Boys’ Night In Ends in Three Months’ Hard Labour for Elderly Barrister, 1892

From the Derry Journal, 8 June 1892:

At the Petty Sessions, Nenagh, Mr Sadleir Stoney, Barrister at Law and Justice of the Peace for Dublin, who resides at Ballycapple, between Nenagh and Cloughjordan, surrendered to heavy recognisances and was charged with having assaulted Mrs Alice Bunbury, wife of Captain Bunbury, in her own house at Woodville, about a mile and a half from the defendant’s residence.

Mr Stoney conducted his own defence.

Mrs Bunbury was examined.  She said she was visiting a lady friend on the evening in question, when Mr Stoney went to her house; she had previously objected to his going to the house. ‘I knocked at the door of the parlour,’ she continued, ‘where he was with my husband, but I would not be let in. I asked why he dared to keep me out of my parlour, and Mr Stoney said I would not be let in; that the parlour did not belong to me.  I took a hatchet to break in the door, and he opened it, struck me on the face, and knocked me down.  He took the hatchet and struck me with it, and was going to strike me a second time, when one of my servants snatched it from him.  He gave me several kicks; the servant went out and when he came Mr Stoney had me by the hair of the head, and was flogging me with a whip, and the servant and myself fled downstairs; we locked the door; in about five minutes time we heard screams, and on going up to the nursery, I found him following the nurse round the table threatening to kill her; when he was going away he said ‘I will get plenty of help, and I will kill you all.’

The magistrates retired to consider and returned after half an hour, when they sentenced the defendant to three months hard labour in Limerick Jail, sureties to keep the peace being required at the end of this period.”

An appeal by Mr Stoney to the Nenagh Quarter Sessions a few days later was unsuccessful. The County Court Judge affirmed the conviction, saying that he was aware that Mr Stoney was an old and delicate man and that imprisonment would be very hard upon him but if there was any danger to his health an appeal could be made to remit the sentence. It seems that his prison term did not finish off the redoubtable Mr Stoney, who died in 1899, aged 76.

Some additional detail about Captain and Mrs Bunbury can be found on the wonderful history website of their family member Turtle Bunbury, author of many history books including the great recent publication, ‘Ireland’s Forgotten Past: A History of the Overlooked and Disremembered.’ The Captain, a childhood friend of Mr Stoney, had recently taken the 26-year-old Mrs Bunbury (née Stone, daughter of a Dublin solicitor) as his much younger second wife. Presumably Mrs Bunbury, with all the confidence of youth, had embarked on a campaign of getting her new husband to change his old habits!

Few boys’ nights in end in such unmitigated disaster!

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Author: Ruth Cannon BL

Irish barrister sharing the history of the Four Courts, Dublin, Ireland, and other Irish courts.

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