Irish loyalist magistrate Francis Fitzgerald, of Kilmallock, County Limerick, signed his own death warrant when he authorised a court order for the eviction of farmer Dennis Dillane, 60, from his farm for non-payment of rent.

A few days later Dillane conspired with two hit-men, Thomas Beckham, 52, and James Walsh, 21, to kill the magistrate. They shot him while he was standing on the doorstep of his manor house, admiring the view with his wife.

A passing student who witnessed the murder followed Beckham and Walsh into town and informed the police.

The two killers, together with Dillane, were arrested, tried by Special Courts, and sentenced to death. Beckham, who was suspected of at least seven other murders, was executed on July 16th, 1862, and Dillane was executed on April 13th the following year.

James Walsh was hanged on Monday, SEPTEMBER 1st, 1862, outside Limerick Prison. A crowd of 2,000 came to watch, and fell silent as the condemned man knelt on the gallows in prayer.

The Republicans initially claimed to have ordered the magistrate’s murder, but when the crime was condemned throughout Ireland the movement distanced itself from any involvement.