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Executed in Ireland on 26th of March, 1742, for the Murder of Eleven Persons

OLIVER BODKIN, Esq., was a gentleman who possessed a good estate near Tuam, in Ireland. He had two sons, by two wives. The elder son, named John, to whom this narrative chiefly relates, was sent to Dublin to study the law; and the younger, who was about seven years of age, remained at home with his parents. The young student lived in a very dissipated manner at Dublin, and, soon quitting his studies, came and resided near his father's place of abode. The father allowed him a certain annual sum for his support; but, as he lived beyond his allowance, he demanded further assistance. The father, however, refusing to accede to his wishes, he determined upon a horrible revenge, and included his stepmother in his proposed scheme of vengeance, as he imagined that she had induced his father to refuse him any further aid.

Having engaged his cousin, Dominick Bodkin, his father's shepherd, John Hogan, and another ruffian of the name of Burke, to assist him in the intended murders, they went to the house of Mr Bodkin, senior, whose household consisted of four men and three women servants, exclusive of Mrs Bodkin and the younger son, and a gentleman named Lynch, who was at that time on a visit there. They found all the members of the family at supper on their arrival, and, having murdered them, they went into the kitchen, where they killed three servant-maids; and, finding the men in different parts of the house, they also sacrificed them to their brutal and unprovoked rage. The murder of eleven persons being thus perpetrated, they quitted the fatal spot; and when some persons from Tuam came the next morning to speak with Mr Bodkin on business they found the house open, and beheld the dead body of Mr Lynch, near which lay that of Mrs Bodkin, hacked and mangled in a shocking manner; and, at a small distance, her husband, with his throat cut, and the child lying dead across his breast. The throats of the maid-servants in the kitchen were all cut; and the men-servants in another room were also found murdered. The assassins had even been so wanton in their cruelties as to kill all the dogs and cats in the house. The neighbours being alarmed by such a singular instance of barbarity, a suspicion fell on John Bodkin; who, being taken into custody, confessed all the tragical circumstances above mentioned, and impeached his accomplices: on which the other offenders were taken into custody, and all of them were committed to the jail of Tuam.

When they were brought to trial John Bodkin (the parricide), Dominick Bodkin and John Hogan pleaded guilty, and they were all condemned and executed at Tuam, on the 26th of March, 1742. The head of the shepherd was fixed on Tuam market-house, and the bodies of the others gibbeted within sight of the house where the murders had been committed.


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