ON THIS DAY …… 29th March 1947


Pleading that he acted in self-defence, Chang Gooh Kong aged 34, Chinese seaman, was acquitted in the Criminal Court of the murder of Douglas Vivian Alcock aged 21, labourer, of Brunswick St., Fitzroy, on this day in 1947.


EXECUTED ON THIS DAY ………. 26th of March 1900

William Robert Jones, aged under 40 was executed at Old Melbourne gaol

The charred and mutilated body of eight-year-old Olive Rita Lillian Jones was discovered at Broadford on the 28th of December 1899. She had been raped, strangled, and her skull was smashed to pulp. Rita had stayed with her grandparents and left home on the 26th of December for the purpose of buying lollies and apricots at a shop half a mile distant, but did not return. She was last seen near Doherty’s butcher’s shop, halfway between her grandparents home and the shop. Her dead body was found in a fowlhouse at the back of Doherty’s butchering establishment. William Robert Jones, a butcher employed at Doherty’s (and not related to the victim), was at once under suspicion of the murder and was arrested on the 2nd of January 1900. Jones had been seen in the fruit shop, asking Rita her name and tickling her under the chin. A neighbour sitting on her veranda overlooking Doherty’s premises later observed that smoke was coming from the chimney attached to the boilers, more than usual, and that Jones was about the boiling-down house. Jones was found guilty of murder at the Criminal Court in Melbourne and sentenced to death on the 21st of February 1900. He was hanged at Melbourne Gaol at 10am on the 26th of March 1900.


ON THIS DAY ……….. 26th of March 1930

Before Mr. Justice Lowe, in the Criminal Court of Melbourne the trial of May McNeal, a married woman, of Bennett Street, Richmond, began on a charge of murder. The charge against Mrs McNeal was that at Richmond on the 26th of March 1930 she murdered Margaret Jean Alexander, aged 20 years, of Montrose. Mrs. McNeal pleaded not guilty. The Crown alleged that the accused woman was a party to the attempted performance of an illegal operation upon Margaret Jean Alexander, and that, as the result of shock, the girl died. Mrs. McNeal, on oath, said: “I did not in any way interfere with tho girl.” How ever she was found guilty.


ON THIS DAY – March 20, 1931


At the conclusion of the evidence for the defence at the resumed trial of Allen Esdale Davis Ward (18), Ralph William Fuller (19), Richard Hanford Jackson (19), and Leslie Charles Lewis (17) on charges of murder, the Chief Justice Sir William Irvine, said he did not think there was evidence to substantiate the murder charge against either Lewis, Jackson or Fuller, but there was abundant evidence of manslaughter. His Honor said there was sufficient evidence against Ward for the charge of murder to go before the jury. The youths appeared in the Criminal Court on a charge of having at Coburg on March 20 murdered Arthur Nelson Head (16) school teacher, of Belgrave street, Coburg. After accused had given evidence the hearing was adjourned. The Crown alleges that Head, after leaving a church fete at the Presbyterian church, Sydney road, with three other youths, was attacked and assaulted by the four accused. Head died from his injuries the following day.



ON THIS DAY – March 20, 1945

Death of Wife

After a retirement of two and a half hours a jury in the Criminal Court yesterday found Harry Ernest Mills, 31, coalminer, of Wonthaggi, not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter of his wife, Linda Marion Mills, 26, at Wonthaggi on March 20. Mills was remanded by Mr Justice Macfarlane for sentence.



ON THIS DAY ……. 19th March 1938


Isabella Johansen aged 53, of Wells parade, Carrum, was acquitted by a Criminal Court jury of a charge of having murdered Henry Richard King aged 35, of Carrum on this day in 1938. She was also acquitted of a charge of manslaughter. The Crown alleged that King died in hospital from haemorrhage and shock caused by a wound in the face inflicted with a broken glass by Mrs. Johansen during a dispute about a ladder.



ON THIS DAY …… 18th March 1943

Norman Morris Searle aged 25, of Burnley, was found guilty in the Criminal Court of the murder of Senior Constable Frederick Jones on this day in 1943. The jury made a strong recommendation for mercy. The Chief Justice, Sir Frederick Mann, pronounced the death sentence, and told the jury that the rider would be sent to the Executive Council. The Crown alleged that Searle shot Jones in mistake for another constable, against whom he had a grudge for two years. The shot was fired from a rifle in taxi in which Searle was a passenger. In an unsworn statement from the dock. Searle said he had no intention of killing Jones or anyone else. He was sorry that Jones was dead. Two years ago he took to drink, and had been twice convicted for drunkenness. On the night of the 18th of March he was very drunk. He had a hazy recollection of collecting a rifle from a friend’s place and driving off in a taxi. He fired a shot out of the taxi, but with no idea of killing the policeman. His intention was merely to frighten him.



ON THIS DAY ……… 17th March 1953

After being sentenced to death for murder in the Criminal Court on this day in 1953, James Robert Walker age 43, told Justice Duffy that he wished to be hanged. However, with a Labour Government in office the sentence will be commuted. Walker was found guilty of having murdered Thomas George Fogarty aged 32, by shooting him at St. Kilda on the 17th of March. After Justice Duffy had passed the death sentence, Walker said “Thank you, sir. I have been found guilty of a viscous crime. I understand this will go to Cabinet. I ask you if you will make a recommendation to Cabinet that it will carry the sentence out.”



ON THIS DAY ……… 16th March 1897

John Wilson was charged at the Criminal Court with having shot at Kate Spiers with intent to murder her. The parties lived together as man and wife till he told her to leave owing to her drunken habits. On March 16 she called at Wilson’s restaurant, struck him in the face, smashed the crockery, and rushed up stairs. He fired four shots at her, two bullets lodging in her neck. The accused admitted the facts, and was committed for trial.



ON THIS DAY – March 12, 1929


Anna Elizabeth Hillard, convicted of the manslaughter of David Wilson, at Erica, Gippsland nearly collapsed when, at the Criminal Court, Justice MacFarlane sentenced her to 10 years’ hard labour. She clutched at the rail of the dock, swayed, and then steadied herself again. Anna Hillard (36) and Albert George Wilson (23) were charged with having murdered Wilson’s father, David Wilson (55), at Erica, on March 12. Wilson was acquitted and Hillard was found guilty of manslaughter, after a trial which lasted three days. Hillard’s eight children will probably be cared for by the State.



ON THIS DAY – March 10, 1900


The trial has been commenced in the Criminal Court of Ronald Kennedy, who is charged with the wilful murder of Sarah McLennan, at Kyneton, on the 10th of March 1900. The accused was a brother of the deceased.



ON THIS DAY – March 7, 1944


William Blanchard aged 58 years, of Windsor, was acquitted by a jury in the Criminal Court on a charge of having murdered Charles Trost aged 51, at Windsor on the 7th of March 1944. He was acquitted also on a charge of manslaughter. Blanchard was discharged by Mr. Justice O’Brien. The Crown alleged that Blanchard had threatened to kill his wife, and that Trost was struck on the chest when he intervened. Blanchard denied having intended to kill Trost or injure Mrs. Blanchard.