On This Day – August 7, 1913

When going through the many statements taken for the information of the coroner in connection with the murder, on August 7 last, of the old woodcutter, Richard Knight, outside his hut in the bush between Lilydale and Coldstream (says the Melbourne ‘Argus’). Detective-Sergeant Arthur and Detective Keily discovered certain discrepancies in the stories of several boys living in Coldstream. Information concerning their movements around the time of the murder was proffered in such a manner that many possibilities were presented, and in order to satisfy themselves that the boys were not purposely withholding certain facts, the two detectives yesterday returned from Melbourne to Coldstream. Each of the boys was seen, and though they all presisted in their previous statements, they were not able to explain whether certain of their actions were, due to a coincidence or otherwise. They could not be shaken in their first statement that they had not seen the old man after he was shot at, though one of them admitted having been at his hut just previous to the time when two residents of the neighbouring bush heard two shots fired in the direction of the hut. The boys were questioned separately, but they showed no signs of wavering, neither did their statements contradict each other. In view of this, the detectives came to the conclusion that it was useless prolonging the examination.  Unless something unforseen happens nothing more will now be done until the inquest, the date of which the coronor (Dr. Cole) will probably fix within the next few days.  Altogether, about 20 witnesses will be subpoenaed, as the police intend having everyone present who may possibly be able to assist the coroner in determining when, how, and by whom Knight was killed.

ON THIS DAY …….6th August 1938

After a retirement of four hours a jury in the Criminal Court found Edward Allan May aged 30, laborer, not guilty of having murdered Mrs. Yoland Joan Shirley Bordin aged 21, of Carlton, but guilty of manslaughter. He was remanded for sentence after having admitted to prior convictions, including a gaol sentence of five years for armed assault with intent to rob. Mrs. Bordin, who was living apart from her Italian husband, was found bleeding to death from a knife wound at Carlton early on this day in 1938. Some distance away was a long-bladed hunting knife.

ON THIS DAY …….6th August 1955

Domenic “Mick” Gatto was born on the 6th of August 1955. Mick is an Italian-Australian man widely suspected to be involved in the Melbourne underworld. Gatto is a ‘professional mediator’ within the building industry in Melbourne. He runs a company, Arbitrations and Mediations Pty Ltd and has an interest in the crane company, Elite Cranes. In 2004 Mick Gatto was charged with the murder of suspected underworld hitman Andrew Veniamin and remanded in custody for 18 months. He was found not guilty at trial, during which Gatto claimed he had acted in self-defence after Veniamin pulled out a .38 and threatened to kill him. Gatto claims that during a struggle he was able to turn the gun around on Veniamin and fire one shot into his neck, and one shot in the eye. He also claimed that during the argument, Veniamin had implicated himself in the deaths of Dino Dibra, Paul Kallipolitis and Graham Kinniburgh.

ON THIS DAY …….5th August 1947

Twin brothers were in the City Court on this day in 1947, one charged with attempted murder and the other with having conspired to murder. The charge followed the shooting of Keith Kitchener Hull, at St. Kilda on the 27th of July. The men are Charles Martin (26), of St. Kilda, who faced the charge of attempting to murder Hull, and Ernest Alfred James Martin, of South Yarra. who was charged with having conspired to murder Mrs. Thelma Hull, on the 30th of July.  George Barrett (34), of St. Kilda, was also charged with having attempted to murder Hull. Bail was refused on the attempted murder charge, but Ernest Martin was allowed bail. Detective H. R. Donnelly, in evidence, said that Hull would not tell the police who shot him. The accused were remanded to August 12.

ON THIS DAY …….5th August 1946

Bleeding from extensive knife wounds in the forearm, John Kickert, 65, Dutchman, staggered into a confectionery shop at Fairfield at 8pm, on this day in 1946, and slumped into a chair and died. The main arteries in Kickert’s arm had been severed and apparently he bled to death. As he entered the shop, Kickert produced a knife with a 16-inch razor-like blade and said to the proprietress, Mrs. Valda Wild, ‘Look, Miss.’ Police followed the trail of blood from the shop for more than 300 yards to a house in Gillies Street, where Kickert lived with his wife and daughter. They found the house in disorder. Every window in the house had been smashed, and there was evidence a violent struggle. They were told a quarrel had occurred between Kickert and a man. , Kickert had called at Mrs. Wild’s shop at 6.45pm. He was then bleeding from face and head injuries, arid alleged he had been beaten’ up. He asked Mrs. Wild to telephone, the police, and two con constables came to the shop. They then accompanied Kickert back to his home,, and police, thinking there would be no further trouble, left Kickert at the house. Later police were told that there was another quarrel in which Kickert received the death wound. Police are searching for a man.

 

ON THIS DAY …….5th August 1941

Ratcliff Lawson, aged 51 years, from Essendon, and his son, Peter, aged 20 years, were found dead on this day 1941, in a gas filled motor car at Kangaroo Ground, 25 mile, from Melbourne. Police believe that it is a case of murder and suicide. The father had a deep affection for his son, who was a patient in a mental hospital.

