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ON THIS DAY – July 13, 1961

A slight, auburn haired woman yesterday had a 25th birthday she will never forget. She was acquitted in the Criminal Court of the murder of her 17 month old daughter.

Mrs Hughann Legget Prescott, of Murphy Street, Gardenvale, had pleaded not guilty to the charge before Mr. Justice Little and a jury. In a three day trial the Crown claimed that Mrs Prescott had attempted to take her own life and that of her daughter, Elizabeth Louise. Mrs Prescott was found beside the body of her daughter in the gas filled kitchen of their home in Gardenvale on July 13 this year. Eight days previously, Mrs Prescott’s husband, Peter, had gassed himself in the same kitchen after an argument over financial matters. She blamed herself for her husband’s death,

Crown witnesses told the court. Mr. E.D. Lloyd (for Mrs Prescott) did not lead any evidence in defence, but relied on his final address to the jury yesterday. Mr Lloyd told the jury that in 70 years of trying cases in the Criminal Court there had never been a case like this. “It would be cruel, unjust and wrong to convict this woman of wilful murder as it would be the culmination of a long series of wrongs done to her. A gift of £1900 from Mrs Prescott senior to buy a house had to be repaid within three years with interest. If they would not do this, Mrs Prescott threatened to take legal action,” Mr Lloyd said. He said that by some strange irony of fate this little woman was on trial for murder on her 25th birthday. Never Known “For the rest of your lives how will you know that the door inside the house from the kitchen, which was not locked, might not have swung open? And the little girl, driven by the most basic urge of all – mother love – came in and laid down by her mother, who was at this stage affected by the gas?” Mr Lloyd asked the jury. Mr J F Moloney appeared for the Crown.

ON THIS DAY….. 10th July 1910

The trial of Peter Long on a charge of murder, arising out of the death, at Ballarat, on July 10, of Florence Jelbart, was continued in the Melbourne Criminal Court, October 28. Dr. Crawford Henry Mollison, Government pathologist, said:-I heard Dr. Champion’s evidence on the previous day, and from that and from my examination of the parts I am of opinion that death was not due to air embolism, but to shock. Professor H. B. Allen (dean of the faculty of medicine in the University of Melbourne) and Dr. Frank Reginald Longden (of Buninyong) expressed a similar view. This concluded the case for the Crown. Peter Long, the accused, said his Chinese name was Lee Yee. He had been practising in and around Ballarat for 13 years. On the night of July 10, he left the deceased in his consulting-room while he went into the shop. A few minutes afterwards he heard a scream, and rushed into the consulting room. He then found her lying on the floor of the room, and she died soon after. He did nothing to the girl to cause her death. Dr. William Edward Davis, who attended the post-mortem examination conducted by Dr. Champion, said he thought the condition of the heart was inconsistent with death by shock. The wounds could have been self-inflicted. Drs. R. A. Stirling (of Melbourne) and G. E. Cussen (of Ballarat) gave evidence to a similar effect. The hearing of the case was concluded when the jury, after a retirement of two hours, found Long not guilty, and he was acquitted.

ON THIS DAY – June 24, 1907

A Charge of Murder

William Smith and Martha Ellen Webb were charged at the Melbourne Criminal sessions on June 24 with having murdering John Geoghegan at Lilydale on May 15. The allegations were that during a drunken squabble the deceased was struck on the head with an axe, and 16 days later succumbed to his injuries. The jury acquitted the accused; who were discharged.

ON THIS DAY – June 23, 1934

Judge Moule, in General Sessions yesterday, directed the acquittal of Horatio Wainwright, truck-driver, of Fell crescent, East Malvern, who was charged with the manslaughter of Edward Francis Tierney, aged 30 years, telephone linesman, of Deakin street, Hampton. Wainwright was discharged. Tierney and David Mollison, another postal employee, were wheeling their bicycles along the steel tracks in Dynon road, Footscray, about 2 a.m. on June 23, when they were struck by a car, and Tierney died In hospital.

ON THIS DAY……. 12th April 1952

Albert Edward Quinlivan, 63 year-old driver of a train involved in a fatal collision at Moriac railway station on this day in 1952, was acquitted of a charge of manslaughter by a Jury in the Geelong Court. Mrs. Josephine Ethel Traynor aged 34, of Hawthorn East, died of injuries received in the collision.

 

On This Day – November 11, 1941

 After a short retirement a jury at the Warrnambool Supreme Court today acquitted Mrs. Vida Bridget Couch aged 25 years, of the murder or manslaughter of her husband, Arthur Lawrence Couch, on November 11. The Crown said that Couch was standing on one side of a closed door and his wife on the other when a gunshot crashed through the door and entered Couch’s heart. Matthew John Parsons, a neighbor, said that deceased was frequently beating or illtreating his wife.

