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ON THIS DAY – June 14, 1913

MELBOURNE MURDER CONSPIRACY CHARGE – TWO YOUNG WOMEN ARRESTED – WIFE’S EXTRAORDINARY STORY

Few more remarkable cases have come before the Criminal Court than that which was heard in Melbourne on June 14, when Elizabeth Louisa Barry, aged 28 years, an employee in a tearoom in “The Block,” and Clarice Cowell, aged 20, a saleswoman at Cole’s Book Arcade, were charged before Mr. Dwyer, P.M., at the City Court, with having conspired to murder Florence May Ring. Mrs. King, Who lives at Ascotvale, and who is the wife of a clerk in the parcels office, at Flinders street station, when interviewed on the previous day, told an extraordinary story. “On Saturday night, June 7,” she said, “a strange woman knocked at my front door, and explained that she had brought a parcel for me from my husband’s sister. I took her inside, and the parcel contained blouses for myself and a jumper for my little baby, Bruce. She complained of not having had any tea, though it was after 8 o’clock at night. My little, boy jumped out of bed and ran into the dining room to us. The woman at once declared that she did not like children. I then took her into the breakfast-room, and set the table to give her some tea. My little boy meanwhile played about the house. She gave him a date cream, but he did not eat it. She begged me to join her in the tea, and I poured myself out a cup. When I did this she looked at Bruce and said, ‘It’s time you were in bed.’ I took the hint, and carried him into his room, being only away from the woman for a few minutes. “When I returned she was still eating, and, on sitting down at the table again, “I noticed that my tea, which did not contain milk, had a peculiar scum floating on the top of it.” I sipped it, “and remarked, “What a horrible bitter taste this tea has.’ I noticed a peculiar pink powder around the cup on the tray cloth, and I at once be came suspicious. This, with the bitter taste of the tea, prompted me not to touch it, and when the woman went away, soon afterwards, I left it on the table just as it was until my husband came home from work. I then told him of my suspicions. On the Monday following my husband took the powder to the Government analyst, who stated that it contained enough strychnine to poison ten men. “On Tuesday I went to Cole’s Book Arcade, and asked for a young-woman assistant there, and when she came I said to her, ‘I am not dead yet.’ She said, ‘I don’t understand you.’ I replied, ‘No; but you will before long.’ Then I went to the Detective Office, and told them exactly what I am saying now. “I have only one woman enemy in the world, and she will be so until I die. About six weeks ago Cowell came to the house, and almost banged the front door in. When I went to the front she was standing with her back to the fence, and, of course, we had a fight. Blows were struck, and the woman fainted. Then my husband said for his sake to bring her inside. I did, and when she recovered we continued the fight in the dining-room. She pulled my hair out, and the silk blouse she was wearing was torn to pieces, and before she was able to leave the place I had to patch it together for her. My husband first met her 12 months ago. He is in a position at the window in the parcels office, where he is meeting strange people all day.” As a result of allegations similar to the above the arrests were made. A distressing scene occurred when the accused women were brought into court. They were weeping hysterically, and their cries could be heard beyond the precincts of the courtroom. Eventually they were both in a state of collapse. Detective Napthine stated that he had obtained a confession from Barry that she had conspired with Cowell to poison Mrs. King. Cowell admitted afterwards to him that this was true. She told the detective that King had ruined her, and had absolutely broken her heart.  A remand was granted till June 20, and the women were then sent to the gaol hospital for treatment.

