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On This Day – September 5, 1876

A shocking case of homicide, which appears to have been premeditated murder, occurred on September 5 at Emerald-hill. About half-past 3 o’clock Constables M’Cormack and Ryan were attracted to the north end of Cecil-street by the noise of voices in loud dispute, and repeated cries for the police. They found that the scene of the disturbance was a small weatherboard house, tenanted by Robert Davis, a wharf labourer, and a woman named Mary Heggarty, who lived together as man and wife. A woman named Ellen Francis, about 30 years of age, was standing outside the door, and Davis was standing inside, clothed only in his shirt, and bleeding from a wound on the right side of bis chest. The woman Heggarty was also inside the door, and with her Ellen Francis was still carrying on an angry altercation. Davis was able to say, with reference to Francis, ‘She has stabbed me,’ and then becoming unable to support himself from the rapid loss of blood he was suffering, he sank down upon the floor. The police then arrested the woman Francis, and in doing so discovered that she was attempting to conceal a knife in her dress. Constable M’Cormack took possession of the knife — which was a shoemaker’s one— and, showing it to Davis, asked if that were the weapon with which be had been stabbed, and received a reply in the affirmative from the dying man. The woman then admitted having stabbed him, and said she hoped he would not die, as she did not mean to kill him Constable Ryan, in the meantime, had gone for medical assistance, and in about 15 minutes returned with Dr. Molloy, who, however, found that it was impossible to save the life of the wounded man. The knife had entered a vital part, and Davis died in about 25 minutes after he was stabbed. Ellen Francis was lodged in the local watchhouse, and on being brought before the magistrate, was remanded until next day. The characters connected with this tragedy are all of bad repute. Davis, the murdered man, was also known by the names of Noah Smart and John Taylor, and he was discharged from Pentridge in April last, after doing a sentence of five years for house-breaking. Francis came out of gaol only a fortnight ago, having been sentenced by the Kew Bench to a term of imprisonment for disorderly behaviour. On his release Davis went to live with Francis and a man named Billy Lancaster, inEmerald-hill. A few weeks ago Mary Heggarty came out of prison, to which she had been rent for a period for wilful damage to property, and Davis immediately separated from Lancaster and Francis., and took up his abode with her in Cecil-street. This seemed to have excited a great deal of jealousy on the part of Francis, and as a consequence quarrels between them were frequent. Heggarty states that about 2 o’clock on the morning of the day of the murder, Billy Lancaster came to their door and kicked it violently, saying that he wanted trousers which belonged to him, and which Davis had possession of.  Without getting satisfaction, however, Lancaster had to desist, and leave. A little after 3 o’clock they were again alarmed by Ellen Francis, who created another disturbance at the door, and demanded admission saying, ‘ Open the door, or I’ll open you.’ Davis, at the request of Heggarty, then opened the door, and as soon as he did so received the stab in the chest. The only causes known for the action of the woman Francis are that the deceased took 3s. from her man’s pocket on the previous night, and the allegation as to the detention of Lancaster’s trousers. The house in which the tragedy occurred conflicts of two small apartment, entirely destitute of furniture, with the exception of a mattress and a chair. An inquest was held by Dr. Youl on the following day. The jury returned a verdict of wilful murder against the woman Francis, who was committed for trial. The trial took place on September 16, when the prisoner was convicted and sentenced to death.

