During the morning of May 19, 1905, Mrs. Tierney, who lived with her husband at his farm at Gymbowen, complained of a feeling of weakness and the loss of the use of her legs. Not much importance was attached to the attack, as in a few hours, Mrs. Tierney was well again, and performed her household duties as usual. During the afternoon the same feeling came over her, this time accompanied by twitchings of the body. ⁣

Her husband drove her to Dr R. K. Bird, of Natimuk, who examined her. When questioned by the doctor she stated that she had partaken of some tart for breakfast. Portions of the tart had a bitter taste, and the tea she had at that meal also had a bitter taste. The doctor suggested that some poison was in the tart and advised her not to eat anymore of it. Mrs. Tierney by this time had quite recovered, and with her husband drove home the following morning. ⁣

In the evening Mr. Tierney killed a sheep, and his wife, who had been watching him, went towards the house, but when she had gone about 50 yards she collapsed. Her husband ran to her assistance, and she died in his arms. Miss Bertram, who was employed as a domestic servant in the Tierney family, also complained of feeling ill after breakfast, but after vomiting she recovered.⁣

Mrs Tierney had only been married for 2 months and was a well loved teacher in the area.  Her friend and domestic, Mary Bertram was arrested for the death but was later discharged due to no evidence indiciating she was involved. ⁣

 

Donald Maxfield was reported missing from Colac on the 13th of May, 1953. On the 1st of August 1953, the torso of a man was pulled from the Barwon River. Divers would eventually find the rest of Maxfield’s body, which had been dismembered and placed in kerosene tins and sunk in the Barwon River. ⁣

It was believed the Maxfield was attacked and bashed in a garage in Colac by two men. The men had placed the unconscious body of Maxfield in the boot of a car and had driven to Geelong. Maxfield regained consciousness and was again bashed to death on the banks of the Barwon. It was reported that this was a payback as it was believed that Maxfield had been a police informant against one of the men.⁣

The two men would later be arrested and information from them would lead to finding the rest of Maxfields body by divers recovering the torso after a 5 hour search of the river. The torso had been covered in an oat sack, wrapped in wire and weighed down with stone weights so that it was roughly 100lbs. The head and hands were later discovered in kerosene tins in the river. ⁣

Both men were charged with murder and sentenced to life imprisonment and 20 years respectively.⁣

On the 15th September 1904, an accident occurred in Elizabeth Street where Sarah Ann
Robins, her husband James and her 27 year old daughter, Rosina Hubbard, who was
described as a dwarf, were thrown from a cart. This accident set in a motion a series of
events that would leave only James still alive 12 months later.

Nursed by her Daughter

Sarah required attention for her injuries, and was nursed at home by her daughter,
Rosina. However doctors became concerned by her unusual symptoms and engaged a
nurse to assist the family in caring for her. Sarah continued to decline and was admitted
to the Melbourne Hospital.

Nurse Flower, who had been engaged to look after Sarah before she was admitted to
hospital, deposed at the inquest that she witnessed Rosina administer some medicine to
her mother. When the nurse rinsed the glass it turned her rings black. Sarah was heard
to remark “they won’t prosecute my Rosie will they?” after doctors accused her of
poisoning her mother. Rosina maintained that her mother wanted to commit suicide
which was why she had given her the arsenic and quicksilver.

Sarah died in the Melbourne Hospital on September 30, 1904. Doctors asked Sarah
before she died whether she had taken anything, which she denied but doctors felt she
was holding something back. After her death, analysis showed arsenic in every organ that
was examined.

Rosina Arrested

Rosina on her arrest for the wilful murder of her mother, Sarah, was heard to
exclaim “me murder my mother!” And then swooned. When she recovered, Rosina stated
that she did not murder her mother, that Sarah had asked for it. During the inquest,
Rosina was described as a “cunning shrewd little woman” but it was not certain she had
her “wits” about her. However, evidence was brought that it was James Robins who
had purchased the arsenic to poison a dog who had bitten someone.  The inquest concluded
with a verdict of wilful murder due to arsenic poisoning, wilfully and maliciously
administered by Rosina Hubbard.