 

 

ON THIS DAY …….4th August 1863

A dreadful murder was perpetrated at Warrnambool on this day in 1863, by a prisoner called James Murphy, on a Constable named Daniel O’Boyle. The murder was committed in the Court house, while O’Boyle was stooping down it is presumed to light the fire in the room of the Clerk of Petty Sessions, Murphy struck the deceased, while in the stooping posture indicated, a blow on the right side of the head with a heavy stone hammer, which caused immediate insensibility—of which the prisoner took advantage in making his escape. O’Boyle who had just completed his 27th birthday only survived the attack twenty-two hours. The Warrnambool papers state that Murphy has been since apprehended, and is now lodged in the Geelong Gaol awaiting his trial for the murder.

Murphy was executed in the Geelong Gaol, the hangman William Bamford was an old mate and fellow convict ……… Could you hang your mate?

 

 

ON THIS DAY …….4th August 1945

Inquest into the death of 24-year-old WAAAF Corporal Vera Matilda Wiper, of Adelaide, was opened before Coroner Tingate today.

Corporal Wipers body, covered by an overcoat, was found by a milk carter at Auburn on July 15. Five women and two men who have been charged with her murder, were present in Court. They are: 56-year-old widow Ruby Carlos, and 26-year-old married woman Iris Carlos, both of South Yarra; 32-year-old married woman Lillian Halsinger, of Northcote; 25 year-old WAAAF Alice Pearson, and her mother, 49-year-old Josephine Pearson, of Auburn; 37-year-old assistant Health Inspector James Loughnan, of Richmond, and 25-year-old Flight-Lieut James Henry Greaves.

Flight-Sergeant Raymond Atkinson, R.A.A-F.. said that he went to the Pearson home about 8 p.m. on July 13. -Corporal Wiper was there, also Mr. and Mrs. Pearson and Loughnan. During the evening Corporal Wiper and Loughnan left, and he did not see her again. Soon after this evidence was given, Mrs. Ruby Carlos became ill and was absent from Court for a quarter of an hour. Dr. Wright Smith said that an autopsy revealed that death was due to shock following an attempted illegal operation. Corporal Wiper’s condition was advanced about four months. Death had taken place about 24 hours before he made his examination oh July 15.

 

ON THIS DAY …….3rd August 1931

Albert Jones, trapeze artist, was found guilty in General Sessions of the manslaughter of Konrad Erlesen, a Norwegian fireman, at Albert Park, on this day in 1931. The two men had been drinking together, and subsequently had a fight in which Erlesen was knocked down. The jury added a strong recommendation to mercy.

ON THIS DAY …….3rd August 1943

At the close of the inquest today into the death of Mrs Clarice Anasthasia White, 30, of Dawson st, Ballarat, Mr G. S. Catlow, coroner, committed the woman’s husband, Kenneth Geoffrey White, 34, fitter, for trial on a charge of murder. White was present in custody on a charge of having murdered his wife and having attempted to murder Jonathan Stephen Falla, 23, AIF soldier. Jonathan Stephen Falla said he was in bed with Mrs White, and was awakened about 5am by her saying something about getting up to see the time. She got up, and in the darkness he then heard a crash and the sound of a body falling. He sat up in bed, and next thing he knew was he was hit across the head with what he thought was a piece of wood. He did not know then nor could he identify now who it was who had hit him. He was hit several times on the face and stomach. He heard another crash, and started to walk to where he thought Mrs White must be lying on the floor, when he was confronted by a man with the razor. The man thrust at his throat. Witness lifted his left arm, which was in plaster, and the man hit the plaster with his arm at the same time as he cut the left side of his, witness’s, throat with the razor. The man, who had said nothing up till then, then said, “Lay down on the bed.” To Sup Jacobe Falla admitted that the only thing the man said to him was, “You’ll have a lot of explaining to do.” Falla said that he did not see Mrs White at all from the time she got up. He could not see what happened to her. In reply to Mr N. Boustead, Falla said he had only known Mrs White a week, and had gone to the house in response to her invitation.

ALLEGED STATEMENT TO POLICE Const M. O’Leary said that when he and Sen-const Brady went to the house at 5.20am White was in the passage. He said, “They are down there. I have done them up pretty bad. In the bedroom the dead woman was lying with her throat cut on both sides, and her body covered with a military overcoat. Falla was lying on the bed with a gash in his throat. White said, “I done it with a razor,” and produced a razor from his hip pocket. “I found them in bed together,” White continued, “and I intended to give them something to remember for life. She had been carrying on with men for several years. It has been preying on my mind, and I could not stand it any longer.” O’Leary said that White then told him he had left the house the previous afternoon to go back to his job at Ford’s at Geelong, but did not do so. He left pretending to go to the train, and his wife saw him off at the gate. He returned at 7pm, and through the kitchen window he saw his wife take a soldier in. About 9.30pm. they went into the bedroom. Then he went for a walk to try to ease his mind. He returned about 1.30am and stood in the backyard until 5 am, when he got in through the kitchen window. His wife’s bedroom door was locked. He went to the children’s room and told his daughter Carmel to call her mother, and she did so, saying, “Mummy, I’m sick.” Witness stood outside his wife’s bedroom door. The door opened and he struck the person on the head with a file. At that time he did not know who it was. He then made a swing at the soldier who was in the room. His wife caught hold of him, and he lost the grip on the file. He then turned around and slashed his wife’s throat with the razor. He then slashed the soldier with the razor on the left side of the neck, and sent his daughter for a neighbour to go for the police. Sen-det L. H. Thomas said he found the file in the bedroom. White said, “You don’t know what I have put up with. I have not been on friendly terms with my wife for 8 years. She left me and the children twice,” Witness said White told him that when he tried to strike the soldier with the file his wife caught hold of him and tried to stop him. “I could not throw her off,” White is alleged to have said, “and I took the razor from my pocket and cut her on the throat, and she dropped to the floor. Rather than see the soldier get off scot free I decided to give him a nick. I leaned over the side of the bed and gave him a nick with the razor.”  The coroner found that the woman’s death was due to the wounds inflicted by White, and committed him for trial on a charge of murder at the Ballarat Supreme Court on August 3.

