ON THIS DAY ……. 28th March 1908

Whilst cycling down a hill on the Castlemaine Rd, Melbourne a young man named Clifford Jubber fell, and as he was carrying an axe at the time, he could not make any effort to save himself. The right side of his face was badly lacerated, the skin being torn away from the bottom of the eye, and the bone laid bare. He also suffered other painful injuries.



ON THIS DAY …….. 22nd March 1934


Ernest Kirkwood, a young man, was charged with having murdered Claude Leslie Cooper at Richmond on this day in 1934. Death was alleged to have been caused through a blow on the head by an axe. Kirkwood maintained a quiet demeanour in court when the charge was read over to him. ‘He pleaded “Not guilty” in a firm voice. Evidence was given by the police that Cooper and accused became involved in an argument in the back yard of a house in Richmond. One of the men picked up an axe at the woodheap and a terrific struggle took place for possession of the implement. It was alleged that Kirkwood broke clear and swung a blow under which Cooper fell to the ground bleeding from a terrible wound in the head. He died shortly afterward.



ON THIS DAY …… 22nd March 1935


Mrs. Alma Riehter, murdered and hacked her young son to pieces with an axe at their Moonee Valley home, on this day in 1935. A charge of murder was withdrawn in the city court, as Riehter had already been committed to a Lunatic Asylum, and was found to be quite mad.



EXECUTED ON THIS DAY ………. 18th March 1889

William Harrison murdered John Duggan, on the 30th of May 1888, by dealing him two tremendous blows with an axe which smashed his skull in. A sum of money and bank receipts of £670 were stolen from Duggan’s hut. Harrison stood trial at the Criminal Sittings of the Supreme Court at Sandhurst (now Bendigo) on the 6th of December 1888, but the jury could not agree and were discharged. Harrison was found guilty in the second trial on the 23rd of February 1889. There was strong suspicion that this tragedy was not Harrison’s first murder. He was believed to have killed a man at Grossy Flat a few years before. It was also believed that the celebrated Deniliquin case, in which a man named Cordini was hanged for murdering a hawker, was really the work of Harrison. The case caused a good deal of excitement in Sydney, where the matter was brought before the New South Wales Parliament by Mr. James Fletcher, M.P., who maintained that the murder was not the work of Cordini. Harrison was hanged at Sandhurst Gaol (now Bendigo) on the 18th of March 1889 at 10am.



EXECUTION THIS DAY ……….. 14th March 1877



William Hastings was charged with the murder of his wife at Frankston on the 1st of December 1877. Eliza Hastings, a girl about 16 years of age, the daughter of the prisoner, gave evidence that her father had had criminal intercourse with her since she was nine years of age. Her mother knew of it; but there had never been any quarrelling about it in her presence. John Hastings, son of the prisoner, a boy about 10 years of age, gave evidence as to his frequently bleeding from the nose at night. A number of other witnesses were examined, including Mr Johnson, the analytical chemist, who said that he found traces of blood on an axe in the prisoner’s hut, on some boards taken from the hut, and on the prisoner’s shirt. The case was circumstantially clear against the prisoner. One of the witnesses deposed : -I was present at an occurrence between the prisoner and his wife on the 26th May last. I saw the prisoner leaning up against the post of my gate, between my place and Mr William Davey’s yard, and I saw Mrs Hastings come in the direction from her own house. I did not know her at the time. She said, “Well Bill, you’re here still, I see.” He said ” Yes.’ She continued; “You have not been home for a week, and me and my poor little children have been for three days on one crust of bread. Bill, could you have the heart to serve me like this?” He turned round and said ” You– I’ll cook you some of these days,” and the poor woman went away crying. On Saturday the prisoner was found guilty and sentenced to death without hope of mercy.



On this day……… 11th January 1944

Ferdinand James, Kennett, 35, of Footscray, was charged with the murder of his eight months old son, James Kennett as well as with having wounding Mrs Annie Luke, with intent to murder her, and with having inflicted grievous bodily harm to James Toohey on the 4th of January, it was intimated that the police had substituted a second charge of murder for the original charge relating to Mrs Luke. Mrs Luke died from injuries on this day in 1944.



ON THIS DAY – January 4, 1944

Ferdinand James Kennett, 35, of Central Avenue, Footscray, fibro-plaster worker, appeared before Mr Justice Martin in the Criminal Court on 2 charges of murder. In opening the case for the Crown, Mr M. L. Cussen said that it was alleged that early on the morning of January 4, Kennett wounded his 8 months-old son, John Thomas Kennedy, also known as Kennett, and his mother-in-law, Mrs Annie Amelia Luke, 63, with an axe. Both received injuries to the head, from which the infant died a few hours later, and Mrs Luke on January 11. Kennett and his wife lived at the home of Mrs Luke in Central ave, Footscray. The tragedy occurred there on the morning following a party at the home of Mr Patrick Bourke in Windsor st, Footscray. The Crown suggested that Kennett, if not with the intention of killing his wife, intended to harm her with the axe, Mrs Luke, in protecting her daughter got in the way of the axe and was struck with it. The infant probably received a blow intended for somebody else.


