The Newgate Calendar - JAMES HARRY, ALIAS HARRIS

Executed for the Murder of his Wife.

            GUILT was brought home to this man by a succession of circumstances which at once established his crime, and showed the finger of Providence visibly pointing out the murderer, whose deep-laid schemes of secrecy could not shelter him from the punishment awarded by justice.

            Harry, alias Harris, lived in the parish of Dixtone, in Monmouthshire. For fourteen years he had been from home, and during his absence his wife supported herself by attending women lying-in and by sewing. After his return they lived very unhappily; it appeared that the wife had a most aggravating tongue, and Harry was not blessed with much patience.

            On Sunday, the 30th of March, 1817, Mrs. Harry was seen, as usual, at church, and subsequently at her own cottage, dressed in her accustomed gown, shawl, &c.: but next morning she was missing. Harry said she had been called up during the night, and he expressed much surprise at her not appearing during the ensuing week. At length, the murdered remains of the unfortunate woman were found buried in an adjoining wood, and from attending circumstances suspicion fell upon Harry, who was apprehended, and brought to trial, August the 15th,1817, at the Monmouth assizes, when it was satisfactorily proved that he had murdered his unfortunate wife; and, for concealment, had buried her in an adjoining wood.

            On the following Monday this wretched man paid the forfeit of his existence on the gaol of Monmouth, in the presence of several thousand spectators. No sooner was the unhappy culprit convinced that he had no mode of escape, than he sunk into a sullen apathy. His brother, his son, and his friends, were alike regarded by him as obtrusive, and were forbade his presence. Avarice seemed to be his ruling passion, and the loss of the trifling property, in amassing which he had derived so much pleasure, seemed to have solely occupied his mind. At length, by the exertions of the chaplain, he was induced to confess his guilt. He admitted the justice of his sentence, and acknowledged the fact of his having murdered his hapless wife, under circumstances, however, he said, on her part, of great aggravation. It appeared, from his statement, that he killed her on the Sunday night by a blow on the temple with some heavy instrument, but not the stone produced on the trial; and when her spirit had fled for ever, he employed himself in cleaning up those traces of the deed which her flowing blood produced. Having at length partially accomplished this work, he secreted the body under the bed, and in the garden buried some of those clothes with which he had been performing his terrific labours.-- Thus matters rested till the succeeding night, when he went forth to the Cross Wood side, and there dug the grave, in which he immediately deposited the remains of the deceased, hoping that by the course of conduct which he had adopted he should avert suspicion, until be should he enabled to depart from a spot which his conscience rendered peculiarly terrible.


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