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Broadside entitled 'Trials For Rape &C of D. Dobie, J. Thomson, and D. Bertie, Before the High Court of Justiciary. --July 12 and 14'




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 aeart of the roost obdurate melt with pi-
ty, and the very blood freeze with horror.
Together Mother 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-
sistung amongst other things, of the un
\ill\ of and murderous implements by
which poor Margaret Paterson's destruction
was accomplished. And also the Speeches.
word for word, of Lord Meadowbank and
the Lord Justice Clerk, and the behaviour

of 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 Rape 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 at

That albeit, by the laws of this and every
other weil 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
Divid Dobie are both and each, or one or
after of you, guilty &c, in so far as,
the Receased Margaret Paterson, having,
on the 17th day of April, 1830 met with
you the said John Thomson and David

Dubie, or one or other of you, within the house at
\ill\ bank or Cellar Park, in the parish of Libberton
and shire afore\ill\aid, &c and you the said John
Thomson and david Doble. or one or other of you.
having agreed to \ill\ the said dre\ill\ Margaret
Peterson to the said village of Gilmert\ill\ ; and the said
\ill\ Margaret Paterson having accordingly left the
\ill\ house, and having pro\ill\edad in company with you,
or \ill\ or other of you, along the road leading from the
said house to the village of Gilmerton a or said, &c.
you the said John Thom\ill\on and David Dobie,
and, time aforesaid, &c., wickedly and seloniously
\ill\ and assault the said deceased Margaret
Paterson. and did both and each. or our of other of
you ? Here the indietment particularly specitied the
\ill\ charge, viz., that of the prisoners having wiekedly
and \ill\ oniously violated the person of Margaret Pater-
son. which it would be itnproper more partieularly to
\ill\. The indictment then went on to vary the
\ill\oarge in the usual way, by charging an assault with
\ill\ to Ravish.] L\ill\KEAS, you the said John
Thomson and David Dobie did, both and each. or one
or other of you, time aforesaid, at of near the part of
the \ill\. &c. &c, wickedly und feloniously attack and
\ill\auit the said deceased Margaret Paterson, and did
strike ber several \ill\evere blows with your fists, and kick
her on the head and sides, and other parts of her body,
wheretiy she was reddered insensible, and did?[Here
agaist the words of the indictmeut are untie fur publica
\ill\ They describa particularly the soul harrowing
\ill\ of the monstera, in forcing into the body of
their already brutally maltreated and insensible victim.
\ill\ tough cornered pirees of stone ! a number of
\ill\ of stuall coal ! a quautity of coal dust ! a quan-
tity of hay ! and the bone of the corsets of the de.
\ill\ or some other just instrument to the Prosecutor
\ill\ ! And having mentioned the dreadful lacera,
tions and wounds thus produced, the Indietment went
\ill\ !?Of the injumes so indicted, or of one or other of
them, the said deceased Margaret Paterson langisha of
till her death, which took place in the house in A was
\ill\ aforesaid, then and now or lately acenpied by the
said William Paterson, her father on the 224 day of
April. 1830 ; and the said decessed Margret Paterson
was thus \ill\uelly murdered by you tor said John Thom-
son and David Dobie, or by one or other of you :
LIKFAS, you then said John Thomson and U ri1
\ill\ did. both and each, or one or other of you, time
atoresaid, &c. &c:. wickedly ami suloujously rob the said
isceased Margret Paterson, and did take from her by
\ill\ and vtolence, a gold ear ring a small tiu box, two
\ill\, tickets for grown, one pledged for 3a. 6d. and the
\ill\ for to the more particuler description of the said
dawn tickets being to the prosecutor unknown, three
said \ill\ and sixpence or thereby in silver meuey, \ill\
\ill\ cotton or mus\ill\ handkerchief, a green staw.
\ill\ tower, some pieces of card or p\ill\stehostd and
\ill\ pieces of bread and meat. being all the property
\ill\ in the awful possession of the said devessed Mar
garet Paterson :-

Inventory of Articles Prodused in Court.

A green shawl, a woman's bonnet, 4 small
un box. a gold ear.ring, a key, a handkerchief,
a coarse towel, three angulzar pieces of stone,
a small quantity of hay, a corset stick; a pair
of soissors, a woman's pocket.

When the prisoners were brought oat of
jail to be conveyed over to the Lock up house,
Dobie recognized a person whom the had
known, and said to him. ' This is an awfu'
condition for me to be brocht till.'?' It is,
Dobie.' was the the reply.?to which he rejoined,
' Weel : ? I'm as innocent as the child that's
a born :' 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 b-en 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 stale.

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 Bamherry, a slater in Gilmerton,
and others found the shawl of the deaeased,
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 juist belrin me.'

