After hearing evidence yesterday at the inquest on the body of Eugene Patrick Walsh, who died in the Melbourne Hospital on May 27, 1922, the coroner (Dr. Cole) committed Percy Draper for trial on a charge of manslaughter. ⁣

The death of Walsh followed a dispute with Draper in Swanston street on the night of May 20 when both men were intoxicated. When Draper was arrested he was charged with having unlawfully assaulted Walsh, who was in the Melbourne Hospital. Walsh died next morning of a fractured skull, and Draper was then charged with murder.  ⁣

Evidence presented stated that on the night of May 26, both men were drunk. Draper put one hand on the other’s shoulder to hold him up, and then hit him with the other hand. The blow knocked the man’s head back sharply, and he fell against the wall of the Orient Hotel. Witness said to Draper, “You are a coward to strike a like that,” and he replied, “lt’s all right; he’s not hurt.” Draper then tried to make the other man stand up, but he could not.  ⁣

Next morning when Draper was informed that Walsh died from injuries received as a result of the blow, Draper put his hands to his face and swooned. He began to sob, and said, “He was my best pal.” ⁣

#twistedhistory #murdermonday #manslaughter #kinghit #drunkeness

The Murder of Rachel Currell

23 February, 1926

Henry Tacke, 65, Importer, was charged in the Criminal Court today with the murder of Rachel Currell, 34, at St Kilda on December 15th.

Frederick George Currell, barman, admitted under cross examination that he knew his wife and Tacke went to Sydney and Adelaide together and that Tacke paid 80 guineas for an operation upon Mrs Currell.  She acted in a secretarial capacity for Tacke.  Currell denied he knew Tacke paid for the upkeep of his house.

Currell said he was awakened on the night of the shooting when in bed on the front verandah.  He told Tacke he could not see Mrs Currell.  They quarrelled at the gate and Mrs Currell said; “you had better come inside instead of making a scene in the street”.  As they were going inside, Tacke hit Currell behind the ear knocking off his hat.  When asked to return it, Currell saw Tacke turn as if to go and saw something shiny in his hand which he had whipped from his pocket.  Tacke fired a shot at Currell but missed and hit Mrs Currell instead.  When Mrs Currell retreated inside, Tacke fired a number of shots into the dark hallway in an attempt to scare Mrs Currell.  Mrs Currell was shot dead and had 10 bullet wounds – 5 entry and exit wounds.

When arrested at Sorrento, Tacke said it was all an accident and he had intended to commit suicide.

In Tacke’s statement, he said he had spent 2500 pounds on Mrs Currell for dinners and theatres and by allowing her 2-10 pounds weekly for the past 3 years.

Tacke had met Mrs Currell in City Picture Theatre in February 1923.  Their friendship developed into intimacy and he fell deeply in love with her.  At the time of their meeting, he was friendly with own wife.  He had lost his whole family of 8 in infancy.  On Mrs Currell’s recovery from an operation he sent her to Daylesford and paid all her expenses.  He was also in the habit of sending out roast fowls and bottles of wine when she was in ill-health.

The jury returned a verdict of manslaughter.

Injury at Pentridge

2 April, 1927

When wardens went to Tacke’s cell as usual, to escort him to the warders library where he worked as a librarian, Tacke suddenly climbed up the bars to a height of 18 feet, then pitched headlong to the stone floor of his cell.  Tacke was conveyed to the Melbourne Hospital in an unconscious state.

Tacke was at one time a well known clubman, member of the MCG and conducted a successful business in the city.

The Death of Henry Tacke

10 September 1927

Henry Tacke, aged 65 years, who was serving a sentence of 7 years imprisonment for the manslaughter of Mrs Rachel Currell at St Kilda in December 1925, died in the Geelong Hospital last night.

Tacke was admitted to the Geelong Gaol on April 28 after he sustained a broken ankle the result of a fall from a gallery at Pentridge.

The coroner held an inquiry today.  Dr Purnell, the gaol medical officer, said Tacke’s ankle remained in splints until the middle of May when massage commenced.  On June 16, he went for a walk in the exercise yard.  Dr Purnell then formed the opinion that Tacke had no desire to get better and malingered at every possible opportunity.  He refused to try and walk and would let himself to the ground at every opportunity.

On July 30, while in the hospital, Tacke rubbed his back on the floors, producing large bed sores and feigned insanity.  Towards the end of August, he refused to take nourishment.  Death was due to heart disease.

A verdict in accordance with the medical evidence was recorded.

ON THIS DAY …….3rd August 1918

William Henry Mogdridge,18 years of age, who was found guilty of the manslaughter of Eugene Charles Vernon, 54 years of age at Abbotsford, on August 3, came before Mr. Justice Cussen, in the Criminal Court, for sentence yesterday. The jury made a strong recommendation for mercy. Mr. Justice Cussen passed sentence of 12 months’ imprisonment, to be Suspended on a bond of £100 be entered into for Mogdridge’s good behaviour, and his abstinence from intoxicating liquor For 5 years. Mr. Clarke, who conducted the defence, said that Mogdridge was going to enlist.


