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ON THIS DAY …….3rd August 1943

At the close of the inquest today into the death of Mrs Clarice Anasthasia White, 30, of Dawson st, Ballarat, Mr G. S. Catlow, coroner, committed the woman’s husband, Kenneth Geoffrey White, 34, fitter, for trial on a charge of murder. White was present in custody on a charge of having murdered his wife and having attempted to murder Jonathan Stephen Falla, 23, AIF soldier. Jonathan Stephen Falla said he was in bed with Mrs White, and was awakened about 5am by her saying something about getting up to see the time. She got up, and in the darkness he then heard a crash and the sound of a body falling. He sat up in bed, and next thing he knew was he was hit across the head with what he thought was a piece of wood. He did not know then nor could he identify now who it was who had hit him. He was hit several times on the face and stomach. He heard another crash, and started to walk to where he thought Mrs White must be lying on the floor, when he was confronted by a man with the razor. The man thrust at his throat. Witness lifted his left arm, which was in plaster, and the man hit the plaster with his arm at the same time as he cut the left side of his, witness’s, throat with the razor. The man, who had said nothing up till then, then said, “Lay down on the bed.” To Sup Jacobe Falla admitted that the only thing the man said to him was, “You’ll have a lot of explaining to do.” Falla said that he did not see Mrs White at all from the time she got up. He could not see what happened to her. In reply to Mr N. Boustead, Falla said he had only known Mrs White a week, and had gone to the house in response to her invitation.

ALLEGED STATEMENT TO POLICE Const M. O’Leary said that when he and Sen-const Brady went to the house at 5.20am White was in the passage. He said, “They are down there. I have done them up pretty bad. In the bedroom the dead woman was lying with her throat cut on both sides, and her body covered with a military overcoat. Falla was lying on the bed with a gash in his throat. White said, “I done it with a razor,” and produced a razor from his hip pocket. “I found them in bed together,” White continued, “and I intended to give them something to remember for life. She had been carrying on with men for several years. It has been preying on my mind, and I could not stand it any longer.” O’Leary said that White then told him he had left the house the previous afternoon to go back to his job at Ford’s at Geelong, but did not do so. He left pretending to go to the train, and his wife saw him off at the gate. He returned at 7pm, and through the kitchen window he saw his wife take a soldier in. About 9.30pm. they went into the bedroom. Then he went for a walk to try to ease his mind. He returned about 1.30am and stood in the backyard until 5 am, when he got in through the kitchen window. His wife’s bedroom door was locked. He went to the children’s room and told his daughter Carmel to call her mother, and she did so, saying, “Mummy, I’m sick.” Witness stood outside his wife’s bedroom door. The door opened and he struck the person on the head with a file. At that time he did not know who it was. He then made a swing at the soldier who was in the room. His wife caught hold of him, and he lost the grip on the file. He then turned around and slashed his wife’s throat with the razor. He then slashed the soldier with the razor on the left side of the neck, and sent his daughter for a neighbour to go for the police. Sen-det L. H. Thomas said he found the file in the bedroom. White said, “You don’t know what I have put up with. I have not been on friendly terms with my wife for 8 years. She left me and the children twice,” Witness said White told him that when he tried to strike the soldier with the file his wife caught hold of him and tried to stop him. “I could not throw her off,” White is alleged to have said, “and I took the razor from my pocket and cut her on the throat, and she dropped to the floor. Rather than see the soldier get off scot free I decided to give him a nick. I leaned over the side of the bed and gave him a nick with the razor.”  The coroner found that the woman’s death was due to the wounds inflicted by White, and committed him for trial on a charge of murder at the Ballarat Supreme Court on August 3.

 

ON THIS DAY – July 31, 1943

On a charge of murder, Cecil John Freeman, a fiddler, was committed for trial by the City Coroner. Freeman appeared in custody at the inquest on Ian Gordon Jeffrey, 25, who was injured in a disturbance on July 31 and died in hospital on August 4. Police alleged that Freeman said he attacked Jeffrey because he was paying attention to Mrs. Freeman.

ON THIS DAY – July 24, 1884

The adjourned inquest on the body of Peter M’Ansh who was found shot dead near the Boundary-road Hotel, Lancefield on July 24 was resumed yesterday. William O’Brien, who is charged with the murder, was present in custody today. Jeremiah O’Brien, his son, in custody as an accessory, was discharged and put in the witness box. The evidence showed that O’Brlen had ill-feeling against M’Ansh, who occupied land formerly owned by O’Brien. Circumstantial proof strongly pointed that O’Brien fired the fatal shot. The inquest was adjourned until today.

ON THIS DAY – July 21, 1943

On a charge of murdering a man who had every bone in his face broken, a soldier, Cecil John Freeman, was committed for trial in the Coroner’s Court. Freeman appeared in custody at the inquest on Ian Gordon Jeffrey, 25, who was injured in a disturbance on July 21 and died in hospital on August 4. Death was due to a fracture of the skull, acute meningitis and pneumonia. Police alleged Freeman had blood on his boots. Freeman has alleged he said he attacked Jeffrey because he was paying attention to Mrs. Freeman.