During the murder trial, it was revealed that James Robins had also buried his two
previous wives! One wife died in Launceston about 15 years previously and the second
wife in Melbourne about 16 years previous. It was also alleged that James had fed his
wife oysters sprinkled with white powder. This was denied by James which caused an
outburst by Rosina, screaming that he did! It was also revealed that James did not have
much money to his name when he married Sarah, who herself owned properties. James
would gain the money from these properties on his wife’s death. It was also alleged that
James was the father of Rosina’s infant and that there had been improper relations
between the two.

Confession

In March, 1905, the Government was unhappy that Rosina had been acquitted for the
matricide of her mother Sarah. They deputised Detective McManamny to make further
inquiries in to the case. On re-interviewing, Rosina admitted that she had poisoned her
mother using quicksilver and arsenic. Her reasoning was that her mother knocked her
about and had accused her of relations with her stepfather. However, she also admitted
to the detective that James Robins was the father of her child. As Rosina had been
acquitted of the murder, she could not be retried!

Rosina’s Death

Rosina was not to enjoy her freedom for very long. She died in the Melbourne Hospital on
the 24th May 1905, after being hospitalised since the 5th. Her inquest was again
sensational, as it was originally suspected that Rosina had killed herself by taking the
same poisons as she had administered to her mother! Dr Mollison, the coroner described
Rosina as a congenital dwarf whose arms and legs were considerably smaller than the
rest of her body. She was 3 feet 10 inches in height and her head measured 22 inches.
there were no marks of violence and samples of her organs, muscles and bones were
taken for further analysis. After analysis, the official cause of death was exhaustion due
to ulceration of the intestines.

You would think that would be the end of the story! But there was one more twist!

Rosina’s will was contested on the grounds of her sanity when it went to probate.
Evidence was brought to court on how James Robins held a magnetic influence over
Rosina. It was stated that Robins banned anyone from seeing her in hospital especially
the “black fellow”, who was her half sister, Isabella Webster, Indian husband. Isabella
had described her father as a “brute”. The Chief Justice was to dismiss the content
stating there were no grounds on which to contest.

A shocking tragedy occurred to-day at the Sir Walter Scott Hotel, at the corner of Elizabeth and Franklin-street, city. A⁣ young man, John Tunks, cutting the throat of Amelia Dean, a barmaid, with a razor, and then inflicting frightful injuries upon himself with the same instrument. He died within an hour, and the woman is in. a critical condition. ⁣ ⁣

The crime was committed in a bedroom on the first floor⁣ of the hotel, and the first intimation the other inmates had of the occurrence was the sight of Mrs. Dean rushing downstairs with blood flowing from a gash in her throat, followed by the man, similarly wounded. He was in a shocking condition, and had barely reached the foot of the stairs when he collapsed. It was evident from the nature of his injuries that he had used the razor with⁣ frenzied determination. Mrs. Dean, who was also very weak, staggered towards several of the inmates of the hotel, who were conversing near the door, exclaiming⁣ “Jack done, it. Jack done it.”⁣ ⁣

The pair were promptly removed to the Melbourne Hospital, and it was then seen that the man’s end was near. Mrs. Dean’s recovery is regarded as doubtful. A blood-stained razor was found lying at the foot of one of the two beds in the room from which the man and woman came. Both beds were also blood-stained, and there was a trail of blood from one bed through the door and down the stairway.

There were signs that a struggle had taken⁣ place.⁣ ⁣

Amelia Dean died 6 weeks later ⁣ ⁣

Frederick Bayley Deeming was one of 14 children born to Thomas and Ann Deeming in Leicestershire, England.

Frederick would first get into trouble with the law aged just 15 years old  for throwing rocks at a train.  At 16 he ranaway to see and began his life of crime with stealing and obtaining money by deception – something which would be a common thread for the rest of his life.

