ON This Day – October 4, 1937
Found guilty of murdering Thomas Bowler, 58, a farmer, of Seacombe, at Dutson on October 4, Michael James Joseph O’Brien, 18, a labourer, was to-day sentenced to death.
The Crown Prosecutor read a statement alleged to have been made by the accused, which set out that the trouble arose between Bowler and O’Brien when O’Brien kicked the dead man’s dog. The statement said that Bowler had said to O’Brien after the incident, “You dirty lout. What right have you got kicking a dog like that? If I catch you doing it again I will give you a thrashing you will never forget.”
O’Brien was then alleged to have said that he had made up his mind that he would shoot Bowler, and to disable him in some way, but that he did not intend to kill him.
It continued that later when Bowler and William Cann were entering a car, O’Brien shot Bowler and he fell to the ground groaning. Cann bent down to aid him and he was also shot.
“While Cann was kneeling there, I shot him because he made me wild when he came down and spoke to Bowler,” continued the alleged statement. O’Brien was also alleged to have admitted to the police that he fired another shot at Bowler while Cann was attempting to crawl back to the house.
Judge Gavan Duffy, in passing sentence, said that he concurred with the verdict, which was reached after a retirement of 35 minutes.
After sentence was passed, O’Brien did not show any sign of concern, and walked firmly from the dock.