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ON THIS DAY – 22nd December 1939

Morris Ansell aged 19, labourer, of Victoria St., Carlton, was charged in the City Court on the 22nd of December 1939 with having murdered Alfred Thomas Atherton near Ferntree Gully. He was remanded until December 29, for sentencing. Mr. Justice Martin sentenced Ansell to death and told him that the jury’s recommendation would be sent to Executive Council, due to his age. Ansell was calm when the jury announced its verdict after a retirement of two hours and 20 minutes.

 

ON THIS DAY – December 20, 1940

FERNTREE GULLY

Found guilty of the murder of Alfred Thomas Atherton, 35, hotel useful, on the 20th of December, at Ferntree Gully, Morris Ansell, 19, metal polisher, of Victoria Street, Carlton, was sentenced to death by Mr. Justice Martin in the Criminal Court. The Jury added a strong recommendation for mercy because of Ansell’s youth. In the course of evidence at the trial, Mrs. Atherton, wife of the murdered man, said that she had been living apart from her husband. About eight months ago she met Ansell in a house in South Yarra, and two months later went to live at Ferntree Gully, and later at Victoria Street, Carlton. She had hoped to obtain a divorce so that she could marry Ansell. According to police evidence, Ansell confessed that he shot Atherton. An sell had said that he had arranged to go with Atherton to Ferntree Gully, where he Informed Atherton that Mrs. Atherton was working. Before leaving home he had placed his pea rifle under his coat. When walking along the road to Boronia, Atherton had said to him (An sell): ‘I suppose my wife is running about with other men. If I thought that she was in trouble I would kill her.’ Ansell told the police: ‘I said to myself I will kill you first.’ Ansell then said that ‘Atherton turned his head and I shot him.’

 

On this day……. 11th January 1940

After 25 witnesses had given evidence at an Inquest on this day in 1940, Morris Ansell (19), of Carlton, was committed for trial on a charge of having, on a bush road near Lower Fern Tree Gully on the 20th of December, murdered Alfred Thomas Atherton (35), hotel useful. Police witnesses said that Ansell had confessed to detectives that he shot Atherton after having accompanied him to Lower Fern Tree Gully on the pretence that Atherton’s wife was there. Dorothy May Atherton, wife of the dead man, said she had been married 13 years and had five children. She had been living apart from her husband at the time of his death, because of his Ill treatment of her, his drinking, and the lack of money for housekeeping. She met Ansell about eight months ago and lived with him at Fern Tree Gully and later In Carlton. On the 20th of December she went to the pictures and Ansell was not home when she returned at 11.45pm. She learned of her husband’s death when Ansell handed her a newspaper the following day saying: “It is bad news. Keep your chin up.” Walter Frederick McKenzie, waiter at the Australian Club Hotel, Bourke St., said he saw Atherton and Ansell leave the hotel together on the night on in question. Evidence was given by Walter Bernard Welsh, booking clerk, who sold two single tickets to Fern Tree Gully on the 20th of December, and Hubert Malcolm Gordon, taxi-cab driver, who drove a man into the city and dropped him at 2am. Ansell admitted to Detectives that he shot Atherton.

 

ON THIS DAY – 22nd December 1939

Morris Ansell aged 19, labourer, of Victoria St., Carlton, was charged in the City Court on the 22nd of December 1939 with having murdered Alfred Thomas Atherton near Ferntree Gully. He was remanded until December 29, for sentencing. Mr. Justice Martin sentenced Ansell to death and told him that the jury’s recommendation would be sent to Executive Council, due to his age. Ansell was calm when the jury announced its verdict after a retirement of two hours and 20 minutes.

