From Castlebar - County Mayo -

Sir Patrick Quinn - Famous Detective
By Alan King
22, Dec 2013 - 20:53

After seeing an earlier posting ‘Knights of the Realm', [on the Nostalgia Board] - I had a visit to the Library from a person who told me about an ancestor of theirs who was knighted and who had been a famous Detective.

The man in question, Patrick Quinn was born in 1855 and came from Castlecarra where he still has a large extended family in the region. After emigrating to England, he joined the police force and quickly rose up through the ranks of the Criminal Investigation Dept (CID) of Scotland Yard. He became the Head in 1903, succeeding another Catholic Irishman William Melville from Sneem, Co. Kerry who went on to become the first Chief of the British Secret Service, forerunner of MI5 with the code name "M".

Quinn had the task of investigating and suppressing anarchists who were involved in all sorts of plots against the British Government. He was then tasked with the role of protecting the Royal family and other Heads of State that visited Britain. During the funeral of King George V, his duty was to guard eight Monarchs that attended. One of his celebrated cases was that of Richard Pigott, a Journalist who in an effort to destroy Charles Stewart Parnell's career, produced fake letters, which purported that Parnell had supported one of the Phoenix Park murders.

The Times bought Pigott's forgeries for £1,780 and published the most damning letter in 1887. With the help of Quinn, it was proven that the letters were forgeries. Pigott shot himself before he could be arrested and Parnell sued successfully winning £5000 in damages. Quinn was knighted in 1919 and received numerous other awards such as the highest decoration from France; the Legion of Honour and other awards from Spain, Italy, Russia, Sweden and Greece. He died in June 1936 and was buried in London.

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