 

ON THIS DAY…….2nd August 1924

The inquest into the death of Irene Tuckerman, who was found murdered at Caulfield on this day in 1924, was opened on September 17. Mr. Elsbury, for the Crown, said that suspicion rested in two-quarters, but it had been deemed advisable simply to bring the suspected persons before the Court, as witnesses, and to leave further action, to the coroner. Mr. W. S. Doris appeared for Thomas Cheshire, newsagent, of 200 Balaclava road, Caulfield, and Sir. Scott Murphy and Mr. Healy for the relatives of Irene Tuckerman, and for William Robinson, a boarder at the home of the child.  Mrs. Tuckerman, after having given evidence of the child’s disappearance, in cross examination by Mr. Elsbury, said that Irene had sold papers in Cheshire’s shop without her knowledge. She would not have allowed this had she known. The relations between her eldest son, Harold, and Irene were affectionate.  Robert Harold Tuckerman, baker, accounted for his movements on August 2. He denied that he had sent his sister to Cheshire’s shop. He had no quarrel with his sister, and denied that he had a bad temper.  William Robinson, gas-worker, was questioned by Mr. Klsbury as follows:— Between a quarter and half-past 11 o’clock on the night of August 2 did Irene Tuckerman not walk into the house?—Certainly not. I did not see her from the previous night.  I suggest that she entered by the back door before half-past 11 o’clock?—She did not. That she took her coat off?—She did not come home to take it off.  Have you ever heard Ivy Tuckerman say anything about Cheshire?—No. About the man in the paper-shop?—Yes, I have heard them say about getting papers there. Has Ivy ever said anything about the man in the paper shop?—I could not — I think she has- She has made a suggestion that when she went into his shop he closed the door and complained of draught. She got a bit frightened. What did he do to them?—I could not say. Oh, come on, sir, I have a statement here over your signature. The Coroner (addressing Robinson).— You are not impressing me at all. If you prevaricate again I will send you to gaol. I feel inclined to commit you for contempt of Court. Mr. Elsbury.—Did you make any statement to Detective O’Keefe as to what Ivy had told you regarding the man in the paper shop ? Witness.—Not that I remember. Did you say this: “I have not heard Irene Tuckerman complain about strange men speaking to her. I heard Ivy say that the man in the paper shop is a nasty man, that he would tickle them under the chin, and squeeze their hands, and would be unduly familiar with the young girls”?—That is what they told me John Francis O’Callaghan, tramway gripman, and Edmund Charles Phillips, tramway conductor, stated that on August 2, about half-past 1 o’clock, they saw Cheshire on a tram in Wellington street, St. Kilda with a girl dressed similarly to Irene Tuckerman. The couple alighted from the tram on the St. Kilda Esplanade and walked toward the beach. Detectives Piggott and Ethel detailed conversations with Cheshire, in which, they stated, Cheshire maintained his innocence of any part in the death of Irene Tuckerman. After interviews with a man, a woman, and a youth, they were satisfied that there was no ground for further action against those persons. Cheshire said that he was at his shop throughout August 2, though he closed it from half past 1 o’clock to half-past 4 o’clock. He closed at half-past 8 o’clock and slept at the shop that night. He rose at 9 o’clock on August 3, and went to his son’s place at Surrey Hills. The Tuckerman girls visited his shop occasionally to buy papers. He denied that he was on a tram with Irene Tuckerman on August 2. Cheshire was invited to give evidence but at the instance of his counsel he declined. The coroner committed Cheshire for trial on a charge of the murder of Irene Tuckerman.

 

ON THIS DAY……. 2nd August 1949

In the Ballarat Supreme Court, John Lilley, former licensee of the Commercial Hotel, Hopetoun, denied having kicked his wife in the head when he assaulted her at the hotel on this day in 1949, but admitted having struck her in the face and kicked her in the buttocks.  Lilley was giving evidence in his own defence.  After a retirement of 21 hours the jury found him not guilty of having murdered his wife Amelia Hilda Lilley and he was discharged by Mr Justice Martin. Mrs Lilley died in the Hopetoun hospital on August 12, 10 days after she had been assaulted.