of The Tablet's first edition
At the Justiciary Circuit Court, Glasgow, on Thursday, Thomas Templeton, bookbinder, was placed at the bar, accused of the crime of murder, in so far as on the night of the 8th, or morning of the 9th of February 1840, within the house occupied by him in College-street, Glasgow, he did attack and assault Margaret M'Taggart, or Robertson, or Templeton, his wife, by repeatedly and violently dashing her head against a wall or floor, or against a board in the house, and did also with his fists and feet, or with some instrument to the prosecutor unknown, inflict several blows upon her head and other parts of her body, by all of which, or part thereof, she was mortally wounded, and soon thereafter died. The prisoner pleased not guilty.
Mrs. Helen Forestor. Witness's daughter was married to the prisoner about three years since; and they had a child two years old the Friday before she lost her life. They lived in College-street, and witness resided in Havana-street. Her daughter was in the habit of coming to witness's house to work, and she came as usual on the morning of Saturday, February 8th. She went away at four in the afternoon, and returned at six the same evening; and witness at seven accompanied her to her own house, in College-street. At this time every thing was right, and the kettle was boiling, waiting for her husband. Witness was again in her daughter's house about nine, by which time Templeton had come home. He was in liquor, but not in a violent state. After stopping a little while, witness left the house for the night between nine and ten. She returned to the house before nine on Sunday morning, and found the door shut. She knocked, but got no answer for some time; she knocked loud and at last got in. Templeton opened the door, and she was not well in till she asked why her daughter was lying so long in the morning She was lying on a shake-down bed. Templeton said, "I have given her as much as she will not trouble me for two or three days." Witness then went forward, and found her daughter in a very bad state. There was a worsted apron over her head, which witness lifted. Her face was smeared with blood, and one of her eyes - her right - appeared as if a piece of liver had been placed over it. It was closed up altogether. The other eye had marks of injury, but was not so bad as the right. She was bareheaded, and her hair streamed over her face, which was "barkened" in blood. Witness asked Templeton how he had done this. He replied he had struck her against the "jam." She was not sensible, and never spoke. She was only breathing. After this Templeton, removed the blood (which was quite dry) with a sponge and water. Witness remained in the house perhaps half an hour; and one of the neighbours came in, when she heard her "screeching." This was Mrs. Tait, who came down and rapped at the door. The doctors were called in, and Mrs. Templeton was carried to the infirmary, where she died at a quarter part six the same evening. There was no one in the house when witness entered it, but Templeton, his wife, and little child. On Saturday the deceased was quite healthy, and was usually a strong woman.
By the Court: Prisoner was much the worse of liquor on the Saturday night.
Marion Robertson called: Witness is a sister of the deceased Mrs. Templeton. She was at witness's house about dinner time on the Saturday before she died, and was then strong and healthy. Mrs. Templeton came to her stair about one o'clock on Sunday morning, and she took her in. She had got drink by this time, but could manage herself pretty well. She lay down in witness's bed and remained about a quarter of an hour. She then rose, as she wished to be home, and left. She was perfectly in good health at this time, and there were no marks of injury about her. Witness wished her to stay there, because she knew Thomas was in drink, and he would strike her when she went home. She insisted upon going home, however, and Elizabeth Stewart accompanied her, and returned in about ten minutes. Witness did not see her sister again, until her mother called on Sunday morning, and told the state she was in.
Several other witnesses were examined, but the above evidence comprises all the material facts. No exculpatory proof was offered.
Lord Cockburn summed up, and the jury returned a verdict, finding, by a majority of fourteen to one, the prisoner guilty of murder.
The foreman afterwards intimated that the jury had unanimously recommended the prisoner to mercy.
Lord Cockburn inquired, what were the grounds upon which the recommendation was made; for unless these were stated, no attention would be paid to it by the Crown?
The foreman replied, that the recommendation to mercy was grounded on the repeated provocation which the prisoner had received from the deceased.
Lord Meadowbank, after commenting on the brutal nature of the crime, ordered the prisoner should be executed on Wednesday, the 27th day of May current.