On this day …….. 12th of July 1979

A youth told a coroner on this day in 1979, that a lion had “barged” through a fence and attacked his brother. His brother had tried to escape by climbing over a small gate at the rear of the enclosure. The Coroner, Mr Brown, was holding the inquest on Neville Craig Vance, 12, of Bacchus Marsh, who died on May 12. He found that Neville died from injuries suffered when he was attacked by the lion and that his death was due to misadventure. Mr Gordon William Vance, 18, of Mordialloc, said in a statement read to Bacchus Marsh Coroner’s Court that he had been in a breeding den at the lion park when the lion “barged” in at 11.10am. It had passed him and attacked Neville. Senior Constable Peter Ratcliffe, of Bacchus Marsh police, said the chain mesh surrounding the enclosure was 2.5 metres high and was held up by a few poles. “In my opinion the fence was not strong enough and if bumped it would fall apart easily”, he said. Mr Brown said the circumstances surrounding the death showed “a lack of care and responsibility”.

 

ON THIS DAY – July 3, 1865

An inquest was held at Sunbury by the district coroner on the body of a man named Henry Junod, who met his death by violence on Sunday night. From the evidence it appeared that the deceased was found on Monday morning last by a teamster named George Hoinville, lying at his garden gate fence. His face was covered with blood, and when found
he was quite dead. A. woman named Diana Walton gave evidence to the effect that on Sunday morning she bad seen three men pass her house, and heard one of them say “I’ll give it him.” One of them had a knife in his hand, and that she saw one of them stoop, and with something he had in his hand strike at the ground. Deceased was not of the party. The three men then went away.
Mr John Shaw Miles, surgeon, made the post mortem examination, and he described the wounds on the man’s face and head, and said the cause of death was fracture of the skull and extravasation of blood on and in the brain and laceration of the brain. Two wounds above and below the right eye were made with a blunt instrument, such as the
rail of a fence, and by the exertion of great strength. Another wound near the ear was caused by a sharp instrument, such as a knife.
The inquest was adjourned till Friday for the analysis of blood on the trousers, and the production of further witnesses.

ON THIS DAY – June 17, 1917

SHIELDING A MURDERER

Declaring there was a conspiracy of silence, Dr. R.H. Cole, City Coronoer, yesterday adjourned an inquiry into the death of Charles Edward Cleary, who was admitted to St. Vincents’s Hospital on June 3rd with a revolver bullet in his head and died on June 17th.  Dr. Cole said material witnesses were missing.  Harry and Ray Dunn should have been present, also the man Cutmore.  The inquiry would be adjourned until Thursday week to allow of their being called.

Continuing, Dr Cole said: -“Apparently the witness Johnson knows all about it.  He certainly knows a great deal more than he has said in the witness box.  The evidence of independent witnesses points to the fact that he was there when the shot was fired.  Johnson knows all about it.  I do not think he is shielding himself as much as other people.  He has adopted the same attitude as that of Cleary.  It is a conspiracy of silence; even the relatives are not anxious to have the matter disclosed.  It is very evident that Johnson is shielding someone.”

ON THIS DAY – June 5, 1916

On June 5 at Glenferrie, Norah Florence Rudge, aged 8 years, was knocked down and killed by a motor car driven by William Mackie Irving. An inquest was held today, and Irving was committed for trial on a charge of manslaughter

ON THIS DAY – April 19, 1907

WOODEND

The trial of the young German swagman, Kurnschoenrr, the alleged murderer of William Panton, another swagman, at Woodend on April 19, has commenced at the Central Criminal Court. The evidence was the same as that adduced, at the inquest. Mr. G. W. Maxwell is appearing for the accused, who pleaded that he struck Panton in defence against the latter’s improper and unnameable conduct. The case is proceeding.

 

On This Day – April 9, 1910

At the Morgue on April 9, the Coroner (Dr. Cole) opened on inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of William George Trott, a caretaker, 50 years of age.

The deceased, was discovered in Menzies’ Alley at the back of the Empire Hotel on April 3 suffering a fractured skull, having apparently fallen 16ft from his bedroom window, which was immediately above the spot where he was discovered.

Henry Halliwell, a clerk in the employ of the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Co., stated that Trott had been in the company’s employ for a number of years. To the Coroner He was a widower, and was always considered by the firm a sober man. He never had fits.

Jane Jensen, a married woman, residing at the Empire Hotel, stated that Trott had been residing at the hotel for the past three years. Witness, continuing, stated that she last saw the deceased alive at closing time on Saturday night. He was then standing at the foot of the stairs preparatory to going to bed.

Dr. Thomas Hurley, of the Melbourne Hospital, stated that he admitted Trott to the institution on April 3 suffering from a fractured thigh and skull and internal Injuries. He smelt very strongly of stale beer when admitted, and died two days later from the effects of his injuries.

The inquiry was adjourned for further evidence to be obtained.

Photo courtesy of State Library Victoria

ON THIS DAY – 20th December 1908

A little boy named Christian Bulguard informed his parents on this day in 1908, that there was a parcel behind some scaffolding of William St, Melbourne. The matter was brought under the notice of the police, Constable Porter, made an examination and discovered that the parcel contained the body of an infant child, with n piece of calico lightly tied round the neck. The body was removed to the morgue, where an inquest was held.

 

On This Day – November 27, 1947

Charges against Thomas Gerald Buckley, 40, of Droop st, Footscray, and Clarence Gordon McGlynn, 38, of Moore st, Footscray, of having murdered Malcolm Appleby at Footscray on November 27, were struck out in the City Court yesterday. An open finding was recorded at the inquest on Monday.