Posts

ON THIS DAY – June 14, 1920

FEMALE INFANT – CLIFTON HILL

The City Coroner (Dr. R. H. Cole, P.M.), after having inquired at the Morgue yesterday into the death of a newly born female child, who was found in a suit case in the Merri Creek, Clifton Hill, on June 14, committed Annie Gallagher, aged 23 years, the mother of the child, for trial at the Court of General Sessions on August 2, on a charge of manslaughter. Detective W.P. Jones assisted the coroner.  Constable A. C. Pattison stated that he took the body to the Morgue. When found it had a piece of calico tape tied round the neck. On June 20 witness interviewed Annie Gallagher at the Clifton Hill Hotel, Queen’s parade, where she was employed as a servant. He took her to the police station, and after having charged her with concealment of birth, took down the statement produced, in which she admitted having given birth to the child on June 13, and seeing it move tied the tape round its neck. She put it in the suit case, and threw it into the Merri Creek on the following evening. She was alone on both occasions. She could not remember the name of the child’s father, and had not seen him for many months. Dr. C. H. Mollison, who conducted the post- mortem examination, stated that death was due not to strangulation, but to exposure. The Coroner. – There is sufficient evidence to commit this woman for the manslaughter of the child. According to her statements it was her intention to neglect the child, and therein came its death. If that is murder she can be charged with murder later. I find her guilty of manslaughter. There being no bail available, Gallagher was bound over in her own recognisance, and placed in charge of the nuns of the Abbotsford Convent.

ON THIS DAY ……… 30th March 1948

The question of justification arose in the case In which John Kenneth Donnelly (19), of Opie street, Ferntree Gully, apprenticed carpenter, was charged in the Criminal Court to-day with having murdered his step-father, John Palmer (63), laborer, of the same address, at Ferntree Gully on March 30.
The Crown prosecutor (Mr. Nolan) said the family were living unhappily. Palmer came home for his tea in an intoxicated condition and the question arose as to where the children should sleep. Palmer complained of children sleeping in his bedroom.
In a confession to the police, accused had stated: “He (Palmer) had been cruel to my mother and the children. I got home at 6.20 p.m. and he came home at 7 p.m. drunk. The children kept complaining about all sleeping in the one bedroom. I sent one of the children to his bedroom and he told her to get out. I then sent another child to the room and he threatened her. He started to swing at me. He started to belt my mother, and I went on the verandah sleepout and loaded a rifle I saw him belting my mother again as I looked through the window. I look a quick aim and pulled the trigger.
Constable Charles Light, of Ferntree Gully, said during the seven years he had been stationed there he found accused to be hard working, quiet youth. On the night of March 30 Donnelly told him that he had hit him In self defence and thought Palmer was dead. At Palmer’s four-roomed house he found the rifle, which had an empty shell in the breach.

The jury in the Criminal Court took only eight minutes to decide that John K. Donnelly, 19, apprentice carpenter, of Ferntree Gully, was not guilty of a charge of the murder or manslaughter of his stepfather, John Palmer. Donnelly told the court that he shot his stepfather on this day in 1948 when Palmer was attacking his mother. He knew his mother was going to have a baby and his only thought was to prevent Palmer from killing her or earning her such harm that she would die. Mrs Palmer, mother of the accused and nine other children, told the court that Palmer had beaten her regularly.

 

On This Day – October 23, 1969

A 30-year-old woman broke down and cried when she was committed for trial at the Coroner’s Court to day for the murder of her six-months-old baby.  Mr H. W. Pascoe, SM, committed Mrs Patricia Louise Coolen. of Pembroke Road, Mooroolbark, to appear in the Supreme Court on March 2.  Mrs Coolen was charged with the murder of Sylvia Maree Coolen on October 23, 1969.  First Constable D. Grigg of Croydon told the Court Mrs Coolen was nursing her baby and crying when, he went to her house after a phone call to police. My God, I think my baby’s dead. I’ve killed her”, Mrs Coolen had said to him. Dr James McNamara said that a post mortem examination had revealed the baby had died of strangulation.

