ON THIS DAY – July 31, 1922

In the Malvern Police Court Robert Albert Scott, a French polisher, was charged with having, at Malvern, on July 31 shot Marie Dorothy Victoria Frith, a widow, aged 32 years, with intent to murder her.

Marié Dorothy Victoria Frith said that she had known Scott for about 14 months. They had been on friendly terms. On the evening of July 31 she met him by appointment at the Malvern Town Hall, and they walked along High-street until they came to a seat near the reserve at the corner of Edgar-street, where they sat down. In reply to a request by Scott that he should be allowed to continue to meet her witness said : “No, we have talked the matter over before and I am still of the same mind. I do not wish to talk about it any more.” Scott was silent for a few minutes. He then said: “Well if I can’t have you no one will. This ends it.” He drew a revolver and fired at her. The shot missed. Witness ran to the middle of the road. He then pointed the revolver at her face and fired four shots. She put up her left arm to shield her face. She thought that two shots entered her arm. She cried out: “What are you shooting me for? Stop shooting me.”

Witness noticed about half a dozen people standing on the footpath. A carrier’s van passed. The carrier looked out at the side and slowed down, but he passed on. Nobody came to her assistance. Scott said: “What are you making all this fuss about, you silly woman?” He then drew the revolver again and fired about four more shots. . He hit witness three times. One shot was in the left arm, which she had again put up to protect her face. She said to Scott: “You said that you would not shoot again” He said: “I intend to finish you.” Witness tried to run to the road again, but he grabbed her by the hair and threw her to the ground. Scott fired again, the bullet striking witness in the neck. Witness struggled with her arms over her face and another shot struck her in the elbow. She was trying to scream, but could not, as blood was flowing from her mouth freely. Scott took her further down the paddock and sat her down against a fence in a lane, saying: “Now don’t you move.” He then went to look for witness’s hat and glasses, and returned with the hat. Witness felt very weak and was in great pain. She was bleeding freely from the neck and arm. Scott next took her by the arm, and she said “Now let me get home. Will you stop following me any more? Will you stop shooting me?” They walked towards her home and be held her by the arm. She was holding his other hand so that he could not use the revolver. They walked up Tooronga-road to Wattle Tree-road, where witness resides. He said to her: “Will you promise me not to inform the police or tell anyone?” She said: “No, I will not tell the police.” Witness was terrified. He said “Will you meet me on Wednesday night?” Witness said “Yes,” not meaning, however, to keep her promise. He kissed her goodnight and said again. “Will you meet me on Wednesday night?” .She answered “Yes” and then said suddenly “There is your tram,” and left him. Witness complained to Mr and Mrs. M’Call, where she was boarding. Subsequently she was taken to the hospital. Scott was committed for trial.

ON THIS DAY – July 27, 1947

A slim, blue-eyed blonde, smartly dressed in a light brown coat, Dulcie Markham, of Fawkner Street, St. Kilda, appeared in the City Court this morning charged with conspiracy to murder. It was alleged that at St. Kilda on July 31, she conspired with Ernest Alfred James Markham to murder Valma Edith Hull, wife of Keith Kitchener Hull, who was wounded in St. Kilda on July 27. Mr. J. Galbally, who appeared for Dulcie Markham said she went voluntarily to Russell Street on Saturday and said, “If there is any charge, I am here to answer it.” Mrs. Markham was remanded to the St. Kilda Court on August 15. Bail was fixed at £300, with a £300 surety.

