A Full and Particular Account, of the Trial and Sen-
tence of Thomas Stevenson, alias Hodge, who is to
be Banished for Seven years beyond Seas, for
Wickedly and feloniously Stealing Dead Bodies,
particularly that of Janet Moir, from the Church-
yard of Larbert, in Stirlingshire, in March last, and
for violating the Sepulchres of the dead.
ON Monday the 2d June, 1823, came on at Edinburgh, before
the High Court of Justiciary, the trial of THOMAS STE-
VENSON, alias THOMAS HODGE, accused of wickedly and fel-
oniously stealing dead bodies, and in particular the dead body of
Janet Moir, from the church-yard of Larbert, in Stirlingshire, on
the 13th or 14th of March last; and having been previously con-
victed under the name of Hodge, of violating the sepulchres of the
dead, who pled Not Guilty.
Several witnesses were brought forward and examined, whose e-
vidence clearly brought home the of once charged ; after which the
Solicitor General addressed the Jury for the prosecution, and Mr
Wilson for the prisoner. The Jury were then charged by the Lord
The Jury, viva voce, found the pannel Guilty art and part of the
crime libelled, and guilty of the aggravation.
Mr Wilson, in extenuation of punishment, requested the Court to
take into consideration the time which the prisoner had already
been confined, and also his ill treatment by the populace of Linlithgow.
Lord Pitmilly said, in awarding punishment, the Court could not
be influenced by the popular estimate of this offence, nor by the
contrary notion, of the injury which science would sustain from the
offence being visited with a severe punishment; but the Court
would only be guided by the law of the land. Taking into consi-
deration the previous conviction of the panel, and the ineffcacy of a
lenient sentence in restraining the pannel from pursuing his trade
of body-liftinga, he conceived it was the duty of this Court to pre-
vent him from practising it any longer in this country. He lamen-
ted from his heart the maltreatment which the pannel had received
from'the crowd, when he was apprehended ; but that circumstance
could have no effect in altering the judgment of the Court. The
persons who maltreated the pannel, if brought here, would have
their punishment measured out to them, according to their iniquity;
for it was not for the people of Linlithgow to take the law into their
own hands. At present it was only this pannel's offence which
they were called upon to punisn: and considering the aggravated
nature of the offence, as well as that it was commited by a person
previously convicted, he should propose that hi should be transpor-
ted beyond seas for seven years.
Lord Succoth approved of this proposal.
The Lord Justice-Clerk also fully concurred in it; and, in pro-
nouncing judgment, reminded the pannel, that when, on a former
occasion, he had announced to him the sentence of the Court for a
similar offence, he had cautioned him that if he should thereafter be
convicted of the same offence, he would not again escape with so
lenient a punishment.
James Alexander, previously convicted of an assault upon a fe-
male, was sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment; and William
Calderwood, previously convicted of deforcing revenue officers, was
sentenced to 6 months' imprisonment, and to give surety in £40
for his good conduct for five years.
Edinburgh :?Printed, For Robert Forrest, Price One Penny.
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Date of publication:
1823 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.74(072)
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