Pointing his finger dramatically at the judge, the condemned man declared: “I lay a curse upon you, and upon those who have given evidence against me, none of whom will be in peace until they are dead!”

The man with the curse at Mullingar Assizes, County Westmeath, was Martin Curley, condemned with one of his family, Dennis Curley, as being members of a gang that murdered another member of the Curley family at the end of March 1849.

There was further drama outside the courtroom when yet another member of the Curley family approached a juror and told him: “I’m measuring you up for your coffin.” The man was arrested and the judge immediately sent him to prison.

Dennis and Martin Curley were hanged on Tuesday, July 31st, 1849, outside Mullingar Prison, in the last public execution in the town.