“Farmer on Trial for Murder of Irish Rector in 1900: Insanity Defense and Call for Stricter Arms Control”

The trial of John Smith, a farmer accused of murdering Reverend J.W. Hudson, took place at the Limerick Assizes in July 1900, as reported in the Nottingham Evening Post.

Smith, a tenant of Lord Clarina, had run into financial difficulties and sought the help of Reverend Hudson to negotiate with their landlord. On the day of the incident, Hudson informed Smith of the outcome of the negotiation, and the two left Smith’s house. While walking, a revolver in Smith’s pocket accidentally discharged, and upon Hudson’s refusal to negotiate with the landlord again, Smith shot him in the neck. Hudson died from his injuries two days later. The defense argued that Smith’s actions were the result of insanity, which ran in his family. The case prompted a Grand Jury resolution calling for greater care by police to prevent people from carrying arms.

Nottingham Evening Post¬†–¬†Saturday 07 July 1900

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *