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ON THIS DAY – June 24, 1933

 

At the inquest yesterday on a newly born male child found on the St. Kilda beach on June 24, witnesses gave evidence that the child was born to Irene Williams, 21, single, waitress, on June 23, and that on June 25 the mother was admitted to the Women’s Hospital. In statements to the police Miss Williams is alleged to have said the child was still-born. She threw the body from the jetty into the bay. She also stated that on the day prior to the birth she had fallen downstairs. The Government Pathologist, Dr. Mollison, said the child died from injuries to the head, which included a fracture of the skull. The Coroner, Mr. D. Grand, found the child died from Injuries inflicted by Miss Williams, who was committed for trial.

ON THIS DAY – November 8, 1930

The inquest concerning the death of Mena Griffiths (12), a school girl who was outraged and murdered, the body being found in an unoccupied house at Ormond last month, was opened to-day by the city coroner. The court was crowded.  The mother of the dead girl created a scene in court when at the mention of the accused’s name she screamed. “Let me get at him.” She had to be assisted from the court. Robert James M’Mahon (36), a motor mechanic, who was arrested in

Sydney, was present in custody on a charge of murder. Leslie Griffiths, a brother of the murdered girl, broke down and sobbed while giving evidence of identification of his sister’s body. Dr. Mollison, who made a post-mortem examination of the body, said that the mouth was filled with a round mass of torn singlet which was fastened and tied around the neck by a piece of some material. The child had been criminally assaulted. Death was due to suffocation. William Minchin, a laborer, of Temora, said that on November 26 he found concealed under a sheet of tin a leather kitbag. It was the one produced in court.  Sergeant Stewart, of Temora, said that he arrested M’Mahon at the Temora Post Office and asked him if he had a swag. M’Mahon said he had, but later he denied that he had a swag, saying that he had thrown it away.

Later, as a result of something Minchin told him, he took possession of a kitbag which contained a pair of trousers, two shirts, two singlets, a pair of black boots, a towel, an eiderdown quilt, a black tie, a bicycle pump, a black felt hat, two collars, a girl’s waterproof hat, a tweed cap, and a skull cap. Thomas Jones, a railway porter at Temora, said that he received a case of oranges at the Temora station consigned to M’Mahon. The man who called to collect them was the accused. Charles Anthony Taylor, Government analyst, said that on examining the clothing in the leather kitbag he found human blood on a dirty shirt and singlet. The blood appeared to have been brushed against clothing. His examination of the trousers revealed that some attempt had been made to remove the bloodstains. A small quilt had a few bloodstains on one corner. M’Mahon: If bloodstains were found on my garments and you took a specimen of my blood, would it be possible to tell whether the blood on the clothing belonged to me? Witness: Yes. There is a method of doing so.  M’Mahon: How long would you say those stains have been on the articles? —I cannot say the exact time, but they are not very old.  Would you say that the bloodstains occurred at the same time or at different periods?—They had the appearance of having occurred at the same time.

Lilian Hawk said that on the afternoon of November 8 she was sitting with her daughter in a car at Fawkner Park. She took particular notice of a man who came out of the park with two little girls. That man was M’Mahon. She next saw him about two weeks ago at the police station. She had no doubt about him. Carlene Hawk, a typist, said she saw M’Mahon come out of the park with two little girls.  Henry Carlos deposed that he saw M’Mahon talking to four little girls in the park. Joyce Griffiths was one of them. He had no doubt as to his identity. The nert witness was Joyce Griffiths, who said that while Mena was at the joy wheel in the park a man came up and spoke to her. Asked bv the coroner to stand up for identification. M’Mahon said: Was it me, dear?” to which the witness replied “Yes.” Witness, continuing, said that the man said to Mena: “I want you to go a message, and don’t tell anyone you are going.” Mena said, “All right” She wanted witness to go with her. but the man said, “You cannot go. He took Mena into Paisley-street and went towards Commercial-road.

On This Day – August 9, 1907

The adjourned inquest in connection with the death of John Colin Cunningham, engine-driver, 34 years of age, who was shot at Richmond on the night of 9th August, was continued at the Morgue on 22nd August before City Coroner, Mr Candler.

William Lewis, the young man who is alleged to have shot Cunningham, was present in custody. He is at present on remand, charged with that he did feloniously, wilfully, and of his own malice aforethought, kill and murder one John Colin Cunningham, at Richmond on 9th August last.  Lewis was represented by Mr Crouch.

Annie May Cunningham, widow of deceased, said that she knew nothing of the man Lewis, save what she had heard her husband say about him. She knew of no ground of quarrel between them. Dr. Mollison, Government pathologist, stated that death was due to gangrenous peritonitis, the result of a gunshot wound in the abdomen. The wound was necessarily fatal. The bullet produce! was the one taken from the body of deceased. Witness had weighed the bullet, and also another bullet handed to him by the police. There was a difference of half a grain in the weights, but no other difference. Constable W. Patterson, stationed at South Richmond, said that at half-past 10 on the night of 9th August he was on duty in Swan street, and was informed that a man had shot himself. Witness went to Stevenson street, about fifty yards from Cubitt street, and saw deceased lying across the footway on his right side. Another man, named Thomas Girdson, was present. Girdson said, “Here he is, constable.” Witness went over and asked deceased what the matter was. He replied, “For Christ’s sake, get me out of this pain.” Witness asked ” deceased his name, and what happened. He said, “I’ve been shot.” Witness asked him if he knew the name of the man who shot him, and he replied, “No; but you know him.” Witness rang up for the ambulance, and took deceased to the Melbourne Hospital. The witness then produced the clothes worn by deceased on the night that he was shot. They were rough working clothes. There were two holes in the vest, where the bullet had passed through and there were corresponding holes in the shirt and undershirt.

ON THIS DAY – June 24, 1933

 

At the inquest yesterday on a newly born male child found on the St. Kilda beach on June 24, witnesses gave evidence that the child was born to Irene Williams, 21, single, waitress, on June 23, and that on June 25 the mother was admitted to the Women’s Hospital. In statements to the police Miss Williams is alleged to have said the child was still-born. She threw the body from the jetty into the bay. She also stated that on the day prior to the birth she had fallen downstairs. The Government Pathologist, Dr. Mollison, said the child died from injuries to the head, which included a fracture of the skull. The Coroner, Mr. D. Grand, found the child died from Injuries inflicted by Miss Williams, who was committed for trial.

ON THIS DAY – May 19, 1934

BODY UNDER CULVERT

A Coroner’s inquiry was opened concerning the death of the Italian laborer named Rocco Petaulla, whoso charred body was found under a culvert at Balwyn by some children. Dr. D.H. Mollison, Government Pathologist, expressed the opinion that death was due to suffocation and haemorrhage following a blow on tho head. The witness said the face was almost unrecognisable, and the trunk was much charred, while on the left side of the frontal bone of the head there was a hole three-quarters of an inch in diameter. There was no evidence of a bullet in the skull. The injury could have been caused by the rounded end of a small tomahawk.  Two Italians named Antonio Chiodo and Antonio Audino, who have been charged with the murder of Petaulla, were present in custody. James Dallis, 28, motor-cycle wrecker of North Melbourne, said that he had done carrying work for Audino and Chiotlo. They came, to him on May 19 and told him that they had been robbed of £92. That night Chiodo returned, and said, that his brother wanted witness to take a parcel to Olinda, to raise some money. He would be paid £2 for the job.  When he went to the shop four Italians were talking excitedly in Italian. He waited a little while and was given £2. When he went outside, his cycle had been pushed up a small lane. There was a big tarpaulin on the trailer, and all he could see was a big, bulky object under, it. Chiodo and Audino sat on top, and they travelled to Balwyn, Chiodo told him to pull up, and they then lifted the object from the trailer. It was very dark. witness then returned home.  Chiodo replied that there was nothing wrong, and nothing that concerned him. “If anybody asks you, you know nothing about us,” he said to witness. They then left, and on the following Friday witness reported to Detective McGuffie.

POLICE EVIDENCE

Senior Detective McGuffie described the various pieces of clothing found burned in the culvert and the piece of hessian, and Italian dictionary also recovered.

Detective Rosewarne said that he recognised the clothing, when he previously searched Petaulla at the Detective Office. McGuffie related how he interviewed Trixtino and Chiodo, and told them that the police believed that the charred body was that of Petaulla, who had been murdered at Chiodo’s shop. Chiodo denied this, and also denied having given Dallis £2 to remove the body. When Audino came in he denied that Petaulla had been at the shop since the day he went to the detective office.  The inquest is not completed.