EXECUTION THIS DAY …….. 5th April 1865

The execution of John Stacey, for the murder of a child named Daniel McDonnell, at Emerald-hill, on the 28th of February, took place at the gaol, in presence of a smell number of spectators. Since the lest execution a new “drop” has been constructed at the gaol, and the general arrangements materially altered. On a level with the gallery, in front of the middle tier of cells, a small platform, part of which is composed of a trap-door, has been erected, stretching across from the gallery on one side of one of the corridors to that on the other side. Above this platform a beam has been fixed, reaching from wall to wall, and to this the rope is suspended. The prisoners under sentence of death will be placed in the cells on a level with and immediately contiguous to this platform; the long distance which the convict had formerly to be conducted and the ascent of a ladder being by these arrangements avoided. The Rev. D. Lordon, by whom the convict Stacey has been constantly attended, visited him at an early hour yesterday morning; sad at the time of the execution the Rev. Dr. Bleasdale read the prayers of the church (Roman Catholic) to which the prisoner belonged. Punctually at ten o’clock the sheriff, accompanied by the governor of the gaol, had the door of the cell opened, and the unhappy man was informed that the hour had arrived. He stepped outside the cell, preceded by an attendant with a crucifix, and accompanied by the clergyman. The pinioning was done on the gallery in front of the cell, the prisoner the while keeping his eye fixed upon the emblem before him. Not more than two or three short steps ware required to bring him upon the centre of the trap-door before mentioned, and the prisoner stepped to the place indicated without any visible sign of trepidation. He was very pale, but had the expression of steady resolve, and his nerves did not fall him in the least while the rope was being adjusted. Thu only words spoken by him were now and then the repetition, in a low tone, of portions of the sentences recited by Dr. Bleasdale. The executioner, having completed the adjustment of the noose, stepped back to a lever handle, and released the bolt, allowed the drop to fall. Death must have been instantaneous; no struggling took place, and one or two slight movements, which lasted for perhaps a minute and a half after the drop, were evidently but the effects of a spasmodic action of the muscles after life had departed. Not more than about eighteen or twenty persons were present of whom the greater number were official. The prisoner stated at his trial that his true was Michael Casey. He is entered in the gaol books as thirty one years old, born at Bristol. He arrived in this colony in 1852, free, his calling as a stoker. He made no distinct confession of having committed the deed for which he was sentenced, unless he did so to the clergyman.

 

ON THIS DAY – FEBRUARY 28, 1865

John Stacey, was charged with the murder of a child named Daniel McDonnell, at Emerald Hill, (South Melbourne) on the 28th of February 1865. Stacey was sentenced to be executed at the old Melbourne Gaol.

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ON THIS DAY – February 11, 1880

An inquiry into the circumstances attending the death of the child of Mrs. Mary Cordelia M’Mahon, at Emerald-hill, (South Melbourne) was held on February 11, by Dr. Youl, city coroner. William Theodore Tawton said that the mother of the deceased child was his step sister. She came to stay for a week with him. Tawton stated that he thought that she was a little out of her mind. She was very religious. On morning of the murder she came into witness’s room. She was in her night-dress. She said her lamb was in heaven. There were a few spots of blood upon her night-dress. He asked her what she had done. She said she had done it with a hatchet, adding, ‘Come and see.’ He went to the window looking out on the yard, and saw the deceased lying in the yard upon a board. The child was dead. He called his mother, and subsequently went for a constable. M’Mahon was not told that his wife had been in the lunatic asylum before he married her. On examining the body of the deceased, there was found a large oblique wound, nearly severing the head from the body. There was another wound also in the neck dividing the wind pipe, and another extensive wound under the right arm. Either of these wounds would have been sufficient to cause death, and they could all have been inflicted by the axe. John Bailey, sergeant of police saw on the table in the kitchen the deceased. The body was rolled in a sheet, and the head was nearly severed from it. It was recently killed, and blood was still flowing from the wounds. He then saw the mother. He had her get up and dressed, and went out into the yard. On a plank he saw a quantity of blood. He took possession of the axe (produced). It had been washed. He took the mother and child in a cab to the police station. On the way the mother said that God had commanded Abraham to offer up his son, and that he told her also to offer up her son, and that she had done it. She preferred having her child in heaven to putting him to anyone. The coroner, in summing up, said the evidence placed it beyond doubt that the woman had wilfully murdered the child, and the jury returned a verdict accordingly, and the woman was committed for trial. During the proceedings the woman showed signs of mental derangement, and at the close made a few remarks showing that she fully believed, as she stated to Sergeant Bailey, that she was relied upon to sacrifice her child.

