John Henderson

Court Case 1830, September 8th
At Perth circuit Court, JOHN HENDERSON, a loom worker, was charged with the murder of his employer, named Millie, at Whinny Park, Monimail, Fife. Henderson beat the deceased to death in the loom shop, and attempted to bury the body there, but the earth was too shallow. He then dragged the body to the garden, about sixty yards distant, and there buried it.
The murder was committed for the purpose of robbery, as Henderson presented a deposit receipt for 40 pounds at the bank with a forged signature which belonged to Millie. Henderson also removed several articles from the house, and sold them as belonging to himself. He disappeared, but was arrested several weeks later at Dunfermline. In addition to the murder charge, two others, theft and forgery, were libelled against him. After an absence of four minutes, the jury found all the charges proved. Lord Meadowbank passed sentence of death, to be carried out at Cupar, on the 30th September. Henderson confessed his guilt, and duly paid the penalty. No fewer than 20,000 persons were present at the final scene.
Executed at Cupar 30th September 1830
Broadside entitled ‘Horrid Murder!’

Horrid Murder!
A full, true and particular Account of that most
Atrocious and Horrid Murder, committed on
the body of a respectable old gentleman of the
name of Millie, in the neighbourhood of Cupar,
in Fife; together with the apprehension of his
man-servant, named Henderson, on suspicion of
having perpetrated this barbarous deed, and who
is now lodged in Cupar Jail.
(From the Edinburgh Observer.)
A MURDER of a very horrid and atrocious
description has just been discovered in the
neighbourhood of Cupar, in Fife. About ten or
twelve days ago a respectable old gentleman,
named Millie, who resided there, in a house sur-
rounded by a garden and park, disappeared in a
somewhat mysterious manner; and suspicion
having been excited that he was murdered, search
was made in his grounds, when his body, muti-
lated by a hammer, or some such instrument, was
found buried in his garden. A man, who acted,
as we have heard, as his servant, and whose name
is Henderson, has been appreheaded on suspicion
of having perpetrated this horrible crime, and is
now in Cupar Jail. To these facts we are enabled
to add the following particulars :….On Tuesday
last, (the 20th July instant,) a most respectable in-
dividual in this city (Edinburgh) received a parcel,
addressed to his care, directed for the murdered
man, of whom he had no knowledge whatever.
This parcel the sheriff-officers subsequently traced
to the coach-office, and from thence to the place
where it had been delivered, when it was instantly
handed over to them in the same state that it had
been received; and yesterday (Monday, July 26,)
the clerks at the coach-office, and the gentleman
alluded to, were examined here by the authorities.
The parcel, we understand, contained charters and
other documents relative to the murdered man’s
property, and is supposed to have been dispatched
by his murderer from Cupar a day or two subse-
quent to his disappearance?probably with the
view of misleading enquirers.
Second Edition, Observer Office, 4 o’clock P.M.
Mr Millie was what was called a damask customer weaver~ that
is, a weaver who weaves for families~at Whin Park, near Monimail,
six miles from Cupar. He usually employed one or two journey-
men, who boarded in the house. He had been missing for about a
month, and his absence was accounted for by Henderson, the man
who is charged with the murder, and who resided in the house as a
journeyman, on the ground that he had gone to Edinburgh to su-
perintend a law process against Lord Leven. The deceased being
rather an eccentric character, and disposed to be litigious, this story
was credited for some time~and the more readily because Hender-
son still continued to reside in the house. It being known, how-
ever, that Henderson was previously short of cash, the circumstance
of his appearing much better supplied than formerly, began to ex-
cite notice. An inquiry was consequently instituted, and on Sa-
turday the body of Millie was found buried in his own garden. On
that day Henderson told a neighbour that Millie had returned home,
but had been obliged to go to Cupar, from whence he would
be back in the evening. An hour or two after Henderson dissa-
peared, and search commenced. On entering the house indications
were visible of an attempt to dig into the floor, which was of clay,
but the house being founded on a rock, the earth had been opened
only to the depth of a foot, when the digger encountered that in-
surmouutable obstruction. The search being transferred to the
garden, the body was discovered as already stated,?ouried in a
foot-path leading to a well. The path was so beaten that, but for
an accidental circumstance, the discovery would probably never
have been made. Information having been given to the Sheriff-
Substitute, he instantly repaired to the scene of crime, and institut-
ed an investigation, which led to the pursuit of Henderson, who
was apprehended at Dunfermline, on Sunday morning?of which
town he is a native.
He denies all knowledge of the murder.

Leave a Reply

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