11th January 1907

Murder jury passes guilty verdict

Thomas Connan and his sister Marie Leguen were charged with the murder of Leguen’s husband, Pierre Leguen, on 18 July 1906. They’d killed him – or at least dumped the body – in a cornfield where he was discovered by three English visitors, along with a watch chain and a pair of shoes. It didn’t take the police long to identify these as the Leugen’s belongings, and Thomas Connan can’t have helped his cause by being found wearing the dead man’s boots when police arrived to question him. He confessed to the crime, but Marie Leguen protested her innocence, claiming that she had not seen her husband for some time.

A brother gives evidence

Marie’s story may have sounded convincing at first, but blood stains on her clothes and the fact she had her husband’s purse in her possession would have raised considerable doubts. These would then have been confirmed by Connan’s statement that his sister had been asking him to kill her husband for seven months so that she could be free of him. He told the mayor of St Helier, “I am arrested for this crime. My sister should be also. We were together when the crime was committed.” He admitted to striking Pierre Leguen with a belt but claimed that because it was dark, he was unable to see what his sister, Marie, had been using to strike her husband at the same time.

When the case came to trial, Connan’s confession and accusation were used as evidence, and Pierre Leguen’s broken skull was placed on display in the court. The prosecution contended that Marie had lured her husband into the field and struck him on the head with a rock when he had fallen asleep, drunk. Connan had then struck him over the head, too, and thus they were both complicit in the murder. The 24 jury members agreed. Connan was sentenced to death, and Marie Lugen to 20 years penal servitude.

Connan’s execution was delayed for a month to give him the opportunity to petition the king for mercy, but the appeal was unsuccessful and Connan was hanged on 26 February 1907. He was the first man hanged in Jersey whose execution was not a public event.


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