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ON THIS DAY – September 12, 1953

Homicide detectives who investigated the murder of 14-year-old Shirley May Collins, whose battered body was found in September 1953 at Mt Martha, described the murder as one of the most vicious and sadistic in the history of Victoria. The investigation was said to be one of the biggest and most intensive manhunts in the history of Australian crime.

Shirley Collins was described as a young, shy, smiling and innocent girl. Her father had died and her mother remarried and moved to Queensland. She was one of four foster children living with her foster parents, Mr and Mrs A E Collins. Shirley left her Reservoir home at 7.15pm on Saturday 12 September to go to a teenagers party in Richmond and had promised her foster mother she would return home early. The party was at the home of a young workmate; guests were mostly teenage members of Coles staff where Shirley worked. Ron Holmes, 21, of Chelsea, had arranged to meet her at Richmond station at 8pm. Holmes waited for nearly an hour and then went to the party alone. Mrs Collins sensed something was wrong when her daughter did not return home by midnight. Early Sunday morning, Mrs Collins took her worries to a policeman who lived nearby. The constable dismissed the mothers fears, saying Shirley must have missed the last train and was probably sleeping at a girlfriend’s place and would be home in the morning. But eight hours later he referred Mrs Collins to the CIB.

Police received information that a girl answering Shirley’s description, and who they were almost certain was Shirley, was seen getting into a car near Regent station only a few minutes before she was to have boarded a bus to take her to the city. Police believed the girl accepted a lift, expecting to be taken to her destination at Richmond, but instead was driven to Mt Martha. A large squad of CIB detectives and police worked 24 hour days in an endeavour to locate the murder scene. They searched the Mt Martha and Dromana areas, questioning people who may have been able to provide clues.

At least five people saw Shirley’s body without realising she was dead; they presumed it was a girl sunbaking. People told police they had seen Shirley and a well-spoken young man in Mornington on Saturday and Sunday nights. She was seen with the man at a hotel on Saturday night. Mr Allan Downs, the licensee of Mornington’s Grand Hotel, recognised Shirley’s photo as soon as it was shown to him by the police. Downs told police, Shirley walked into the hotel lounge with a man about 26 to 30 soon after 8.30pm. I noticed them particularly because the lounge was empty, which is unusual on a Saturday night. I asked them if they were bona fide travellers and they said Yes and sat down at a table a few feet from us. They had one glass of beer each; then they got up and left at about 8.50pm. This drew my attention because it is unusual for anyone to have just one glass of beer on a Saturday night. Although I did not notice the pair laughing or joking, they seemed quite friendly. As the girl left the lounge, she turned her head and smiled and said Goodnight. Thank you very much. The girl could have passed for an adult for her hair was done differently to the photo, but I feel sure it was her. Shirley Collins was then seen at a cafe in Mornington on the Sunday night. An employee of the cafe, Mrs Larkins, recognised a photograph of Shirley. She said, the girl was with a youth aged about 18, with a long, pointed nose, brushed back hair, and of medium build.

In the early morning of Monday 14 September, the body of Shirley Collins was discovered at Mt Martha by Lionel Liardit. The 73-year-old man told police that his fox terrier, Bombo, had drawn his attention to the body. I was walking along Marine Drive to pick up my mail, he said. Bombo was chasing rabbits and wallabies then ran into the grounds of the house and came back barking and tugging the cuff of my trousers. I wasn’t in any hurry and Bombo’s a pretty intelligent dog so I went to see what was worrying him. I saw the body. Liardit was shaken by the horror of his discovery. Later medical examination showed Shirley had been dead for 10 to 12 hours. Police believed the three broken beer bottles found near her battered body were the cause of her death. She had been the victim of a brutal attack. A bottle, heavy with beer, had been smashed on her head and knocked her unconscious. Two other bottles, tops still firmly clamped, had been shattered against the back of her head. The pretty face of Shirley Collins had been completely destroyed by blocks of cement. Her nose, jaw, cheekbones and forehead were broken. Her clothes had been ripped from her body and thrown in trees and scrub. A stocking, still fastened to a suspender belt, was found on a tree stump. Evidence at the murder scene indicated the man who killed her was shrewd and dangerous, and had given police few clues to his identity. Detectives ruled out the theory that Shirley had been abducted and taken to Mornington Peninsula by force. They believed the car used was stolen and later abandoned.

