For Lieutenant James Clutterbuck, 27, of the 5th Fusiliers stationed at Birr Barracks, County Offaly, Laurence King, a local man, was no more than a passing acquaintance with whom he could enjoy a bit of shooting. So, on the afternoon of July 8th, 1865, the lieutenant and King, 25, set off with their guns for the River Brosna.

At 11 p.m. the officer’s dog returned home without its master, and three days later police found the lieutenant’s body in 12 feet of water. Some of his clothing was missing and his head was blown away at the back, the result, it seemed, of a shotgun being fired from six feet away.

A witness came forward to say she saw King shoot the officer in a boat on the river at about 8 p.m., and there was some evidence that King had told his friends that he intended to kill Clutterbuck because he didn’t like English officers.

At his trial at the county sessions the prosecution suggested the motive was robbery, as the lieutenant’s gold watch was missing. King was hanged on Wednesday, September 6th, 1865, outside Tullamore Prison before a crowd of only 150.