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On This Day – November 26, 1857

George Dyer, self-accused, after the lapse of 13 years of a murder committed in 1857 on George Wilson, was tried at the Castlemaine Circuit on Tuesday, on the capital charge. Although the prisoner retracted his confession made in England, shortly after he had made it, there can be little doubt of the truth of the main portion of it but one part of it left it doubtful whether he had killed Wilson in self-defence or not. Taking his own statement and the other evidence, the facts were that in November 1857, Dyer and Wilson were mates at the Mia-Mia diggings. Wilson was suddenly missed, and soon afterwards prisoner left the place, taking with him the tent. He then went to live at a place now called Vaughan, about seven or eight miles from Newstead. To a person named Sinclair there he said he had just come from the Mia-mia and besides his own statement, this was the only evidence that Wilson was ever at Mia-mia, one of the witnesses who proved this at the Police Court and who was to prove it on Tuesday, had disappeared since the Police Court investigation, and could not be found. A few days after Dyer left the Mia-mia a body was found in a waterhole about 60 yards from where it was supposed his tent was pitched. It was not then identified. But an examination of it showed that the jaw had been fractured as if by a spade or axe handle, and in the back part of the skull were several large holes, as if caused by a pick. It was these, and not the fracture of the jaw, that caused death. The inference, therefore, was that Wilson had been first stunned by the blow on the jaw, and then killed by such an instrument as a pick. The body, it was contended, need not be identified as Wilson’s for the confession and the other evidence were sufficient to justify an inference that it was. The prisoner defended himself, and asserted that he must have been labouring under an hallucination when he made the confession; that he never was at Mia-Mia. He had a recollection of being partner with George Wilson for a short time, but he denied having quarrelled with him. The judge left it to the jury whether the prisoner, even if he committed the act, was guilty of murder or manslaughter, and the jury after deliberating an hour and a half, found him “Guilty” of the lesser offence. He was sentenced to eight years hard labour.

ON THIS DAY – January 10, 1870

On January 10, at Bow-street Police Court, Islington, England, George Dyer, forty-seven, was brought up on his own confession, with having murdered George Wilson at the gold diggings at the Loddon, Victoria, Australia. James Thomson, superintendent of E division of Metropolitan Police, stated that the prisoner, who was brought to Bow-street Station by Inspector Hubbard, stated that he wished to surrender himself on a charge of wilful murder. Witness cautioned him, and took down what he had to say. He was sober, and perfectly calm and collected. He made the following statement, which was taken down in writing. He said that his name was George Dyer, and he was forty-seven years of age, and resided at Hilliford-street, Islington. He was a clerk in the employ of Messrs. Browne, Shiplake, & Co., ship merchants. He was married and had three children by his first wife. In 1853 he left England for Melbourne, and arrive in August of the same year, and stayed there until May, 1855, when his wife died, and be sent his children home to England. He went to the gold diggings at the Loddon, Victoria, about June. He took up a claim, and worked it, and remained at Loddon. About a month before Christmas, 1857, he met a man named George Wilson, an English sailor. They were both single-handed, and as each wanted a mate, he joined him (prisoner) in working his claim. They got on very well together for nearly a month, when a quarrel arose between them in his tent as to the quantity of gold realised. It led to mutual recriminations. Wilson drew his sheathed knife. To defend himself he (prisoner) took up his spade and struck him down with it. He cut his head clean open, and he fell down dead immediately. Prisoner threw his body into a deep well. It was about ten or twelve o’clock at night when he killed him. The body was quite warm when he threw it in. He returned to the tent and went to bed. They were both perfectly sober at the time of the quarrel. The next day he went to work alone, and when asked by other mines what had became of his mate George, he answered that he had gone to the ‘ Inglewood Rush.’ Prisoner ultimately came to England, but moved from the place where the murder was committed very soon. He did no good, and he left London, went to Melbourne, and then to New Zealand. He stayed at different places, and finally left for England. He reached Liverpool about July 30th, 1866, in the Great Britain. He had been in correspondence with his children, and went to them on his arrival in England. He lived at first with his married sister, Mrs Axtor, and then with his eldest son. He lived afterwards at other places. Not a soul knew of this murder but himself. He was perfectly calm and rational, and fully realised the situation in which he was now standing. He made this statement of his own free will.

