JOHN HEWIT AND ROSAMUND ODERENSHAW
Murderers, executed March 29, 1732
THOUGH adultery is, by holy writ, denounced as a crime heinous to God; and though we have daily instances of the shocking enormities to which it leads the unguarded; yet virtue and modesty are constantly outraged by the commission of this sin with impunity. No wonder, then at the mischief arising from this vice, when our very princes, who are bound by every tie to hand down to the meanest members of society examples worthy of emulation, seem regardless of. that commandment of God, which says, "Thou shalt not commit adultery."
The murder perpetrated in the present case, was the result of an adulterous connection. John Hewit was a butcher and a married man, at Derby, and Rosamond Oderenshaw, a servant to the landlady of the Crown public-house, at Nun's green, a widow, to whose inordinate desires she fell a victim, being made the instrument of murdering the wife of Hewit.
From the confessions of these malefactors, it appeared that Hewit had criminal knowledge of both the landlady and her servant woman. The former of these abandoned women, in order to secure her paramour to herself, by marrying him, determined on the murder of Mrs Hewit.
To this horrid end, the landlady procured some poisons and mixed it in a pancake, which, through promises of reward, she prevailed upon the servant to give to Hannah Hewit, who, little suspicious, eat heartily thereof, until she was seized with a pain in her stomach, and, vomiting a part of the contents in the yard, a pig that eat of it soon died, and the unfortunate woman expired in excruciating torments, at the end of three hours.
While the devoted victim eat the poisoned food, the hardened landlady appeared to be composedly ironing some clothes in the parlour, yet the instigator of the foul deed escaped; while the husband, who was proved to have been accessory to the crime, and the servant alone, met their just punishment.
The condemned wicked woman, a short time previous to her execution, confessed that, through the persuasion of her mistress, she had some weeks before put poison into the broth of Mrs. Hewit, but not in a sufficient quantity to produce the intended effect; and that she had borne a bastard child, which she murdered, and buried the body in a certain spot, which she described; digging the ground, the bones of a child, apparently seven months old, were accordingly found.
This miserable man and woman provided themselves with a shroud each, in which they walked to the gallows; where they died penitent, and confessed their guilt, on March 29, 1732.
About this period, Faulkner's Journal, the best periodical publication Ireland ever produced, contained a note of a murder committed under the most unnatural and cruel circumstances, but we do not find it in any criminal catalogue whatever. Too short for a narrative of itself and unwilling to avoid handing it with others of a similar shade of darkness, as a warning to society against the commission of sins, we have here inserted it, as being nearly a similar case, in chronological order.
"The assizes at Ennis, in. Ireland, for the year 1731, brought to light a still more shocking murder, if one can be more heinous than another. A cruel and unnatural woman, named Mary Meddun, was convicted of the wilful murder of her husband and her son, by blows on their temples, when asleep, with a hatchet, of which they both immediately expired. What rendered this wretch more odious to the people attending her execution, was a firm belief that she had murdered a former husband."