ON THIS DAY – April 17, 1945
Youth on Trial
An admission that he had shot Thomas Clarke because he had looked a bit nervous was the allegation made by the Crown in the Criminal Court yesterday, when Kevin Albert Joiner, 18, of McCormac place, Melbourne, appeared before Mr Justice Lowe and a jury on a charge of having murdered Thomas Charles Clarke, 25, soldier, at Mount Martha on April 17.
In opening the case for the Crown, Mr R. M. Nolan, said that on April 17, accused, with Clarke and a lad named Harris, had broken into the Maryport guest house, Mount Martha. After having placed the spoils of the robbery in four suit-cases they divided the contents outside. Harris was left with the suit-cases, and Clarke and Joiner went down towards the esplanade. Joiner said to Clarke “Go and see what time the bus will be passing for Frankston.” As Clarke went Joiner fired into his left side, and again fired to the right. After Clarke slumped into the scrub accused went over to him and fired into the back of his head from a distance of about three feet. It was alleged on behalf of the Crown that Joiner had admitted that while they were in the guest house he had noticed that Clarke looked a bit nervous, and he decided to shoot him.
The hearing is unfinished.
Mr R. M. Nolan prosecuted for the Crown. Mr J. P. Bourke (instructed by Messrs O’Donohue and Green) appeared for accused.

ON THIS DAY – FEBRUARY 6, 1945

Norman Brook, 23, of Brisbane, appeared in the Criminal Court charged with the murder of Lance Corporal Jack Lloyd, 25, of Brisbane, Army-Signaller . Lloyds body was found with a stick protruding from it, in a paddock near Balcombe military camp, Mount Martha, Mornington Peninsula, on the 6th of February. There were 13 lacerated wounds in the face and head, and the skull had been fractured. Brook attended a dance in the Anzac Hall on the night of the 5th of February. He left the hall about 10.45pm, and Lloyd followed him. Later, in a paddock, Lloyd made an improper suggestion, and Brook attacked him with a stick, causing fatal injuries. Brook, on oath, said he had had about a dozen drinks before going to the dance, and he became suddenly ill and went into the paddock. As he left the hall, Lloyd was standing in the doorway. While he was vomiting in an isolated spot. Lloyd came to him and said he should make some attempt to straighten himself up because he had to go on picket duty. Lloyd took him into a paddock and told him to walk round to sober up. Brook said he sat down with a violent headache, and Lloyd made an improper suggestion, but he knocked Lloyd aside. He was so disgusted with Lloyd that he picked up a stick to ward him off and defend himself. He was in a very weak state. but he hit Lloyd with the stick a couple of times. There was a struggle, and after that he returned to the camp. He did not know Lloyd was dead until the following Tuesday when he was questioned by the police.

 

 