The beginning of the end for Deeming began with the discovery of Emily Lydia Mather’s decomposing body buried beneath the hearth of the second bedroom at 57 Andrew Street, Windsor on March 3, 1892.

Emily had married Deeming, who was know as Albert Williams in Rainhill, Lancashire in 1891 before the young couple set out for Australia.  They arrived in Melbourne in November 1891 and stayed for a short time in the city of Melbourne before heading to the rented property in Windsor.  Emily was not to know that this house would become her coffin!

On Christmas Eve, Deeming murdered Emily and in a well prepared plan buried her remains within the house before heading back to Melbourne.  He had paid up the rent for a couple of months so it wasnt until a new prospective tennant inspected the property that Emily’s remains were discovered.

By this time, Deeming had headed to Sydney and enticed Kate Rounsfell to marry him and move to WA with him.  Luckily for her Deeming left first and Kate only made it as far as Melbourne before news broke of her fiancee’s evil deeds.

But Emily was not the first murder Deeming had committed.  During the investigation into the death of Emily, it came to light that Deeming had been married before and had 4 children.  Marie and the children were found murdered and cemented under the kitchen floor at the property Deeming had rented in Rainhill.

Deeming was finally caught out by clever detective work and his boasting of his accomplishments.

Deeming was sentenced to death and was executed on May 29, 1892 at the Old Melbourne Gaol.

Before his death, a telegram was sent from London, requesting that Deeming be interviewed over the Whitechapel murders of 1888.  It would join numerous requests from police forces around the world asking if he could have been responsible for as many as 18 murders.

 

In 1938, a double murder took place in the now defunct Windsor Castle Hotel in Dunolly.  One of the last sightings of the murdered men and their murderer was in the bar of the Railway Hotel in Dunolly.  Join Twisted History for dinner and a paranormal investigation here on February 23, 2019.

Noise Said To Have Led To Deaths

December 13, 1938

An alleged statement that he had killed a man because he was making a noise upstairs, and that he had killed another man because he did not want him to be a witness, was read in the Supreme Court today when Thomas William Johnson, 40, of no fixed address, was charged with the murder of the two men.

The victims of the tragedy were: —
Robert McCourt Gray, 73, returned soldier and pensioner
Charles Adam Bunney, 61, war pensioner

They were found in a padlocked upstairs room of the delicensed
Windsor Castle Hotel at Dunolly on October 6 with their heads battered.

Johnson pleaded not guilty to the charges of having murdered Bunney and Gray.

Mr Cussen said that on October 3 there were five people living in the hotel.  Gray and Bunney had lived there for years. On September 26 Johnson arrived there. He said that he was on sustenance and wanted to live there, but could not pay.

On Monday morning, October 3, Gray was seen alive and Bunney was seen alive about 5.15 p.m. by the postmaster.  After that neither of the men was seen until the Thursday. In the meantime Bunney’s room, although it was open, had not been used. Gray’s room was
padlocked.

Two men looked for Gray and Bunney on the Thursday. One of them
climbed to the verandah and saw the men lying dead side by side. When entrance was gained the two men were found with their heads battered. A bloodstained axe was found in the corner.

Johnson, on the Monday, had no money. On the Tuesday he was seen on the road to Maryborough, and got a ride, for which he paid 1/. He returned later, and this time paid 2/6.  When he walked into the Dandenong police station on the Friday he made a statement, although he was warned he need not make it.

Mr Cussen then read the statement alleged to have been made by Johnson. In it Johnson is alleged to have said that he was asleep on the ground floor of the delicensed hotel about 3 p.m. on October 3 when he heard Gray, who was on the top floor, hammering and making a loud noise. He took an axe upstairs and hit Gray on the head. Gray fell to the floor, Bunney came into the room, and he hit him on the head. He then locked the room with a padlock and
threw the key away.

His only excuse for killing Gray was because he was making a noise while he was trying to sleep. He had killed Bunney because he did not want him to be a witness.