On This Day ……. 1st June 1927

Clive Frankston, aged 36 years, was charged on the 1st of the June 1926, with larceny and sentenced to two years in Pentradge. On the 28th April 1927, the Penal Authorities at Pentridge decided to transfer Frankston and another prisoner, Henry Tacke, to the Geelong Gaol. The two prisoners were escorted by Senior Constable Matthews and Constable Springfield, took the two prisoners from Pentridge Gaol to the Flinders street station in a prison van. Frankston was placed in a carriage on the Geelong train at No. 1 platform, and the two police officers returned to the van to carry Tacke, who was disabled by an injured leg, to the train. Upon reaching the carriage they found that’ Frankston was gone. Frankston seeing an opportunity to escaped from the carriage while the police escort was carring Tacke who was disabled to the police van out side the station. He dashed from the carriage and rushing through the ticket barrier and disappeared among the crowds in the street. On the 14th of May 1927, following up inquiries detectives raid a house in Napior street, Fitzroy owned by Frankstons wife. Inside Frankston was recaptured, he offered no resistance, he was so weak from illness that he could scarcely stand. He told the police that he was glad to get back to gaol and that he was suffering badly from consumption and that that he believed that the sea air at Geelong would kill him. Frankston received an extra 6 months to his sentence.

ON THIS DAY – October 9, 1917

 

Before Mr Justice Hodges, in the Criminal Court this week, Horace Caston was charged with having, on October 9, attempted to murder Florence Caston, his wife, by pushing her out of a train while it was travelling between Richmond and Melbourne. There was a second charge of having with intent, caused grievous bodily harm.

Mr C. J. Z. Woinarski, K.C., prosecuted for the Crown, and Mr G. A. Maxwell (instructed by Mr N. H. Sonenberg) appeared for Caston.

Horace John Caston, giving evidence, said that he had provided a number of homes for his wife, and these had been broken up by her people’s interference. They had said that as she was a German she should have married a German. On the night of October 9, while they were on the Richmond station, his wife said that she would sooner kill herself than ” live with him again, and that the previous week she was thinking of drowning herself. After the train had started his wife again said she would not live with him, and commenced to scream. She went to the door and tried to close it, but could not. He told her to sit down, but she screamed louder and the child began to scream. He tried to quieten the child and when he looked round again his wife had disappeared through the open doorway. He did not touch her at all. They were on friendly terms when they got into the train and he kissed her. When he reached Flinders street he rushed back along the line and fell over some ashes. A little later, while in a dazed state, he was informed his wife was in the hospital, and he went there to see her. Mr Justice Hodges, In summing up, said that the wife had told a most extraordinary story, and the husband had told an opposite story. The question was whether the man pushed his wife out of the train with intent to murder her or to do her grievous bodily harm. Of the two stories told by the husband and wife neither was a satisfactory narrative. It was for the jury to say which story they believed.