 

 

On This Day – September 5, 1876

A shocking case of homicide, which appears to have been premeditated murder, occurred on September 5 at Emerald-hill. About half-past 3 o’clock Constables M’Cormack and Ryan were attracted to the north end of Cecil-street by the noise of voices in loud dispute, and repeated cries for the police. They found that the scene of the disturbance was a small weatherboard house, tenanted by Robert Davis, a wharf labourer, and a woman named Mary Heggarty, who lived together as man and wife. A woman named Ellen Francis, about 30 years of age, was standing outside the door, and Davis was standing inside, clothed only in his shirt, and bleeding from a wound on the right side of bis chest. The woman Heggarty was also inside the door, and with her Ellen Francis was still carrying on an angry altercation. Davis was able to say, with reference to Francis, ‘She has stabbed me,’ and then becoming unable to support himself from the rapid loss of blood he was suffering, he sank down upon the floor. The police then arrested the woman Francis, and in doing so discovered that she was attempting to conceal a knife in her dress. Constable M’Cormack took possession of the knife — which was a shoemaker’s one— and, showing it to Davis, asked if that were the weapon with which be had been stabbed, and received a reply in the affirmative from the dying man. The woman then admitted having stabbed him, and said she hoped he would not die, as she did not mean to kill him Constable Ryan, in the meantime, had gone for medical assistance, and in about 15 minutes returned with Dr. Molloy, who, however, found that it was impossible to save the life of the wounded man. The knife had entered a vital part, and Davis died in about 25 minutes after he was stabbed. Ellen Francis was lodged in the local watchhouse, and on being brought before the magistrate, was remanded until next day. The characters connected with this tragedy are all of bad repute. Davis, the murdered man, was also known by the names of Noah Smart and John Taylor, and he was discharged from Pentridge in April last, after doing a sentence of five years for house-breaking. Francis came out of gaol only a fortnight ago, having been sentenced by the Kew Bench to a term of imprisonment for disorderly behaviour. On his release Davis went to live with Francis and a man named Billy Lancaster, inEmerald-hill. A few weeks ago Mary Heggarty came out of prison, to which she had been rent for a period for wilful damage to property, and Davis immediately separated from Lancaster and Francis., and took up his abode with her in Cecil-street. This seemed to have excited a great deal of jealousy on the part of Francis, and as a consequence quarrels between them were frequent. Heggarty states that about 2 o’clock on the morning of the day of the murder, Billy Lancaster came to their door and kicked it violently, saying that he wanted trousers which belonged to him, and which Davis had possession of.  Without getting satisfaction, however, Lancaster had to desist, and leave. A little after 3 o’clock they were again alarmed by Ellen Francis, who created another disturbance at the door, and demanded admission saying, ‘ Open the door, or I’ll open you.’ Davis, at the request of Heggarty, then opened the door, and as soon as he did so received the stab in the chest. The only causes known for the action of the woman Francis are that the deceased took 3s. from her man’s pocket on the previous night, and the allegation as to the detention of Lancaster’s trousers. The house in which the tragedy occurred conflicts of two small apartment, entirely destitute of furniture, with the exception of a mattress and a chair. An inquest was held by Dr. Youl on the following day. The jury returned a verdict of wilful murder against the woman Francis, who was committed for trial. The trial took place on September 16, when the prisoner was convicted and sentenced to death.

