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John MacNaghten (c.1724 - 1761):
Murderer


John MacNaghten was born in Benvarden, near Ballymoney, County Antrim, and was educated at the Royal School, Raphoe, County Donegal, and Trinity College, Dublin. He gambled away an inheritance and left Trinity College without taking a degree. He was given a post as the Collector of the King's Duty in Coleraine, but he gambled away the money he had collected. His first wife having died in childbirth, he tried to abduct and trick into marriage the fifteen-year old Miss Knox, whose father had befriended him, but who opposed the proposed marriage. A member of the Knox family challenged him to a duel and wounded him, but he returned and attacked the Knox family when they were travelling to Dublin by coach and Miss Knox was accidentally shot dead. He was tried and convicted at Strabane in 1761. Supposedly the public were not in favour of the hanging, so that the Knox family had to erect the scaffold themselves and an executioner had to be summoned from Cavan. It is said that the rope broke, but MacNaghten refused his liberty.

Born: c.1724
Died: 15 December 1761
Kate Newmann