This crime report begins: 'An Account of the Trial and Sentence of THOMAS HAY, for Stabbing Wiiliam Moffat, in Leith, on the 18th of July last, and who was, this day, publicly whipped through that Town.'
Although he did not actually kill anyone, Thomas Hay's crime was considered particularly shocking by the broadside writers of the time, as it was apparently premeditated and entirely unprovoked. In a reference that shows how efficient at communication the British newspaper and broadside media was even in 1824, Hay's crime is compared to that of the murderer John Thurtell, who was hanged the same year in Elstree, Hertfordshire.
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(11)
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