Eugene McCarthy – Bigamy conviction. Old Bailey 1862

Eugene Plummer Macarthy’s conviction for bigamy at the Old Bailey is very brief

THIRD COURT.—Friday, August 22nd, 1862.


Before Mr. Common Serjeant.

Reference Number: t18620818-888

888. EUGENE PLUMBER M’CARTHY (44) , Feloniously marrying Mary Ann O’Brien, his wife being then alive; to which he

PLEADED GUILTY .— Confined One Week.

Reference Number: t18620818-889

889. EUGENE PLUMBER M’CARTHY was again indicted for feloniously marrying Emily Verling, his wife being then alive.

No evidence was offered for the prosecution.



There has to be some significance in the sentence only being a week.

This goes with Eugene Macarthy’s trial at the Middlesex Sessions on September 2, 1862 for the theft of books from the British Museum. One of the questions from that was who are  “Miss O’Bryen”, the wronged wife,  “Mr O’Bryen” her brother, and “Dr. O’Bryen, another brother,”. as the principal witnesses; the defence barrister censures  “the conduct of the O’Bryens in imputing matters which had nothing to do with the case.” Are they members of the family, and if they are who exactly are they?

There are alternative spellings of names M’Carthy/Macarthy, O’Brien/O’Bryen/O’Bryan but some solid indications they may be John Roche O’Bryen, his only surviving sister Mary Anne O’Bryen, and one of their brothers. The Times report spells all their surnames O’Bryen in its September report of the theft trial, but as O’Bryan in the bigamy indictment report of July 1862. The Old Bailey transcripts has Mary as “Mary Ann O’Brien”.   and  “Emily Verling,”  the name on the second indictment which is interesting.  Ellen Verling was the O’Bryens’ great aunt [their grandfather John Roche’s sister] and had a daughter who was also called Ellen, as well as at least two sons, James Roche Verling,  a naval surgeon, and Bartholomew Verling. The Times however calls her “Emily Reiley”, and refers to their marriage at St. James’s, Holloway.

The circumstantial evidence is begining to build up, but more comes from Eugene M’Carthy’s indictment for trial at Westminster Police Court, as reported in The Times  in July 1862. But in the meantime, the Cork Examiner is enthusiastic, but fairly sloppy in its reporting, just like it was in Pauline Roche’s case four years earlier. It manages to get Mary Anne’s name wrong, the places both weddings took place wrong, and the bigamous second marriage date ten years later than it happened. As well as moving it from Cork to Dublin.

The Cork Examiner, 17 July 1862


CHARGE OF BIGAMY—A MAN WITH THREE WIVES.—Eugene P. M’Carthy, a solicitor and public notary in Ireland, described as having no fixed residence, was charged with intermarrying with Catherine Craigh, otherwise Cree, his former wife, Mary Jane O’Brien, being still alive.

Mr. Stephen O’Brien, brother of the second wife, residing at Queenstown, produced papers proving the second marriage in July, 1854, at Dublin, and he further stated that the prisoner subsequently married Mary Ann Bunning, at St. James’s Church, Islington. The first marriage took place on the 29th of January, 1839.

Dr. James O’Brien, brother of the prosecutor, corroborated the evidence.

The prisoner was remanded for the attendance of the witnesses to attest the respective marriages.

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