Trial & Sentence
Of JAMES BURTNEY before the High Court of Justiciary
at Edinburgh, on Monday the 18th Nov. 1822, for violating
the person of a Girl under shine years of age, at Prestwick,
near Ayr, when he was sentenced to be Executed at Ayr, on
Friday the 20th day of December next.
Edinburgh, November 18, 1822-----'This day came on before the High Court of
Justiciary, the trial of JAMES BURTNEY, indicted for, in so for as, upon the 14th
day of September, 1821, you the said James Bur ney did, on the lands of Prestwick,
in the united parish of Monkton, Prestwick,. and Crosbie, and county of Ayr, and
near a coal engine, wickedly and feloniously assault Janet Anderson, a child of eight
years or thereby, and daughter of James Anderson, wright, now or lately residing
near to Prestwick Toll-bar, in the said united parish, and having forcibly seized hold
of her, and having thrown her down on the.ground, you did then, and there, wicked-
ly and feloniously ravish her, and had carnal knowledge of her person, forcibly and a.
gainst her will, notwithstanding every assistance in her power: or otherwise, you did
then and there, wickedly and feloniously assault the said Janet Anderson, with intent
for to commit a rape upon the said Janet Anderson, and did throw her down upon the
ground, and attempt to have carnal knowledge of her person, forcibly and against her
will: and you the said James Burnay Laving been apprehenece I and brought before
William Eaton,' Esq. shreriff.substitute of the county of Ayr, did in his presence at
Ary, on the 14th day of Sept. 1821. emit a declaration, which was subscribed in your
presence by the said sheriff.substitute, you having declared you could not write: which
declaration together with a certificate, dated ' Aya,'14th Sept, 1821,' and signed
' Will. Whiteside, M. D. John M'Deamaat. surg,' and also a pair of trowsers and a
shirt marked with blood, being all to be used in evidence against you the said James
Burtnay, at your trial.
As is usual in cases of this nature the Court was cleared of strangers, but it ap-
peared that the girl was not nine years of age at the time of the outrage, and she
was so much injured in her person as to be thrown into severe convulsions; she is
of rather a tender frame of mind and body, and was the daughter of his neighbour?
J. Anderson, wright at Prestwick toll.
The Jury retired for a few minutes, when they unanimously found him Guilty.
The Lord Justice Clerk then addressed the prisoner with much energy. A rape,
his Lordship said, had been committed under the most atrocious circumstances and of
the most aoominable nature? one more abhorrent to human nature had never, he be-
lieved, been before a Court of Justice. He concluded his observation by Cautioning
the prisoner against entertaining idle hopes of any mitigation or punishment, as their
was no circumstances in his case that could warrant such an idea. The prisoner was
then ordained to be executed at Ayr, on Friday.the 2oth of December.
Much praise is due to the public authorities for the activity displayed in the ap-
prehension of this ruffian. About an hour after ;he commission of the offence, the
hue and cry was raised, an incalculable number of people, among whom were the
Procurator Fiscal, Mr. G. Taylor, the proprietor of the coal-works in the neighbour-
hood, and the late Sir Alex. Boswell of Auchinleck, went in pursuit in various di-
rections, and in about four hours he was apprehended in the stone-quarries in Con-
tent, and carried to prison. Burtney is an Irishman, about 20 years of age, aud had
resided in the neighbourhood for some years.
Printed by John Muir, Glasgow.
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Date of publication:
1822 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.73(041)
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