ON THIS DAY …….17th August 1958

Four young married men were found guilty of unlawfully killing a man they enticed to a vacant allotment to rob him, on this day in 1958.  The Criminal Court jury convicted them of the manslaughter of Geoffrey Moon, 41, who was known as “Tom the Singer.”  The prisoners were acquitted of murder. Mr. Justice Lowe remanded them for sentence.  They are George Furlong, 23, of East Preston; Raymond Watts, 27, painter, of East Preston; Francis Lever, 35, sander, of East Preston and Grahame Best, 22, driver, of Ascot Vale.

ON THIS DAY…… 11th August 1862

Senior Constable Book and his assistants have been were brought before the Kilmore Court, for the wilful murder of Mr Cosgrove, shot at Yea on this day in 1862.  The police believed he was the notorious bushranger Gardiner. He wasn’t ………

ON THIS DAY – July 13, 1961

A slight, auburn haired woman yesterday had a 25th birthday she will never forget. She was acquitted in the Criminal Court of the murder of her 17 month old daughter.

Mrs Hughann Legget Prescott, of Murphy Street, Gardenvale, had pleaded not guilty to the charge before Mr. Justice Little and a jury. In a three day trial the Crown claimed that Mrs Prescott had attempted to take her own life and that of her daughter, Elizabeth Louise. Mrs Prescott was found beside the body of her daughter in the gas filled kitchen of their home in Gardenvale on July 13 this year. Eight days previously, Mrs Prescott’s husband, Peter, had gassed himself in the same kitchen after an argument over financial matters. She blamed herself for her husband’s death,

Crown witnesses told the court. Mr. E.D. Lloyd (for Mrs Prescott) did not lead any evidence in defence, but relied on his final address to the jury yesterday. Mr Lloyd told the jury that in 70 years of trying cases in the Criminal Court there had never been a case like this. “It would be cruel, unjust and wrong to convict this woman of wilful murder as it would be the culmination of a long series of wrongs done to her. A gift of £1900 from Mrs Prescott senior to buy a house had to be repaid within three years with interest. If they would not do this, Mrs Prescott threatened to take legal action,” Mr Lloyd said. He said that by some strange irony of fate this little woman was on trial for murder on her 25th birthday. Never Known “For the rest of your lives how will you know that the door inside the house from the kitchen, which was not locked, might not have swung open? And the little girl, driven by the most basic urge of all – mother love – came in and laid down by her mother, who was at this stage affected by the gas?” Mr Lloyd asked the jury. Mr J F Moloney appeared for the Crown.

ON THIS DAY….. 10th July 1910

The trial of Peter Long on a charge of murder, arising out of the death, at Ballarat, on July 10, of Florence Jelbart, was continued in the Melbourne Criminal Court, October 28. Dr. Crawford Henry Mollison, Government pathologist, said:-I heard Dr. Champion’s evidence on the previous day, and from that and from my examination of the parts I am of opinion that death was not due to air embolism, but to shock. Professor H. B. Allen (dean of the faculty of medicine in the University of Melbourne) and Dr. Frank Reginald Longden (of Buninyong) expressed a similar view. This concluded the case for the Crown. Peter Long, the accused, said his Chinese name was Lee Yee. He had been practising in and around Ballarat for 13 years. On the night of July 10, he left the deceased in his consulting-room while he went into the shop. A few minutes afterwards he heard a scream, and rushed into the consulting room. He then found her lying on the floor of the room, and she died soon after. He did nothing to the girl to cause her death. Dr. William Edward Davis, who attended the post-mortem examination conducted by Dr. Champion, said he thought the condition of the heart was inconsistent with death by shock. The wounds could have been self-inflicted. Drs. R. A. Stirling (of Melbourne) and G. E. Cussen (of Ballarat) gave evidence to a similar effect. The hearing of the case was concluded when the jury, after a retirement of two hours, found Long not guilty, and he was acquitted.

ON THIS DAY – June 24, 1907

A Charge of Murder

William Smith and Martha Ellen Webb were charged at the Melbourne Criminal sessions on June 24 with having murdering John Geoghegan at Lilydale on May 15. The allegations were that during a drunken squabble the deceased was struck on the head with an axe, and 16 days later succumbed to his injuries. The jury acquitted the accused; who were discharged.

ON THIS DAY – June 23, 1934

Judge Moule, in General Sessions yesterday, directed the acquittal of Horatio Wainwright, truck-driver, of Fell crescent, East Malvern, who was charged with the manslaughter of Edward Francis Tierney, aged 30 years, telephone linesman, of Deakin street, Hampton. Wainwright was discharged. Tierney and David Mollison, another postal employee, were wheeling their bicycles along the steel tracks in Dynon road, Footscray, about 2 a.m. on June 23, when they were struck by a car, and Tierney died In hospital.