Murder of Father

ON THIS DAY ……. 12th April 1942

MORDIALLOC

Leslie Edward Mansfield, aged 15, said to his mother after he had shot his father twice in the dining room of their home in Mordialloc on this day in 1942, “Now go to sleep, mum, you will have some peace.”

Mansfield was charged with murder to which he pleaded not guilty, but the trial came to an abrupt end when Mansfield’s counsel announced that the boy was willing to plead guilty to manslaughter if the murder charge was withdrawn. The Crown concurred. Mr Sproule said that Mansfield’s father had not been in the best of health, frequently came home drunk and was abusive and violent to his wife. Dr Clarence Godfrey, psychiatrist, said that the boy had a great attachment for his mother to the exclusion of all others. Mr Justice Gavan Duffy said it was a horrible case. “One cannot help feeling deep sympathy with the boy,” he said. “There was no possibility of his being treated in the ordinary manner.” The jury found Mansfield guilty of manslaughter and added a strong recommendation to mercy.