More north-east historical criminals have been showcased by the council’s archives.
Details of convicts from the 19th Century are kept by the Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives, from the Register of Returned Convicts for Aberdeen 1869-1939 and records from Perth Prison, while archivists also use census records to find out more about the individuals involved.
The stories of convicts were first used as part of Aberdeen’s crime writing festival Granite Noir, with exhibitions of the material being used for the past few years.
Following the popularity of the exhibitions, archivist Phil Astley decided to set up a blog to show more of the photos and stories.
Called Criminal Portraits, it is updated regularly with a range of different criminals.
In the 19th Century, crimes and their punishment were very different to those today.
A good example of this is Helen Bremner, originally from Forres but settled briefly in Aberdeen, who had four previous convictions, who was convicted and given seven years penal servitude for stealing a sheet from a clothes line.
Another was described as “an accomplished female scamp” by newspapers at the time, while other records show the circumstances of the criminals, including that one man wanted “one front upper tooth and several double ones” while incarcerated.
To view more stories, visit criminalportraits.blogspot.com
Sentenced to 10 years penal servitude for culpable homicide
The 42-year-old shepherd who resided at the Mains of Tullo between Oldmeldrum and Fyvie in 1861, was charged with murder however was found guilty of the lesser charge of culpable homicide after an incident took place at Glenlyon in Perthshire.
Court records showing witness testimony from the father of the deceased said that in answering the question of how he had been hurt before passing away, “Mackay began to show him ‘science’ with a stick and boasted that he could thrash any man in Perthshire.”
It is thought he was also prisoner in Aberdeenshire.
Jane Clark or Robertson
Sentenced to seven years penal servitude after stealing several armfuls of blankets and other items from a house in Dundee.
Jane Clark had previously had an earlier conviction in Aberdeen, and returned to the city after her release.
She had married a man named Robert Robertson, however found herself single by November 1868 when she was charged with stealing a bed cover, double blanket, two half blankets, a sheet, four coats, a pair of trousers and two vests.
The newspaper at the time reported that she had been deserted by her husband and “left entirely destitute”.
Sentenced in April 1868 and discharged in 1873 after stealing a purse.
William Philip was described as a “habit and repute thief” and had two previous convictions for theft. He took the purse from Robert Stronach on Loch Street on February 15, 1868 but pled not guilty. He had met the man on Loch Street and asked him for a dram before picking his pocket and trying to run away, although he was apprehended “almost immediately.”
From the little information found on him, he had asked for “one front upper tooth and several double ones” while imprisoned.
Sentenced to seven years penal servitude for two thefts.
Ann Sutherland was found to have stolen two pieces of muslin, a pair of wincey sleeves and a pair of scissors from the governor of Stonehaven prison John Mitchel, as well as a waist belt with clasps, a jet brooch and a metal brooch of Jessie Smith, a prisoner in Stonehaven Prison.
She also stole a cap and a towel from a house in Market Lane.
She also had a string of convictions for theft from Glasgow, Perth and Fife.
The Buchan Observer and East Aberdeenshire Advertiser described her actions as: “She went away to her cell with an air as light and jaunty as if she had been setting out to her wedding! Poor thing!”
Jane Wotherspoon or McIntyre
Sentenced to seven years penal servitude for forgery and fraud.
Jane Wotherspoon or McIntyre was described as an “accomplished female scamp” by the Sheffield Independent.
She was convicted for the theft of a cheque book, forgery of a cheque which she uttered, for receiving money on false pretences when travelling as the daughter of one minister and the niece of another, the theft of jewellery and wearing apparel from a widow in Kirkcaldy who had taken her in and fed her after being deceived by Jane who said she was on a collecting tour for receiving subscriptions for the Palestine Exploring Fund.
After her release at 26 in February 1874, she lived at Regent Quay in Aberdeen.
Ann Riddell or Pitcairn
Sentenced to seven years penal servitude for stealing several items of clothing.
Ann Riddell or Pitcairn was found guilty of three acts of theft of wearing apparel in town, and was handed seven years as she had six previous convictions.
Born in Oldmeldrum, her occupation was given as a washer, although not many more details are available about her crime.
After she was discharged from jail, she went to live on Guestrow, then at Farquhar’s Court off Upperkirkgate in Aberdeen.