which they were bereaved of life.
To which the prisoner replied, " No, my Lord, they attacked me, and I am Not
Guilty," and bowed respectfully.
Scott was removed on the 15th September from Greenlaw Jail to Jedburgh. When
near Kelso, a great number went out to meet them and behaved outrageously to the
prisoner, crying out, " Hang him, &c." They arrived at Jedburgh about 4 o'clock.
A great crowd left Jedburgh to meet him, who could scarcely refrain from rescuing
him from the military, and tearing him in pieces.
Witnesses were then called, the two first of whom proved that the deceased and the
prisoner had been quarrelling on the road, and that the prisoner's face was bleeding.
The third witness James Waldie, deponed?I was at Earlstoun Fair, and on my road
some overtook the prisoner about eight in the evening. . Broomfield and Stark were
near him, end so were Sim and Aitcheson, and some others. The prisoner told me
hat Sim and Aitcheson had been abusing him. I went on with Stark and Bloomfield.
I observed Sim and Aitcheson washing the prisoner's face at a well, but saw no more
of them till they came to my own house. The prisoner wanted him to take Sim into
custody, but I said I had no authority to do so, and advised them to go home good
friends. Sim and Aitchison walked away after shaking hands with me. The prisoner
left a bundle with me and then went away. I observed him attempt to pull a spar off
a gate, but did not succeed. About eleven o'clock, Andrew Robertson told me that
one man had been killed on the moor, and another was fast dying. I got assistants,
and went to Lightfield, where they were removed.
After the examination of a number of other witnesses, whose evidence was quite
convincing, Lord Pitmilly summed up the evidence in a most impartial manner, and
the jury in eight minutes returned a verdict of guilty. Next day, sentence was passed
against him, which was, " that he be executed at the place most convenient near the
spot where the murders were committed, on Wednesday the 29th of October, and his
body given to Dr Monro for dissection.
The prisoner was not the least moved with his awful situation, but in a bold man-
ner, and with an audible voice, said, " They might make pye-meat of his flesh, and
whistles of his bones for any thing he cared, when his life was gone."
Some accounts say that he actually cut the noses off the faces of Sim and Aitche-
son, and put them in their mouth, but we would fain hope, for the honour of Scotland,
that this account is overcharged.
J. G. Lockhart, Esq. advocate, was counsel for Scott.?Lerd Minto and another
Nobleman were on the Bench. There were 26 witnesses for the prosecution.
Scott is a tall dark man, very gloomy in his appearance.
W. Carse, Printer, Glasgow.
View Commentary | Download PDF Facsimile
Date of publication:
1823 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.73(062)
View larger image