ON THIS DAY…….2nd August 1904

An inquest was held at the Morgue yesterday morning concerning the death of a newly born male child whose body was found on August 2 on a vacant allotment near Howe crescent, South Melbourne. The child is fully developed and had been killed by being strangled with a piece of string which was tied round the neck.

There were (in the opinion of Mr J Brett MRCS who made a post mortem examination) evidence that skilled attention had been given to the mother when the child was born. The Coroner (Dr H Cole) recorded a verdict of wilful murder by some person or persons unknown. Detectives Bannon and Mercer are making enquiries into the case.

ON THIS DAY…… 1st August 1948

Norman Hurley, a 19-year-old orphan, who was battered on the head and thrown alive into the Maribyrnong River, near Flemington Racecourse on this day in 1948, was the victim of one of the most brutal and callous premeditated murders in recent years. It was disclosed that Hurley was struck four times with a heavy instrument and dragged along the embankment for about 20 yards before he was thrown into the river from a concrete jetty. The house nearest the place where he was murdered is across the river and about half a mile away. It has been established also that Hurley had been studying car advertisements in newspapers recently, but it is not certain whether he wrote any letters to prospective car, salesmen.  Eric Stanley Jacobi, 44, tractor driver, of Gordon st, Footscray, appeared in the City Court yesterday and was remanded.

ON THIS DAY…… 1st August 1925

At the City Court, Melbourne, yesterday two men were charged with murder appeared and were remanded. Cyrus Braby, charged with the murder of William Southwick, estate and commission agent, at South Yarra on August 1, was remanded till Wednesday, pending the inquest to be held to-morrow.

Cyrus Braby arrested on Sunday, and charged with the murder of William Southwick at South Yarra, was brought before the City Court yesterday, and remanded until August 10.

Braby, dirty and unkempt, stared vacantly round the court during the proceedings, and seemed to take no interest in what was going on. Constable West, in reply to a question by Mr. C. Burnet, said that the police had no doubt that the accused was quite mad.

A charge of vagrancy was withdrawn, and Braby will bo submitted to mental observation in gaol.

Constable West gave evidence of the arrest of accused. After the discovery of the body, the police had evidence that about noon on Saturday a violent argument took place between the dead man and accused, after which Southwick was not again seen alive.  Accused, when arrested, was sleeping.

BRABY’S YOUTH.

Martin Braby, father of Cyrus Braby is 73 years of age, and was formerly a Justice of the peace at Ravenswood goldfields, Queensland, and at Eskdale, Victoria, where he was wellknown as a storekeeper.

Braby said his son, the youngest of four, left Victoria on active service in 1916, the most youthful member of the Heavy Siege Artillery. Being only 19 years of age, he had special permission from the Minister of Defence Mr. Pearce to join this, section of the A.I.F., as he desired to take the place of a brother who, being then in the Garrison Artillery, would have left with the heavies, but was killed by a tram just before the outbreak of the war.

ON THIS DAY……. 1st August 1953

Two men were charged in the City Court on this day in 1953 with the murder of Ernest Clarkson, 69, of Gordon-avenue, Tecoma. Charged were two Cypriots, Vassos Socratous, 24, of Flemington-road, North Melbourne, and Lenndras Yiannakou, 39, of Rathdown street, Carlton. Both men were remanded to the City Court on  the 11th of August. He refused bail. Clarkson, chief steward of the Royal Melbourne Golf Club was found dead on the promises in Cheltenham-road, Black Rock, on this day in 1953. He had been battered about the head.  Senior . Detective Graham Davidson told the Court that Clarkson’s body was found on the floor of the golf club’s locker room. Police took possession of a bloodstained hammer. Davidson said the men in the dock were detained and questioned early today. They had made admissions before being charged.. Socratous is a short slim man with dark, curly hair. He was neatly dressed, Yiannakou is taller and is heavily built, with black, woolly hair, and olive complexion.