Drs Renton and Morrison, of Dalkeilh,
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 \ill\

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 a pannel con-
vi ted 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-
mision of such atrocious crimes Melancholy
it is to think that, had this unprotected female
been wandering the world amongst the most
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 civilized 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. 1 have not words to express the
feelings which the detail* 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 saying, 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
words which I can use are capable of descris-
ing the unparalleled brutality, 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 ha\ill\e been conduct-
ed with closed doors till this stage of the pro-
ceedings, I shall refrain from saying any thing
of 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 deed, 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 no v
no other duty in the world but to pray Cor
forgiveness of all your elines?to humb'e
yourselves at the footstoal 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
\ill\ dinburgh. on the 18th August and their.
bodies given to Dr Monro, professor of ana-
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 dissed the


On the way from the Court to the Lock
up hou e. 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 counteaance. while Thomson
was collected, silent, and seemingly quite
passive in the hands of \ill\ conductors. There
was, however, an occasional quivering of his
person, an i a solemn tionghtful expression
on his pallid coantenarece, which indicated
that he felt more than he wished should be
observed by the spectators.

Until the evidence had been all gone
through, Dobie indulged a hope of being ac-
quitted ; for he had adooted means for secur-
ing, as he thought, evidence in his favour.
While he was in the jail, he wrote a latter to
one of his cousins, a fenale residing in G.I-
merton. instrucing her to swear that she had
seen Thomson give him the tin box belonging
to Margaret Paterson : and this would have
accounted for one of he stronger. \ill\ circun-
stances against him. The letter, however,
never reached the handsof the woman. It was
intercepted, and given to the Sheriff, who
sent for the female, am by an interrogatory
ascertained that this was an attempt to suborn
a witness, and consequently frustrated it. it
was perhaps for the same reason that several

persons from Gilmerton, who were in the list
of witnesses, 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 murdrred woman had had
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 tine morn-

When they got into the condemned cell,
Dobie said to Thomson, If the woman had
been in my cairt, Jock, \ill\ ething o' this wud
hae happened. The woman was a murdered
woman, ?there's nae doot o' that ! But hoo
thae, stanes an' hay an' things cam' a boot,
(he added with an oath) I dinna ken.' Thom-
son made no answer to all this, which must
be regarded as a confession by Dobie that he
was concerned in the croaes, though not in
the worst of them ; and Thomson's silence
was a still stronger though tacit admission of
the full measure of his \ill\ guilt.?particularly
as neither of the prisoners made one single
complaint of the justice of their sentence.
Dobie spoke often of his wife and children,
for whom he lamcnted 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 as thae class (mean-
ing the prison dress;) \ill\ let's pit aft thir
yins.' The behaviour of the men, since, has
been firm, and becoming their situation.

The Gilmerton \ill\--Dobie and Thom-
son are now confined in the same cell, and are
attended by the Rev. Dr Lee. Since their
condemnation they have been very quiet, not
a word of reflection, bus proceeded from one
against the other. They are bath compara-
tively illiterate and ignorant. Dobie can read
and write, and Thomson is able to read, but
i: would appear they have derived little or no
advantage from these acquirements.

The awful nature of his situation, from the
\ill\, male a deep impression on Thomson's
mind Since he was indicted he has been very
dull ; and has become spire 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
times he is restless and un easy.? Obserrer.


The Indictment, after commencing in the
usual ferm, set forth That albeit, 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
verity, that David Bertie, the prisoner at the
bar, was guilty of the same, he having, on the
10 th day of May last, in a house situated in
East Cumberland-street, then in the occupa-
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 siad 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
the -aid 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 until
for publication.]

The indictment then went on to state, that
the pannel, having been apprehended, and
taken before the Sheriff substitute, had emit-

ted before him; on the 11th and 13th of May

two several declarations which being to be
used in evidence against him, had been lodged
in; the usual place for his inspection, as also a
medical certificate signed by Dr Thatcher,
and another medical certificate, signed by Dr
Black, surgeon 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 improper
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 daughter of very decent parents at Joppa,
where her father is a mason) occupied two
hours and a quarter. She underwent a long
and very minute cross-examination; but she
was not materially shaken in her principal

There were twenty witnesses in all, for the
Crown, amongst whom were, Margaret Gray,
Mrs Skirving, Catherine Johnston, Ann Gray,
the Medical Gentlemen mentioned in the
indictment, Lieutenant Harvey, and Serjeant
Charles Stewart, jun , of the Police Establish-

The alleged facts of the case were, that on
the day libelled, the pri-soner and Margaret
Gray being alone, in Mrs Skirving's house, in
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 three 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 in the indictment. After the com-
mission of the crime, he had left the house ;
but he returned to it again, and was in bed
when he was apprehended, about eleven
o'clock on the same night. He has all along-
positively denied the crime.

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
considerab e portion of time, and there were
several very respectable witnesses 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 theabsence 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 a leep ; and then he would raise his
head again with the same unaltered expres-
sion. It struck almost every person in Court
that his app arance now was like that of a
maniac, or rather of a drunk man, amusing
from sleep and trying to collect his dissipated
After an absence of about twenty minutes,
the jury return e i at e'even o'clock at night
and pronounced by their C/ anc For the \ill\
lowing verdict :? My Lords : Owing to the
contrad ctory statement of the evidence, we
find the charge Not Proven.'

On hearing these joyful word, the prisoner-
sprung to his feet clapped his hands, attered
an exclamation of gratitude to the jury. and
(all in an instant) appeared us 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 hand 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 Oven, Printers. - [Price One Penny.]

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Date published: 1830-   shelfmark: F.3.a.14(60)
Broadside entitled 'Trials For Rape &C of D. Dobie, J. Thomson, and D. Bertie, Before the High Court of Justiciary. --July 12 and 14'
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