Nineteenth century newspaper accounts of a murder committed by an inmate of a Scottish asylum

Robin Ion, Samantha Pegg, James Moir

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This study explores an incident from the late nineteenth century in which an inmate at the Royal Dundee Lunatic Asylum murdered a fellow patient while working in the hospital grounds. The incident was reported extensively in the local press in the days following the event. Analysis of these reports reveals a picture, which while recognisable to the twenty-first century newspaper reader, does however depart from contemporary media reporting in some important ways. We argue that while the image of the unpredictable dangerousness of the lunatic has a long history and is deeply embedded in popular conceptions of mental disorder, shaping public perceptions of those with mental illnesses, it is the manner in which this is presented by the media that has bearing upon how the case is understood by wider society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-175
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology
Issue number2
Early online date31 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2014


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