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Broadside entitled 'Murderous Outrage in Fife'


This crime report begins: 'A Full and Particular Account of that most Murderous Outrage that was committed on the body of George McDonald, a flax-dresser belonging to Dundee, by a person of the name of Robert Demster, a plasterer and slater from Cupar.' The broadside is priced at one penny.

Unusually, the victim in this instance was still alive at the time the report was written, albeit 'in a very dangerous state, with very little prospect of his recovery'. Broadsides recounting murders or murderous intent were by far and away the most popular amongst the readership. The more shocking and gruesome the crime, the more copies were sold. This particular broadside deliberately downplays the survival of the victim by revealing 'Murderous Outrage'. The intention was to make the report more appealing to the public. The National Library of Scotland's collection also includes a broadside detailing the apprehension of Robert Demster or Dempster.

Broadsides are single sheets of paper, printed on one side, to be read unfolded. They carried public information such as proclamations as well as ballads and news of the day. Cheaply available, they were sold on the streets by pedlars and chapmen. Broadsides offer a valuable insight into many aspects of the society they were published in, and the National Library of Scotland holds over 250,000 of them.

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Probable date of publication: 1830   shelfmark: F.3.a.13(23)
Broadside entitled 'Murderous Outrage in Fife'
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