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The hanging of a jilted lover who had shot his lover and then attempted to take his own life

1884 Irish murderer’s tale make dramatic international news

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The hanging of a jilted lover who had shot his lover and then attempted to take his own life

Read more: The tragedy of murdered Colleen Bawn

On January 21 1885, the New York Times covered a story from Galway of the hanging of a jilted lover who had shot his lover and then attempted to take his own life. Thomas Parry was hung in Galway having attempted to plead insanity.

The New York Times reports the sad and tragic crime in a dramatic and almost theatrical way. The report reads "Thomas Parry, who murdered his sweetheart, Miss Alicia Burns, stepdaughter of Galway hotel keeper, in November last, was hanged here today [January 20]."

Reports from the Galway Express newspaper, however, give the date of the shooting as July 29, 1884. The local newspaper reports that Burns was shot at Mack's Royal Hotel, in Eyre Square. She was just 19-years-old and her jilted lover Parry, 25.

Parry had been an employee of a Mrs Newson in Edenderry and had travelled, over 100 miles, to Galway by night train to hunt down his fiancée. He lodged for the evening at the Imperial Hotel, in Eyre Square, right next-door to Burn's accommodation.

The report explained that the next morning Parry went to the hotel next-door in search of Burns but instead found her sister.

It reads "He asked her if she was still determined to give him up, as she had written, and said he wished to hear it from her own lips. She replied "Yes". He then said "We will see and drawing a revolver, shot her through the heart, and then shot himself, but without wounding himself seriously."

The Times report does not mention that he entered the dining room with the revolver concealed in his breast pocket. He deliberately fired on her and once she began to run away he continued to fire shots, hitting her.

The wound he gave himself only grazed his skin. He then went to Eyre square where he still clutched his revolver.  With many witnesses to his crime of passion his fate was sealed.

The Times finishes by saying "When arrested he admitted what he had done, and said "I showed her no mercy, and I expect none.". The defense at the trial was insanity, but the medical testimony was against this. The jury brought in a verdict of guilty, with a strong recommendation to mercy on account of the exasperation arising from Miss Burn's letter, and added, one of the jury, on the ground also of his having attempted suicide. Everything passed off quietly, the condemned man being resigned to his fate."

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