On This Day – April 18, 1913

In the Criminal Court today, Frank Claffey was charged with the manslaughter of Henry McNamara. McNamara was assaulted and robbed on April 18 at Fitzroy, on a vacant piece of land known as the Swamp. Dr. Mollison said that death was due to acute peritonitis, and that the rupture of the bowels was consistent with a kick. The further hearing of the case was adjourned until tomorrow.

ON THIS DAY – November 8, 1930

The inquest concerning the death of Mena Griffiths (12), a school girl who was outraged and murdered, the body being found in an unoccupied house at Ormond last month, was opened to-day by the city coroner. The court was crowded.  The mother of the dead girl created a scene in court when at the mention of the accused’s name she screamed. “Let me get at him.” She had to be assisted from the court. Robert James M’Mahon (36), a motor mechanic, who was arrested in

Sydney, was present in custody on a charge of murder. Leslie Griffiths, a brother of the murdered girl, broke down and sobbed while giving evidence of identification of his sister’s body. Dr. Mollison, who made a post-mortem examination of the body, said that the mouth was filled with a round mass of torn singlet which was fastened and tied around the neck by a piece of some material. The child had been criminally assaulted. Death was due to suffocation. William Minchin, a laborer, of Temora, said that on November 26 he found concealed under a sheet of tin a leather kitbag. It was the one produced in court.  Sergeant Stewart, of Temora, said that he arrested M’Mahon at the Temora Post Office and asked him if he had a swag. M’Mahon said he had, but later he denied that he had a swag, saying that he had thrown it away.

Later, as a result of something Minchin told him, he took possession of a kitbag which contained a pair of trousers, two shirts, two singlets, a pair of black boots, a towel, an eiderdown quilt, a black tie, a bicycle pump, a black felt hat, two collars, a girl’s waterproof hat, a tweed cap, and a skull cap. Thomas Jones, a railway porter at Temora, said that he received a case of oranges at the Temora station consigned to M’Mahon. The man who called to collect them was the accused. Charles Anthony Taylor, Government analyst, said that on examining the clothing in the leather kitbag he found human blood on a dirty shirt and singlet. The blood appeared to have been brushed against clothing. His examination of the trousers revealed that some attempt had been made to remove the bloodstains. A small quilt had a few bloodstains on one corner. M’Mahon: If bloodstains were found on my garments and you took a specimen of my blood, would it be possible to tell whether the blood on the clothing belonged to me? Witness: Yes. There is a method of doing so.  M’Mahon: How long would you say those stains have been on the articles? —I cannot say the exact time, but they are not very old.  Would you say that the bloodstains occurred at the same time or at different periods?—They had the appearance of having occurred at the same time.

Lilian Hawk said that on the afternoon of November 8 she was sitting with her daughter in a car at Fawkner Park. She took particular notice of a man who came out of the park with two little girls. That man was M’Mahon. She next saw him about two weeks ago at the police station. She had no doubt about him. Carlene Hawk, a typist, said she saw M’Mahon come out of the park with two little girls.  Henry Carlos deposed that he saw M’Mahon talking to four little girls in the park. Joyce Griffiths was one of them. He had no doubt as to his identity. The nert witness was Joyce Griffiths, who said that while Mena was at the joy wheel in the park a man came up and spoke to her. Asked bv the coroner to stand up for identification. M’Mahon said: Was it me, dear?” to which the witness replied “Yes.” Witness, continuing, said that the man said to Mena: “I want you to go a message, and don’t tell anyone you are going.” Mena said, “All right” She wanted witness to go with her. but the man said, “You cannot go. He took Mena into Paisley-street and went towards Commercial-road.

On This Day – August 9, 1907

The adjourned inquest in connection with the death of John Colin Cunningham, engine-driver, 34 years of age, who was shot at Richmond on the night of 9th August, was continued at the Morgue on 22nd August before City Coroner, Mr Candler.

William Lewis, the young man who is alleged to have shot Cunningham, was present in custody. He is at present on remand, charged with that he did feloniously, wilfully, and of his own malice aforethought, kill and murder one John Colin Cunningham, at Richmond on 9th August last.  Lewis was represented by Mr Crouch.