ON THIS DAY – January 3, 1983

Victoria reels from six days of crime

The brutal murder of a 24 year-old call girl in a hotel-motel in the outer Melbourne suburb of Doveton on New Year’s Eve set the pattern for six days of crime almost without precedence in Victoria. Nine people were murdered and seven prisoners escaped from custody during the period. The head of the Victorian CIB, Detective-Chief Superintendent Phil Bennett, said the Christmas-New Year period had been “absolutely phenomenal for violence”. But what sparked the violence? The consultant psychiatrist at Pentridge gaol, Dr Allen Bartholomew, said a combination of the weather, free time and alcohol could be responsible for the outbreak of violence. Dr Bartholomew said that “most people would expect that in the summer months with people on holidays, and doing a lot more drinking outside, violence would increase”. The following is a list of the major crimes during the six days of violence: December 31: Call girl Dale Lockwood was found bashed and murdered in the Prince Mark hotel-motel at Doveton. January 1: Mr Tomo Hizenjai, 51, of Walmer Avenue, St Albans, was found shot through the head at his home. January 2: Police said Mr Frank Ingle, 50, had splashed petrol over members of his family, killing his three children, Heather, 16, Jacqueline, 14, and Hugh, 11, and their grandfather, Mr Eric Graham, 80. Mr Frank Ingle died two days later in Gippsland Base Hospital. His wife, Elizabeth, 50, is in a stable, but serious condition in Melbourne’s Alfred hospital with extensive and severe burns. January 3: Former painter and docker, Mr Ian Revell Carroll, 35, was shot in the backyard of a house at Mount Martha, on Mornington Peninsula. Two “dangerous” prisoners escaped from Pentridge Gaol in a clever escape planned to coincide with a change of guards at a watchtower. Mr Timothy Michael Neville, 26, was serving a nine-year term for armed robbery and Mr David McGauley, 26, was serving a life term for the murder of a one-legged man in 1978. January 4: Vietnam veteran Mr Trevor Anderson, 33, a former light-heavyweight boxing champion, shot and killed his estranged wife, Pam, 26, at Greensborough Shopping Centre then shot and killed his wife’s flatmate, Jan Toll, 24, and then shot and killed himself. Four prisoners, one described as extremely dangerous, escaped from Ararat medium-security prison in north-west Victoria. All of them had been recaptured. January 5: Police said that three other prisoners had escaped from custody during the previous 48 hours. Two men had escaped from the Turana Youth Training Centre and a third man had escaped from police while handcuffed after being detained after a breaking offence at Prahran. Police said the investigation of Mr Carroll’s murder at Mount Martha on January 3 was revealing a “Pandora’s box of major crime”. Mr Carroll had had extensive underworld contacts and had been regarded as a “stand-over” man in gambling circles. Police had seized a large number of firearms from the house and wanted to question one of Australia’s most dangerous criminals about the killing. Police have charged Mr Leslie John Ford, 20, of West Footscray, following the murder in St Albans on January 1 and Mr Roy Leslie Rhodes, 38, has been charged with murder after the killing in Doveton on December 31. The search for the two Pentridge escapers was continuing at the weekend. One of the escapers from the Turana Youth Training Centre had been recaptured.

 

ON THIS DAY – September 12, 1953

Homicide detectives who investigated the murder of 14-year-old Shirley May Collins, whose battered body was found in September 1953 at Mt Martha, described the murder as one of the most vicious and sadistic in the history of Victoria. The investigation was said to be one of the biggest and most intensive manhunts in the history of Australian crime.

Shirley Collins was described as a young, shy, smiling and innocent girl. Her father had died and her mother remarried and moved to Queensland. She was one of four foster children living with her foster parents, Mr and Mrs A E Collins. Shirley left her Reservoir home at 7.15pm on Saturday 12 September to go to a teenagers party in Richmond and had promised her foster mother she would return home early. The party was at the home of a young workmate; guests were mostly teenage members of Coles staff where Shirley worked. Ron Holmes, 21, of Chelsea, had arranged to meet her at Richmond station at 8pm. Holmes waited for nearly an hour and then went to the party alone. Mrs Collins sensed something was wrong when her daughter did not return home by midnight. Early Sunday morning, Mrs Collins took her worries to a policeman who lived nearby. The constable dismissed the mothers fears, saying Shirley must have missed the last train and was probably sleeping at a girlfriend’s place and would be home in the morning. But eight hours later he referred Mrs Collins to the CIB.

