British Executions

George Duffy

Age: unknown

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 7 Nov 1832

Crime Location:

Execution Place: unknown

Method: hanging

Executioner: unknown



The   Behaviour, Execution, and Life and Transactions   of GEORGE

DUFFY, who suffered at Glasgow on the 7th Nov. 1832, for the cruel

and brutal   Murder of his own Wife, in Drygate Street, in May last.

GLASGOW, 7th Nov. 1832.

This day, the above unfortunate individual
suff red in front o' the Jail here. The following
is the substance of the way and manner in which
he committed this horrid and brutal deed :—

George Duffy was indicted for the murder of
Helen Broadly, or Duffy, his wife, having vio-
ently seized her person, and by force carried her
to and threw her upon the fire and held her
thereon, or close thereto, where by she was so,
severely burnt in the back, belly, legs. and other
parts of the body, as to lineer from 14t h M ay to
9th June, when she died—he having for several
months previous used her with great cruelty

Alexr Godan, weaver, deponed, that he and
his wife lodged for eight months previous to May
last, to the same house with pannel and his wife.
who occupied the kitchen, while he occupied the
room, which entened through the kitchen ; bad
full opportunity of knowing on what terms Duffy
and his wife lived; he was very violent in his
temper, especialy to her; has seen him thresh
her, and was twice obliged to interfere to sade
her; she was seldom without marks of violence
upon her body ; Duffy was seldom sober ; recel
lec's of him being once sober for three days to
gether. Mrs. Duffy took a dram sometimes; saw
her only once tipsy ; her temper was easy; she
did not provoke her husband—during the three
days that I saw him so er, he used his wife very
harshly—saw him on two occasions knock her
down—he felled her to the floor. One day she
had gone out with another person, and on her
return Duffy took her to account, and said he
would burn her. She was industrious and had
to work for herself and did every things for her
husband beside. He dra k all his earnings com-
monly—she washed cleaned houses, and any
thing for industry and shared it with her hus-
band. She was a little neat woman, about five
feet high. He was asked if he recollected any
thing particular happening on 14th May ? Ano-
ther women came to ask for some money from
Duffy, and his wife and this women went to seek
him. Witness came he me about nine o'clock;
as he came through the kitchen, Mrs. D. was in
bed; heard her husband say to her. 'you-
come out of that of I'd haill you to -."-
Thought is presence night stop him from worse,
as it had done it before, and went into the kit-
chen to light his pipe, and draw pannel into con-
veisation. Deceased moaned much as in distress,
and said in all probability she would not see
another day. Duffy said, I wish to God I had
you to bury tomorrow She continued to moan
the whole night ; perceived an uncommon smell
through that night, for which he could not ac-
count ; it was a burnt like smell-went to work
next morning at five—gave deceased a drink of
water, at her request , as he passed out — saw her
in bed where he resumed at nine to breakfast—
and at two saw her on a seat by the fire with her
shift on, and petticoat loose on her shoulders.—
She called me, and said Saunders. will you be so
good as go and make application to get me into
the Infirmary ? I asked her, what's wrong now ?
She said, my pain is so sore—and said she must
show me her body. She 'ted up her shift and
shewed her body ; it was in a shocking state;
the skin of the thighs and lower part of the body
Was off and all rawflesh; she then turned round
and shewed me her back; her loins and poste-
riors were in the same state I asked her how
this had happened ? she said George had given

her a beating —had torn up her clothes, and put
her on the fire. George was in bed; went and
pushed him to waken him, and said what's this
you have done—you have settled her now—she's
terribly burnt—she's roasted ? He said, swear-
ing, she's not half roasted ; she has taken a half
crown from my pocket, and this is the rent day.
She said now God will reward you, George. I
asked him to get a Doctor, and have her wounds
dressed. He said he had no money; asked him
to get some ointment and dress it himself, but he
did not. He never denied roasting her. I went
to work, and told him, that if he did not have
her dressed before an hour, I would report her
to the infirmary and hint to the Police—picked
same parts of cinder from the lower parts of her
body—applied to have her to the Infirmary, and
w is successful—helped her—she took half an
hour—might have gone in two minutes but from
her weakness.

This statement was borne out in all its parts
by Mrs. Gollan, Dr. Stirling, the Nurse, Clerk,
and Surgeon of the Infirmary, and many other
witnesses. The prisoner was unanimously found
Guilty, and after an impressive address from the
Lord Justice Clerk, who characterised this crime
as the most atrocious case of brutal cruelty and
savage barbarity that had ever come under his
observation, sentenced him to be Executed on
the 7th November, between the hours of 2 and
4, and his body buried within the precincts of
the jail.

Agreeably to this sentence, the prisoner was
brought to the scaffold at the hour appointed,
attended by the Clergy of the   persuasion   he
belonged to, and after spending a short time in
prayer on the fatal drop, it fell   and in a few
moments he became a lifeiess corpse.    After the
body had been suspended the usual time, it was
cut down and conveyed back to the jail, for the
purpose of being buried within its precincts, in
terms of the new Act.

Since his conviction, he conducted himself in
a manner becoming his awful situation, and the
horrid nature of the crime he had to atone for.—
He was very penitent and resigned, and ascribes
all his past misconduct to the effects arising from
intemperance, which made him callous to every
feeling of humanity—caused him to ill-use and
cruelly beat his wife—and at lengtn led him to
commit that horrid crime which the laws of his
country could visit with no other punishment
than death.

He professed to believe in the tenets of the
Church of Rome, (though in practice, as well as
persons of all sects), he grossly perverted them.
He was assisted in his religious exercises by the
Reverend Bishop Scott, the Rev: Mr. Murdoch.
&c. to whose in-cructions and admonitions he
listened with the utmostattention and eagerness;

He originally belonged to a place called Green
Castle in Ireland, but has been residing in this
country these number of years, and has lived a
considerable time in Drygate Street, the place
where the murder was perpetrated. He was a
man of low stature, about 45 years of age, and
his employment was cleaning of closses and emp-
tving of dungsteads, or any other out-door work.
He has left a daughter about 14 years old.

A crime, perpetrated with such horrid bruta-
lity, has seldom been recorded, and we trust will
never occur again. It ought to be a warning to
drunkards to person of hasty passion, and to
old and young—for all need advice.

Wm, Carse , Printer, Glasgow.


This execution notice begins: 'The Behaviour, Execution, and Life and Transactions of GEORGE DUFFY, who suffered at Glasgow on the 7th Nov. 1832, for the cruel and brutal Murder of his own Wife, in Drygate Street, in May last. This sheet was published in Glasgow, 7th November 1832 by William Carse.

George Duffy, of Irish-Catholic descent as the report highlights, was renowned for beating his wife, Helen Broady, but on this occasion he went further and held her across the fire in the kitchen. After refusing to have her burns tended too she died after nine days, leaving a fourteen-year-old daughter. This report implies that the physical abuse was unfair because Helen was never provocative. It also emphasises Duffy's drink problem and his eventual repentance of it.

Reports recounting dark and salacious deeds were popular with the public, and, like today's sensationalist tabloids, sold in large numbers. Crimes could generate sequences of sheets covering descriptive accounts, court proceedings, last words, lamentations and executions as they occurred. As competition was fierce, immediacy was paramount, and these occasions provided an opportunity for printers and patterers to maximise sales.