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Broadside entitled 'Trials for rape, &c- D. Dobie, J. Thomson and D. Bertie'


This crime report continues: 'Before the High Court of Justiciary - July 12 and 14. / A true and particular account of the Trial of, and Sentence upon, the great Gilmerton Criminals, David Dobie and John Thompson.' It was printed by Forbes and Owen and sold for a penny a copy.

David Dobie and John Thomson were sentenced to execution and dissection for the robbery, rape and murder of Margaret Paterson of Gilmerton. David Bertie was returned the verdict of 'not proven' against the accusation of raping his landlady's servant Margaret Grey, of Joppa. Mary Taylor and George Leslie were convicted of theft. This sort of 'sensationalist' news sold well, especially amongst the new city populations. There are other reports of these cases held at the National Library of Scotland.

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: 1830   shelfmark: F.3.a.13(9)
Broadside entitled 'Trials for rape, &c- D. Dobie, J. Thomson and D. Bertie'
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