Penny Tray wrote: ↑
Thu Apr 16, 2020 8:26 am
16 APRIL 1904
THE KILBIRNIE MURDER CASE
At Kilmarnock Sheriff Court yesterday – before Sheriff Mackenzie – JOSEPH CALABRESE, ice cream vendor, Kilbirnie, was examined on a charge of murdering his wife and four children in his home in Kilbirnie on Thursday.
On the advice of his agent, Mr. Hastings, Ardrossan,
Calabrese did not make any statement. He betrayed no sign of excitement, and did not appear to realise the gravity of his position.
He was conveyed to Ayr by the midday train.
Quite a horrific complicated case this. You would think JOSEPH CALABRESE would have hanged but he received a life sentence. According to www. Flickr.com
The scene of a tragic event in Craighouse Square, Kilbirnie.
In 1904 Joseph Calabrese was tried and convicted in the High Court in Glasgow, of the murder of his wife and four children in the family home in Craighouse Square, Kilbirnie.
He murdered his wife, Jessie Calabrese and children, Minnie, Lucinda, Thomas and John, with an axe, above his ice-cream shop on the night of 13th April.
The following day he turned himself in to local Police, accompanied by his brother, Alexander.
His wife, a heavy drinker, had pawned her wedding ring for liquor, and taunted her husband continually, repeatedly telling him that the children were not his.
The jury found him guilty in July 1904, but made a unanimous recommendation to mercy. A special defence of insanity had been intimated. Witnesses testified to the drunken lifestyle of his wife and there were allegations of her infidelity, all of which it was argued had contributed to the gradual mental breakdown of Mr. Calabrese.
He was sentenced to death and held in prison in Ayr pending his execution, scheduled for 26th July 1904. Three days before the date of execution the Secretary of State for Scotland commuted the sentence to life imprisonment.
The respite was well received in the town, as the public had no appetite for a capital sentence. At the time there had not been an execution in Ayr in over 50 years.