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Broadside regarding the trial and sentence of William Alexander and Janet Blackwood, or Martin



An Account of these two Murders, the one committed, on Tuesday evening last, the 5th September, 1826, on the Body of Mrs ALEXANDER, residing at the foot of Leith Wynd, Edinburgh, by her own Husband; and the other, last night, Monday the 11th September, 1826, on the Body of a young man of the name of BAIN, a Hatter, in the West Port, who was killed on the spot.

Edinburgh, 12th September, 1826.
We are sorry we have to record the following notice of two recent Murders, committed in this city in the short space of a week, one of whom, we are informed, is of a very aggravated nature. We regret this the more, as, notwithstanding recent examples made, particularly that of William Pollock, for the same crime, the murder of his own wife, we find this dreadful, worst of all crimes, on the increase in our native land.

We copy the following from the Edinburgh Observer of this day:

TUESDAY night, a man of the name ALEXANDER, residing in Leith Wynd, in a fit of passion stabbed his wife in the neck with a knife. The woman was taken to the Infirmary, but the wound was of so serious a nature, that she died in a few hours. We understand that the parties had frequent jars, which arose from jealousy on the part of the wife. Alexander is now in custody.

Last night, between nine and ten o?clock, an affray took place at the West Port, which terminated fatally. From what we have been able to learn of the affair, it would appear that as an old woman and her son were going up the Port, a person of the name of Bain, a hatter, accidentally came in contact with the old woman, which caused her to fall. Her son was about to resent what he considered an insult offered to his mother, but she was endeavouring to prevent him, when a flesher came running out of an entry, exclaiming ?. ?Let me to him, and I?ll do his business;? and immediately knocked Bain down, and killed him on the spot.

At the time our informant left the West Port, the perpetrator of this horrid deed had eluded the search of the police; but as he is well known, it is hoped he will not long be able to conceal himself from justice ?. Edinburgh Observer of Tuesday, 12th September.

A full and Particular Account of the Trial and Sentence of Wm. Alexander, and Janet Blackwood, or Martin, who were tried before the High Court of Justiciary, on Monday 29th January 1827, for Murder, and Assault, on the person of Catherine Smith, wife of the said Wm. Alexander, on 6th September last, who died in the Infirmary on the 8th September, in consequence.

Yesterday, at Edinburgh, the High Court of Justiciary proceeded to the Trial of William Alexander, mason, and Janet Blackwood, alias Martin, accused of Murder, as also Assault, in violently, wickedly, and feloniously attacking, on the 6th September last, Catherine Smith, or Alexander, wife of the said W. Alexander, then residing in Leith Wynd, repeatedly striking her with clenched fists, and with a pair of tongs, &c. on the head, face, chest, and limbs, until she was knocked to the ground, and reduced to a state of insensibility, and severely and mortally wounded, to the great effusion of her blood, and one of her ribs broken; and she continued to languish in the Royal Infirmary till the 8th September, when she died, in consequence of the injuries thus received, and was thereby murdered. W. Alexander was accused of having previously evinced deadly malice and ill-will against his late wife, by striking, maltreating, and harshly using her, especially for 18 months preceding her death. There was also an alternate charge of assault against both pannels. They plead Not Guilty.

From the evidence it appeared that some children observed the deceased through the window, sirting on a stool before the fire, almost in a state of nudity. The female prisoner was sitting at the fire supping broth, and frequently struck the deceased on the mouth with a spoon. Alexander was then sitting at the back of the bed, also supping broth. Ann Balfour, a neighbour of Alexander?s, was called to look through the window between 5 and 6 in the evening, when she saw the deceased sitting before the fire, with nothing on but her shift, which was marked with blood in the breast, her arms folded, and her head hanging back. Her husband came from the bed, and struck her violently on the left ear, which knocked her below the table, on the crossbar of which her head fell; she did not move. Alexander appeared looking for his cloths after striking his wife, (having nothing on but his shirt), and as she lay, he placed either his foot or his knee on her breast, not accidentally, but designedly and with violence. The female prisoner was lying on the bed Alexander came from when he struck the blow. ? John Balfour, aged, 12, and two little girls fully corroborated Mrs Balfour?s evidence ? Mr W. Shepherd, a special constable, and Mr David Arthur, junior, described the situation in which the deceased was found: she was insensible, and the latter witness got a woman to wash the blood from her face, who also took a quantity of blood from her mouth. Both said she appeared to be in liquor, as did Mr Black, surgeon to the Police. Mr Black discovered a sevre cotusion on the right side of the head, on which he bled her, and in consequence of the dangerous symtoms, next morning she was conveyed to the Royal Infirmary, where she died on the second day. Dr Newbigging was then examined.

The Lord Advocate said he should give up the case against the woman; and from the evidence of Dr Newbigging, he found he could not bring home the charge of murder against the man, therefore would only ask for a verdict of culpable homicide.

The Lord Justice Clerk made a very few observations to the jury, who, without hesitation, returned a verdict of culpable homicide against Alexander, and as to Blackwood the libel not proven; the former was sentenced to be transported for fourteen years, and the latter was dismissed from the bar, with a severe admonition. The Court was immensely crowded.

Printed for Wm. Henry. ? Price One Penny.

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Date of publication: 1827   shelfmark: Ry.III.a.2(74)
Broadside regarding the trial and sentence of William Alexander and Janet Blackwood, or Martin
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