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- Date 14 May 1752
The murder of Colin Roy Campbell of Glenure, the government-appointed Factor to the forfeited estates of the Stewart Clan in North Argyll, Scotland, was shot in the back by a marksman in the wood of Lettermore near Ballachulish. The murder took place six years after the battle of Culloden, when the Campbells were evicting Jacobites from their land on behalf of the government.
The search for the killer targeted the local Clan, the Jacobite Stewarts of Appin, who had recently suffered evictions on Campbell's orders. The main suspect, Allan Breck Stewart, escaped to France.
The chief suspect, Allan Stewart (or Alan Breck Stewart) having escaped, James Stewart (also known as Seumas a' Ghlinne [James of the Glen] and brother of Ardsheil), one of the last leaders of Stewarts, was arrested for the crime and tried for the murder. Although it was clear at the trial that James was not directly involved in the assassination (he had a solid alibi), he was found guilty "in airts and pairts" (as an accessory; an aider and abetter) by a jury consisting of people from the locality where the crime occurred. The presiding judge was pro-Hanoverian Archibald Campbell, 3rd Duke of Argyll, Chief of Clan Campbell; 11 Campbell clansmen were on the 15 man jury.
James Stewart was hanged at Ballachulish after being convicted as an accessory to the murder. The unsolved murder has become part of Scottish folklore. He was was forced to climb the 30ft high gibbet in a howling gale and torrential rain on 8 November and his bones left to hang for over two years until they fell off and disintegrated. The British Government ordered the bones to be rewired together and James' remains were hung again for a number of years, until gradually they fell off one by one.
The Appin murder shocked the country and was immortalised by writer Robert Louis Stevenson in his novel Kidnapped.
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