Journal Volume 7 2013

A farmer's wife shot by an artisan (continued/1)


Mrs Bridget Gorman, wife of Peter Gorman, farmer, Rathdown Lower … deposed that on the previous night … at 10 o’clock … she went over to the prisoner’s door and knocked at it. Prisoner asked, “Who is that”, and witness replied, “It is I, Jem, open the door.” He asked, “Is there anyone with you”, and witness replied, “No.” He then opened the door, and returned into the kitchen, and witness followed him … Just at that moment Mrs Winifred Gorman … walked into the kitchen and said something to James Sweeney about something that happened on Friday, but owing to the fright she afterwards got she could not remember what the observation was … Prisoner then took up a gun … Witness tried to catch hold of it but lost all power of herself, and he then fired it at the deceased, who was retiring in the direction of the front door … Witness said, “Did you kill her, Jim: I’ll send for the police.” He said, “You need not mind; I’ll go myself”, and then left … Witness examined the deceased and found that she was breathing, and she went out and sent for the priest. Witness went back and held her hand until the pulse ceased to beat … The neighbours gathered round and … Father Luby and Dr Brannan arrived soon afterwards, and the police came subsequently, and took charge of the body …

Cross-examined by prisoner – Didn’t the woman commence to barge me when she came into the house? I don’t remember anything but what I have told.

Prisoner – Didn’t she tell me to go and do so and so, and say that I was a liar? I really could not tell whether that happened or not.

Mr Meldon then formally remanded the prisoner until the next Petty Sessions at Bray.

Dundee Courier, 26 August 1896

James Sweeney, a building foreman, who was charged last week with the murder of an old woman named Winifred Gorman, the wife of a farmer residing near Greystones, County Wicklow, has been sent for trial at the Leinster Winter Assizes.

Western Daily Press, 5 December 1896

At the Leinster assize, held at Waterford yesterday … James Sweeney, who was charged with the capital offence in connection with the death of Winifred Gorman … was found guilty of manslaughter, sentence being deferred.

Freeman’s Journal, 7 December 1896

James Sweeny, who was … convicted of manslaughter, was sentenced to ten years’ penal servitude.

According to the 1901 census, Ellen Sweeney, James Sweeney’s wife, was working as a domestic servant/cook in Bray. The 1911 census lists James Sweeney, bricklayer, living in Bray with his wife and four children (three of whom had obviously been born since his release). 


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