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ON THIS DAY – December 20, 1940

FERNTREE GULLY

Found guilty of the murder of Alfred Thomas Atherton, 35, hotel useful, on the 20th of December, at Ferntree Gully, Morris Ansell, 19, metal polisher, of Victoria Street, Carlton, was sentenced to death by Mr. Justice Martin in the Criminal Court. The Jury added a strong recommendation for mercy because of Ansell’s youth. In the course of evidence at the trial, Mrs. Atherton, wife of the murdered man, said that she had been living apart from her husband. About eight months ago she met Ansell in a house in South Yarra, and two months later went to live at Ferntree Gully, and later at Victoria Street, Carlton. She had hoped to obtain a divorce so that she could marry Ansell. According to police evidence, Ansell confessed that he shot Atherton. An sell had said that he had arranged to go with Atherton to Ferntree Gully, where he Informed Atherton that Mrs. Atherton was working. Before leaving home he had placed his pea rifle under his coat. When walking along the road to Boronia, Atherton had said to him (An sell): ‘I suppose my wife is running about with other men. If I thought that she was in trouble I would kill her.’ Ansell told the police: ‘I said to myself I will kill you first.’ Ansell then said that ‘Atherton turned his head and I shot him.’

 

ON THIS DAY – December 15, 1938

MELBOURNE

Lee Acquitted – NOT GUILTY OF MURDER OR MANSLAUGHTER.

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A jury in the Criminal Court to- day found Harcourt Lee, 38, Hairdresser of Rathdowne Street Carlton not guilty of having murdered Arthur Kingsley Taplin, 22, barman of Sydney. Lee was also found not guilty of manslaughter and was discharged by Mr Justice Lowe. The Crown alleged that after a brawl between Lee and Taplin in the bar of the Cosmopolitan Hotel Melbourne on December 15. Lee fired a shot and Taplin fell to the floor. He died on December 21. Lee said that Taplin aimed a blow at him with a beer pot and then reached for his hip pocket. Lee thought that Taplin was about to draw a gun. He was afraid and on the spur of the moment he drew his own pistol and shot Taplin. The jury announced its verdict after a retirement of three hours.

On this day …….. 14th of December 193512380029_222360064761796_1657025283_n

Arrested in a police raid early in the morning, William Sylvester John Barrett, 22, labourer, of Drummond Street, Carlton, appeared in the City Court charged with having murdered, on or about December 7, William Herbert Irwine York, at St. Kilda. Barrett was remanded to December 23, and in compliance with a police request bail was refused. Having given evidence of Barrett’s arrest, Detective William Ferguson said, it is alleged, that about midnight on December 7, York was walking along Fitzroy Street, St. Kilda. Later he was found unconscious near St. Kilda Road. He was taken into the Alfred Hospital, where he was kept under observation and allowed to return home. His injuries took a serious turn on the following day and he died early on the morning of December 9, as a result, it is alleged, of injuries he received. A post-mortem examination showed that death was due to a number of fractures of the skull.’ Barrett had made a statement about the matter. Detective Ferguson concluded. Barrett, a well-built young man, was not represented by counsel.

Roma Smith aka Ginger Tommy was found brutally murdered in her house in Carlton on August 21, 1918

The Twisted History team will be doing a series of video stores on murders that have happened around Melbourne.  Do you know who’s been murdered in your street?

CARLTON

ALLEGED MANSLAUGHTER.

In the Court of General Sessions on Tuesday Robert Poole, labourer, was charged with the manslaughter of Hugh Kelly, at Carlton, on December 5. The jury found accused not guilty, and he was discharged

CARLTON

On the night of the 1st December, 1923, Kathleen Price and Charles Johnson arrived home about 11pm to the boarding house where they lived at 230 Lygon Street. The boarding house was run by Mrs Clara Aumont, and Charles, Kathleen and Doris, Kathleen’s 9 year old daughter, had been residing there for about a month as a family unit in 2 rooms upstairs. Johnson was drunk and had been witnessed by Mrs Aumont sniffing a substance, thought to be cocaine, earlier in the parlour room. Doris had been in her mother’s bed reading her school books when the couple arrived home. Kathleen ushered her into her own room with a kiss goodnight, where she fell asleep. Johnson was drunk and in a foul mood because Kathleen had refused to give him money earlier in the day.

