Opinion

Tyrone child murder - GI sentenced to death

WILLIAM Harrison, junior, a twenty- two-year-old American soldier of Havervill, Ohio was, at a general court-martial in Cookstown on saturday found guilty of assault and murder of seven- and-a-half-year-old Patricia Wylie of Killycolpy, Coagh, Co Tyrone on 25 th september last. He was sentenced to death. The members of the court returned their verdict after an absence of less than half an hour. The condemned man took the final verdict calmly while a hushed and tense atmosphere prevailed in the crowded courthouse.

Lieutenant T Kadin, assistant defence counsel, said they would submit that the accused at the perpetration of the act was labouring under the lack of moral responsibility; that he did not realise the full import of his act and did not understand the nature and quality of the act he was doing. He did not know the difference between right and wrong. Accused's drinking was chronic going on a great number of years.

Harrison, in evidence, told the court he graduated from a high school at sixteen. He started drinking when he was fifteen. When he came to England he drank more than usual. He had been court-martialled five times for being absent without leave. In 1943 he was in hospital for six weeks with amnesia. On the evening of the murder, he went to Dorman's pub where he had fifteen beers, a small gin with each beer, and two port wines.

Around five o'clock he went to the Wylies' house. He wanted to see Mr Wylie to whom he owed three pounds ten shillings. Mr Wylie was out and witness went out with Patsy to get some beer and mineral water. They passed young sadie Wylie on the way. They went through a field as a shortcut.

Major C I Liggitt, senior defending counsel - Do you remember everything which took place after that? - No, sir.

Major Liggitt - Did you choke the little girl? -Yes.

Why did you choke her? - I don't know.

A us army medical officer said he was President of the Medical Board which examined the accused. The Board decided that accused was sane on september 25 and that he was able to distinguish between right and wrong.

North Belfast Gael Bereaved

THE funeral of Mrs Mary McCrystal, wife of Mr Cathal McCrystal of Ponsonby Avenue, Belfast - the well known Gaelic scholar - took place from Holy Family Church to Milltown Cemetery on saturday.

Mrs McCrystal was a native of toomebridge district, being a niece of the late Mr P McGee, a noted composer of sacred music. Sympathy with her husband and three little boys will be extended by all. The chief mourners were Mr Cathal McCrystal (husband); Masters Colm, Cathal Og and Brendan (sons) and Mrs J McDonald (sister). Gaelic League bodies in the city were represented.

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