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Broadside regarding the trial and sentence of Mary Elder or Smith


A Full, correct, and Particular Account of the Trial

and Sentence of MARY ELDER or SMITH, wife of
David Smith, Farmer at Denside, Parish of Moni-
kie, and county of Forfar, who was tried at Edin-
burgh, on Monday the 19th February 1827, for the
wilful Murder of Margaret Warden, a young
woman, her own Servant Maid, by Administering
Poison to her, on the 5th September last, in con-
sequence of which she Died the third day after;
but the libel was found Not Proven.

AT Edinburgh, on Monday the 19th February, 1827, cams on,
before the High Court of Justiciary, (after several postpon-
ments, one of which was in consequence of the sudden indisposition
of one of the Jury, after a pood deal of the evidence for the prose-
ution had been gone through, and out of which circumstance ano-
ther postponment was rendered necessary, in consequence of the
arguments of Counsel against proceeding again with the case,) the
Trial of MARY ELDER or SMITH, wife of David Smith, farmer
at Denside, parish of Monikie, and county of Forfar, accused of Mur-
der, by having, on the 5th September last, within the house at
Denside aforesaid, wilfully, maliciously, and feloniously, administer-
ed, or caused to be procured or administered, to Margaret Warden,
then ssrvant to the said David Smith, a quantity of arsenic, or other
poisonous substance, mixed up with water, or other liquid, inducing
her to swallow the same, by falsely representing to her that it was
a medicine intended for her benefit; and she having accordingly
swallowed the said deleterious mixture, became immediately there-
after violently ill, and lingered in great pain until the 8th of the said
month of September, 1826, when she died in consequence thereof;
she being thus wilfully, maliciously, and feloniously Murdered.?
To which the pannel pled Not Guilty.

A number of witnesses were then examined, from whose evidence
it appeared, that the deceased turned unwell on a Tuesday, and that
the prisoner gave her something to drink of a whitish colour, in a
large dram glass, with a peice of sugar after it, about 9 o'clock at
night, which she swallowed, and went to bed. That she turned
very ill before morning, complaining much of her inside, and suf-
fering from thirst; and, on drinking water, which she always cried
for, saving her inside was burning, she immediaiely threw it up :
That she prisoner, on Thursday night, a 'witness observed, came
and asked the deceased if she thought a drap whisky would be good
for her, to which the witness, Jean Norrie, a fellow servant, who
slept with the deceased, replied, ' that she had got enough of that,
or something else, she could not tell what, for such purging and
vomiting she never before had seen.' That Margaret Warden's
mother was sent for and came to see her on Friday forenoon, the
day she died, and said to this witness, in presence of her mother
and Ann Gruar, another witness,' you ken wha has been the occasion
of me lying here, but dinna say nathing ; they will get their re-
ward, but I for give them.' That she died that night at 9 o'clock,
and her body appeared of a blackish colour. She was 25 years of
of age, was with child at the lime, and George Smith, the prisoner's
son, the deceased had said, was the father. The body was buried on
Sunday the 10th September, and the corpse was taken up 3 weeks
after, opened in the church-yard, and some particles of poison taken
from her stomach, which was the cause of her death, the quantity
and quality of which being particularly described by the medical
gentlemen attending ; one of whom, Dr Taylor, who had been sent
for, states, that the prisoner repeatedly inquired, if he thought the
violent vomiting would not cause abortion, adding, in her own
words, I dinna ca'e though such a thing, (a miscarriage) should
happen, for the' gude man would tear down the house if he ken'd it.'

The prisoner's declaration was then read, and several exculpatory
witnesses examined, when the Jury was addressed by the Lord
Advocate for the Crown, and Mr Jeffrey for the pannel. The Lord
Justice Clerk summed up the evidence, and concluded an animated
address at half past 5 on Tuesday morning, when the Jury were
enclosed, and directed to return their verdict in writing at 2 o'clock
atrernoon. The Court me accordingly at 2 o'clock, when the Jury
returned a verdict finding the Libel Not Proven; and, after a suit-
able admonition, she was dismissed from the bar. This trial excit-
ed great deal of interest.

Printed for WM. ROBERTSON.

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Date of publication: 1827   shelfmark: Ry.III.a.2(77)
Broadside regarding the trial and sentence of Mary Elder or Smith
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