Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Killers Indifference to Sentence

A man who killed a rival in a long standing inter-family feud showed a total indifference when he was sentence to fourteen years imprisonment for manslaughter.

At the beginning of the 20th century there was considerable tension between the McGuirk and Donoghue families of Bootle, leading to several members on each side appearing before the courts on assault charges. On the night of Saturday 26th September 1902 a widow named Elizabeth Watson enticed 25 year old Margaret Donoghue to go to the cellar dwelling in Lyons Street of James McGuirk, who was the same age.

A quarrel took place in which Margaret was battered about the head. Passers by heard screams and saw McGuirk run out into the street and make off, leading to the police being called. Margaret was lying unconscious on the sofa and was dead by the time she arrived at hospital.

McGuirk was picked up and appeared before the Bootle Police Court on the Monday morning, charged with murder. A fireman by trade, he appeared at the Liverpool Assizes before Mr Justice Ridley on 1st December, the prosecution was unable to prove any premeditation, leading to a verdict of manslaughter being returned.

On being sentenced to fourteen years penal servitude, McGuirk showed no emotion, saying 'A Verdict of manslaughter, all right!' He then shouted 'Keep your heart up Maria' to his sister as he was being taken down to the cells. The street where the death happened was so notorious for killings that later in the decade it was renamed Beresford Street.

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