Police received information that a girl answering Shirley’s description, and who they were almost certain was Shirley, was seen getting into a car near Regent station only a few minutes before she was to have boarded a bus to take her to the city. Police believed the girl accepted a lift, expecting to be taken to her destination at Richmond, but instead was driven to Mt Martha. A large squad of CIB detectives and police worked 24 hour days in an endeavour to locate the murder scene. They searched the Mt Martha and Dromana areas, questioning people who may have been able to provide clues.

At least five people saw Shirley’s body without realising she was dead; they presumed it was a girl sunbaking. People told police they had seen Shirley and a well-spoken young man in Mornington on Saturday and Sunday nights. She was seen with the man at a hotel on Saturday night. Mr Allan Downs, the licensee of Mornington’s Grand Hotel, recognised Shirley’s photo as soon as it was shown to him by the police. Downs told police, Shirley walked into the hotel lounge with a man about 26 to 30 soon after 8.30pm. I noticed them particularly because the lounge was empty, which is unusual on a Saturday night. I asked them if they were bona fide travellers and they said Yes and sat down at a table a few feet from us. They had one glass of beer each; then they got up and left at about 8.50pm. This drew my attention because it is unusual for anyone to have just one glass of beer on a Saturday night. Although I did not notice the pair laughing or joking, they seemed quite friendly. As the girl left the lounge, she turned her head and smiled and said Goodnight. Thank you very much. The girl could have passed for an adult for her hair was done differently to the photo, but I feel sure it was her. Shirley Collins was then seen at a cafe in Mornington on the Sunday night. An employee of the cafe, Mrs Larkins, recognised a photograph of Shirley. She said, the girl was with a youth aged about 18, with a long, pointed nose, brushed back hair, and of medium build.

In the early morning of Monday 14 September, the body of Shirley Collins was discovered at Mt Martha by Lionel Liardit. The 73-year-old man told police that his fox terrier, Bombo, had drawn his attention to the body. I was walking along Marine Drive to pick up my mail, he said. Bombo was chasing rabbits and wallabies then ran into the grounds of the house and came back barking and tugging the cuff of my trousers. I wasn’t in any hurry and Bombo’s a pretty intelligent dog so I went to see what was worrying him. I saw the body. Liardit was shaken by the horror of his discovery. Later medical examination showed Shirley had been dead for 10 to 12 hours. Police believed the three broken beer bottles found near her battered body were the cause of her death. She had been the victim of a brutal attack. A bottle, heavy with beer, had been smashed on her head and knocked her unconscious. Two other bottles, tops still firmly clamped, had been shattered against the back of her head. The pretty face of Shirley Collins had been completely destroyed by blocks of cement. Her nose, jaw, cheekbones and forehead were broken. Her clothes had been ripped from her body and thrown in trees and scrub. A stocking, still fastened to a suspender belt, was found on a tree stump. Evidence at the murder scene indicated the man who killed her was shrewd and dangerous, and had given police few clues to his identity. Detectives ruled out the theory that Shirley had been abducted and taken to Mornington Peninsula by force. They believed the car used was stolen and later abandoned.

Hybrid Publishing and Twisted History will be presenting Janice Simpson and her new book “Murder in Mount Martha” at an event at the Royal Melbourne Hotel on June 30 at 6pm.  Details can be found here – www.trybooking.com/LOUD

The book is based upon the real life unsolved murder of 14 year old Shirley Collins in September 1953.  Below is a newspaper article from the time of the murder.

DID YOU SEE SHIRLEY COLLINS
THIS special color picture shows murdered Shirley Collins as she was
on Saturday night, September 12, when she was last seen alive.
Her clothes, exactly reproduced here, are being worn by a model of Shirley’s measurements; Shirley’s last picture has been superimposed on the color print by “Argus” artists.  The picture is reproduced at the special request of Superintendent F. W. Lyon, C.I.B. chief, in the hope that it will lead to discovery of Shirley’s killer.

It Is the first time on record that newspaper color presses have helped in crime detection.  Superintendent Lyon said this lifelike resemblance to Shirley could provide detectives with a new chance of finding the murderer.

