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This case created an enormous sensation in its day, and is still remembered by its once famous name of The Sandyford Mystery.
After the accused had been convicted of the murder of her friend and fellow-servant, Jessie McPherson, the Government took the unusual step of appointing a Crown Commissioner to take fresh evidence to test the truth of a statement the prisoner had made after the verdict of guilty had been returned against her, with the result that the sentence of death was commuted to penal servitude.
The dramatic scene in which the convicted woman in the dock denounced the chief witness for the Crown as the actual murderer is unparalleled in the records of criminal trials.