The Judge stated even assuming his statement to be correct, there were numerous discrepancies as to time and locality, and his statement was quite contrary to the circumstances connected with the murder at Mia-Mia Creek near Loddon. In his opinion, the evidence was very conclusive. The prisoner said he wished to say nothing further, except that there might be as little delay as possible in sending him over to Australia. The judge said he was sure there would be no unnecessary delay, and fully committed the prisoner under the Extradition Act to take his trial in Australia. He was sent to 4 years in Pentridge Gaol in Melbourne.

 

On This Day – November 26, 1857

George Dyer, self-accused, after the lapse of 13 years of a murder committed in 1857 on George Wilson, was tried at the Castlemaine Circuit on Tuesday, on the capital charge. Although the prisoner retracted his confession made in England, shortly after he had made it, there can be little doubt of the truth of the main portion of it but one part of it left it doubtful whether he had killed Wilson in self-defence or not. Taking his own statement and the other evidence, the facts were that in November 1857, Dyer and Wilson were mates at the Mia-Mia diggings. Wilson was suddenly missed, and soon afterwards prisoner left the place, taking with him the tent. He then went to live at a place now called Vaughan, about seven or eight miles from Newstead. To a person named Sinclair there he said he had just come from the Mia-mia and besides his own statement, this was the only evidence that Wilson was ever at Mia-mia, one of the witnesses who proved this at the Police Court and who was to prove it on Tuesday, had disappeared since the Police Court investigation, and could not be found. A few days after Dyer left the Mia-mia a body was found in a waterhole about 60 yards from where it was supposed his tent was pitched. It was not then identified. But an examination of it showed that the jaw had been fractured as if by a spade or axe handle, and in the back part of the skull were several large holes, as if caused by a pick. It was these, and not the fracture of the jaw, that caused death. The inference, therefore, was that Wilson had been first stunned by the blow on the jaw, and then killed by such an instrument as a pick. The body, it was contended, need not be identified as Wilson’s for the confession and the other evidence were sufficient to justify an inference that it was. The prisoner defended himself, and asserted that he must have been labouring under an hallucination when he made the confession; that he never was at Mia-Mia. He had a recollection of being partner with George Wilson for a short time, but he denied having quarrelled with him. The judge left it to the jury whether the prisoner, even if he committed the act, was guilty of murder or manslaughter, and the jury after deliberating an hour and a half, found him “Guilty” of the lesser offence. He was sentenced to eight years hard labour.