Shirley, aged 14, was battered to death at Mt. Martha.  Anyone who saw a girl like this after 7.15 p.m. on Saturday, September 12, is
asked to contact the police Immediately, at F0244.

THE most ‘ likely place! where Shirley could have been seen were near the corner of Spring and Verdun sts., Regent, or on the train in West Richmond station or near the West Richmond station.  Was she alone or in company with a man? Did she get into a car at Regent railway station, or did she travel by train to West Richmond?

These are the main questions for which homicide detectives are seeking an answer.  TO assist them in their search, police have askei
“The Argus” to supply them with 50 poster-size copies of this color picture.  Late yesterday the copies were delivered to the Police Department and immediately distributed to police stations and to the Preston and Richmond districts.  Here is a full descrlption of Shirley and the clothes she was wearing at the time of her disappearance:
Height: 5ft. 3ln.
Weight: 8st. 41b. or 51b.
Hair: Light brown.
Eyes: Blue.
Coat: Dark grey.
Skirt: Grey and black
diagonal check.
Blouse: Pale lemon.
Cardigan: Black.
Shoes: Black.
Stockings: Natural shade

Detectives yesterday concentrated their inquiries along the bus route on which Shirley travelled at 7.15 on that night.

http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/23319986?searchTerm=Shirley%20Collins%20murder&searchLimits=l-decade=195|||l-year=1953#

30th June

Join Hybrid Publishing and Twisted History in a night of Murder when we present Janice Simpson, author of “Murder in Mount Martha”. Step back in time for an unforgettable evening, as you are incarcerated in the historic Bourke Street West Police Cells at the Royal Melbourne Hotel. Evening includes dinner, talks by Twisted History on Victoria’s Crime and Police History before Janice talking of her new book based on the unsolved murder of Shirley Collins in 1953 – “Murder in Mount Martha”
For information and bookings please call 1300 865 800

ON THIS DAY – April 17, 1945
Youth on Trial
An admission that he had shot Thomas Clarke because he had looked a bit nervous was the allegation made by the Crown in the Criminal Court yesterday, when Kevin Albert Joiner, 18, of McCormac place, Melbourne, appeared before Mr Justice Lowe and a jury on a charge of having murdered Thomas Charles Clarke, 25, soldier, at Mount Martha on April 17.
In opening the case for the Crown, Mr R. M. Nolan, said that on April 17, accused, with Clarke and a lad named Harris, had broken into the Maryport guest house, Mount Martha. After having placed the spoils of the robbery in four suit-cases they divided the contents outside. Harris was left with the suit-cases, and Clarke and Joiner went down towards the esplanade. Joiner said to Clarke “Go and see what time the bus will be passing for Frankston.” As Clarke went Joiner fired into his left side, and again fired to the right. After Clarke slumped into the scrub accused went over to him and fired into the back of his head from a distance of about three feet. It was alleged on behalf of the Crown that Joiner had admitted that while they were in the guest house he had noticed that Clarke looked a bit nervous, and he decided to shoot him.
The hearing is unfinished.
Mr R. M. Nolan prosecuted for the Crown. Mr J. P. Bourke (instructed by Messrs O’Donohue and Green) appeared for accused.