ON THIS DAY – JULY 7, 1948

CHARGED with having wounded Francis Gerald Ryan with intent to murder him, Eugene Francis Fitzpatrick, medical practitioner, of Como pde, Mentone, appeared before the Geelong City Court yesterday. He pleaded not guilty. Ryan, a fish merchant, of Derby st, Kensington, said that he and George Sevior went to Barwon Heads on July 6, and soon afterwards went to see Dr and Mrs Fitzpatrick, whom he had known for six or seven years, and who invited them to have tea with them. After tea he and Sevior, with the Fitzpatricks, went to his (Ryan’s) house and had some liquor. Later Mrs Fitzpatrick remarked that the doctor had had too much liquor, and should go to bed. Ryan offered to take the doctor home. After showing some resentment Fitzpatrick was assisted to the back door of his house. Mrs Fitzpatrick had remained behind so that her husband might drop off to sleep before she went in. Ryan returned home, and soon afterward, as he and Mrs Fitzpatrick were talking, he heard a row and a gunshot at the back of the house. He went to the back door and was shot in the right elbow.


To Mr R. V. Monahan, KC (for Fitzpatrick), Ryan said that he and the doctor were great friends, and no reason was given for the doctor wanting “to harm him.

George Francis Sevior, fish hawker, of Altona, said he went to bed about midnight. Ryan rushed into his room and said, “Get up quickly. Someone is shooting through the back door.” He heard several shots. Ryan went to the back door. A shot was fired, and Ryan was shot. He heard five shots fired.


Senior-constable Simpson said he was called at 2am on July 7 by Ryan, who was accompanied by Sevior and Mrs Fitzpatrick. Five minutes later he heard a noise on the front verandah, and Fitzpatrick called out, “Open the door. I know Ryan is here. Come out, Ryan, you aren’t going to do that to me and get away with it.” Through the door he asked Fitzpatrick what was the matter. Fitzpatrick replied, “Let me in. I’ve shot Ryan, and I’ll shoot him again.” Witness opened the door and saw Fitzpatrick holding a gun. He seized him and took the gun away. At the Geelong detective office Fitzpatrick, when told that Ryan had been shot, said he “could not remember a thing about it.” The hearing was adjourned.

ON THIS DAY – June 14, 1913


Few more remarkable cases have come before the Criminal Court than that which was heard in Melbourne on June 14, when Elizabeth Louisa Barry, aged 28 years, an employee in a tearoom in “The Block,” and Clarice Cowell, aged 20, a saleswoman at Cole’s Book Arcade, were charged before Mr. Dwyer, P.M., at the City Court, with having conspired to murder Florence May Ring. Mrs. King, Who lives at Ascotvale, and who is the wife of a clerk in the parcels office, at Flinders street station, when interviewed on the previous day, told an extraordinary story. “On Saturday night, June 7,” she said, “a strange woman knocked at my front door, and explained that she had brought a parcel for me from my husband’s sister. I took her inside, and the parcel contained blouses for myself and a jumper for my little baby, Bruce. She complained of not having had any tea, though it was after 8 o’clock at night. My little, boy jumped out of bed and ran into the dining room to us. The woman at once declared that she did not like children. I then took her into the breakfast-room, and set the table to give her some tea. My little boy meanwhile played about the house. She gave him a date cream, but he did not eat it. She begged me to join her in the tea, and I poured myself out a cup. When I did this she looked at Bruce and said, ‘It’s time you were in bed.’ I took the hint, and carried him into his room, being only away from the woman for a few minutes. “When I returned she was still eating, and, on sitting down at the table again, “I noticed that my tea, which did not contain milk, had a peculiar scum floating on the top of it.” I sipped it, “and remarked, “What a horrible bitter taste this tea has.’ I noticed a peculiar pink powder around the cup on the tray cloth, and I at once be came suspicious. This, with the bitter taste of the tea, prompted me not to touch it, and when the woman went away, soon afterwards, I left it on the table just as it was until my husband came home from work. I then told him of my suspicions. On the Monday following my husband took the powder to the Government analyst, who stated that it contained enough strychnine to poison ten men. “On Tuesday I went to Cole’s Book Arcade, and asked for a young-woman assistant there, and when she came I said to her, ‘I am not dead yet.’ She said, ‘I don’t understand you.’ I replied, ‘No; but you will before long.’ Then I went to the Detective Office, and told them exactly what I am saying now. “I have only one woman enemy in the world, and she will be so until I die. About six weeks ago Cowell came to the house, and almost banged the front door in. When I went to the front she was standing with her back to the fence, and, of course, we had a fight. Blows were struck, and the woman fainted. Then my husband said for his sake to bring her inside. I did, and when she recovered we continued the fight in the dining-room. She pulled my hair out, and the silk blouse she was wearing was torn to pieces, and before she was able to leave the place I had to patch it together for her. My husband first met her 12 months ago. He is in a position at the window in the parcels office, where he is meeting strange people all day.” As a result of allegations similar to the above the arrests were made. A distressing scene occurred when the accused women were brought into court. They were weeping hysterically, and their cries could be heard beyond the precincts of the courtroom. Eventually they were both in a state of collapse. Detective Napthine stated that he had obtained a confession from Barry that she had conspired with Cowell to poison Mrs. King. Cowell admitted afterwards to him that this was true. She told the detective that King had ruined her, and had absolutely broken her heart.  A remand was granted till June 20, and the women were then sent to the gaol hospital for treatment.