ON THIS DAY – June 14, 1913

MELBOURNE MURDER CONSPIRACY CHARGE – TWO YOUNG WOMEN ARRESTED – WIFE’S EXTRAORDINARY STORY

Few more remarkable cases have come before the Criminal Court than that which was heard in Melbourne on June 14, when Elizabeth Louisa Barry, aged 28 years, an employee in a tearoom in “The Block,” and Clarice Cowell, aged 20, a saleswoman at Cole’s Book Arcade, were charged before Mr. Dwyer, P.M., at the City Court, with having conspired to murder Florence May Ring. Mrs. King, Who lives at Ascotvale, and who is the wife of a clerk in the parcels office, at Flinders street station, when interviewed on the previous day, told an extraordinary story. “On Saturday night, June 7,” she said, “a strange woman knocked at my front door, and explained that she had brought a parcel for me from my husband’s sister. I took her inside, and the parcel contained blouses for myself and a jumper for my little baby, Bruce. She complained of not having had any tea, though it was after 8 o’clock at night. My little, boy jumped out of bed and ran into the dining room to us. The woman at once declared that she did not like children. I then took her into the breakfast-room, and set the table to give her some tea. My little boy meanwhile played about the house. She gave him a date cream, but he did not eat it. She begged me to join her in the tea, and I poured myself out a cup. When I did this she looked at Bruce and said, ‘It’s time you were in bed.’ I took the hint, and carried him into his room, being only away from the woman for a few minutes. “When I returned she was still eating, and, on sitting down at the table again, “I noticed that my tea, which did not contain milk, had a peculiar scum floating on the top of it.” I sipped it, “and remarked, “What a horrible bitter taste this tea has.’ I noticed a peculiar pink powder around the cup on the tray cloth, and I at once be came suspicious. This, with the bitter taste of the tea, prompted me not to touch it, and when the woman went away, soon afterwards, I left it on the table just as it was until my husband came home from work. I then told him of my suspicions. On the Monday following my husband took the powder to the Government analyst, who stated that it contained enough strychnine to poison ten men. “On Tuesday I went to Cole’s Book Arcade, and asked for a young-woman assistant there, and when she came I said to her, ‘I am not dead yet.’ She said, ‘I don’t understand you.’ I replied, ‘No; but you will before long.’ Then I went to the Detective Office, and told them exactly what I am saying now. “I have only one woman enemy in the world, and she will be so until I die. About six weeks ago Cowell came to the house, and almost banged the front door in. When I went to the front she was standing with her back to the fence, and, of course, we had a fight. Blows were struck, and the woman fainted. Then my husband said for his sake to bring her inside. I did, and when she recovered we continued the fight in the dining-room. She pulled my hair out, and the silk blouse she was wearing was torn to pieces, and before she was able to leave the place I had to patch it together for her. My husband first met her 12 months ago. He is in a position at the window in the parcels office, where he is meeting strange people all day.” As a result of allegations similar to the above the arrests were made. A distressing scene occurred when the accused women were brought into court. They were weeping hysterically, and their cries could be heard beyond the precincts of the courtroom. Eventually they were both in a state of collapse. Detective Napthine stated that he had obtained a confession from Barry that she had conspired with Cowell to poison Mrs. King. Cowell admitted afterwards to him that this was true. She told the detective that King had ruined her, and had absolutely broken her heart.  A remand was granted till June 20, and the women were then sent to the gaol hospital for treatment.

On This Day ……. 1st June 1927

Clive Frankston, aged 36 years, was charged on the 1st of the June 1926, with larceny and sentenced to two years in Pentradge. On the 28th April 1927, the Penal Authorities at Pentridge decided to transfer Frankston and another prisoner, Henry Tacke, to the Geelong Gaol. The two prisoners were escorted by Senior Constable Matthews and Constable Springfield, took the two prisoners from Pentridge Gaol to the Flinders street station in a prison van. Frankston was placed in a carriage on the Geelong train at No. 1 platform, and the two police officers returned to the van to carry Tacke, who was disabled by an injured leg, to the train. Upon reaching the carriage they found that’ Frankston was gone. Frankston seeing an opportunity to escaped from the carriage while the police escort was carring Tacke who was disabled to the police van out side the station. He dashed from the carriage and rushing through the ticket barrier and disappeared among the crowds in the street. On the 14th of May 1927, following up inquiries detectives raid a house in Napior street, Fitzroy owned by Frankstons wife. Inside Frankston was recaptured, he offered no resistance, he was so weak from illness that he could scarcely stand. He told the police that he was glad to get back to gaol and that he was suffering badly from consumption and that that he believed that the sea air at Geelong would kill him. Frankston received an extra 6 months to his sentence.

On This Day ……. 27th April 1927

Clive Frankston, aged 36 years, was charged on the 1st of the June 1926, with larceny and sentenced to two years in Pentradge. On the 28th April 1927, the Penal Authorities at Pentridge decided to transfer Frankston and another prisoner, Henry Tacke, to the Geelong Gaol. The two prisoners were escorted by Senior Constable Matthews and Constable Springfield, took the two prisoners from Pentridge Gaol to the Flinders street station in a prison van. Frankston was placed in a carriage on the Geelong train at No. 1 platform, and the two police officers returned to the van to carry Tacke, who was disabled by an injured leg, to the train. Upon reaching the carriage they found that’ Frankston was gone. Frankston seeing an opportunity to escaped from the carriage while the police escort was carring Tacke who was disabled to the police van out side the station. He dashed from the carriage and rushing through the ticket barrier and disappeared among the crowds in the street. On the 14th of May 1927, following up inquiries detectives raid a house in Napior street, Fitzroy owned by Frankstons wife. Inside Frankston was recaptured, he offered no resistance, he was so weak from illness that he could scarcely stand. He told the police that he was glad to get back to gaol and that he was suffering badly from consumption and that that he believed that the sea air at Geelong would kill him. Frankston received an extra 6 months to his sentence.

