This crime report begins: 'An Account of the Trial and Sentence of Thomas Hay, for stabbing William Moffat, in Leith, on the 18th of July last, and before his sentence is carried into execution he is to be lashed through the town of Leith on Wednesday 18th February 1824.' It was published in Edinburgh in February 1824.
The method of murder used by Thomas Hay would probably suggest pychopathic tendencies to a modern criminal investigator. It is claimed that Hay 'fitted up his inner room as a human slaughter-house' before going out with the intention of luring a victim to his house where an unprovoked attempted murder took place. In the report, comparisons are made to a notorious murder of 1824, carried out in Elstree, Hertfordshire by John Thurtell.
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:
1824 shelfmark: F.3.a.14(9)
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