Murder of Constable Johnston

On This Day – October 13, 1902


At about 11.00 am on Sunday, 13th October, 1902 Constable Johnston, who was off duty at his home at Elwood, responded to a neighbour’s complaint that a man tried to abduct his 8 year old daughter. Johnston immediately set off in pursuit and located the man in Milton Street, Elwood. The suspect, George Shaw, had a lengthy criminal record, and unbeknown to Johnston was a prime suspect for the murder of Constable Guilfoyle in Redfern, NSW, some months previously. When Johnston approached him, Shaw produced a revolver and fired. Fatally wounded, Johnston died within minutes. Shaw committed suicide at the intersection of Chapel Street and Rosamond Street a short time later.

A Constable was shot dead at St Kilda on the 13th of October 1902 by a man, apparently of the criminal class, who afterwards committed suicide. From a resemblance the man bears to a photograph of Shaw, the man who is wanted for the murder of Gullfoyle, the Sydney police have been unable to find an officer to view the body. It appears Mrs. Allen sent her daughter Caroline, aged 9, with a younger sister, and a baby for a walk. The children were accosted by a man who under promises induced them to go to a secluded spot and began to tamper with Caroline, but the approach of a passer-by caused him to desist, and the younger girl getting frightened ran home and informed her mother. Mrs. Allen hastened out and met Caroline coming back with the man wheeling, the perambulator, and she taxed him with having molested the children. He walked off and the police were Informed. Constable Johnson mounted his bicycle and went in pursuit, and on coming up to the man he presented a revolver and shot Johnson dead, the bullet going through the heart. Some people witnessed the murder, but dared not stop the man, who threatened them; another police officer was informed what had occurred, and went after the murderer, who as soon as the officer appeared stabbed himself with a penknife, and then drawing his revolver shot himself dead.

MELBOURNE, October 14.

The constable, from Sydney has inspected the body of the murderer of Constable Johnston, and states the body is not that of Shaw.