ON THIS DAY – December 25, 1888

At the Melbourne Supreme Court, John Anglin was charged with the murder of his wife, Jemima Caroline, by shooting her at the residence of her brother in law, Mr Herbert John Rhodes, Inglesby road, Camberwell, on the 25th December. Anglin had been married to his wife for nine years before the murder. The accused was always exceedingly jealous of his wife, and strange and eccentric in his behaviour towards her, labouring under some delusion concerning her faithfulness. In consequence of that delusion, he used to strike her, and treated her abominably. She had ultimately to leave him, owing to his violence and jealously, mid supported herself by teaching music. At the time of the murder she was stopping with her sister, Mrs. Rhodes, at Camberwell. The prisoner called at the place on Christmas Day, and said he wanted to see his children Mr Rhodes ordered him away, and, as he did not leave, went to the yard and took an axe, with the view of frightening the prisoner away. On Mr Rhodes reappearing at the door with the axe in his hand, the accused shot at him, and on Mrs. Anglin coming out of the dining room into the passage to ascertain the cause of the discharge of firearms the prisoner shot her also, and followed her into the house, where he shot her again one of the bullets entering the lungs and causing her death. The accused then went away, and on being arrested said “I suppose I will be hung for this.” The frequent strange demeanour and behaviour of Anglin towards his wife would render it necessary for the jury to consider whether the prisoner was labouring under a delusion and was to some extent out of his mind, or whether he was sane and conscious of the awful deed he was committing when he murdered his wife. The remark which the accused made on being arrested went a long way to a reasonable man to show that he knew what he was doing when he killed his wife. Anglin received 16 years at Pentridge Prison. On passing sentence his Honour remarking that the question which they would have to consider was not whether the prisoner murdered his wife, but merely whether he was sane or insane at the time.