"Diabolically Ravished, Murdered, And Thrown Into a Pit" [Trial]. Thornton, Abraham [c.1793-1860], Defendant. Horrible Rape and Murder!! The Affecting Case of Mary Ashford, A Beautiful Young Virgin, Who was Diabolically Ravished, Murdered, And Thrown Into a Pit, As She Was Returning From a Dance; Including the Trial of Abraham Thornton, For the Wilful Murder of the Said Mary Ashford; With the Whole of the Evidence, Charge to the Jury, &c. Tried at Warwick Assizes, Before Mr. Justice Holroyd, On the 8th of August, 1817. Taken in Short Hand. To Which is Added Copious Elucidations of this Extraordinary Case; And a Correct Plan of the Spot Where the Rape and Murder were Committed, &c. &c. London: Published by John Fairburn, 1817. [ii], 60 columns (34 pp), 64,  pp. Several contemporary newspaper clippings concerning this case pasted to final leaf, rear wrapper and verso of title page. Woodcut folding map of crime scene. Octavo (8-3/4" x 5-1/2"). Stab-stitched pamphlet in printed wrappers, untrimmed edges. Some soiling and edgewear, spine and fold-lines of table reinforced, fore-edge mended, some toning to text. Early owner signatures and annotation to front wrapper and map (not the image side), interior otherwise clean. $950. * "Third Edition." Abraham Thornton, a bricklayer, "was accused of rape and murder after attending a dance where he became intimate with a gardener's daughter named Mary Ashford. They left the dance together and her body was found the next morning in a deep pool of water near a local footpath. Thornton was tried at the Warwick assizes on 8 August 1817. Since the marks on Mary's body were not necessarily inconsistent with Thornton's claim that she had consented to sexual intercourse, and since the times on the morning in question when Thornton was seen walking home to Bromwich suggested he could not have been with her when she met her death, the jury found him not guilty. The case aroused much interest and reminded people of a similar murder of a local woman a year earlier. Many were convinced of Thornton's guilt and he was assailed in local and London newspapers. A group collected around the Birmingham solicitor William Bedford invoked the old legal process of 'appeal of murder,' by which a person acquitted of murder could be tried again for the same offense. This process was generally regarded as obsolet.
Book number 61933