ON THIS DAY…… 3rd September 1897
At an inquest on the body of a newly born female child, found in the public reserve at Fitzroy, a verdict of wilful murder against some person unknown was returned.

ON THIS DAY – June 14, 1920

FEMALE INFANT – CLIFTON HILL

The City Coroner (Dr. R. H. Cole, P.M.), after having inquired at the Morgue yesterday into the death of a newly born female child, who was found in a suit case in the Merri Creek, Clifton Hill, on June 14, committed Annie Gallagher, aged 23 years, the mother of the child, for trial at the Court of General Sessions on August 2, on a charge of manslaughter. Detective W.P. Jones assisted the coroner.  Constable A. C. Pattison stated that he took the body to the Morgue. When found it had a piece of calico tape tied round the neck. On June 20 witness interviewed Annie Gallagher at the Clifton Hill Hotel, Queen’s parade, where she was employed as a servant. He took her to the police station, and after having charged her with concealment of birth, took down the statement produced, in which she admitted having given birth to the child on June 13, and seeing it move tied the tape round its neck. She put it in the suit case, and threw it into the Merri Creek on the following evening. She was alone on both occasions. She could not remember the name of the child’s father, and had not seen him for many months. Dr. C. H. Mollison, who conducted the post- mortem examination, stated that death was due not to strangulation, but to exposure. The Coroner. – There is sufficient evidence to commit this woman for the manslaughter of the child. According to her statements it was her intention to neglect the child, and therein came its death. If that is murder she can be charged with murder later. I find her guilty of manslaughter. There being no bail available, Gallagher was bound over in her own recognisance, and placed in charge of the nuns of the Abbotsford Convent.

ON THIS DAY – May 17, 1905

PRAHRAN

Ethel Stewart Omond, a single girl of 18, was present in custody, on a charge of murder, during the hearing at the Morgue on June 2 of the coroner’s inquiry into the death of her male infant at Prahran on May 17. Evidence was given to the effect that Omond, who was employed as general servant by Mrs. Lavinia Iliffe, of Prahran, until May 17, complained on that date of illness. On the same day she went home to her mother, and said she had had a baby. “Why did you not tell me?” asked her mother. “I would have been good to you and the child.” The girl replied, “Mother, I did not know that there was anything wrong with me, or I would have told you last night.” She further stated that the child was born at 9 o’clock in the morning, and that it did not cry as she was placing it in a basket. The girl’s mother opened the basket, and saw a baby’s head. Nurse Blow, who examined the child, pronounced it dead, and the police and medical evidence showed that its death was due to suffocation, probably caused by pressure on the neck, applied by the fingers. It was possible, how ever, that it might have been suffocated by sitting into some unnatural position. The Coroner (Dr. Cole) considered that the action of the girl amounted at least to manslaughter, and he committed her for trial on a charge of murder. On hearing the verdict, her fortitude deserted her, and she burst into tears.

On This Day – April 1, 1938

Verdict of Murder.

At the Inquest, conducted by the deputy coroner (Mr, G. Moore) to-day, concerning the death of a newly born male child, whose body was found on the property of Devonshire Sands Ltd., at Long Gully on April 1, police evidence revealed that a piece of elastic was tied round the neck of the baby. A post mortem examination conducted by Dr. M. Jacobs showed that the child had been strangled. Efforts by the police to establish the identity of the child and to find who placed it at the spot where it was discovered had been fruitless. The coroner recorded a finding of murder against some person or persons unknown.

ON THIS DAY ……… 30th March 1948

The jury in the Criminal Court took only eight minutes to decide that John K. Donnelly, 19, apprentice carpenter, of Ferntree Gully, was not guilty of a charge of the murder or manslaughter of his stepfather, John Palmer. Donnelly told the court that he shot his stepfather on this day in 1948 when Palmer was attacking his mother. He knew his mother was going to have a baby and his only thought was to prevent Palmer from killing her or earning her such harm that she would die. Mrs Palmer, mother of the accused and nine other children, told the court that Palmer had beaten her regularly.