 

ON THIS DAY – December 20, 1940

FERNTREE GULLY

Found guilty of the murder of Alfred Thomas Atherton, 35, hotel useful, on the 20th of December, at Ferntree Gully, Morris Ansell, 19, metal polisher, of Victoria Street, Carlton, was sentenced to death by Mr. Justice Martin in the Criminal Court. The Jury added a strong recommendation for mercy because of Ansell’s youth. In the course of evidence at the trial, Mrs. Atherton, wife of the murdered man, said that she had been living apart from her husband. About eight months ago she met Ansell in a house in South Yarra, and two months later went to live at Ferntree Gully, and later at Victoria Street, Carlton. She had hoped to obtain a divorce so that she could marry Ansell. According to police evidence, Ansell confessed that he shot Atherton. An sell had said that he had arranged to go with Atherton to Ferntree Gully, where he Informed Atherton that Mrs. Atherton was working. Before leaving home he had placed his pea rifle under his coat. When walking along the road to Boronia, Atherton had said to him (An sell): ‘I suppose my wife is running about with other men. If I thought that she was in trouble I would kill her.’ Ansell told the police: ‘I said to myself I will kill you first.’ Ansell then said that ‘Atherton turned his head and I shot him.’

 

On this day……. 11th January 1940

After 25 witnesses had given evidence at an Inquest on this day in 1940, Morris Ansell (19), of Carlton, was committed for trial on a charge of having, on a bush road near Lower Fern Tree Gully on the 20th of December, murdered Alfred Thomas Atherton (35), hotel useful. Police witnesses said that Ansell had confessed to detectives that he shot Atherton after having accompanied him to Lower Fern Tree Gully on the pretence that Atherton’s wife was there. Dorothy May Atherton, wife of the dead man, said she had been married 13 years and had five children. She had been living apart from her husband at the time of his death, because of his Ill treatment of her, his drinking, and the lack of money for housekeeping. She met Ansell about eight months ago and lived with him at Fern Tree Gully and later In Carlton. On the 20th of December she went to the pictures and Ansell was not home when she returned at 11.45pm. She learned of her husband’s death when Ansell handed her a newspaper the following day saying: “It is bad news. Keep your chin up.” Walter Frederick McKenzie, waiter at the Australian Club Hotel, Bourke St., said he saw Atherton and Ansell leave the hotel together on the night on in question. Evidence was given by Walter Bernard Welsh, booking clerk, who sold two single tickets to Fern Tree Gully on the 20th of December, and Hubert Malcolm Gordon, taxi-cab driver, who drove a man into the city and dropped him at 2am. Ansell admitted to Detectives that he shot Atherton.

 

ON THIS DAY – 22nd December 1939

Morris Ansell aged 19, labourer, of Victoria St., Carlton, was charged in the City Court on the 22nd of December 1939 with having murdered Alfred Thomas Atherton near Ferntree Gully. He was remanded until December 29, for sentencing. Mr. Justice Martin sentenced Ansell to death and told him that the jury’s recommendation would be sent to Executive Council, due to his age. Ansell was calm when the jury announced its verdict after a retirement of two hours and 20 minutes.

 

ON THIS DAY – December 20, 1940

FERNTREE GULLY

Found guilty of the murder of Alfred Thomas Atherton, 35, hotel useful, on the 20th of December, at Ferntree Gully, Morris Ansell, 19, metal polisher, of Victoria Street, Carlton, was sentenced to death by Mr. Justice Martin in the Criminal Court. The Jury added a strong recommendation for mercy because of Ansell’s youth. In the course of evidence at the trial, Mrs. Atherton, wife of the murdered man, said that she had been living apart from her husband. About eight months ago she met Ansell in a house in South Yarra, and two months later went to live at Ferntree Gully, and later at Victoria Street, Carlton. She had hoped to obtain a divorce so that she could marry Ansell. According to police evidence, Ansell confessed that he shot Atherton. An sell had said that he had arranged to go with Atherton to Ferntree Gully, where he Informed Atherton that Mrs. Atherton was working. Before leaving home he had placed his pea rifle under his coat. When walking along the road to Boronia, Atherton had said to him (An sell): ‘I suppose my wife is running about with other men. If I thought that she was in trouble I would kill her.’ Ansell told the police: ‘I said to myself I will kill you first.’ Ansell then said that ‘Atherton turned his head and I shot him.’