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A girl of nineteen, daughter of a Perthshire baronet, Sir Thomas Nairn of Dunsinnan, Katherine Nairn married Thomas Ogilvie of Eastmiln, a bonnet-laird and small farmer, more than twenty years her senior, in January, 1765.
Four months afterwards he died suddenly, and suspicions that his wife had poisoned him, with the connivance of his brother, Lieutenant Patrick Ogilvie, culminated in their arrest on a double charge of incest and murder.
The trial of Katherine Nairn, which took place at Edinburgh, in August, 1765, is one of the most celebrated of Scottish causes celebres.