IN 1821, and for one or two years before it the south of Ireland . Bands of lawless banditti roved through the country by night, dictating laws to the peaceable inhabitants, and inflicting summary vengeance on all who refused obedience to their arbitrary mandates. Among those who opposed their proceedings was a gentleman named Torrens, who resided at Mondella, in the county of Limerick, not far from the city. In March, 1821, his house was attacked by a band of nocturnal marauders, whom he beat off in a most gallant manner, killing several of the party.
Mr. Torrens's bravery on this occasion made him obnoxious to the Whiteboys; and apprehending danger from their known vindictive spirit, he removed to Adare, where he held a farm, which, after his removal, he frequently visited. On Sunday, the 10th of June, 1821, Mr. Torrens and his amiable and heroic wife dined at the farm-house, and were returning in the evening to Limerick, by a well-known and frequented path, but had not proceeded far, when a. man crossed a stile and presented a letter to Mr. Torrens, who was about to read it, when he received a blow of a stone, and at the instant another ruffian leaped over the wall and attacked him. Mr. Torrens was unarmed, and must have fallen under the ruffians, had not Mrs. Torrens rushed to his assistance and extricated him, exclaiming, 'Come off my husband's body, you villains!' Mr. Torrens was for a while stunned; and on, looking about he saw his heroic wife engaged in a personal contest with, one of the assassins, who had a stick which she rescued from him, and ran with it to her husband. The battle was then renewed, and Mr. Torrens was immediately engaged with the man who first attacked his wife, and both came to the ground, Mr. Torrens making such good use of the stick that it broke with the force of his blows. At this time Mr. Torrens saw the other assassin engaged with his wife, and heard him cry out to his comrade, 'Tom, come away.' Tom obeyed with some difficulty; and as the other fellow was going from Mrs. Torrens, her husband saw him wipe something like a knife or dagger.
The unfortunate lady immediately ran to her husband, but said little; her bosom was streaming with blood; and, in a few minutes she became convulsed and expired, for the cowardly assassin had stabbed her to the heart. Mr. Torrens, though bathed in blood, from the effect of fifteen wounds, contrived to crawl to a cottage, where he fell senseless on a bed; so dreadful was one of the wounds in his neck, that his breath came through the incision it made.
The cottager, whose name was Switzer, found Mrs. Torrens a corpse; and, by strict medical care, her surviving husband was gradually restored to partial health; but his constitution was seriously affected by the wounds he had received.
To discover and apprehend the assassins was now the business of justice, and in a short time, Malony and M'Namara were taken into custody. These men were labourers, and perpetrated the foul deed in conformity with that baneful system of confederacy which had, at this time, bound the deluded peasantry together. Against Mr. or Mrs. Torrens these assassins had no individual cause of enmity, but had, in obedience to their bandit laws, attempted the life of both, and had too fatally succeeded as to one of them. The fate of Mrs. Torrens excited universal regret. Her amiable conduct in private life had endeared to her a number of friends, while her heroic fidelity to her husband, and the manner of her death, secured respect for her memory
When Malony and M'Namara were brought before Mr. Torrens, that gentleman immediately recognized M'Namara as the man who had handed him the letter, and Malony as the murderer. They were consequently committed to prison, and, a short time before the assizes, Maloney made a full confession of his guilt. Their trial came on at Limerick, December the 17th, 1821, when they were convicted by an impartial jury; and on the next day but one, were executed, when they behaved as became their awful situation.