At an early hour this morning information was received in Lurgan to the effect that between twelve and one o’clock last night a man named Patrick McStravick, a small farmer residing in the townland of Kilmore, situate in the County Down, and distant about four miles from this town, had made a determined attempt to murder his wife, Isabella McStravick, by stabbing her with a bayonet.
The circumstances of the case are of a singularly painful character, and go to show that the terrible crime was committed at a time when the husband had been driven into a kind of temporary frenzy by the feeling that his wife had been guilty of misconduct.
The first intimation of the affair was received at about one o’clock this morning, when the man Patrick McStravick, who is aged about sixty years, knocked at the door of the police barracks in the townland of Aghalee, and, on the door being opened, informed Sergeant Dominick Leydon, the sergeant in charge, that he had come there “for the purpose of giving up himself as a murderer; that he had, or believed he had, a short time ago murdered his wife by stabbing her with a bayonet.” When he came to the barrack, McStravick was accompanied by a man named Clarke, a small farmer who resides in the townland of Tisgallon. As McStravick appeared to have some drink taken, Sergeant Leydon did not attach any serious import to the extraordinary statement the man had made, but on the latter reiterating his assertion, Sergeant Leydon and Constable McCusker decided upon at once proceeding to McStravick’s house to make inquiries.
On entering the house the truth of the charge made against himself by Patrick McStravick was at once painfully proved. Sergeant Leydon found Mrs. McStravick lying on the bed in the sleeping apartment in a half-conscious or semi-lifeless condition. Her body was literally covered over with deep gashes, no less than sixteen of these wounds being counted by Dr. Agnew, who afterwards came to render such assistance to the woman as lay in his power. One of the wounds on the right side is of a very shocking character, the weapon with which it was inflicted having evidently travelled in an upward direction, and causing a very large displacement of the flesh. Seeing what a very serious state the woman was in, Sergeant Leydon instantly despatched a message to Lurgan to procure medical assistance.
Dr. S. Agnew soon after arrived on the scene, and, after examining and dressing Mrs. McStravick’s wounds, pronounced her life in danger. The sergeant thereupon arrested the husband, Patrick McStravick, who, it may be stated, made no attempt whatever to deny that it was he who had made such a terrible attack on his wife. After having received the usual caution from Sergeant Leydon, the prisoner voluntarily made a statement as to the circumstances under which the affair had taken place. From this statement, which is set forth in Sergeant Leydon’s evidence at the magisterial inquiry reported below, it will be seen that the crime was committed under the impetus of provocation, either real or imagined, of an exceptionally grave character; and it may be added that reports are in circulation to the effect that McStravick has, on various antecedent occasions, made accusations of serious misconduct against his wife. As to the nature of the bayonet with which the wounds were inflicted it is certainly a very formidable character. Made of steel, and sharply pointed at the end, it is about a foot and a half in length, and is strongly fixed in a heavy wooden handle. Weapons of a similar character are often kept in farmers’ houses in lieu of guns for purposes of self defence.