EXECUTION THIS DAY …….. 5th April 1865

The execution of John Stacey, for the murder of a child named Daniel McDonnell, at Emerald-hill, on the 28th of February, took place at the gaol, in presence of a smell number of spectators. Since the lest execution a new “drop” has been constructed at the gaol, and the general arrangements materially altered. On a level with the gallery, in front of the middle tier of cells, a small platform, part of which is composed of a trap-door, has been erected, stretching across from the gallery on one side of one of the corridors to that on the other side. Above this platform a beam has been fixed, reaching from wall to wall, and to this the rope is suspended. The prisoners under sentence of death will be placed in the cells on a level with and immediately contiguous to this platform; the long distance which the convict had formerly to be conducted and the ascent of a ladder being by these arrangements avoided. The Rev. D. Lordon, by whom the convict Stacey has been constantly attended, visited him at an early hour yesterday morning; sad at the time of the execution the Rev. Dr. Bleasdale read the prayers of the church (Roman Catholic) to which the prisoner belonged. Punctually at ten o’clock the sheriff, accompanied by the governor of the gaol, had the door of the cell opened, and the unhappy man was informed that the hour had arrived. He stepped outside the cell, preceded by an attendant with a crucifix, and accompanied by the clergyman. The pinioning was done on the gallery in front of the cell, the prisoner the while keeping his eye fixed upon the emblem before him. Not more than two or three short steps ware required to bring him upon the centre of the trap-door before mentioned, and the prisoner stepped to the place indicated without any visible sign of trepidation. He was very pale, but had the expression of steady resolve, and his nerves did not fall him in the least while the rope was being adjusted. Thu only words spoken by him were now and then the repetition, in a low tone, of portions of the sentences recited by Dr. Bleasdale. The executioner, having completed the adjustment of the noose, stepped back to a lever handle, and released the bolt, allowed the drop to fall. Death must have been instantaneous; no struggling took place, and one or two slight movements, which lasted for perhaps a minute and a half after the drop, were evidently but the effects of a spasmodic action of the muscles after life had departed. Not more than about eighteen or twenty persons were present of whom the greater number were official. The prisoner stated at his trial that his true was Michael Casey. He is entered in the gaol books as thirty one years old, born at Bristol. He arrived in this colony in 1852, free, his calling as a stoker. He made no distinct confession of having committed the deed for which he was sentenced, unless he did so to the clergyman.

 

ON THIS DAY – FEBRUARY 28, 1865

John Stacey, was charged with the murder of a child named Daniel McDonnell, at Emerald Hill, (South Melbourne) on the 28th of February 1865. Stacey was sentenced to be executed at the old Melbourne Gaol.

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ON THIS DAY – February 11, 1880

An inquiry into the circumstances attending the death of the child of Mrs. Mary Cordelia M’Mahon, at Emerald-hill, (South Melbourne) was held on February 11, by Dr. Youl, city coroner. William Theodore Tawton said that the mother of the deceased child was his step sister. She came to stay for a week with him. Tawton stated that he thought that she was a little out of her mind. She was very religious. On morning of the murder she came into witness’s room. She was in her night-dress. She said her lamb was in heaven. There were a few spots of blood upon her night-dress. He asked her what she had done. She said she had done it with a hatchet, adding, ‘Come and see.’ He went to the window looking out on the yard, and saw the deceased lying in the yard upon a board. The child was dead. He called his mother, and subsequently went for a constable. M’Mahon was not told that his wife had been in the lunatic asylum before he married her. On examining the body of the deceased, there was found a large oblique wound, nearly severing the head from the body. There was another wound also in the neck dividing the wind pipe, and another extensive wound under the right arm. Either of these wounds would have been sufficient to cause death, and they could all have been inflicted by the axe. John Bailey, sergeant of police saw on the table in the kitchen the deceased. The body was rolled in a sheet, and the head was nearly severed from it. It was recently killed, and blood was still flowing from the wounds. He then saw the mother. He had her get up and dressed, and went out into the yard. On a plank he saw a quantity of blood. He took possession of the axe (produced). It had been washed. He took the mother and child in a cab to the police station. On the way the mother said that God had commanded Abraham to offer up his son, and that he told her also to offer up her son, and that she had done it. She preferred having her child in heaven to putting him to anyone. The coroner, in summing up, said the evidence placed it beyond doubt that the woman had wilfully murdered the child, and the jury returned a verdict accordingly, and the woman was committed for trial. During the proceedings the woman showed signs of mental derangement, and at the close made a few remarks showing that she fully believed, as she stated to Sergeant Bailey, that she was relied upon to sacrifice her child.