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Nursing Home

This is where I was born, at 40 Upper Fitzwilliam Street (yellow door), in 1944. The original nursing home was set up in 1916 by the Misses Foody, who ran it until it was taken over in 1935 by Mrs. Annie Fennelly, who ran it until 1955, after which it ceased to be a nursing home.

It is now an English language school run by the Horner family.

You can't always be sure who you share your birthplace with and that is particularly the case when it comes to a nursing home.

Edward Francis Allen Preston Ball was born in 40 Fitzwilliam Street Upper on 9 May 1916. As the nursing home was only opened in 1916 he must have been among the first babies to be born there.

Almost exactly 20 years later on 17 February 1936 he murdered his mother with a hatchet at her home in St. Helen's Road, Booterstown and dumped her body in the sea at the bottom of Corbawn Lane, Shankill.

His defence was fiendishly clever. He claimed his mother had committed suicide by slitting her own throat with a safety razor blade and that to protect her public image he had disposed of the body. This meant that all the evidence of bloodstains in the house, and on his clothes, and in his mother's car and the proof of his being at the coast in Corbawn lane on the night, instead of undermining his story only served to confirm it. Had he continued denying knowing anything of his mother's whereabouts, which he did in the beginning, this evidence would have convicted him straight away. As it was, the main evidence against him seems to have been that he and his mother were constantly rowing and a hatchet was found in the garden shed with the mother's bloodstains on it..

On 23 May 1936 he was found "guilty but insane" and committed to Dundrum Mental Asylum, where he spent 14 years. He died in 1987.

As far as I know, his mother's body was never found.

If the defence lawyer lost out on that one, Edward's lawyer had better luck when it came to passing on the Ma's estate. If Edward had simply been found guilty of murder he would have forfeited claim to his mother's estate. But the lawyer argued successfully that a "guilty but insane" verdict was equivalent to a "not guilty" verdict and Edward got the dosh.

I'll be back if I find any other interesting births at No. 40.

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