ON THIS DAY – May 15. 1916


As the outcome of a shooting affray at Ironbark, Bendigo on May 15, Adrian Arthur Percy Lakeman, aged 21 years, a pastrycook, was charged at the Bendigo Court today with shooting his stepfather, Arthur James Main, with intent to murder. Main said he had only a hazy recollection of what occurred, as he was mad with drink. Evidence was given by several witnesses that the shots were fired by Lakeman in defence of his mother The accused was discharged.

ON THIS DAY – May 12, 1945



Edward George Carr, 36, of Chilwell, Geelong, labourer, was committed for trial on a charge of having inflicted grievous bodily harm on James George McKenna, of Geelong, on May 12. Carr had originally been charged with having wounded McKenna with intent to murder, but, after hearing evidence, the Bench put him on the lesser charge.

ON THIS DAY – May 12, 1919



Henry Stokes, was charged with having wounded, with intent to murder, Henry Slater, in Little Collins-Street on May 12, was granted bail by Mr. Justice Hood. Slater is in the Melbourne Hospital as a result of having been shot with a revolver. Bail was refused by the City Court Bench last week, and on the same day an application was made to Mr. Justice Hood, who then declined to grant bail. This afternoon a further application was made, and this was supported by fresh affidavits. Stokes, in an affidavit, stated that immediately after his arrest, he informed the police that he acted in self-defence in an encounter with Slater. Mr. Justice Hood granted bail, which was fixed at the accused’s surety of £L000, and one surety of £1,000, or two of £500 ea. It was made a condition of the bail that the accused should report to the detective office each day.

On This Day – May 9th, 1889

On May 9th, 1889, a man named Walter Brooks, an insurance agent, attempted to murder a woman with whom he had been living, named Matilda Thompson, at Earl-street, North Carlton.  Brooks was charged with wilful trespass at the house of Mrs Thompson’s son the week before. He went to gaol, and was liberated on the 8th of May.

On the morning of the 9th of May, he again went to the house of Mrs Thompson’s son, in Earl street, and knocked at the door.  He was refused admittance, and immediately placed a small six chambered revolver at the keyhole and fired two shots. A young woman, named Emily Spooner who was in the house with Mrs Thompson, and on hearing the shot she rushed out the back door. Brooks met her at the door as she was going out, and rushed into the house. Mrs Thompson was in the front room, and Brooks went to where she was and caught her by the neck and threw her across his knees and threatened to blow her brains out, at the same time placing the revolver at her head. At this moment Mrs Liddy, who is the landlady of the house, and Constables Reidy and Lowry, who had been attracted by the sound of the gunshot, arrived on the scene, and Brooks, who was struggling with Mrs Thompson, released her and let her go to answer the door. As soon as the door was opened Mrs Thompson rushed out. Brooks followed her to the door, and on seeing the constables drew back and closed the door.

