A BOOK exploring a notorious local murder, which led to to the last public execution of a woman in Scotland, will be launched in Dumfries tomorrow.
Author Jayne Baldwin will be signing copies of ‘Mary Timney, The Road to the Gallows’ at the Cloud 9 Gallery in Irish Street from 2 pm.
In it, she explores the 1862 Glenkens murder of Ann Hannah and the subsequent arrest of her neighbour Mary Timney, or Reid, aged just 27.
When Ann Hannah was discovered dying on the floor of her farmhouse kitchen her brothers and friends immediately suspected the young woman who rented the cottage further along the lonely hill road. By the end of that day, Ann had died from horrific head injuries and Mary Timney, had been arrested for her murder.
The Glenkens or Carsphad murder case shocked the nation, not only because Mary attempted to blame her own mother for the crime, but the key prosecution witnesses were two of Mary’s four children, her eldest daughters aged just nine and seven.
At the end of the one day trial in Dumfries the judge caused further controversy by condemning Mary to be publicly hanged. She died on the gallows in Buccleuch Street days later.
Despite depicting Mary as a ‘savage and implacable monster’ before the trial, the local newspapers and significant numbers of people deplored the sentence and launched a failed campaign for a reprieve.
Jayne said: “The complete change in public opinion fascinated me and my research was driven by wanting to understand the wider context of the case. The events of January 13 1862 were a tragedy for both the Hannah and the Timney families.
“My book draws on the newspaper reports and the original witness statements to try to find out if Mary was a callous murderer or a victim of injustice.”
* ‘Mary Timney, The Road to the Gallows’ has been published by Clayhole Publishing and is available from independent booksellers and online retailers. Copies will also be available at the Yellow Door pop up shop in Queen Street from December 10.
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