Annie May Cunningham, widow of deceased, said that she knew nothing of the man Lewis, save what she had heard her husband say about him. She knew of no ground of quarrel between them. Dr. Mollison, Government pathologist, stated that death was due to gangrenous peritonitis, the result of a gunshot wound in the abdomen. The wound was necessarily fatal. The bullet produce! was the one taken from the body of deceased. Witness had weighed the bullet, and also another bullet handed to him by the police. There was a difference of half a grain in the weights, but no other difference. Constable W. Patterson, stationed at South Richmond, said that at half-past 10 on the night of 9th August he was on duty in Swan street, and was informed that a man had shot himself. Witness went to Stevenson street, about fifty yards from Cubitt street, and saw deceased lying across the footway on his right side. Another man, named Thomas Girdson, was present. Girdson said, “Here he is, constable.” Witness went over and asked deceased what the matter was. He replied, “For Christ’s sake, get me out of this pain.” Witness asked ” deceased his name, and what happened. He said, “I’ve been shot.” Witness asked him if he knew the name of the man who shot him, and he replied, “No; but you know him.” Witness rang up for the ambulance, and took deceased to the Melbourne Hospital. The witness then produced the clothes worn by deceased on the night that he was shot. They were rough working clothes. There were two holes in the vest, where the bullet had passed through and there were corresponding holes in the shirt and undershirt.

ON THIS DAY – June 24, 1933

 

At the inquest yesterday on a newly born male child found on the St. Kilda beach on June 24, witnesses gave evidence that the child was born to Irene Williams, 21, single, waitress, on June 23, and that on June 25 the mother was admitted to the Women’s Hospital. In statements to the police Miss Williams is alleged to have said the child was still-born. She threw the body from the jetty into the bay. She also stated that on the day prior to the birth she had fallen downstairs. The Government Pathologist, Dr. Mollison, said the child died from injuries to the head, which included a fracture of the skull. The Coroner, Mr. D. Grand, found the child died from Injuries inflicted by Miss Williams, who was committed for trial.

ON THIS DAY – May 19, 1934

BODY UNDER CULVERT

A Coroner’s inquiry was opened concerning the death of the Italian laborer named Rocco Petaulla, whoso charred body was found under a culvert at Balwyn by some children. Dr. D.H. Mollison, Government Pathologist, expressed the opinion that death was due to suffocation and haemorrhage following a blow on tho head. The witness said the face was almost unrecognisable, and the trunk was much charred, while on the left side of the frontal bone of the head there was a hole three-quarters of an inch in diameter. There was no evidence of a bullet in the skull. The injury could have been caused by the rounded end of a small tomahawk.  Two Italians named Antonio Chiodo and Antonio Audino, who have been charged with the murder of Petaulla, were present in custody. James Dallis, 28, motor-cycle wrecker of North Melbourne, said that he had done carrying work for Audino and Chiotlo. They came, to him on May 19 and told him that they had been robbed of £92. That night Chiodo returned, and said, that his brother wanted witness to take a parcel to Olinda, to raise some money. He would be paid £2 for the job.  When he went to the shop four Italians were talking excitedly in Italian. He waited a little while and was given £2. When he went outside, his cycle had been pushed up a small lane. There was a big tarpaulin on the trailer, and all he could see was a big, bulky object under, it. Chiodo and Audino sat on top, and they travelled to Balwyn, Chiodo told him to pull up, and they then lifted the object from the trailer. It was very dark. witness then returned home.  Chiodo replied that there was nothing wrong, and nothing that concerned him. “If anybody asks you, you know nothing about us,” he said to witness. They then left, and on the following Friday witness reported to Detective McGuffie.

POLICE EVIDENCE

Senior Detective McGuffie described the various pieces of clothing found burned in the culvert and the piece of hessian, and Italian dictionary also recovered.

Detective Rosewarne said that he recognised the clothing, when he previously searched Petaulla at the Detective Office. McGuffie related how he interviewed Trixtino and Chiodo, and told them that the police believed that the charred body was that of Petaulla, who had been murdered at Chiodo’s shop. Chiodo denied this, and also denied having given Dallis £2 to remove the body. When Audino came in he denied that Petaulla had been at the shop since the day he went to the detective office.  The inquest is not completed.

On This Day – April 18, 1913

In the Criminal Court today, Frank Claffey was charged with the manslaughter of Henry McNamara. McNamara was assaulted and robbed on April 18 at Fitzroy, on a vacant piece of land known as the Swamp. Dr. Mollison said that death was due to acute peritonitis, and that the rupture of the bowels was consistent with a kick. The further hearing of the case was adjourned until tomorrow.