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 31, 1943

On a charge of murder, Cecil John Freeman, a fiddler, was committed for trial by the City Coroner. Freeman appeared in custody at the inquest on Ian Gordon Jeffrey, 25, who was injured in a disturbance on July 31 and died in hospital on August 4. Police alleged that Freeman said he attacked Jeffrey because he was paying attention to Mrs. Freeman.

ON THIS DAY – July 30, 1947

When acquaintances of Allan William Paul Rose, poultry farmer, of Seamore Road, Box Hill, entered his house on July 30, last, they found him dead with his skull battered as a result of 17 injuries. Today, Alexander Arthur Fleming (28), of Cairo Road, Box Hill, builder’s laborer, was charged with having murdered Rose. The case came before Mr. Justice McFarlan and jury in the Criminal Court. Among exhibits was a piece of iron about 18 inches in length. The Crown alleged that this was the weapon which was used to batter Rose’s skull. Mr. Sproule, K.C., for the Crown, said Rose lived by himself in a little cottage in a rather isolated portion of the street. On Tuesday, July 29, he was seen going to the pictures in Box Hill, as was his custom of a Tuesday night. This was the last time he was seen alive by anyone except his assailant. About 10 o’clock next morning a man called at Rose’s house and saw a hat under the hedge. He received no answer to his call. Later in the day he called again, and found the works of a wristlet watch on the concrete drive. The watch had stopped at 11.20 o’clock. With another man, he entered the house. He found Rose dead on the floor, which was covered with blood. Mr. Sproule said that when Fleming was first questioned by the police, he admitted borrowing £2 from Rose. Later, to Detective Mooney, Fleming said: “Yes, I did it and I admit it.” Mr. Sproule said Fleming made a statement to the police in which he allegedly said he approached Rose on the night of July 29 with a request for a loan, which was refused. The alleged statement described a fight between Rose and Fleming. In the statement, Fleming said he struck Rose a couple of times with an iron bar. When Rose refused to lend him money he “did his block.” The case was adjourned until tomorrow.

ON THIS DAY – July 30, 1993

A body found in Melbourne’s outer south-east on Friday night was that of the missing Frankston school girl Natalie Jayne Russell, 17, police confirmed yesterday.

Detective Chief Inspector Peter Halloran, of the Homicide Squad, said there were similarities between the killing and the stabbing murders of two women in the Frankston area in the last seven weeks. “Examinations show that she died as a result of stab wounds or knife wounds to the upper body,” Inspector Halloran said. “At this early stage we are open-minded about it but there are similarities between this and the two recent murders,” he said. Debbie Fream, a 22-year-old mother, was found slain in the area three weeks ago, and the body of an 18-year-old student, Elizabeth Anne-Marie Stevens, was discovered in June. Both died as a result of stab wounds.Inspector Halloran said there were no signs of sexual assault in any of the three killings. Natalie Russell’s body was found by two State Emergency Service workers at about 11pm on Friday night in a heavily wooded area. She was lying face down, in thick scrub about 3m from a bike track. About 150 detectives door-knocked almost 5000 houses in the Frankston area yesterday, as part of Operation Pulsar, in relation to the murder of Debbie Fream and the other crimes.

ON THIS DAY – July 29, 1949

Following the finding of Mrs. Mary Rebecca Woodbury (47) lying on the floor of the bathroom of her home in Egmont street, Benalla, with fatal throat wounds, caused by a blade razor, detectives early to-day arrested Denis Woodbury (47), and charged him with the murder of his wife. On arrival at the house yesterday, the police said there were signs of a struggle in several rooms, and that a handle had been broken off one of the doors. It was stated that the couple had been married for three years.

ON THIS DAY – July 29, 1976

Three men who battered an older man to death in the course of “teaching him a lesson” were each found guilty of murder by a Criminal Court jury. Mr Justice Jenkinson sentenced each of the three to be imprisoned for the term of his natural life. They were Mr Allan Raymond Robinson, 33, invalid pensioner, of Fitzroy, Mr Kenneth Graeme Wright, 19, labourer, of Richmond, and Mr Paul Maurice Stanton, 28, assistant manager, of Abbotsford. All had pleaded not guilty to a charge of having murdered Mr Sydney Thomas Crowe, also known as Mr Peter Johnson, 54, labourer, of Collingwood, on July 29 last year.

