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

 

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 1918

William Henry Mogdridge,18 years of age, who was found guilty of the manslaughter of Eugene Charles Vernon, 54 years of age at Abbotsford, on August 3, came before Mr. Justice Cussen, in the Criminal Court, for sentence yesterday. The jury made a strong recommendation for mercy. Mr. Justice Cussen passed sentence of 12 months’ imprisonment, to be Suspended on a bond of £100 be entered into for Mogdridge’s good behaviour, and his abstinence from intoxicating liquor For 5 years. Mr. Clarke, who conducted the defence, said that Mogdridge was going to enlist.

 

EXECUTED ON THIS DAY……. 3rd August 1864

On Wednesday morning at nine o’clock the sentence of death was carried into effect upon Christopher Harrison, Samuel Woods and William Carver, convicted at the late criminal Sittings of the Supreme Court in Melbourne, —Harrison, of murder and the others, Woods and Carver, of robbery in company of wounding. Since their condemnation the three prisoners have been visited by ministers of various denominations, and it may be hoped that both Harrison and Carver profited by the consolations of religion; but in case of Woods both Protestant and Catholic clergymen failed to make an impression, and he refused to join in any devotional exercise, saying he could not give his mind to the subject. The Very Rev. the Deane of Melbourne, the Rev. R. N. Woolaston, the Rev. Geo. Mackie, and the chaplain of the gaol, the Rev C. Studdert, were all in attendance on the prisoners yesterday morning.  Prior to the prisoners being brought out, the sheriff mentioned to the persons assembled (about fifty in number) that on the last similar occasion (the execution of Barrett) there had been an indecent exhibition of crowding forward on the part of the spectators, and he begged that this might not be repeated saying at the same time, that if it were he should order the gate of the yard (where the gallows stands) to be closed against them. The hour having arrived, Harrison was the first to leave the cell, and prior to being pinioned, addressed the spectators for five or six minutes in a firm tone of voice, stating he did not complain of the judge, the jury or the law which had condemned him to die. He had no fear of death, but he could not believe he had committed any very great crime; he had only done what other men would have done in his place. He also made a rambling statement about the ad mixture of prisoners of various degrees of crime in the gaol. He said he had endeavoured all his life to do good to society. and would never willingly have done a man an injury. He wished that his body should be given to Professor Halford.

Woods was next brought out and pinioned. He expressed himself bitterly against Jeremiah Phillips alias James Naylor, of Tasminia, and said if he had had in his cell the previous night the two wretches, Phillips and Anderson, that had left him in this, he would have done something to be hanged for. He said he considered they had no right to hang him for he had not committed any murder; and he prayed a fearful imprecation on his head if he intentionally fired the pistol.  Carver, on being brought out, said that he forgave his enemies and hoped for forgiveness himself. He had before his trial objected to a cast of his head, or pictures of him in the newspapers, but now he hoped it would be done, that he might serve as an example. He hoped his punishment by death would make some atonement for the life he had lived.  Woods again spoke, and said he blessed his friends and cursed his enemies. He then in a loud voice, sang a verse of four lines, altered by himself to introduce his name. The behaviour of this man, was offensively unsuited to the solemnity of the occasion and altogether the scene in the corridor of the gaol was of an unusually painful description, two of the condemned showing rather submission than resignation to their fate. The criminals having arrived on the scaffold before the final preparations were concluded, both Harrison and Woods expressed themselves grateful for the kindness they had received from the Governor and the officers of the gaol, Harrison particularly mentioning that he knew they could have put irons on his legs, but Mr. Wintle had forborne to do so. At about quarter past nine o’clock the drop fell and the men died instantly. Harrison never moved at all.

 

 

 

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.

 

Despite dubbing himself with a title more fitting for a comic book hero than an Australian bushranger, ‘Captain Thunderbolt’ Frederick Ward recruited children for armed holdups and shootouts with police. Originally a drover from Paterson River, New South Wales, Ward was charged with horse thievery and sent to Cockatoo Island, Sydney harbour in August 1856 to serve 10 years of hard labour. After escaping on 11 September 1863, he settled into a life of armed robbery. Among Ward’s juvenile accomplices was 16-year-old John Thomson, who was shot and captured by police during an armed robbery, 16-year-old orphan Thomas Mason, who was captured by police and convicted of highway robbery, and 13-year-old runaway William Monckton. On 25 May 1870, Ward was shot-dead by Constable Alexander Walker at Kentucky Creek, Uralla.

 

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.

 

 

 

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.