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Broadside entitled 'Trial and Sentence'


This report begins: 'Trial and Sentence of David Haggart, for the Murder of the Dumfries jailor who is to be Executed at Edinburgh, on Wednesday the 18th day of July next.' The name of the publisher is not included.

During an escape from Dumfries Jail, David Haggart killed the turnkey, Thomas Morrin, by striking him on the head with a large stone. It appears that Haggart had a history of escaping from jail, as he previously broke out of Leith Jail. From the lengthy list of crimes read out in court, it appears that Haggart was a habitual criminal, and had also escaped from two jails in Ireland where he was already under sentence of transportation. Aged only 21, Haggart was sentenced to death.

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: 1821   shelfmark: Ry.III.a.2(16)
Broadside entitled 'Trial and Sentence'
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