At around 1.45am on Sunday morning, Doris was awakened by her mother’s screams. She went into her mother’s bedroom to find Johnson had Kathleen by the hair and a table knife to her throat, threatening to cut her. Doris was hit across the face by Johnson as she tried to intervene. Johnson threw away the first knife as it wasn’t sharp enough, and retrieved another from the drawer. Kathleen had rolled under the bed to get away from Johnson but was pulled out by her legs. Johnson threw Kathleen against the side of the bed, kicked her in the head, before cutting her throat with the sharp table knife and throwing her face down on the floor. Doris ran down and wakened Mrs Aumont who told her to go for the police. When Johnson came downstairs, Mrs Aumont asked him what he had done, to which he replied “She is as dead as Julius Ceaser, I will go to the gallows for her as I love that woman”.

Crime scene

Crime scene

When Senior-Constables Murray and Crawford arrived at 2.25am, Johnson met them at the front door. The police noticed his bloodstained hands and suit, and that he was drunk. He was asked what had happened, to which he replied, “come upstairs and see”. Johnson showed them where Kathleen’s lifeless body lay in a pool of blood on the floor of the front bedroom. When asked had he done it, Johnson replied “there she is, she is dead alright”. Senior-Constable Murray later described the room as “bespattered with blood and a desperate struggle having taken place”. The heel of Kathleen’s shoe was torn off and her false teeth were found 3 feet from the body.  Johnson was arrested and placed in the City Watch House while Kathleen’s body was removed to the morgue.

The post mortem reported that Kathleen Price was aged 30 years, “a well built and well nourished woman of 5 feet, 4 inches tall”. Blood was splattered from her neck to her feet. She had numerous cuts and bruises and her right thumb had been almost severed at the first joint. There were cuts on her chin, her elbow and right breast. Her lips were swollen and bruised, along with both eyes and her left cheek. A wound in Kathleen’s throat which measured 5 ½ inches in length and was gaping 2 ½ inches was her cause of death. The cut had severed many of the vessels and muscle in the neck and had opened her windpipe. Hair was found clutched in Kathleen’s hand.

Johnson was sent to trial at the Melbourne Supreme Court on the 15th February 1924, after the coroner found him responsible for Kathleen’s death on the 7th December 1923. Much of the defence rested on whether Johnson was of sound mind or not due to both cocaine use and alcohol consumption. The jury deliberated well into the night before reaching a guilty verdict at 10pm, with a recommendation for mercy. Johnson was sentenced to death but this was later commuted to life imprisonment without benefit of regulation or remission.

Charles Johnson

Charles Johnson

Initially incarcerated in Melbourne Gaol, he was later transferred to Geelong Gaol in January 1935 for treatment of hemiplegia and aterio sclerosis. It was attempted to have him released to his sister’s care in Coburg in early 1939 as Johnson had become bedridden and was not expected to live much longer. He died in Geelong Gaol in 1939.

 Have you joined us on the darker side of history in Chinatown or Carlton yet?

 

CARLTON

MURDER CHARGE.

DOCTOR ON BAIL.

Dr. Bothamley, charged with the murder of Dr. Loughnan at Carlton on November 25, was to-day further remanded for a week, bail being extended on the same conditions, defendant reporting daily to the police.

CARLTON

HOTEL BRAWL

George Kelland, aged 37, was charged at the Carlton Police with the wilful murder of Henry John Morris, laborer, as the result of a fight. The accused admitted to Constable Aheolem that he had knocked the deceased out. Kellands bail was refused.

Join the team at Twisted History in the streets and lanes of Carlton, arguably one of the most dangerous suburbs in Melbourne.  Learn of the brutal murders in the locations where they happened or where murderers have lived.  Tours by appointment.  For more information and bookings, please call 1300865800

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CARLTON

BABY’S DEATH

MOTHER CHARGED WITH MURDER.

On a charge of having murdered her newly-born baby at Carlton on November 15 Lillian Shore, 22, single of Carlton, was to-day committed for trial by the City Coroner, Mr. Tingate.

The baby was found in the front garden of a house in Carlton with its throat cut and the body was wrapped in newspaper.

Florence Parker, who conducted an apartment house at which Shore was staying, said she did not know Shore had given birth to a child. Shore went to bed early that night and next day had assisted in the housework.