Richmond Shooting Tragedy

On This Day – August 9, 1907

The adjourned inquest in connection with the death of John Colin Cunningham, engine-driver, 34 years of age, who was shot at Richmond on the night of 9th August, was continued at the Morgue on 22nd August before City Coroner, Mr Candler.

William Lewis, the young man who is alleged to have shot Cunningham, was present in custody. He is at present on remand, charged with that he did feloniously, wilfully, and of his own malice aforethought, kill and murder one John Colin Cunningham, at Richmond on 9th August last.  Lewis was represented by Mr Crouch.

Annie May Cunningham, widow of deceased, said that she knew nothing of the man Lewis, save what she had heard her husband say about him. She knew of no ground of quarrel between them. Dr. Mollison, Government pathologist, stated that death was due to gangrenous peritonitis, the result of a gunshot wound in the abdomen. The wound was necessarily fatal. The bullet produce! was the one taken from the body of deceased. Witness had weighed the bullet, and also another bullet handed to him by the police. There was a difference of half a grain in the weights, but no other difference. Constable W. Patterson, stationed at South Richmond, said that at half-past 10 on the night of 9th August he was on duty in Swan street, and was informed that a man had shot himself. Witness went to Stevenson street, about fifty yards from Cubitt street, and saw deceased lying across the footway on his right side. Another man, named Thomas Girdson, was present. Girdson said, “Here he is, constable.” Witness went over and asked deceased what the matter was. He replied, “For Christ’s sake, get me out of this pain.” Witness asked ” deceased his name, and what happened. He said, “I’ve been shot.” Witness asked him if he knew the name of the man who shot him, and he replied, “No; but you know him.” Witness rang up for the ambulance, and took deceased to the Melbourne Hospital. The witness then produced the clothes worn by deceased on the night that he was shot. They were rough working clothes. There were two holes in the vest, where the bullet had passed through and there were corresponding holes in the shirt and undershirt.