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Annie Walsh

Annie Walsh lived in a small town in Limerick. She was poor and had very little schooling. Her maiden name was Barret. Aged 30, she married Ned Walsh, a 61 year old widower. It was not uncommon for a young woman to marry a much older man. She left her job as a servant for a well-to-do family in the village and moved to her new husband’s farmhouse.
During her time living at the farm she was given compensation after somebody fired shots into the house for reasons unknown. When the money finally ran out she had an idea of how to get more compensation - kill her husband!

Farm hand Mick Talbot, a 24 year old nephew of Ned Walsh, was on good terms with Annie. She told Mick of her plan and he decided to help her in return for some of the windfall. So one chilly night in February 1925 she invited Mick to the house for a drink. She, Ned and Mick were sitting around the fire when Annie asked Ned to go and get some wood as the fire was dying out. When he was doing so,Annie picked up the small axe by the fire and hid it under her apron. Ned returned with the timber, placed it on the fire and sat back down in his fireside chair. With that, Annie walked around behind Ned, took the axe from under her apron and with savage force, brought the axe down on her husband’s skull. Ned fell to the floor and began to shake violently. Annie instructed Mick to hold Ned’s arms to stop him from moving about and she hit him again and again till he went limp and she could sense the last breath leaving her husbands lifeless body.

According to Mick’s later confession, Annie took Mick by the hand and told him to come to bed, wait till morning and then they would inform the police. The police immediately suspected Annie of murdering her husband and after questioning her for some time, she told them Mick had shot and killed her husband. They were both charged with murder and, after the charge was read, Annie asked when she was going to receive her cheque for compensation!
At the trial, the jury took only ten minutes of deliberation and returned to find them both guilty of murdering Ned Walsh. Judge Henry Hanna sentenced both accused to death. The then Minister for Justice, Kevin O’ Higgins, refused to commute their sentences to life. Women especially are usually dealt with more compassion than men but the Minister refused point blank to look favourably on Annie’s case.

They were both hanged at Mountjoy Prison on August 5th 1925; Annie was first to go to the gallows at 8.00am and just 45 minutes later Mick met the same fate. The hangman was the infamous Thomas Pierrepoint.

Annie Walsh

Annie Walsh