ON THIS YEAR – July 5, 1974

A young labourer who shot and killed a judo instructor at North Altona on July 5 last year was acquitted of murder but found guilty of manslaughter by a Criminal Court jury today. Mr Justice Crockett sentenced the labourer, Mr David Robert Elbourne, 24, of Morwell, to nine years’ jail with a non-parole minimum of six years. Mr Elbourne and Mr John Adam Adamic, 38, a Pentridge prisoner, were tried for the murder of Mr Andrew Donnelly, 39, of North Altona. Both pleaded not guilty. The jury acquitted Mr Adamic and found Mr Elbourne guilty of the alternative charge of manslaughter. The Crown, had alleged that Mr Elbourne, while a prisoner in Pentridge, had been offered $5,000 by Mr Adamic to “get rid” of Mr Donnelly, who was having an affair with Mrs Adamic. Rifle for protection Mr Elbourne told the court that he had intended to tell Mr Donnelly to keep away from Mr Adamic’s family. He had taken the rifle in case Mr Donnelly attacked him. Mr Donnelly had turned on him and he had involuntarily fired. Mr Adamic said he had asked Mr Elbourne to speak to Mr Donnelly but had not suggested that he kill him. Both men denied that Mr Elboume had been offered $5,000 to “get rid” of Mr Donnelly.

ON THIS DAY – June 26, 1926

Inquiries made by detectives into the death or Mr John Vale, the secretary of the Independent Order of Rechabites, who was knocked down by a motorcar on June 26 led to the appearance of Edward Murray, aged 34 years, at the City Court. He was charged with the manslaughter of John Vale on June 26. The bench consisted of Mr A. A. Kelley P.M. and Messrs T O’Callaghan, E. Campbell, W.H. Brookes, and G. Douglas, J.P.’s Senior detective Madin said-On June 26, Mr Vale was going to catch a tram at the corner of Victoria and Elizabeth streets at 6 o’clock in the evening. It is alleged that he was knocked down by a motor car driven in a southerly direction along Elizabeth street by Murray. Several days later Vale died from the effect of his injuries. Murray gave his address as 308 Little Lonsdale street. He did not return to that address and he was arrested on the present charge. Murray denies all knowledge of the accident.


ON THIS DAY – June 25, 1918


The adjourned inquest concerning the death of Christian Andrea, who died on June 25 from the effects of a revolver wound received in McKenzie street on June 22, was concluded on Monday by the coroner, Mr. D. Berriman, P.M., who committed a youth named Clyde Buddle, 17 years of age, for trial on a charge of manslaughter. Bail was allowed in one surety of £200 and a personal bond of a like amount.


ON THIS DAY – June 23, 1934

Judge Moule, in General Sessions yesterday, directed the acquittal of Horatio Wainwright, truck-driver, of Fell crescent, East Malvern, who was charged with the manslaughter of Edward Francis Tierney, aged 30 years, telephone linesman, of Deakin street, Hampton. Wainwright was discharged. Tierney and David Mollison, another postal employee, were wheeling their bicycles along the steel tracks in Dynon road, Footscray, about 2 a.m. on June 23, when they were struck by a car, and Tierney died In hospital.

ON THIS DAY – June 22, 1892


The position in which a man named David Storey found himself recently at Bendigo should be a warning to all men who, with hasty temperaments and temporary under the influence of liquor, give vent to passion and action. Storey was in company with a Constable named Brown, who was in private clothes, and several others, and had been drinking, so much so, apparently, that they were in that condition described by the poet, “When the wine is in ths wit is out,” A dispute arose about the payment of some drinks. Brown, it is asserted, used some forcible language towards Storey, who, after a brief interval, retaliated by striking Brown in the mouth. The blow, coupled with undoubtedly an unsteady gait, caused Brown to fall, and in doing so his head came in contact with a sharp stone. This caused concussion of the brain, from which the unfortunate man died. The whole occurrence passed very rapidly, and doubtless Storey was as much amazed as anyone to find what was at first a trivial affair, having such a tragic termination. Storey was duly committed for trial on a charge of manslaughter, and at the ‘Criminal Sessions in Bendigo the other day, before Mr Justice Holroyd, found guilty, the jury adding a strong recommendation to mercy. Mr Justice Holroyd, in delivering addressed a few remarks to Storey, and
remarked that he hoped the occurrence would be a warning to him for life not to go into any street brawls again. Storey, was then sentenced to pay a fine of £20. The sentence may seem light, and if every street brawler imagined he wae going to get off with a fine for any serious termination of a disturbance through deeming the sentence in question a precedent, it might be regretted that the judge did not impose a heavier penalty, Judge Holroyd, however, was humane enough to think of keeping Storey from contact with ordinary criminals. The whole surroundings of the case olearly showed that it was altogether a chance circumstance that led to the tragical termination of very trivial quarrel, and the evidence brought forward showed that Storey had held positions of trust in connection with two business firms for very long periods, was usually of an inoffensive nature, and was not hitherto known officially to the police. Under all those circumstances, the imposition of the fine is to be regarded as a proper vindication of justice. It cannot be regarded as a certainty, how ever, that quarrelsome people who get drunk and aggressive in action and bring themselves into a similar position will get off either with a fine, or as lightly. On the other hand, it ought to be a warning to people that cannot control their tempers under the influence of liquor, that no brawl is unattended with more or less serious consequences, from manslaughter to murder, and therefore the whole case should carry its moral with it.


