The Abduction of ‘Pretty Annie Cloury’, 1891

A young lady models the ‘waterfall hairdo also favoured by the witness at the heart of the below trial. Although the Irish press forbore from commenting on the 16-year-old witness’s appearance, she was alternately described by English newspapers as ‘pretty Annie Cloury’ or ‘a very handsome young woman.’

From the Freeman’s Journal, 14 February 1891:

“Yesterday at half-past three, in the Courthouse, Green-Street, Henry C Harvey, described as a druggist, residing in Great Brunswick Street, was placed at the bar before Mr. Justice O’Brien, and indicted for having on the 7th of January taken away from her parents Annie Cloury, 26 Golden Lane, she being under the age of eighteen years.

Mr. Gerrard, QC, and Mr. Dodd, QC , instructed by Mr. Coll, Crown Solicitor, prosecuted.

Mr. Richard Adams, QC , instructed by Mr. Gerald Byrne, defended.

John Cloury, the father of the girl, deposed that in January he missed his daughter, and from what he heard he went to the prisoner’s lodgings in Great Brunswick Street.  The prisoner was there with another gentleman.  He asked the prisoner did he know Annie Cloury; he replied he did not, but subsequently stated he did know her, that she was all right, and that she was with Mrs. Woods.

 The witness then said, ‘Get me my child,’ and the prisoner called upon the servant to get his coat.  The witness’s wife was with him, and they accompanied the prisoner out of his lodgings, and walked along towards the college.  When near the college the prisoner rushed across the street towards College Street Police Station.  Witness followed him, and upon overtaking him said ‘Now, my man, you must get me my daughter.’  The prisoner then complained to a police constable that he was afraid of him, and he replied that he need not, and asked him to go with his wife to get the child.  He tendered the prisoner 1 shilling for a car hire. 

The prisoner was detained in the police station and witness, accompanied by his wife and a police constable, went to Mrs. Woods on the Canal, opposite Portobello Barracks.  Mrs. Woods denied that his daughter was there, and they returned to the station, where he charged the prisoner.  A few days afterwards he heard his daughter was in Clane, Kildare, and he went to Clane and brought her home from her uncle.  His daughter was under the age of 17 years.

Cross-examined by Mr. Adams – His daughter never stopped out at night until the 7th of January.  He never made inquiries about her staying out at night in Heytesbury Street.  She had been in Messrs. Winstanley’s employment.

Winstanley’s shoe shops (image above of North Earl Street branch). Annie Cloury worked as an early ‘business girl’ in another one of its branches.

Mrs. Cloury corroborated her husband’s evidence.  When witness saw Harvey, she asked him where her daughter was and asked, ‘Have you murdered her?’  Have you drowned her?’  The prisoner replied that she was all right, that she was with Mrs. Woods.  On leaving the prisoner’s lodgings he said to her that he was afraid to walk with her husband.  He then walked along with the witness and stated that the girl was safe. Witness replied, ‘God forgive you, you wretch; where is my child?’  He again replied that she was all right.  The witness never knew the prisoner before, nor did she know Mrs. Woods.  She had never been away from the witness during her lifetime until Harvey took her away.

Cross-examined by Mr. Adams – Witness met her daughter on one occasion coming out of Mrs. Coghlan’s house in Heytesbury Street.  Her daughter was not then in the company of a medical student. 

The girl Annie Cloury was the next witness.  She was dressed in black, wearing her flaxen hair in waterfall fashion.  In reply to Mr. Gerrard, she stated that on the 7th of June she was at home until half-past one o’clock.  She had been previously employed in Winstanley’s, but her mother had kept her at home from Christmas.  There was no person with her when she left home.  She went to Westland Row to meet a friend coming on the train.  Before going she met the prisoner, whom she knew before for about twelve months.  She had been doing business in a house in Grafton Street, and opposite there was a tobacconist’s shop, at the door of which the prisoner was constantly standing, and when she had to go for messages, he always followed her, and attempted to speak to her. 

This went on for about three months. One evening, when coming home a few months ago, the prisoner spoke to her.  She told him she did not want to speak to him.  He asked her name, but she did not answer him.  After that he frequently followed her.  He was in the habit of watching her. 

She never walked with him until the 7th of January.  When he accosted her in Westland Row, he asked her how she was; she replied, ‘Very well.’  He then asked her to have a glass of wine, and she went with him into McGauran’s public house at the corner of Westland Row, where she took a glass of port wine, and he took some whiskey.  He asked her to take a second glass, but she declined but took a half glass of port wine.

The former McGauran’s Public House, now Kennedys, via the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

 They then left, and he asked her to meet him in half an hour’s time at Earlsfort Terrace.  He said he had something very particular to tell her.  She asked him what he had to say to her, and he asked her to go to Mrs. Woods.  She declined, as she said she did not know her very well, having only met her twice before.  He pressed her to go to Mrs. Woods, Portobello Road, and she did so, driving there on an outside car.  When in the house she met Mrs. Woods, and the prisoner, when in the house, produced a bottle of whiskey.  Witness refused to take it, and the prisoner sent for port wine, and she took half a glass of it. 

