This report begins: 'An Account of Christian Sinclair, Executed at Edinburgh on Wednesday last, for murder, with her Behaviour at the Place of Execution.' The name of the publisher is not included.
This broadside tells the tragic story of Christian Sinclair, from Kirkwall in the Orkneys, who was executed in Edinburgh in 1813 for poisoning her brother's illegitimate infant daughter with arsenic. As no motive or defence is offered by the prisoner for her evil deed, the tone here is very much one of demonising the woman. In short, her behaviour appears to be inexplicable. The sheet then moves on to describe her behaviour during her confinement in 'the condemned cell' and on the scaffold.
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:
1813 shelfmark: Ry.III.a.2(4)
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