ON THIS DAY – June 17, 1929

Charged with the manslaughter of John Brown, a labourer of Footscray, at Benalla on June 17 Ernest Walker of Footscray, a labourer, aged 34 years appeared before Mr Justice Wasley in the Criminal Court. Mr Book, Crown prosecutor, appeared for the Crown, and Walker was defended by Mr Winchester. The Crown case was that on June 17, Brown and Walker were in the Benalla district looking for work. They had camped in a shed on the racecourse and had been drinking. On the road near the racecourse a quarrel arose between Brown and Walker over the purchase of a loaf of bread. Brown kicked at Walker and Walker kicked Brown in the chest. Walker followed the kick with two blows on the head. Brown fell to the ground, and Hector William McLennan and Harold Francis Perins, who had been rabbit trapping in the district sent for the police. Plain-clothes Constable Loh went to the spot and found that Brown was dead. The Crown suggested that the two blows on the held had killed him. Loh and Constable O’Farrell went to the shed where they saw Walker asleep on some hay. Asked if he had taken part in a fight Walker said “No the other man fought me.” When he was taken back to the body Walker said “I did not mean to kill him, he was my best friend”. Walker on oath said:- “We were good friends but on this day we had been drinking. I gave him some money to buy bread, and later I asked him if he had bought it. He said that he had not and a row started. He made a kick at me and I struck him once. I did not kick him”. Walker was sentenced to 6 months prison at Pentridge.


ON THIS DAY – June 14, 1920


The City Coroner (Dr. R. H. Cole, P.M.), after having inquired at the Morgue yesterday into the death of a newly born female child, who was found in a suit case in the Merri Creek, Clifton Hill, on June 14, committed Annie Gallagher, aged 23 years, the mother of the child, for trial at the Court of General Sessions on August 2, on a charge of manslaughter. Detective W.P. Jones assisted the coroner.  Constable A. C. Pattison stated that he took the body to the Morgue. When found it had a piece of calico tape tied round the neck. On June 20 witness interviewed Annie Gallagher at the Clifton Hill Hotel, Queen’s parade, where she was employed as a servant. He took her to the police station, and after having charged her with concealment of birth, took down the statement produced, in which she admitted having given birth to the child on June 13, and seeing it move tied the tape round its neck. She put it in the suit case, and threw it into the Merri Creek on the following evening. She was alone on both occasions. She could not remember the name of the child’s father, and had not seen him for many months. Dr. C. H. Mollison, who conducted the post- mortem examination, stated that death was due not to strangulation, but to exposure. The Coroner. – There is sufficient evidence to commit this woman for the manslaughter of the child. According to her statements it was her intention to neglect the child, and therein came its death. If that is murder she can be charged with murder later. I find her guilty of manslaughter. There being no bail available, Gallagher was bound over in her own recognisance, and placed in charge of the nuns of the Abbotsford Convent.

ON THIS DAY – June 13, 1925
The inquest into the death of John Adam Williams, aged 15, who fell off a motor car on June 13 and was killed, was conducted by the Coroner. Williams and five other boys were passengers in a motor car which was driven by James Harold Wicks.
The Coroner found that Williams died from injuries received through the criminal negligence of Wicks, and directed that he was to be tried on a charge of manslaughter at the sittings of the Supreme Court.

ON THIS DAY – June 11, 1932

Russell Found Guilty of Manslaughter 

The trial in which Harold James Russell (27), was charged with having on June 11 murdered his wife, Ivy Russell (27), and two infant sons by drowning them in the Sunshine swimming pool. The jury considered their verdict for five hours and then asked Mr Justice Mann to explain the position that would arise if Russell had stood on the bank and watched his wife and children drown without trying to save them. His Honor said that in those circumstances the jury would be entitled to find him guilty of manslaughter. If, however, he actually encouraged his wife to commit suicide he would be guilty of murder. The jury retired for a further quarter of an hour and then announced that they found Russell guilty of manslaughter. When asked if he had anything to say, Russell said: “I am not guilty.” He was then remanded tor sentence.