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Accident or murder? When a ‘thief’ drowned in the Liffey on Christmas – The Irish Times

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The Coroner was having a tough time keeping Ellen Garvey’s testimony on track.

At the opening of the inquest into Thomas Garvey’s death, he asked her to “only state what she saw” on the morning of December 25th, 1883 – the day of her son’s death.

“It was wilful murder, sir,” she replied.

“I must really have you removed if you speak in that fashion,” said the Coroner. “Give your answer to the question.”

“I tell you the God’s truth,” said Ms Garvey, according to an Irish Times report. “He left me in the morning and I was told that he was being took by the police. I ran out and saw him pursued by a policeman. He was in the rigging of the ship and asked the policeman (Sgt Sherlock) not to arrest him that day.

“Sherlock took him and Garvey asked to be allowed to go to the urinal. He was let, and ran out of the other door, and up to the rigging again. Sherlock said he would take him dead or alive and went up the rigging again.

“I said: ‘Ah! Son, jewel, come down and give yourself up’.”

At this point, she said another sergeant at the scene, David Hozack, “was standing by me, and if I had said another word, he would have…”

She was cut short. The Coroner insisted Ms Garvey state only what she saw. “He fell into the water,” she said, “and was helped by a man who rowed up in a small boat.”

She said her son remained in the water, and the police followed his coursealong the north wall.

Her son, she told the inquest, had been in England and hiding from the police. He worked as a labourer on the quays in Dublin at the time of his death; he was 22, unmarried and lived in the family home at number 13, Moss Street.

Garvey was no stranger to the constabulary. Prison registers indicate he had served time for assault and larceny in the previous two years. The crime he was apprehended for on the morning of his death allegedly occurred the night before.