On this day …….. 4th of December 1886
Dangerous circus elephant
Abu, the circus elephant which crushed a 22-year-old woman to death on Thursday, will not be destroyed. The owners of Ashton’s Circus were allowed to decide Abu’s future after Victorian authorities decided that they did not have the power to order it to be destroyed. Circus clown Miss Debbie Wirth, 22, was killed when Abu grabbed her in its trunk while she was walking with the elephant at the circus site in Vermont South. Circus part-owner Mr Mervyn Ashton, said: “It is everybody’s decision, including Debbie’s parents and her fiancé, Douglas Quay, not to destroy Abu. We’ve had a great deal of support from a hell of a lot of local people who have come asking us to let Abu stay in the circus.” The Victorian Minister for Agriculture, Mr Kent, said existing legislation did not cover incidents in which circus animals killed an attendant.