William McDonald

Court Case 1878, September 6th & 7th.
WILLIAM MCDONALD (accused)
MRS McDONALD ms Helen Waters (wife) (victim)
At Perth Circuit Court, William McDonald, a fisherman from St Andrews, was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of his wife.
On 13th June William McDonald tried to commit suicide after shooting his wife. At his trial he received his sentence with stolid indifference and declared himself innocent of the murder. He had, he said, by mutual agreement with his wife, decided to end their miserable existence. He was found soon after seemingly dying from his wounds. One of the doctors that brought McDonald back to life, realised that he was probably mad, like his father before him, and was tempted to let McDonald ‘slip away’, as he would surely hang anyway.
McDonald recovered, only to have sentence of death passed over him. He was to be hanged from inside the prison grounds. Marwood was the hangman on this occasion. After the hanging, McDonald’s body was buried in front of the east door, but there is no mark to indicate the grave.
Executed 3rd October 1878 at Cupar
NOTE
Miss Christina Ferguson, a female warder, was interviewed by the Fife New Almanac, and it was revealed that she had acquired a knife belonging to McDonald and which had his initials on it. There is no clue as to its whereabouts now, as that was the 1923-30 edition.

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