Sir Arthur Vicars is executed by the IRA in Kerry. Vicars, who played a pivotal (and probably negligent) role in the theft of the Irish Crown Jewels in 1907, was executed by the IRA. Born in England, Vicars spent most of his life in Ireland where he was Custodian of the Irish Crown Jewels at the time they were stolen. Vicars was dismissed from his post as a result. The jewels have never been found.
The IRA’s claim that Vicar’s was informing are disputed by his Valet Michael Murphy. Murphy in his own words was “associated with the IRA” and became a Captain in the Irish Army following Independence. In a statement he gave to the Bureau of Military history in 1955, he states “I do not believe he (Vicars) was a spy or got a fair trial.”
In May 1920 up to a hundred armed men broke into Kilmorna House and held Vicars at gunpoint while they attempted to break into the house’s strongroom. On 14 April 1921, he was taken from Kilmorna House which was set alight and shot dead in front of his wife. According to the communique issued from Dublin Castle, thirty armed men took him from his bed and shot him, leaving a placard around his neck denouncing him as an informer. On 27 April, as an official reprisal, four shops were destroyed by Crown Forces in the town of Listowel. The proclamation given under Martial law and ordering their demolition also stated:
For any outrage carried out in future against the lives or property of loyalist officials, reprisals will be taken against selected persons known to have rebel sympathies, although their implication has not been proved.