Almost immediately, another shot was heard, and on the police entering the property, they found the man lying on a bed in the bedroom, with the revolver clutched in his hand, whilst the blood was flowing profusely from his mouth and nose.

In the deceased’s hand was found a portrait of Mrs Thompson, and also a letter in which he stated that he and Mrs Thompson had been living together as man and wife for some time. All was alright until about three weeks ago when she had neglected his children, which were by his late wife, and had then left him. He stated that he loved her better than his soul and intended to murder her and then commit suicide, and prayed that God would assist him to complete it.

On this Day – April 11, 1914


By the train which arrived at Ballarat at 3 o’clock on Tuesday from Linton, James Williams came under escort as a prisoner, charged with the attempted murder at Linton on Monday afternoon of Sarah Bass. He had been brought before Mr. F. Kennedy, J.P., and remanded to appear at Ballarat next Tuesday. Williams was lodged in the Ballarat gaol. Sergeant Rogerson states that Williams told him he came from Bite Bite station, in the Ararat district, some days ago, and, beyond giving his name, refused to say anything further.

It appears that Mr. C. McCook, manager of the Mount Bute estate, near Linton, engaged Williams as a general hand, to start work on Tuesday, but on Monday Williams was required to relieve another member of the staff, who had gone to the races. By direction he drove to Linton and brought the mail in. About a quarter past four, after inquiring of Archibald McCook, 12, and Clarice McCook, 13, son and daughter of the manager, if their parents were at home, and receiving a negative reply, Williams learned from the children that the housekeeper, Sarah Bass, was in the kitchen, and he walked in that direction. Soon after this Williams was seen approaching the men’s hut, from the direction of the homestead. He was holding his head with his hands, saying, “My poor head is splitting.” It was then discovered that Miss Bass was badly cut on the head, and was lying unconscious in the kitchen. Williams was secured and handed over to the police.

To-day (Tuesday) Miss Bass is cheerful, and appears to be out of danger. One wound at the back of her neck is four inches long, and required six stitches to be inserted by Dr. Donaldton. There are four other wounds in the back of the head, three exposing the bone, which was also cut. Miss Bass states that Williams asked her for a drink of hot milk and water as he had heartburn. She supplied him, and he called for a second drink. While he was getting this she saw Williams take down a butcher’s meat chopper from the wall, but she did not guess his purpose. Immediately afterwards she received a blow on the back of the neck, and remembered no more until some time afterwards.


Charged with the attempted murder of Constable Hutchison at Whitfield, North East Victoria, on the 22nd February, Joseph McFarlane, 38, a rabbit trapper was remanded by the City Court, Wangaratta. The prosecuting officer alleged that Constable Hutchison tried to arrest McFarlane, the latter grabbed a gun and shot him in the leg. McFarlane was handcuffed by two men, but managed to escape into the bush and was not seen again until April 28 when he was arrested at Trafalgar. The wounded was still in Wangaratta Base Hospital.

ON THIS DAY – February 18, 1919

A most determined attempt was made on the life of Edward Whiting, an ex pugilist, in the early hours on this day in 1919. No fewer than six revolver bullets were found embedded in his head when he was examined at St Vincent’s Hospital, and only the possession of an exceptionally thick skull saved his life. Whiting refuses to give information to the police regarding the identity of his assailants. He merely states that four or five men were concerned in the affair. He was fired at when lying in bed. A few years earlier a similar attempt was made on his life.


ON THIS DAY – February 12, 1891

Mr Aveson, was charged with the attempted murder of Mr Haware, the the jeweller, at the Davy diggings, on this day in 1891. Aveson after finding his wife in bed with Haware attacked him with a tomahawked. Haware, whoever failed to appear in court, it was believed he has left the colony.. The case against Aveson were withdrawn.