This crime report begins: ''JOHN MOIR was then placed at the bar, accused of Wilful Fireraising. The Counsel set up a plea of insanity - which he proceeded to establish by the evidence of Dr John Stewart.'
Two days of court proceedings have been recorded. The first day covered mainly thefts and most of the convictions resulted in 7 years' transportation. The second day was devoted to solely one case, the murder by John Stewart of his wife, Christian. He was eventually convicted and sentenced to hang. The end of the report reminds readers that pleading insanity will no longer be a convenient way for criminals to extricate themselves from these situations.
Reports recounting dark and salacious deeds were popular with the public, and, like today's sensationalist tabloids, sold in large numbers. Crimes could generate sequences of sheets covering descriptive accounts, court proceedings, last words, lamentations and executions as they occurred. As competition was fierce, immediacy was paramount, and these occasions provided an opportunity for printers and patterers to maximise sales.
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Date of publication:
1833 shelfmark: F.3.a.13(87)
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