1896 – A shocking Discovery in Creeslough

The Derry Journal, Friday Morning, March 13 1896

Shocking Discovery Near Creeslough Co. Donegal

DUNFANAGHY WEDNESDAY.- Last night Sergeant Patrick Doyle, Creeslough, reported to the Dunfanaghy Constabulary that a shocking murder had taken place convenient to the entrance gate at Ards farm buildings.  District Inspector W.J. Hardy, accompanied by Head Constable James Robb and all the available men of the Dunfanaghy station, proceeded to the scene of the tragedy by special cars, only to find the intelligence to be true.  On arriving at the place a shocking sight presented itself, a man named Patrick Ferry having all the appearance of being literally slashed with a knife or other sharp instrument.  A deep cut was found on the back of the thigh about six inches in length, and a wound, which was said to be sufficient to cause death was found in the groin. A great many cuts are also on the body.  The rain was coming down in torrents, and after the constabulary made their investigations they had the body of the unfortunate man removed to an outhouse in the village of Creeslough, where it remains in charge of two members of the R.I.C. pending the arrival of the Coroner.  Mr Robert Ramsey, solicitor, Letterkenny, who will hold an inquest at five p.m.  The scene of the murder is about one mile from Creeslough and four from Dunfanaghy.  The Head-Constable, Sergeant Doyle, and a number of policemen have been actively engaged in taking plaster casts of footmarks.  There is a considerable quantity of blood on the road, but no great appearance of a struggle having taken place. The officers already mentioned, have succeeded in making two arrests, to which they attach great importance.

CREESLOUGH, WEDNESDAY –Early on Tuesday night, 10th inst, information was conveyed to Sergeant Patrick Doyle, of Creeslough, that a man was lying dead on the roadside in the townland of Cloone, a short mile from the village.  The Sergeant accompanied by some of his men, proceeded immediately to the scene of the murder and found the body, which was quite cold.  He afterwards reported the matter to the Dunfanaghy constabulary, when district-Inspector Hardy, Head Constable Robb and all the available men of the Dunfanaghy station set out for the scene of the tragedy in special cars.  They found the remains a short distance on the Creeslough side of Ards farm buildings, on the roadside.  The body presented a shocking sight, the clothes, especially the trousers, being cut and slashed with a knife or other sharp instrument.  On the back of the right thigh of about six inches in length was found, a deep wound which was said to be sufficient to have caused death was found in the groin, while numerous were to be seen on the upper part of the body.  After the constabulary had made their investigations they had the body removed to licensed premises in the village of Creeslough, two constables being put in charge until the arrival of Mr. Robert Ramsay, coroner for the district, who will hold an inquest at five o’clock P.M. this evening.

Two young men, brothers named Shane and Chas. McGinley, residing in the townland of Kildarragh have been arrested on suspicion.  It is said the McGinleys and the murdered man Ferry quarreled at the fair of Creeslough on the 10th of February last, and that there was bad feeling existing between them.  It is evident that robbery was not the motive of the murder, as Ferry’s purse was found in his trousers pocket by Head-Constable Robb.  It contained a sum of money-about 30s.



LETTERKENNY, THURSDAY-Mr Robert Ramsay, coroner, with a jury, of which Mr. Wilkinson was foreman, held an inquest at Mrs. Harkin’s (Publican) Creeslough, touching the death of Patrick Ferry, who was fatally stabbed at Cloone, on his way home from the fair of Creeslough, on the previous night.

The jury having been sworn in, viewed the body.  Michael Logue identified the body.  He saw the deceased at the fair of Creeslough on Tuesday.  He accompanied the deceased out of the fair at about nine o’clock pm, to Cloone, where, they parted. John McGinley deposed that when he went within about three yards of where the body was found he saw two men holding it up, but they ran away on observing him.  He did not know either of the two men.  On coming forward he found the body lying on the side of the road.  He spoke to the deceased but got no answer.  It was then about half past nine o’clock.  He informed the police whom had the deceased removed to Creeslough.  Dr. Tsbuteau, who made a post-mortem examination of the deceased, said he found several wounds on the body caused by stabbing.  One stabbed wound inside the right thigh cut an artery, causing hemorrhage, which was the cause of death.

The jury returned the following verdict-“We find that the deceased, Patrick Ferry, came by his death at Cloone, in the County Donegal, on the night of 11th of March 1896, by injuries inflicted, but by whom we cannot say”.

Sergeant Patrick Doyle, Creeslough, watched the proceedings on behalf of the Crown.

Another correspondent sends the following:-

CREESLOUGH WEDNESDAY EVENING.– Mr. Robert Ramsay, coroner for the district, arrived here this evening, and held an inquest in Mrs. Harkin’s at 5.15 P.M, on the remains of Patrick Ferry, deceased aged 40 years, who was found murdered in the townland of Cloone, on the evening of Tuesday, the 10th March.

