The Newgate Calendar - BRIDGET BUTTERLY AND BRIDGET ENNIS

BRIDGET BUTTERLY AND BRIDGET ENNIS
Executed for the Murder of Miss Thompson.

            MURDER becomes doubly revolting when perpetrated by a female, and receives its last hue of enormity when committed without provocation. These malefactors were natives of Dublin, and Butterly had been servant with Captain Peck, who resided at Portland Place on the banks of the canal, north of the city. The captain's wife, Mrs. Peck, author of several novels, did not live with her husband, but he kept under his protection a young lady named Thompson, alias Bailis, a native of England. Butterly states that while in Captain Peck's service she had improper connexion with her master, and on being turned out of his service she became jealous of Miss Thompson, and consequently wished to do her some harm.

            It is but justice to state that Captain Peck denied having had any improper connexion with Butterly, but she declared to the contrary a few minutes before her execution, and it is not likely that on the verge of the grave she would persist in a falsehood, which served no purpose but to add to the infamy of her own memory.

            After leaving the service of Captain Peck she went to lodge with one O'Brien, in Summer Place, where she had Ennis for a fellow lodger. The latter, after some time, proposed visiting England -- the common resource of all the vagabond Irish, from the Giants' Causeway to Cape Clear. Butterly consented, and offered to provide funds for the journey by robbing the house of Captain Peck. This was agreed to, and on the 28th of March, 1821, they watched the house until they saw the captain go into town, when Butterly went up and knocked at the door. Miss Thompson received her with great kindness, shook her by the hand, and took her into the parlour, where Butterly took up a child of two years old, and began to caress it. In a few minutes Ennis knocked at the door, and on gaining admission she desired Butterly to put a handkerchief round Miss Thompson's mouth, to prevent her from giving alarm. Butterly immediately did as desired, and dragged the poor young lady down stairs into the kitchen, where she kept her until Ennis had procured the trunk and writing desk, in which was money to a considerable amount.

            Ennis on going away cried out from the top of the kitchen stairs, 'Butterly, don't injure the young lady on your life.' But she had no sooner closed the door after her, than jealous fury took possession of the atrocious wretch, and she took up the poker, with which she struck Miss Thompson on the head, and repeated her blow until life was extinguished. The sight of death seems to have softened the savage barbarity of her heart; for, with an unaccountable impulse, she took up the mangled body in her arms, and wished that she could again infuse life into that once beauteous form. But as this was now impossible she thought of her own safety, and ran up stairs. In the hall she met Miss Thompson's child; kissed it, and carried it into the parlour, after which she took her departure. On going to her lodgings she was alarmed by not finding Ennis at home, and suspecting that all was not right she became dreadfully agitated.

            In the mean time, Captain Peck's servant, who had followed her master to the market, returned, and not gaining immediate admission looked down the kitchen window, where she saw her mistress lying on the floor. Giving the alarm, the door was forced open, when the robbery and murder were quickly made known, and thousands flocked to Portland Place, to inform themselves of a fact which at first appeared too atrocious for belief without ocular demonstration.

            The sensation produced in Dublin by this mid-day murder was intense; the youth and beauty of the deceased deeply affected all who saw her mangled remains; and, fortunately for the ends of justice, the culprits did not long enjoy their ill-acquired wealth. Ennis went to a grocer in Great Britain Street, and having ordered some tea tendered a note, which she called a pound-note, for payment. The grocer, whose name was M'Gloin, seeing that it was a ten pound-note, questioned her, and finding that she became alarmed he sent for a peace-officer, and had her taken into custody. The note was soon identified by Captain Peck, and Ennis having mentioned her lodgings, the officers proceeded thither, when they found Butterly, with part of the money, as well as the trunk and writing-desk; for Ennis had returned soon after Butterly, and deposited these things in her room.

            These wretched women were no sooner committed to prison than they acknowledged their guilt, and, through the influence of the priest who attended them, Captain Peck was put in possession of the remainder of his money. On the first of the following May they were tried and convicted, and on Monday the 4th were executed in front of Kilmainham gaol, amidst an immense concourse of spectators. Soon after they had been turned off, a butcher's dog got into the circle kept clear about the fatal drop by the dragoons, who attended for that purpose. One of these now made a cut of his sword at the dog, who immediately attacked his horse, and in the confusion which ensued the people imagined that the soldiers had charged the people. The consequence was a simultaneous movement to get away, and in the hurry a young man was trampled to death, and several persons were dangerously hurt. The wretched culprits on the morning of execution confessed the crime for which they were about to die, and appeared truly penitent.

 

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