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The Murder of Rachel Currell

23 February, 1926

Henry Tacke, 65, Importer, was charged in the Criminal Court today with the murder of Rachel Currell, 34, at St Kilda on December 15th.

Frederick George Currell, barman, admitted under cross examination that he knew his wife and Tacke went to Sydney and Adelaide together and that Tacke paid 80 guineas for an operation upon Mrs Currell.  She acted in a secretarial capacity for Tacke.  Currell denied he knew Tacke paid for the upkeep of his house.

Currell said he was awakened on the night of the shooting when in bed on the front verandah.  He told Tacke he could not see Mrs Currell.  They quarrelled at the gate and Mrs Currell said; “you had better come inside instead of making a scene in the street”.  As they were going inside, Tacke hit Currell behind the ear knocking off his hat.  When asked to return it, Currell saw Tacke turn as if to go and saw something shiny in his hand which he had whipped from his pocket.  Tacke fired a shot at Currell but missed and hit Mrs Currell instead.  When Mrs Currell retreated inside, Tacke fired a number of shots into the dark hallway in an attempt to scare Mrs Currell.  Mrs Currell was shot dead and had 10 bullet wounds – 5 entry and exit wounds.

When arrested at Sorrento, Tacke said it was all an accident and he had intended to commit suicide.

In Tacke’s statement, he said he had spent 2500 pounds on Mrs Currell for dinners and theatres and by allowing her 2-10 pounds weekly for the past 3 years.

Tacke had met Mrs Currell in City Picture Theatre in February 1923.  Their friendship developed into intimacy and he fell deeply in love with her.  At the time of their meeting, he was friendly with own wife.  He had lost his whole family of 8 in infancy.  On Mrs Currell’s recovery from an operation he sent her to Daylesford and paid all her expenses.  He was also in the habit of sending out roast fowls and bottles of wine when she was in ill-health.

The jury returned a verdict of manslaughter.

Injury at Pentridge

2 April, 1927

When wardens went to Tacke’s cell as usual, to escort him to the warders library where he worked as a librarian, Tacke suddenly climbed up the bars to a height of 18 feet, then pitched headlong to the stone floor of his cell.  Tacke was conveyed to the Melbourne Hospital in an unconscious state.

Tacke was at one time a well known clubman, member of the MCG and conducted a successful business in the city.

The Death of Henry Tacke

10 September 1927

Henry Tacke, aged 65 years, who was serving a sentence of 7 years imprisonment for the manslaughter of Mrs Rachel Currell at St Kilda in December 1925, died in the Geelong Hospital last night.

Tacke was admitted to the Geelong Gaol on April 28 after he sustained a broken ankle the result of a fall from a gallery at Pentridge.

The coroner held an inquiry today.  Dr Purnell, the gaol medical officer, said Tacke’s ankle remained in splints until the middle of May when massage commenced.  On June 16, he went for a walk in the exercise yard.  Dr Purnell then formed the opinion that Tacke had no desire to get better and malingered at every possible opportunity.  He refused to try and walk and would let himself to the ground at every opportunity.

On July 30, while in the hospital, Tacke rubbed his back on the floors, producing large bed sores and feigned insanity.  Towards the end of August, he refused to take nourishment.  Death was due to heart disease.

A verdict in accordance with the medical evidence was recorded.

ON THIS DAY – June 18, 1906

Edward James White was committed for trial at Fitzroy on a charge of shooting at his wife and attempted suicide on June 18. The evidence of White’s wife was to the effect that on May 30 , accused threatened to shoot her sister Rose, herself, and her baby. On June 18, he met her casually in the Fitzroy Gardens, and when she refused to return to him and to live with him he first, shot her and then himself. The pair had been seprated almost from the time of their marriage. They are both very young.

 

ON THIS DAY – June 11, 1910

POLICE COURT PROCEEDINGS.

At the Bairnsdale Police Court, Ernest Peeck was again remanded for a week on charges of having, on June 11, murdered his wife, and attempted suicide. The police stated that the accused was not in a fit state to appear in court. His breathing was troublesome and the wound in his throat had not healed and he was suffering from pneumonia.

 

ON THIS DAY – October 19, 1917

 

Alfred Edward Budd, 39 Stevedore’s labourer to-day, at the City Watch house, was formally charged with the murder of Annie Elizabeth Samson, at Princess Street, Port Melbourne, on October 19. Accused was the adopted brother of deceased, who was a married woman. He attempted to commit suicide by cutting his throat and was to-day taken from the Melbourne Hospital and transfered to the Melbourne gaol hospital.

 

 

ON THIS DAY – October 19, 1917

 

Alfred Edward Budd, 39 Stevedore’s labourer to-day, at the City Watch house, was formally charged with the murder of Annie Elizabeth Samson, at Princess Street, Port Melbourne, on October 19. Accused was the adopted brother of deceased, who was a married woman. He attempted to commit suicide by cutting his throat and was to-day taken from the Melbourne Hospital and transfered to the Melbourne gaol hospital.