 

On this day ……… 31st of March 1917

Accident was caused on platform No.3, at Flinders-street station on this day in 1917. When the 12.52 pm, train arrived several people were struck and knocked down by an open door of a compartment of the incoming train from Camberwell. The names of the people struck by the door were either bruised or cut are:—Stephen Butler, G. Smith, G. Myers, W. Berudt and G. Haywury.

 

 

ON THIS DAY ……… 21st March 1913

Bert Gouller, aged 13 years, whose leg and arm were cut off through falling under a Coburg train at the Flinders-street station, died on this day in 1913.

 

 

ON THIS DAY – March 20, 1885

Charge of Manslaughter.

The trial of Michael Walsh, 40 years of age, a hotelkeeper in South Melbourne, for the manslaughter of John Mavaro, on March 20, during a row at the Flinders-street station, has resulted in an acquittal.

 

 

On this day ………… 7th February 1914

A shocking fatality occurred on a train from Brighton Beach to Melbourne, on this day in 1914. Alice Morris aged 11 years, was returning from the a day at the beach, when the accident happened. Between Richmond and Melbourne, the child put her hand out of the window, which was struck by an open door of a passing train. Her arm was severed at the wrist and was flung into the next compartment striking an occupant in the face. The child fell back in a fainting position. Once at Flinders Street Station, the child was rushed to hospital, but died before arriving.

 

 

ON THIS DAY – January 8, 1974

Senior Constable Norman Curson was murdered on this day in 1974. Senior Constable Curson was standing on the steps at the main entrance to Flinders Street Railway Station, Melbourne talking to a newspaper seller. Whilst they spoke a young woman came up and spoke to the Constable, who turned towards her. At that moment, James Henry Belsey, walked up behind him, produced a knife, and cut the policeman’s throat.

 

ON THIS DAY – October 9, 1917

 

Before Mr Justice Hodges, in the Criminal Court this week, Horace Caston was charged with having, on October 9, attempted to murder Florence Caston, his wife, by pushing her out of a train while it was travelling between Richmond and Melbourne. There was a second charge of having with intent, caused grievous bodily harm.

Mr C. J. Z. Woinarski, K.C., prosecuted for the Crown, and Mr G. A. Maxwell (instructed by Mr N. H. Sonenberg) appeared for Caston.

Horace John Caston, giving evidence, said that he had provided a number of homes for his wife, and these had been broken up by her people’s interference. They had said that as she was a German she should have married a German. On the night of October 9, while they were on the Richmond station, his wife said that she would sooner kill herself than ” live with him again, and that the previous week she was thinking of drowning herself. After the train had started his wife again said she would not live with him, and commenced to scream. She went to the door and tried to close it, but could not. He told her to sit down, but she screamed louder and the child began to scream. He tried to quieten the child and when he looked round again his wife had disappeared through the open doorway. He did not touch her at all. They were on friendly terms when they got into the train and he kissed her. When he reached Flinders street he rushed back along the line and fell over some ashes. A little later, while in a dazed state, he was informed his wife was in the hospital, and he went there to see her. Mr Justice Hodges, In summing up, said that the wife had told a most extraordinary story, and the husband had told an opposite story. The question was whether the man pushed his wife out of the train with intent to murder her or to do her grievous bodily harm. Of the two stories told by the husband and wife neither was a satisfactory narrative. It was for the jury to say which story they believed.