 

photo of Kenneth Graeme Wright

ON THIS DAY – July 29, 1992

A gunman convicted of the cold-blooded, execution style murders of three young people in their suburban Melbourne home last year was  jailed for life for his “unfathomable” crimes. In the Supreme Court, Justice Bernard Teague sentenced Ashley Mervyn Coulston, 36, to life on each of the three counts of murder. He fixed a minimum term of 30 years with no remission. Justice Teague told Coulston, “The crimes for which I sentence you are unfathomable. “They are also chilling, because they were so calculating, so suggestive of cold-blooded planning, so indiscriminate.” Coulston, who was arrested after an armed hold-up a month after the murders, has stated through his counsel that he will appeal. The bodies of Kerryn Henstridge, 22, of Hamilton; Anne Smerdon, 22 of Kyabram; and Peter Demspey, 27, were discovered bound and gagged and shot through the head at their rented home in Summit Road, Burwood, on July 30 last year.

ON THIS DAY – July 29, 1991

A judge, his voice cracking with emotion and with tears in his eyes, sentenced a former ‘ church elder to life imprisonment for the “terrible” murder of a six-year-old girl. “Life means life,” Justice Philip Cummins said, as he sentenced Robert Arthur Selby Lowe, 57, for the murder of Sheree Beasley. The judge did not set a minimum term. What you did was every child’s fear and every parent’s nightmare,” Justice Cummins said. Lowe was found guilty on Wednesday of kidnapping and killing Sheree at Rosebud, on the Mornington Peninsula, south-east of Melbourne, on June 29, 1991. Justice Cummins also sentenced Lowe to 15 years’ jail for kidnapping. Sheree disappeared while running an errand for her mother near her home. Her remains were found in the nearby suburb of Red Hill three months later. Justice Cummins said he was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Lowe had sexually attacked Sheree and that she had choked to death. Lowe had then forced her body down a drain. After Justice Cummins sentenced Lowe, the public gallery erupted in cheers and people yelled, “Suffer* Lowe”, “Sheree got the life sentence”, and “You’ve still got your life”. There were similar scenes on Wednesday, when the verdict was announced. In his sentencing comments yesterday Justice Cummins said the trial had been one of the most harrowing he had experienced.  Before sentencing, Lowe’s previous convictions, including ones for indecent assault and offensive behaviour dating back to 1956, were read to the court. Justice Cummins said Lowe’s “sexual interests” had been fuelled by the abduction of Karmein Chan, 13, who was kidnapped from her, home in Templestowe, in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, in April 1991 — two months before Sheree’s murder. The judge said he was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt with evidence given by a cell-mate of Lowe’s. Lowe had told the prisoner that he had forced Sheree to do “dirty acts”. “She choked to death,” Justice Cummins said. “You were uncomfortable with the words oral sex — you used the words ‘dirty acts’.” Justice Cummins said Lowe had first seen Sheree when he had been in Rosebud the weekend before she was murdered. He had returned on June 29 and had forced her off her bicycle and into his car before speeding off. Witnesses said, they had seen a fearful Sheree in the car. Justice Cummins said Lowe had been articulate and manipulative in his lies to police, whom he commended for their persistence.”Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive,” the judge told Lowe. “And you wove a tangled web around yourself which eventually captured you.” Justice Cummins said Lowe had shown no remorse for his crimes and had even been excited when he had gone to the scene of the crime with his psychotherapist. Lowe stood impassively as Justice Cummins sentenced him. He held an envelope to the side of his face, to hide it from journalists sitting near the dock. Sheree’s grandfather, Neil Greenhill, told reporters the sentence was what the family had hoped for. “You can’t replace what’s been taken away,” he said. “I hope he gets no peace … we hope he rots in hell. There’s no forgiveness … none at all.”