The following jury was by the coroner:-Messrs.  Anthony Wilkinson, (Foreman), John McGinley, John Gallagher,  Edward Sweeney, Charles Mc Laughlin, John Moore, Hugh Harkin, John Conahan, Michael Mc Ginley, James Mc Daid, Dolty Mc Ginley, Hugh Lynagh,  and Hugh Shiels.

The Jury having viewed the body, which was lying in an outhouse, returned to a room in Mrs Harkin’s to hear the evidence.

Michael Logue, sworn, said he knew the deceased, Patrick Ferry, whose body he had just seen.  He saw him at the fair yesterday.  He again saw him about 8:30 P.M at Cloone Bridge.  He was then in good health and was on his way home.  He was not alone when witness saw him last.  He left him all right.

John McGinley, Parkmore, sworn, said he knew the deceased and saw him in the fair yesterday. Deceased was in Mrs Harkin’s bar between 7 and 8 o’clock p.m. which was the last time witness saw him alive.  He was all right then.  When witness next saw him there were two or three men or boys holding him up, but the witness could not say who they were.  This was in the townland of Cloone.  Witness asked, “ Is that you, Paddy? What is wrong?” Deceased was then let go, and the parties went away. He fell the minute they let him go.  Witness was then three yards from him and went forward and got a hold of him.  He was lying on the road.  He stooped and got hold of deceased’s thigh.  There was no breath in him.  He was quite dead.  He left him lying on the road and came back to Massinass to Miss Harkin’s to alarm them and then to send for the police and Father Blake.  He did not see the body afterwards.

Head-Constable Robb deposed-From information received he proceeded to the scene of the occurrence and found the body of Patrick Ferry lying on the roadside at Cloone.  It was then about 11 o’clock, p.m.  At that time he was quite dead.  There were no persons there except the men of the Royal Irish Constabulary.  He had the body removed into Creeslough.

Dr. Augustus W. Tabuteau, medical officer Dunfanaghy Union, said he had seen the body of the deceased, Patrick Ferry.  He made a post-mortem examination and found on the left thigh, immediately below the pouperis ligament a punctured wound an inch in diameter.  This wound cut through the femoral vein.  On the right thigh and incised wound six inches length; on the right arm a punctured wound situated two inches below the anterior axillary fold.  The cause of death in his opinion was hemorrhage from the wound in the thigh.  The jury returned the following verdict “That the deceased, Patrick Ferry, came to his death from wounds inflicted on the night of the 10th inst. in the townland of Cloone, but by whom we cannot say.”

The deceased’s sister was present during the inquest.  The prisoners, Shane and Charles McGinley, arrived in Dunfanaghy tonight at 10:00 p.m. in charge of Head-Constable Robb.


Later- In addition to the two McGinleys, two others (whose names I have not ascertained) were arrested last night. A magisterial investigation before a bench of magistrates was held at Dunfanaghy today, at which the four prisoners were present.  After formal evidence, the prisoners were remanded to Derry Jail for eight days.


Last evening an escort of Donegal police arrived in Derry, having in custody four men, named Shaun McGinley, Charles McGinley, Patrick McFadden and Bernard McFadden.  The prisoners were brought up at Dunfanaghy at two o’clock, before Mr Butler, R.M., Mr C. Stewart, and Mr McVeigh, J.P.’s.  The evidence of two young lads was heard, which was to the effect that they heard Paddy McFadden and the deceased quarreling near the place where the body was found, and some short time previous.  All the prisoners were remanded until next Wednesday, when they will be again brought up at Dunfanaghy.

The Derry Journal, Wednesday Morning, March 25, 1896.





DUNFANAGHY, TUESDAY.-The four prisoners- Patrick McFadden, Charles McGinley, and Shane McGinley- arrived here last night under escort, and were lodged in the police barrack.  Mr John Mackey, Sessional Crown Solicitor, has been here since yesterday evening, and will appear for the prosecution.  The court opened today at 10:15 a.m. Magistrates present C.J. Stewart (Chairman), Colonel Bowlby, Messrs. McVeigh and Ramsay.  The prisoners entered the courthouse handcuffed.

At the sitting of the Court, Mr Mackey asked that Charles and Shane McGinley be discharged, and said the charge against the McFaddens was one of willful murder.  Mr. Mackey then recapitulated the events, which led to the fatal occurrence.

Michael Logue, examined by Mr. Mackey. After reading the witnesses deposition made on last Court day, the witness said he had nothing to add.