He often became bad tempered, and he was in a bad temper when he killed Gray.  He stayed at the hotel for two nights afterward. He then walked to Maryborough, rode on a transport to Melbourne on October 6, stayed in the city that night, and walked to Dandenong
the next day.

One of the witnesses was Elizabeth Whelan, the licensee of the Railway Hotel in Dunolly who testified that Cazneau, Johnson and a man named Alexander and Bunney were in the bar on the Monday morning. Bunney bought Johnson two drinks and left.  Gray came into the hotel at 10.30 and bought a quart bottle of wine, but did
not drink it with the other men. He gave a £1 note and received his change in small silver. Gray took a quart bottle of wine a month.
Johnson had four pots of beer up to 11 a.m., when he left, and he had one again at 2 p.m.

Thomas William Johnson would be found guilty of the murders of Robert McCourt Gray and Charles Adam Bunney and was sentenced to death.

Johnson was executed at Pentridge Prison on January 23, 1939.  When asked by the Sheriff in the condemned cell whether he had anything to say, Johnson shook his head and indicated that he wanted the execution to proceed.

We came across a reference to an unusual murder case the other day. And although it isn’t Australian, there is very definitely some Twisted History to it!

Pype Hayes Park in Erdington, Birmingham, England has been the scene of two murders – one in 1817 and another in 1974. Now you might not think that is particularly interesting but the parallels between these two cases is uncanny!

On May 27, 1817, the belle of the parish, Mary Ashford attended a dance at Tyburn House Inn with her friend Hannah Cox. The two young ladies left around midnight and would return to Hannah’s house.  Mary would leave and would not be seen alive again.  Her body would be discovered a few hours, where a worker discovered a puddle of blood and two sets of footprints leading to the muddy ditch.  Mary had been sexually assaulted and left to drown.

On May 27, 1974, childcare worker Barbara Forrest spent the night out dancing with her boyfriend at various pubs before he escorted her to the Colmore Circus bus stop.  It would be the last time anyone saw Barbara alive.  Her semi-naked body was found under bracken in a shallow ditch just 500 yards from her house on the edge of the park.  Barabara had been raped and strangled.

Two men would be arrested, one for each crime – Abraham Thornton in 1817 and Michael Thornton in 1974.  At their respective trials both men would be acquitted for lack of evidence.  In 1817, Abraham admitted to having sex with Mary but 3 witnesses gave him an alibi which saw the case dismissed.  In 1975, Michael was arrested after blood stains were found on his pants and an alibi proved false.  The case was dismissed.

Both cases remain officially unsolved to this day.

But there are a few interesting facts related to the 1817 murder. Firstly, Abraham Thornton’s boot print was matched to those leading to Mary’s body.  It was one of the earlist recorded cases of footwear identification.  Secondly, after the dismissal of the first trial, Mary’s brother William launched an appeal stating the evidence was overwhelming against Thornton.  Thornton was rearrested and claimed the right to trial by battle – a medieval law that had never been repealed by Parliament.  Ashford declined and Thornton was freed from custody.  The law was repealed in 1819.

But we will leave the final words to Mary Ashford’s family.  On her grave in Sutton Coldfield Churchyard is the following inscription:

 

“As a warning to female virtue and a humble monument to female chastity, this stone marks the grave of Mary Ashford who on the twentieth year of her age having incautiously repaired to a scene of amusement without proper protection, was brutally murdered on 27th May 1817”

Hurstbridge murder

A memorial erected over his grave commemorates Henry Facey Hurst who was shot and killed by the bushranger Robert Burke in 1866. Henry was a pioneer settler of Hurstbridge where he built the first log bridge over the Diamond Creek so giving the township its name. On 4 October, 1866, Robert Burke, alias McClusky arrived at Allwood and asked Ellen Hurst (Henryand#39;s sister) for breakfast, and later a horse. She sent for Henry, who questioned Burke. When Henry reached for his gun, Burke shot him. Despite the wound, Henry held Burke until help arrived. He subsequently bled to death. The jury found Burke guilty of wilful murder`, with a recommendation to mercy, on account of Hurst having fired the first shot. Robert Burke was sentenced to death . A public meeting was held at the Melbourne Mechanics Institute on the evening of Monday 26th November to adopt a petition with over 2,000 signatures, for submission to the Executive Council, asking for the death sentence to be commuted to imprisonment for life. Some ten days after the trial the sentence was carried out. Robert Burke the bushranger, aged 24 years, was hanged at the Melbourne Gaol on Thursday 29th November 1866.