 

 

ON THIS DAY – June 18, 1906

Edward James White was committed for trial at Fitzroy on a charge of shooting at his wife and attempted suicide on June 18. The evidence of White’s wife was to the effect that on May 30 , accused threatened to shoot her sister Rose, herself, and her baby. On June 18, he met her casually in the Fitzroy Gardens, and when she refused to return to him and to live with him he first, shot her and then himself. The pair had been seprated almost from the time of their marriage. They are both very young.

 

ON THIS DAY – June 11, 1910

POLICE COURT PROCEEDINGS.

At the Bairnsdale Police Court, Ernest Peeck was again remanded for a week on charges of having, on June 11, murdered his wife, and attempted suicide. The police stated that the accused was not in a fit state to appear in court. His breathing was troublesome and the wound in his throat had not healed and he was suffering from pneumonia.

 

On This Day ……. 22nd May 1903

At the Police Court on this day in 1903, a man named Martin Cunningham was charged with attempted suicide. The accused a fortnight ago cut his throat at Colac, and was remanded to the Geelong’ gaol to medical treatment. This morning a certificate from the medical officer was produced to the effect that Cunningham was now able to look after himself, and he was discharged.

 

By 1800s in Victoria there were 160 crimes that were punishable by death, here is a list of some crimes.

Accessory to homosexuality
Adultery
Armed robbery
Arson
Arson in royal dockyards
Assisting the enemy
Attempted suicide

Being illegally at large
Being in the company of Gypsies for one month
Blacking the face whilst committing a crime
Burglary

Capital murder
Carnal knowledge of a child
Cattle Stealing
Causing a fire or explosion in a naval dockyard
Causing a fire or explosion in a ship
Causing a fire or explosion in a magazine
Causing a fire or explosion in a warehouse
Child abuse
Course of robbery which involves the use of offensive weapons
Course burglary which involves the use of offensive weapons
Cutting down trees in an avenue of honour
Cutting down trees in a private orchard
Cutting down trees in public place.

Disguise one self whilst committing a crime

Espionage

Failure to suppress a mutiny with intent to assist the enemy.
Forgery

Giving false air signals
Grand larceny – theft of goods worth more than 12 pence

High Treason
Horse Stealing
Homosexuality
Homosexual behaviour

Impersonating an Egyptian
Incest
Incitement to mutiny
Infanticide

Kidnapping
Killing a person consider to be evil
Knowingly and intentionally killing another person

Manslaughter
Murder
Murder of a child
Murder in the course or furtherance of theft
Murder by shooting or causing an explosion
Murder while resisting arrest or during an escape
Murder of a police officer
Murder of a police officer during the course of his duties
Murder of a prison officer by a prisoner
Mutiny

Obstructing operations

Petty theft
Piracy with violence
Premeditated killing of another person
Prostitutes who is the daughter of priests

Rape
Rape of a child
Robbery

Sexual Assault
Serious misconduct in action
Shoplifting
Sodomy
Strong evidence of malice in a child aged 7–14 years of age

Treason
Turned a blind to homosexuality

ON THIS DAY – May 3, 1898

OMEO

THE OMEO MURDER.

The trial of Ah Wing for the murder of Quong See, with an axe, on May 3, takes place at Sale on Thursday next, and 15 European and Chinese witnesses left here this morning by special coach for Sale. Mr. Conant, retained by the Crown, will appear for Ah Wing. The prisoner, who attempted to commit suicide by jumping down a shaft 100 ft. deep, sustaining severe injuries, left last week. In charge of Sergeant Pfundt. The defence will be that the prisoner was insane at the time the murder was committed.

ON THIS DAY – December 30, 1910

The inquest into the circumstances attending the tragedy which took place at Cosgrove on 30th December, when Mrs. Clugston killed two of her children and wounded two others, and then attempted suicide. John Thomas Clugston said he was on good terms with his wife, and was kind, to the children. She seemed all right when he saw her last at 4am on 30th December. Dr. Florance of Mooroopna, said that Mrs. Clugston suffered from puerperal fever and melancholia. Homicidal tendencies were common in such circumstances. The coroner recorded a verdict that the death of the children was due to gunshot wounds inflicted by Eleanor Clugston, whom he committed for trial at Shepparton on 28th April on a charge of murder.

 

ON THIS DAY – October 19, 1917

 

Alfred Edward Budd, 39 Stevedore’s labourer to-day, at the City Watch house, was formally charged with the murder of Annie Elizabeth Samson, at Princess Street, Port Melbourne, on October 19. Accused was the adopted brother of deceased, who was a married woman. He attempted to commit suicide by cutting his throat and was to-day taken from the Melbourne Hospital and transfered to the Melbourne gaol hospital.