This crime report begins: 'A true and farther particular Account of the whole transactions of these Monsters of Iniquity, the (supposed) Violaters and Murderers of that unfortunate woman Margaret Paterson. / The following melancholy and fatal accident is copied from this day's (Tuesday's Observer.).' This sheet was published, in Edinburgh, by Felix O'Neill.
This sheet not only reports the details of David Dobie and John Thomson's rape and murder of Margaret Paterson but also carries a story about the death of two slaters when the ladder they were working on collapsed. The 'Gilmerton Murder' as the case of Margaret Paterson's death as been named, was a huge sensation at the time, if the number of extant broadsides are to be believed. As a result of its popular topic, gruesome horror, there are many different accounts of this case in the National Library of Scotland's collection.
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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Probable date of publication:
1830 shelfmark: F.3.a.13(7)
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