ON THIS DAY – December 30, 1877

A most horrible murder happened in Sandhurst on this day in 1877, by a man named James Windrum, in High-street. The victim was Maud Crutchly, aged 25. It appeared that the woman was married, but at times cohabiting with Windrum and his daughter when her husband was away from home. On this day in question Windrum went to the woman’s house. On finding his daughter there he sent her to buy beer, which he and the woman drank. When the girl returned he sent her home. It was believed by police that Windrum was become jealous of the woman’s living arrangements, and during an argument struck her on the head with an axe, and she, in trying to save her head, had her fingers cut off. The axe, however, inflicted so severe a wound that she died in two hours after being admitted into the Bendigo Hospital. The men, on being arrested, presented a frightful spectacle, his clothes being covered with blood. He did not deny his guilt, but said that he committed the deed. Windrum had been drinking heavily.


ON THIS DAY – December 25, 1888

At the Melbourne Supreme Court, John Anglin was charged with the murder of his wife, Jemima Caroline, by shooting her at the residence of her brother in law, Mr Herbert John Rhodes, Inglesby road, Camberwell, on the 25th December. Anglin had been married to his wife for nine years before the murder. The accused was always exceedingly jealous of his wife, and strange and eccentric in his behaviour towards her, labouring under some delusion concerning her faithfulness. In consequence of that delusion, he used to strike her, and treated her abominably. She had ultimately to leave him, owing to his violence and jealously, mid supported herself by teaching music. At the time of the murder she was stopping with her sister, Mrs. Rhodes, at Camberwell. The prisoner called at the place on Christmas Day, and said he wanted to see his children Mr Rhodes ordered him away, and, as he did not leave, went to the yard and took an axe, with the view of frightening the prisoner away. On Mr Rhodes reappearing at the door with the axe in his hand, the accused shot at him, and on Mrs. Anglin coming out of the dining room into the passage to ascertain the cause of the discharge of firearms the prisoner shot her also, and followed her into the house, where he shot her again one of the bullets entering the lungs and causing her death. The accused then went away, and on being arrested said “I suppose I will be hung for this.” The frequent strange demeanour and behaviour of Anglin towards his wife would render it necessary for the jury to consider whether the prisoner was labouring under a delusion and was to some extent out of his mind, or whether he was sane and conscious of the awful deed he was committing when he murdered his wife. The remark which the accused made on being arrested went a long way to a reasonable man to show that he knew what he was doing when he killed his wife. Anglin received 16 years at Pentridge Prison. On passing sentence his Honour remarking that the question which they would have to consider was not whether the prisoner murdered his wife, but merely whether he was sane or insane at the time.


ON THIS DAY  – 12th December 1931

Mrs. Louise Cherry was murdered in the kitchen of her home near Bendigo on the 12th of December 1931. She was in the kitchen preparing the midday meal with her 16 years-old girl, when a man entered carrying an axe, and offered her a bunch of flowers. She told him to go away, but he then attacked her with the axe and killed her and made his escape into the bush. A man named William Daly, whose clothes and an axe he was carrying were bloodstained, was arrested two miles away from the scene of the tragedy. He has been charged with murder.


ON THIS DAY – November 14, 1900

A farmer named Hugh Lavery, a resident of Beulah, was found this morning dead in his bed, with his skull fractured in two places. This evening a German farm hand named Chas. Gluck gave himself up to the police at the township of Brim. He said he wished to give himself up for a murder committed near Beulah. He did not know why he committed the crime, nor the same at his victim, until he saw him lying dead, He did not realise what he had done, The prisoner is a strongly built young fellow, about twenty-five years of age. A blood-stained razor was found in his possession. He said he used the razor and then finished the work with an axe.




, On This Day – October 23, 1897

The inquest concerning the death of Mrs, Lyfield, whose body was found in the Merri River on October 23, was concluded at Warrnambool on Tuesday. Henry Lyfield, husband of the deceased, was present in custody. Mrs. Snell, daughter of Lyfield, re-examined, gave important evidence. She said that on one occasion during last harvest Lyfield came home drunk. He first struck deceased with a horse-collar, after which she ran into her room and locked the door. He followed and struck the door with an axe, sending it through. She then opened the door, and he first struck her with his fist and then on the head with an axe, inflicting a wound from which blood flowed freely. At the same time he threatened to kill her. On the following day deceased went away, and did not return home for about a month, witness further said. It was on Tuesday, 13th October, she heard the screams and struggling in the room occupied by deceased and her husband. On the Friday following she saw the body in the straw-shed. Before leaving the house that night her father said to her and her daughter, ‘Don’t speak to anyone about your mother. If anyone asks about her say she went away on the Tuesday. If you do not I will serve you as I served her.’ The coroner then summed up the evidence at length, and the jury, after retiring for 10 minutes, brought in the following verdict :— ‘That on the night of Tuesday, 13th October, at Rosebrook, the deceased, Catherine Lyfield, came by her death by violence at the hands of Henry Lyfield; also, that Henry Lyfield, feloniously, wilfully, and with malice aforethought, did murder the said Catherine Lyfield.’ The accused was then committed for trial at the Supreme Court at Port Fairy on November 17.