ON THIS DAY – October 5, 1944
On October 5th, 1944, two boys, John Graham and Geoffrey Clay, aged 8 and 9 respectively walked to Clay’s home for lunch from school. In Clay’s bedroom, the two boys were looking through a penny dreadful magazine. The boys decided to try and emulate the front cover, which showed a bandit with a tommy gun pressed against the chest of another man. Graham stood against the door and Clay held the shotgun, which was to discharge killing John Graham. Geoffrey dragged his friend’s body by the arms into the lane where he was seen by another school friend, Ronald Taplin. He asked Clay what had happened to which he replied he had found the boy in his room and he didn’t know him. When Taplin saw the blood, he told Clay to stay there while he got the police and Clay began to cry. Clay would tell police firstly that he had found Graham’s body in his room and dragged him out as he didn’t want him there. On further questioning, Clay admitted that they had been looking through the comic. Clay at first said “I found him in my bedroom. He had a gun. He put some string on the trigger and shot himself. But went on to admit Graham and got the gun and loaded the cartridge. Clay then told Graham to stand near the door, pointed the gun at him and pulled the trigger. Geoffrey Clay was the youngest person to ever be put on trial in the Supreme Court of Victoria. He was acquitted of the wilful murder of John Graham.