22 October 1828 – Bell M’Menemy and Thomas Conner

Our second female to be executed in Scotland this month is Bell M’Menemy (the first being Susan Newell. And both shared the same fate but for different crimes.

While Newell murdered a child, M’Menemy was a robber and her motive was financial gain, according to lurid newspaper accounts written at the time.

Seaman stopped

Her victim was a boatman by the name of McKinnon, who’d had a good day selling his eggs in Glasgow. The seaman was unsuspectingly going about his business when he was accosted by M’Menemy.

The assailant had teamed up with accomplice Thomas Conner, and together they did the sailor in, with Conner bashing him over the head, all for his money.

One report says the haul was a princely £10, while a Glaswegian printer by the name of John Muir reckoned the crime was carried out for a mere 40 shillings.

The callous couple were promptly caught and taken into custody where it transpired that Connor was an old hand at the whole crime thing. Like M’Menemy, he had come over from Ireland, but the fact that he had previous was thanks largely to his mum, who was always inciting him to commit crimes, according to Muir.

He’d come before a court of law once already, prompting lawmen to observe that he’d been a ‘bad boy ever since he was able to crawl’. Indeed M’Menemy was also dragged into it after she met Connor and his mum through work.

See a M’Menemy

They were tried and found guilty of robbery. Of course if Connor hadn’t have had a criminal record, he may well have got off lightly. Instead, the pair of them got the maximum sentence – death. And many came from far afield to see the spectacle, for it was rare for a woman to be hanged in those parts, so, the novelty really drew the crowds in.

M’Menemy was around 25 and Connor roughly 21 when they faced their executioner, and poignantly, reports state that they each asked the other to forgive them before nooses were slung round their necks and they were hanged for their crimes.

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