Anger over tenant eviction in Ireland was the reason for two Republican murders, whose perpetrators were hanged together outside Clonmel Prison on Saturday, July 16th, 1842.
Timothy Woods, 20, was convicted of the murder of Michael Laffan, an estate bailiff, in May 1841. A special commission sitting in County Tipperary was told that two assassins dragged Laffan from the house of Patrick Cummins, who had been evicted from the lands that Laffan now managed, and shot him, leaving him, so they thought, for dead.
Although mortally wounded, Laffan crawled away. The killers rushed after him, caught him, fractured his skull with blows from their pistols and left him on a dunghill. The body lay there for several hours, with no one daring to touch it, until Laffans widow eventually found it.
The same special commission sentenced to death Patrick Byrne for killing 70-year-old Robert Hall at Merton. Although he was a Dublin landowner, Mr. Hall believed his liberal views on the Irish problem and his accommodating attitude towards tenants would save him from assassination by the Republicans. He was wrong. He was shot in the back with a musket.
Byrne confessed he was present when Mr. Hall was shot, but Woods died on the gallows claiming he was completely innocent of the murder of Michael Laffan.