19th-century murder-without-a-body case in Newfoundland

Found this article about an 1833 murder-without-a-body case in Newfoundland. Catherine Snow, Tobias Mandeville and Arthur Spring were tried for the murder of Catherine’s husband, John. He disappeared without a trace, leaving behind bloodstains (or, they assumed it was blood; no way back then to tell for sure) and was never seen or heard from again. All three were convicted and sentenced to death, although Catherine’s sentence was delayed because she was pregnant. She would be the last woman hanged in Newfoundland history. Her husband never resurfaced.

I wonder what the motive for the presumed homicide was. Was it money? Was Catherine having an affair with one or the other co-defendants? Both? Or maybe she was a battered wife? Crime of passion? Lots of possibilities.

A panel including Supreme Court Justices Carl Thompson and Seamus O’Regan, along with defence lawyer Rosellen Sullivan will examine how the case was conducted nearly 200 years ago, and discuss how it would be handled today. The event will take place Thursday, March 29th at 8 p.m. in Hampton Hall at the Marine Institute.

That sounds very interesting. Too bad I have other plans on Thursday and also can’t afford to fly to Newfoundland. Never been there, actually, though I have been to Ontario and Quebec and I think Nova Scotia.

2 thoughts on “19th-century murder-without-a-body case in Newfoundland

  1. Princess Shantae March 24, 2012 / 10:20 pm

    Ever hear of Bathsheba Spooner? She got bored with her husband in the 1700s and had her boyfriend and one or two of his friends kill him. His body was found right away though. They were all hung though Bathsheba said she was pregnant. They didn’t believe her but after she was hung it turned out she was.
    And in the UK there’s a woman named Katherine Hayes who did just about the same thing to her husband, had her boyfriend or maybe she had more than one bf, plus his friends and somebody’s sister, get together and kill her husband. They all got hung I think, but Katherine wasn’t pregnant.

    • Meaghan March 24, 2012 / 10:57 pm

      Yeah, I read a book about Bathsheba Spooner. Author suggested the authorities DID know she was pregnant but didn’t especially care.

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