Cocky Bendy Murder

Map c1860 showing small building on the bend believed to the scene of the murder

Map c1860 showing small building on the bend believed to the scene of the murder

The older residents of the village recall that when they were young and up to mischief, their parents would threaten to get ‘Cocky- Bendy’ for them. Until recently there was no hard evidence of what exactly this character had done to make him the local bogeyman However the mystery has been uncovered and reveals a notorious murder case which most probably happened in the house circled on this  map (1864) the ruins of which still remain. Detailed newspaper reports in May 1824 reveal that a young man, who lived in Causnagh, a short distance away, had murdered a housekeeper and a four-year-old child using a sword, aided and abetted by two attractive young ladies of the village. The lady who lived with her young son and a housekeeper where the ruins now stand , was separated from her husband. Her husband, who had been left a substantial inheritance by his father, lived with his two sisters in the village. It would appear that, as he was not capable of managing his own affairs, his sisters plotted to get rid of both his wife and child to protect the family assets. It seems the young man had agreed to carry out the dastardly  deed on a promise of marriage to one of the attractive sisters. Things did not exactly go to plan as he killed the housekeeper and the child instead of the lady of the house, who escaped and raised the alarm. The young man was apprehended, found guilty of murder and sentenced to hang. The Belfast Newsletter reported his execution in August 1824 in gory detail. It was stated that ‘After hanging the regular time his body was conveyed in a shell to the county Infirmary and given to the surgeons for dissection. That operation was performed yesterday and the public were admitted into the Infirmary on the occasion’. A written record, made in 1923 by an 88 year old man who lived in the vicinity, recalls what he had heard about the incident. He said the name ‘Cocky-Bendy’ was given to this character as ‘he went so well tailored and conceaty (sic) and being of small stature and was in favour among the girls at the time. He also made himself useful in Church and Sunday School a head singer in the choir’. This record also states ‘the house was burned and left bare for many years’

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