Actual Monument Dedication Date:

Front Inscription:
‘Sacred to the memory of Henry Facey Hurst (formerly of Hanford Dorset) who while defending his home fell near this spot by a ball fired by the bushranger Burke on October 4th 1866 aged 34 years’.

This memorial was erected by a grateful public as a memorial of his heroic self sacrfifice.

 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 …….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.

 

 

The headless remains of Australia’s most infamous criminal, Ned Kelly, have been identified. Victoria state Attorney General Robert Clark said that a team of forensic scientists identified Kelly’s remains among those exhumed from a mass grave at Pentridge prison in Melbourne in 2009. Kelly led a gang of bank robbers in Victoria in the 19th century. Today he is considered by many Australians to be a Robin Hood-like figure who stood up to the British colonial authorities of the time. He was executed in 1880, but his final resting place had long been a mystery. “To think a group of scientists could identify the body of a man who was executed more than 130 years ago, moved and buried in a haphazard fashion among 33 other prisoners, most of whom are not identified, is amazing,” said Victoria Attorney General Robert Clark. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that investigators revealed that an almost complete skeleton of the outlaw was found buried in a wooden ax box. Clark said DNA analysis and other tests were used to confirm the skeleton is Kelly’s. The Morning Herald said DNA samples were taken from Melbourne school teacher Leigh Olver, who is the great-grandson of Kelly’s sister Ellen. Kelly’s skull was stolen from a display case at the Old Melbourne Gaol in 1978. A 2009 claim by a West Australian farmer, Tom Baxter, that he had Kelly’s skull was eventually rejected, but led to the investigation that uncovered his bones. The Morning Herald said that investigators believed that Kelly’s remains were transferred from the Old Melbourne Gaol to the Pentridge prison in 1929, then exhumed with the remains of 33 other people during the investigation in 2009. Baxter had handed the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine what he said was the stolen skull, which featured the inscription “E. Kelly” on its side — Kelly’s actual first name was Edward. Baxter has not revealed how he got ahold of the skull. Scientists at the institute set out to determine who the skull belonged to, and to identify Kelly’s full remains among the tangle of skeletons exhumed from the Pentridge site. Through CT scans, X-rays, anthropological and historical research and DNA analysis, the team finally identified one skeleton as Kelly’s. Most of its head was missing. Stephen Cordner, the institute’s director, said the DNA left no doubt the skeleton was Kelly’s. Tests on the remains also uncovered evidence of shotgun wounds that matched those Kelly suffered during his criminal rampage. “The wear and tear of the skeleton is a little bit more than would be expected for a 25-year-old today,” Cordner said. “But such was Ned’s life, this is hardly surprising.” As for Baxter’s “E. Kelly” skull? Not Ned’s. The whereabouts of Kelly’s skull remain a mystery, Cordner said. Descendant Olver told reporters in Melbourne that he hoped his notorious ancestor will finally be laid to rest in a place of dignity. “It’s such a great relief to finally have this side of the story resolved,” Olver said. Kelly’s story has been documented in several books and movies, including a film starring Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger and another starring late actor Heath Ledger. Kelly’s use of homemade armor to protect himself from police bullets was even given a nod during the 2000 Sydney Olympics, when actors on stilts dressed in similar armor were featured in the opening ceremony. “I think a lot of Australians connect with Ned Kelly and they’re proud of the heritage that has developed as a result of our connection with Ned Kelly and the story of Ned Kelly,” Olver said. “In our family, he was a hero.”

herald Sun