Infant Murder

ON THIS DAY…… 1st September 1885

A young woman named Martha Jane Heffer, in the employ of Mr. H. M. Sutherland, of the Commercial Bank, Dandenong, was arrested on a charge of having wilfully murdered her female infant, whose body was found in the Dandenong Creek on this day in 1885. While being escorted to the lock up by Mounted-constable Mills the girl admitted that she was the mother of the child. At the lock-up also she confessed to having taken the child and thrown it into the creek about a fortnight ago at 4 o’clock in the morning, and added that she did not know what she was doing. At the inquest, Dr. Moore, who made the post-mortem examination, deposed that the cause of death was strangulation by a neckerchief being tightly tied round the neck not less than 10 minutes after the child had been born, and breathed strongly. A verdict of wilful murder was returned against the prisoner, who was there upon committed to take her trial at the Melbourne Criminal Sessions on September 15. During the inquiry she seemed to be quite oblivious as to what was going on.”