Saturday, 23 May 2015

The Murder of Minnie Reid

This story goes back to 1932 in Derryanne in County Armagh.  It was on August 3rd that some local children made a grisly discovery;  they came across the body of 23 year old Minnie Reid with her throat slashed.  The Police made a search of the immediate vicinity and discovered a bloody razor.  She had been seen alive a week previously, and soon Police had a suspect.  Harold Courtney, a 23 year old lorry driver from Dungannon, had known Minnie for a few years and had blood found on his clothes.  He had no alibi for his movements.  Courtney denied that he and Minnie, a domestic servant, had been an item.  But he now found himself on trial at Downpatrick Assizes four months later.  It was alleged in court that Minnie found herself pregnant and that the accused now wanted nothing to do with her and had gotten engaged to another young woman.

    Now, Courtney changed his story, admitting that he had met up with Minnie and she took her own life, after it was apparent he no longer wanted her.  The trial ended in a hung jury, unable to reach a verdict, so he went on trial again at Armagh Assizes in March 1933, and after a trial lasting five days, he was convicted and sentenced to death.  He was executed at Crumlin Road jail in Belfast on 7th April 1933 by Tom Pierrepoint, assisted by Albert.  The Prosecution Medical Examiner believed that it was murder, but two other noted doctors believed it was suicide but could not come up with an explanation as to why the razor lay fourteen feet away from Minnie`s body, and a glove had been forced into the open wound.