ON THIS DAY – FEBRUARY 6, 1945

Norman Brook, 23, of Brisbane, appeared in the Criminal Court charged with the murder of Lance Corporal Jack Lloyd, 25, of Brisbane, Army-Signaller . Lloyds body was found with a stick protruding from it, in a paddock near Balcombe military camp, Mount Martha, Mornington Peninsula, on the 6th of February. There were 13 lacerated wounds in the face and head, and the skull had been fractured. Brook attended a dance in the Anzac Hall on the night of the 5th of February. He left the hall about 10.45pm, and Lloyd followed him. Later, in a paddock, Lloyd made an improper suggestion, and Brook attacked him with a stick, causing fatal injuries. Brook, on oath, said he had had about a dozen drinks before going to the dance, and he became suddenly ill and went into the paddock. As he left the hall, Lloyd was standing in the doorway. While he was vomiting in an isolated spot. Lloyd came to him and said he should make some attempt to straighten himself up because he had to go on picket duty. Lloyd took him into a paddock and told him to walk round to sober up. Brook said he sat down with a violent headache, and Lloyd made an improper suggestion, but he knocked Lloyd aside. He was so disgusted with Lloyd that he picked up a stick to ward him off and defend himself. He was in a very weak state. but he hit Lloyd with the stick a couple of times. There was a struggle, and after that he returned to the camp. He did not know Lloyd was dead until the following Tuesday when he was questioned by the police.

 

 

ON THIS DAY – January 3, 1983

Victoria reels from six days of crime

The brutal murder of a 24 year-old call girl in a hotel-motel in the outer Melbourne suburb of Doveton on New Year’s Eve set the pattern for six days of crime almost without precedence in Victoria. Nine people were murdered and seven prisoners escaped from custody during the period. The head of the Victorian CIB, Detective-Chief Superintendent Phil Bennett, said the Christmas-New Year period had been “absolutely phenomenal for violence”. But what sparked the violence? The consultant psychiatrist at Pentridge gaol, Dr Allen Bartholomew, said a combination of the weather, free time and alcohol could be responsible for the outbreak of violence. Dr Bartholomew said that “most people would expect that in the summer months with people on holidays, and doing a lot more drinking outside, violence would increase”. The following is a list of the major crimes during the six days of violence: December 31: Call girl Dale Lockwood was found bashed and murdered in the Prince Mark hotel-motel at Doveton. January 1: Mr Tomo Hizenjai, 51, of Walmer Avenue, St Albans, was found shot through the head at his home. January 2: Police said Mr Frank Ingle, 50, had splashed petrol over members of his family, killing his three children, Heather, 16, Jacqueline, 14, and Hugh, 11, and their grandfather, Mr Eric Graham, 80. Mr Frank Ingle died two days later in Gippsland Base Hospital. His wife, Elizabeth, 50, is in a stable, but serious condition in Melbourne’s Alfred hospital with extensive and severe burns. January 3: Former painter and docker, Mr Ian Revell Carroll, 35, was shot in the backyard of a house at Mount Martha, on Mornington Peninsula. Two “dangerous” prisoners escaped from Pentridge Gaol in a clever escape planned to coincide with a change of guards at a watchtower. Mr Timothy Michael Neville, 26, was serving a nine-year term for armed robbery and Mr David McGauley, 26, was serving a life term for the murder of a one-legged man in 1978. January 4: Vietnam veteran Mr Trevor Anderson, 33, a former light-heavyweight boxing champion, shot and killed his estranged wife, Pam, 26, at Greensborough Shopping Centre then shot and killed his wife’s flatmate, Jan Toll, 24, and then shot and killed himself. Four prisoners, one described as extremely dangerous, escaped from Ararat medium-security prison in north-west Victoria. All of them had been recaptured. January 5: Police said that three other prisoners had escaped from custody during the previous 48 hours. Two men had escaped from the Turana Youth Training Centre and a third man had escaped from police while handcuffed after being detained after a breaking offence at Prahran. Police said the investigation of Mr Carroll’s murder at Mount Martha on January 3 was revealing a “Pandora’s box of major crime”. Mr Carroll had had extensive underworld contacts and had been regarded as a “stand-over” man in gambling circles. Police had seized a large number of firearms from the house and wanted to question one of Australia’s most dangerous criminals about the killing. Police have charged Mr Leslie John Ford, 20, of West Footscray, following the murder in St Albans on January 1 and Mr Roy Leslie Rhodes, 38, has been charged with murder after the killing in Doveton on December 31. The search for the two Pentridge escapers was continuing at the weekend. One of the escapers from the Turana Youth Training Centre had been recaptured.