Friday, 2 May 2014

Sectarian Killing With A Paving Slab

In 1869 a man smashed a paving slab over his teenage victim's head in what appeared to be a religiously motivated killing.

In the early hours of 2nd January, 42 year old labourer Thomas Monaghan started shouting out that he was looking for an Orangeman to fight with. 19 year old sailmaker John Gee, who lived with his parents in Duckinfield Street, said he was an Orangeman and punched Monaghan, before going back to his house saying he'd get a knife.

Monaghan chased Gee and on hearing the commotion a widow named Eliza Mather, who lodged in Gee's house, looked outside and saw Monaghan grabbing him by the throat and shouting 'I've got you now Orangeman, I will tear your liver out.'

With the help of his mother, Gee managed to get inside the house and Mrs Mather shut the door, before standing by the window and waving a knife. He then threw a saucepan at Monaghan and his stepfather tried to calm things down, shaking hands with the other man. However Monaghan, who was in a drunken rage, then threw a brick through the window, which didn't hit anybody. He then burst through the front door and told Gee he would take his life before hitting him over the head with a paving slab, knocking him unconscious and causing Gee's mother to faint.

Monaghan then left the house and paced up and down the street, shouting that if there were any more Orangemen about they should come to him, and he'd give them the same. Gee was taken to the Royal Hospital when daylight came and he was found to be suffering from a compound fracture of the forehead, from which he died on 12th January.

After initially only being arrested for an assault, Monaghan now found himself being tried for murder at the Liverpool Assizes on 29th March. His defence was that he had a fight with Gee, who fell over and injured his head, causing his eventual death. The jury though rejected this and found Monaghan guilty of manslaughter, telling Mr Justice Lush that they believed he had deliberately charged the door down to assault Gee with the slab. Monaghan was sentenced to ten years penal servitude.

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