 

ON THIS DAY ………. 14th March 1913

FITZROY

The Coroner held an enquiry into the tragedy which occurred in George street, Fitzroy, on this day in 1913. Walter Edgar Erfurth, a labourer aged 23 years, killed Ada Doalman, aged 21, and wounded her baby, before shooting himself. William Lawrence, who lived at the same house as deceased, said that on the 14th March Erfurth came home slightly intoxicated. He went out again, and upon his return retired to his bedroom. Witness heard a muffled dispute between him and Doalman, which was followed a few minutes later by a scream. He tried to open the door, but it was locked. Lawrence then went into the street and returned with a constable, who forced the door. He then saw the bodies of Erfurth and Doalman stretched on the bed, and the baby, with a wound in its mouth, was lying across the woman’s arm. Erfurth had a bullet wound in the forehead, and the woman had been shot in the breast. Grace Erfurth said she believed Doalman to be her son’s wife. He was arrested two years ago for the maintenance of an illegitimate child, but the Drouin Court dismissed the case. The matter may have preyed on his mind. A verdict of murder and suicide was returned.

 

 

ON THIS DAY – February 8, 1941

COLAC

James Alfred O’Donnell, 48, was charged with the murder of his wife, Nancy Jean Lorna O’Donnell, 19, at Colac on the 8th February, the Geelong Supreme Court. In outlining the case Mr Sproule said that in the killing of his wife, as the Crown alleged he did, O’Donnell was aggravated by the strongest of motives finding his wife, apparently, in an act of misconduct with another man, but that did not justify killing. Before marrying the deceased O’Donnell was a widower with one child. The deceased was a single girl, and had one child of which O’Donnell was not the father, and a baby, of which O’Donnell was the father. Before her marriage Mrs. O’Donnell had been friendly with Roy Thompson, 29, labourer, of Colac. Toward the end of January, when O’Donnell returned home after being away woodcutting, he found his wife and Thompson together. Thompson said he would go away and not trouble them any more. On the 8th of February, O’Donnell and Angus families who lived in the one house went to Colac for a picnic lunch. O’Donnell had a drink and when the party returned home Mrs O’Donnell appeared to be encouraging him to drink more. Later Thompson arrived at the house, and Mrs Angus went to say “Good-night” to Mrs O’Donnell, who was in bed. Thompson entered the room, and Mrs Angus left soon after a shot was heard and Mrs Angus went to the bedroom door and saw Mrs O’Donnell on the floor and Thompson in the room. O’Donnell was at the door with a gun in his hand. O’Donnell told Mrs Angus to go for the police and on leaving she heard another gunshot. On her return Thompson was on the bed, and O’Donnell, pointing a gun at him, said ‘ Put up your hands, Thompson ” Thompson jumped from the bed and there was a struggle. When a doctor arrived Mrs, O’Donnell was dead

 

On This Day – October 23, 1969

A 30-year-old woman broke down and cried when she was committed for trial at the Coroner’s Court to day for the murder of her six-months-old baby.  Mr H. W. Pascoe, SM, committed Mrs Patricia Louise Coolen. of Pembroke Road, Mooroolbark, to appear in the Supreme Court on March 2.  Mrs Coolen was charged with the murder of Sylvia Maree Coolen on October 23, 1969.  First Constable D. Grigg of Croydon told the Court Mrs Coolen was nursing her baby and crying when, he went to her house after a phone call to police. My God, I think my baby’s dead. I’ve killed her”, Mrs Coolen had said to him. Dr James McNamara said that a post mortem examination had revealed the baby had died of strangulation.

ON THIS DAY…… 3rd September 1897
At an inquest on the body of a newly born female child, found in the public reserve at Fitzroy, a verdict of wilful murder against some person unknown was returned.