ON THIS DAY – January 10, 1870

On January 10, at Bow-street Police Court, Islington, England, George Dyer, forty-seven, was brought up on his own confession, with having murdered George Wilson at the gold diggings at the Loddon, Victoria, Australia. James Thomson, superintendent of E division of Metropolitan Police, stated that the prisoner, who was brought to Bow-street Station by Inspector Hubbard, stated that he wished to surrender himself on a charge of wilful murder. Witness cautioned him, and took down what he had to say. He was sober, and perfectly calm and collected. He made the following statement, which was taken down in writing. He said that his name was George Dyer, and he was forty-seven years of age, and resided at Hilliford-street, Islington. He was a clerk in the employ of Messrs. Browne, Shiplake, & Co., ship merchants. He was married and had three children by his first wife. In 1853 he left England for Melbourne, and arrive in August of the same year, and stayed there until May, 1855, when his wife died, and be sent his children home to England. He went to the gold diggings at the Loddon, Victoria, about June. He took up a claim, and worked it, and remained at Loddon. About a month before Christmas, 1857, he met a man named George Wilson, an English sailor. They were both single-handed, and as each wanted a mate, he joined him (prisoner) in working his claim. They got on very well together for nearly a month, when a quarrel arose between them in his tent as to the quantity of gold realised. It led to mutual recriminations. Wilson drew his sheathed knife. To defend himself he (prisoner) took up his spade and struck him down with it. He cut his head clean open, and he fell down dead immediately. Prisoner threw his body into a deep well. It was about ten or twelve o’clock at night when he killed him. The body was quite warm when he threw it in. He returned to the tent and went to bed. They were both perfectly sober at the time of the quarrel. The next day he went to work alone, and when asked by other mines what had became of his mate George, he answered that he had gone to the ‘ Inglewood Rush.’ Prisoner ultimately came to England, but moved from the place where the murder was committed very soon. He did no good, and he left London, went to Melbourne, and then to New Zealand. He stayed at different places, and finally left for England. He reached Liverpool about July 30th, 1866, in the Great Britain. He had been in correspondence with his children, and went to them on his arrival in England. He lived at first with his married sister, Mrs Axtor, and then with his eldest son. He lived afterwards at other places. Not a soul knew of this murder but himself. He was perfectly calm and rational, and fully realised the situation in which he was now standing. He made this statement of his own free will.

The Judge stated even assuming his statement to be correct, there were numerous discrepancies as to time and locality, and his statement was quite contrary to the circumstances connected with the murder at Mia-Mia Creek near Loddon. In his opinion, the evidence was very conclusive. The prisoner said he wished to say nothing further, except that there might be as little delay as possible in sending him over to Australia. The judge said he was sure there would be no unnecessary delay, and fully committed the prisoner under the Extradition Act to take his trial in Australia. He was sent to 4 years in Pentridge Gaol in Melbourne.

 

Mount Alexander Diggings

Mount Alexander Diggings

MIA MIA DIGGINGS

MURDER WILL OUT

George Dyer, self-accused, after the lapse of 13 years of a murder committed in 1857 on George Wilson, was tried at the Castlemaine Circuit on Tuesday, on the capital charge. Although the prisoner retracted his confession made in England, shortly after he had made it, there can be little doubt of the truth of the main portion of it but one part of it left it doubtful whether he had killed Wilson in self-defence or not. Taking his own statement and the other evidence, the facts were that in November 1857, Dyer and Wilson were mates at the Mia-Mia diggings. Wilson was suddenly missed, and soon afterwards prisoner left the place, taking with him the tent. He then went to live at a place now called Vaughan, about seven or eight miles from Newstead. To a person named Sinclair there he said he had just come from the Mia-mia and besides his own statement, this was the only evidence that Wilson was ever at Mia-mia, one of the witnesses who proved this at the Police Court and who was to prove it on Tuesday, had disappeared since the Police Court investigation, and could not be found. A few days after Dyer left the Mia-mia a body was found in a waterhole about 60 yards from where it was supposed his tent was pitched. It was not then identified. But an examination of it showed that the jaw had been fractured as if by a spade or axe handle, and in the back part of the skull were several large holes, as if caused by a pick. It was these, and not the fracture of the jaw, that caused death. The inference, therefore, was that Wilson had been first stunned by the blow on the jaw, and then killed by such an instrument as a pick. The body, it was contended, need not be identified as Wilson’s for the confession and the other evidence were sufficient to justify an inference that it was. The prisoner defended himself, and asserted that he must have been labouring under an hallucination when he made the confession; that he never was at Mia-Mia. He had a recollection of being partner with George Wilson for a short time, but he denied having quarrelled with him. The judge left it to the jury whether the prisoner, even if he committed the act, was guilty of murder or manslaughter, and the jury after deliberating an hour and a half, found him “Guilty” of the lesser offence. He was sentenced to eight years hard labour.