The deposition of James Diver, read by Mr Mackey. Witness had nothing to add, and was not asked any questions by prisoners.  Other depositions, already published were read. Michael Mc Carry examined by Mr Mackey- was at the Creeslough fair on the 10th. Went as far as Harkin’s with John McGee. Met Michael Logue at Cloone Bridge going back towards Creeslough. Had a conversation with Logue. After I got past the old wall-steads I heard Paddy McFadden shouting out, “Paddy Dan, stand back, for I have a knife and I’ll stick you. The deceased was known by the name “Paddy Dan.”

I approached closer and saw Patrick Ferry and Patrick McFadden quarreling on the road. I told Patrick McFadden if he had a knife to heave it from him. He again shouted if Paddy Dan would not stand back he would stick him. I saw the two making a rush at each other. Ferry staggered back and fell at the hedge. Barney McFadden struck a match and I saw the blood on the road. There was much blood. I saw none on the deceased. I got nervous at seeing all the blood and went away home. The hedge is towards the Dunfanaghy side of the old wallsteads. Going home I overtook McGinley. I left the two McFaddens and McGee. Willie Stewart was coming forward. I saw Bernard McFadden do nothing during the time I was there, nor did he speak. He did not interfere with nobody. I did not help anyone to lift the body.

To Bernard McFadden—- I didn’t see Hugh Sweeney, John Mc Ginley and James McGee standing by when the fight began. The other prisoner asked no questions.

Hugh Sweeney, Swillybrin, remembered the 10th. He was at the Creeslough Fair. Left Harkin’s with John McGee, Michael McCarry, Denis Brogan, and James Mc Ginley. Met Michael Logue at Cloone Bridge and passed on towards Dunfanaghy. He heard Patrick McFadden (identified prisoner) shouting out he had a knife, and would stick “Paddy Dan”. “Paddy Dan” then rushed towards him. The two met and left other, and met him a second time, and “Paddy Dan” fell backwards towards the hedge. Didn’t hear him say anything. Didn’t see a match struck. Was nervous and couldn’t say who I left. There was Michael McCarry, John McGee, James McGinley, Barney McFadden and Patrick McFadden. I did not see the prisoner Barney McFadden do anything during the time I was there. He did not try to stop the fight in any way.

William Stewart, Cloonemore, lives at the gatehouse at the entrance to Ards farmyard. Remembers 10th of the month. Left home for Creeslough after 8 pm. I met two young chaps. Didn’t know them but asked a question. After I passed the boys I heard like a crash or break or a lath being pulled off the paling or as if something had fallen against it. I then saw a lighted match and walked sharply towards where I saw the light and saw three or four men on the road whom I did not know. They were looking at the road with the lighted match. I asked if they had lost anything and someone replied they did not and that they were looking at blood. I asked who the blood come out of, and someone said “Paddy Dan”. I saw Paddy Dan on the left-hand side of the road coming from Creeslough a little on this side of the road. I could not identify anyone, as the night was dark. I helped to lift Paddy and told them he was so weak-looking and they would have to take him into my house. I then went towards Creeslough, and met John McGinley of Parkmore and turned back to the body with McGinley. The men who were holding the body let it go: I think they went away. McGinley and I only stopped a short time and I went home. McGinley went for the police. I came back immediately to the body. There was no one there but one girl or woman. I removed the body a little to the side of the road. I couldn’t say if the man was dead. The girl went away. On my way to Creeslough, I met Father Blake and John Harkin, and I went for a light to Mrs Kelly’s. Father Blake and Harkin walked towards the body. I brought the light and found the body where I had left it. I saw blood on the road and on his clothes.

John McGinley, Parkmore remembered returning from Creeslough fair and met Michael Logue at the milestone. Saw a hat on the roadside at the top of the hill coming towards the old wallsteads. Lifted it and knew it was Paddy Ferry’s. I saw at least two men holding up a body. I asked, “That you Paddy; what’s wrong?” I got no answer. He was then dropped. I then got a hold of him at the right thigh, which was bare. I could feel no breath in him. I didn’t see the last witness there. It was I who gave the alarm at Miss Harkin’s.

Rev. Patrick Blake C.C, Cashelmore was in Miss Harkin’s on the night of the 10th. Heard of the occurrences after I left. Believe it was William Stewart who told me. John Harkin was with me. We proceeded to the place where the body was. We found no one at the body when we got there. It was lying on the ledge, his feet towards the ledge and his head towards the paling, resting between two stones. We both tried his pulse but could feel none beating. Harkin tried to raise him up. The body was warm. A number of people with whom was Constable Lawrence, came up with a light, and identified the body as that of Patrick Ferry.

Constable Lawrence, Creeslough, left on patrol at 8pm on the 10th in the direction of Dunfanaghy. Was at the scene at the occurrence. The only person I recognized was Father Blake. Remained in charge until other police arrived.

