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Limerick Loner: Curious Court Case Involves 29-Year Courtship and Broken Promises – Limerick Gazette

Limerick Loner: Curious Court Case Involves 29-Year Courtship and Broken Promises

An intriguing breach of promise of marriage was concluded at the Limerick Assizes yesterday involving Bridget Coyne, who sued Austin Thynne for damages totaling £500. Back in 1873, Thynne had promised to marry Coyne but did not fulfill this promise. The defense argued that at the time of the alleged promise, Thynne was a minor and the promise was not valid.

The two had been childhood friends and developed romantic feelings for each other when they were 18 or 20. Despite obstacles like family and finances, their love seemed genuine and patient. Coyne briefly moved to America in 1873 and again in 1878, each time returning at Thynne’s request and giving him small amounts of money from her savings. Thynne gave Coyne an engagement ring during their on-and-off courtship, which was visible to others in their community who viewed them as an engaged couple.

Over the years, Coyne made multiple trips back to America, always returning to Thynne after receiving his heartfelt letters pleading for her presence. However, after the death of Thynne’s father in 1900, doubts in his commitment surfaced as he engaged in correspondence with another woman in America.

Coyne, a well-dressed and intelligent woman, delivered her testimony and corroborated the details of their long-standing relationship. On cross-examination, she insisted that their affection was genuine and that Thynne’s unfaithfulness broke her heart.

Several witnesses, including Coyne’s niece and a man named Pat, testified to frequently seeing the couple together, observing strong signs that they were engaged. Thynne, however, argued that his relationship with Coyne was simply a youthful dalliance and that he had no intention of marrying her. His idea of marriage seemed conditional on Coyne having money or property.

After a series of testimonies and examination of love letters exchanged over the years, the jury deliberated for twenty minutes before ruling in favor of Coyne, awarding her a sum of £150 in damages.

Northants Evening Telegraph – Tuesday 15 July 1902