She remained at Woods’ for about two hours, and while the witness had her back to the table, Mrs. Woods handed her a glass of port wine.  There was a little child by her side, and she was going to give the child a sip out of the glass when Mrs. Woods sprang up from her seat, saying’ My God, don’t give her that.’  Witness then tasted the wine, and turning to the prisoner, said ‘Taste that, that is not port wine.’ It was very bitter.  The prisoner tasted it, and said, Yes, it is port wine, drink it off.’  She replied that it was too strong, and he said, Nonsense, drink it, Port wine is never strong.’  She drank it and became dizzy.  When leaving Woods’ she staggered against the hall-door, and the prisoner asked her to take his arm. 

The next thing she remembered was leaving in a cab with the prisoner. She recollected nothing until the next morning, when she found herself in bed with the prisoner in a strange bedroom.  The witness was partly undressed.  When she awoke, she said ‘Oh, where am I?’ He said ‘Hush, you are all right.’ The witness further stated that on leaving the hotel in the morning she found that she was in Marlborough Street.  She went that day to Clane to her uncle’s, the prisoner having given her 4s to buy sweets.

Cross-examined by Mr. Adams – She had gone two or three times to the prisoner’s lodgings to pay him visits, as he had asked her to do so.  She knew Mr. Carty, a medical student who resided with the prisoner.  She had met Carty four or five times.  She did not walk with him.  He had purchased her a necktie. 

Mr. Adams – Did you give a false name when you went to visit the prisoner?  No.

You knew he was a medical student?  Yes.

Did your parents catch you coming out of a house in Heytesbury Street with Mr. Carty? No.

How did you know Mr. Carty?  I met him with Mr. Harvey. 

Did you write a letter to Harvey the day after you were in Marlborough Street?  (No answer)

Mr. Adams (reading) – ‘My dear Harry…’   Is that Mr. Harvey the prisoner?  (The witness here began to cry, and did not answer)

Mr. Justice O’Brien – I presume it is.

Mr. Adams – (Reading) –

‘I arrived here all right, but I got the wrong train at Kingsbridge, so that I had to give 2s 6d for a car to Clane.  I hope your feet are all right, and that nothing was suspected of your staying out all night… Say you did not see me.  Don’t forget the gloves, also my brooch which I left in Marlborough Street.  Dear Harry, I did not sleep all night thinking of what I could do.  I send you my love, and remain as ever yours, Annie CLOURY’

Mr. Adams – Then the letter winds up with about 10 crosses, representing kisses (laughter).

Mr. Justice O’Brien – Do you mean they are symbols of kisses?

Mr. Adams – Yes; at least I believe they are (laughter).

Mr. Justice O’Brien – Well, a man is always learning something in this world (laughter).

Mr Justice O’Brien, a lifelong bachelor better known for his pursuit of books than his pursuit of women.

Mr. Adams – The postscript to the letter is ‘Write soon and direct to Miss A Cloury.’

[several portions of the letter were unfit for publication]

The witness admitted that she wrote the letter, and as to certain phrases in it she denied that she knew what they meant.

In further cross-examination she admitted that she got a boa from a friend of Mr. Harvey’s whom she had met.  She denied that she had taken drinks and dined with persons named in restaurants.  She had taken a ring from the defendant which he had given to her.

Mary Flynn, a housemaid in the Temperance Hotel, Marlborough Street, proved that the prisoner and the girl Cloury passed as man and wife in the hotel; the girl’s hair was not ‘flowing’ but ‘got up’ like a married woman; she did not seem to be suffering from drugs or drink, and was in no way put about.”

Thus ended the first day of the trial.  The second and final day was reported in the Kilkenny Moderator, 18 February 1891, in the following terms:


The court was thronged to suffocation before the judge arrived, and the atmosphere within the building during the day was most offensive.  The vast majority of those present appeared mere idlers, who were evidently distracted by the filthy and immoral nature of such a case.  Strange to say, the audience included a number of young lads and about a score of females, some of them mere children, who were allowed to remain throughout the hearing of one of the most demoralizing cases which have occupied the attention of any criminal court in Ireland for several years past. 

The evidence and the speeches of counsel on both sides having concluded, the prisoner was found guilty.  The foreman of the jury said they had added the following rider to their verdict –

 “Having looked into the matter carefully, we beg to recommend the matter carefully to the clemency of the court, believing there were extenuating circumstances.  The jury wish to mention that they consider that the want of care on the part of parents in not taking steps, according to their responsibility, to clearly understand how their daughters are spending their evenings, is the cause of a great number of such cases as this, and that they are not doing their duty to their children by not inquiring who their acquaintances are.’ 

The prisoner was sentenced to twelve months’ imprisonment with hard labour.”

Author: Ruth Cannon BL

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

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