Mary A Rodden knew the prisoner Patrick McFadden present here. He was a servant to my husband. On the 10th of March he went to the Creeslough fair. There is a room leading off the kitchen. I heard a noise in the room which was occupied by the prisoner Patrick McFadden. The door which leads from the street to the dwelling house was secured. My mother-in-law was at the kitchen fire. I opened the door into the room where Patrick McFadden slept and found him there. He came in through the window. There was no other way by which he could have got in. It was not the first time for him to come in the window. I found a pair of trousers in a tub outside the door. They were the property of Patrick McFadden, the prisoner. (Trousers produced and identified). I gave them a kind of wash. I thought there were stains of blood on them. I would not wonder at that as his nose was in the habit of bleeding. They were left out to dry.

Mr W J Hardy, District- Inspector RIC, Dunfanaghy said: On the morning of the 11th I was at the scene and had a conversation with the prisoner, Patrick McFadden and as an outcome of that conversation I gave directions which resulted in the arrest of Patrick McFadden. The distance from where Stewart saw the body was twenty yards from the edge of the hedge. From Cloone Bridge where the body lay was 350 yards and to Brian Rodden’s house is about a quarter of a mile. I examined the window of Patrick McFadden’s bedroom in the house of Brian Rodden. It is a small aperture. 14 x 10 inches. There is no glass in it.

Sergeant Patrick Doyle, Creeslough, deposed—On the 11th I had a consultation with the district inspector, and as an outcome of that I arrested the prisoner. He was wearing moleskin trousers. The trousers, identified by Mrs Rodden, were handed to me by someone in Rodden’s. I examined the trousers and found bloodstains. On the right knee and side of the pocket there are marks which I think are the stains of blood. Two collars which appear to have bloodstains were handed to me by the district- inspector.

Head Constable Joseph E Carberry, Falcarragh said: I was on escort duty on the 18th. I had the two prisoners who are now in the dock in custody, Shane and Charles McGinley. The moment I got on the car leaving Derry Jail Bernard McFadden made a statement which I took down. He said: “This will be all over now. Paddy McFadden is going to plead guilty, as he should have done before. When the row was over that night myself and McCarry held Ferry up, and when we saw he was dead we ran off.”

When leaving Letterkenny and walking alongside Patrick McFadden, he turned to me and asked, “ How much do you think I will get for this?” I asked him for what and he said for stabbing Paddy. I cautioned him and he told me to take out my notebook and he would tell me all, as he was going to plead guilty. “When we were coming home that night we were all in the row. Paddy Ferry made a box at me and I made at him. Then he gave me a kick and as soon as he did, without knowing what I was doing, I drew out the knife and stabbed hi. I did not know what I was doing as I was drunk, have no none belonging to me in this country and I am going to plead guilty. I’ll show you where I threw the knife; it was a black-shafted knife. I stood on the road and threw it backwards into the field and then ran away, and this was about 8.30 pm, as I was at home at 9 pm. It is no wonder my heart is not able to keep up.”

When we came to the scene of the murder the prisoner Patrick showed me where he threw the knife. Sergeant Johnston and myself searched but failed to find it. The prisoner then got off the car and showed us how he stood, and assisted us in searching for it, but we failed to find it.

Dr Augustus W Tabuteau, medical officer, Dunfanaghy, made a post-mortem examination on the body of Patrick Ferry. The clothes were on the body when we saw it first. When the clothes were removed I found on the left side of the face a mud stain. On the thigh immediately below Poupart’s ligament, a punctured wound about one inch in diameter. This wound opened the femoral vein. On the right side, at the posterior part of the thigh, an incised wound of the skin, six inches in length. On the right arm a punctured wound about two inches below the anterior axillary fold. There was a slight abrasion on the right shin. All the other organs that I examined I found healthy. The body was that of a well-nourished man. The wound on the upper part of the left thigh, in my opinion, caused death. The femoral vein was not cut. Death in his opinion would occur about an hour after receiving the wound on the left thigh. This closed the case for the Crown.

The Chairman—No case against Bernard McFadden. We discharge him.

The Chairman read out the charge against the remaining prisoner, who said he wanted Barney McFadden called as a witness.

Bernard McFadden was examined by the prisoner. Ferry struck you first about 10 yards from where Ferry was stabbed. Prisoner asked Bernard McFadden to tell all about it as he knew it best. McFadden then repeated the statement made by him on Thursday last, and already reported. To Mr Mackey—I saw Patrick again that night in the corner of Brian Rodden’s field. He was then bareheaded and said he was going home. I did not go home direct. I slept in Hugh McGinley’s next night. I saw the knife in Patrick McFadden’s left hand after he stabbed Ferry. McFadden said he had no knife, and that it was fun he was making. The magistrate returned Patrick McFadden for trial to Summer Assizes.