ON THIS DAY …….5th August 1941

Ratcliff Lawson, aged 51 years, from Essendon, and his son, Peter, aged 20 years, were found dead on this day 1941, in a gas filled motor car at Kangaroo Ground, 25 mile, from Melbourne. Police believe that it is a case of murder and suicide. The father had a deep affection for his son, who was a patient in a mental hospital.



ON THIS DAY – July 16, 1900

John Pridmore, who shot and killed his wife. Annie Jane Pridmore, at Brunswick, on July 16, was to-day found guilty of wilful murder by a coroner’s jury, and was committed for trial. The inquest had been held over, pending Pridmore’s recovery, for at the time he shot his wife he also attempted to shoot himself.

ON THIS DAY – July 15, 1908


The inquiry into the death of Charles Groves and Mary Walkington, who died from poison on July 15, at Toorak, was concluded on Saturday at the Morgue by the coroner (Dr. Cole).  Little fresh light was thrown upon the particulars already published. A conjecture tinged with certainty became a certainty after hearing the evidence of the analysts, who set all possible doubt at risk as to the kind of poison used – strychnine. The chemist who sold the poison in the man who signed the poison-book as witness cleared up a point as to the purchase of the stuff. Miss Walkington was found by a cyclist named Hall, dying. She was recognised then taken to her room at “Cloverdale,” a private hospital in Toorak. Not far from where she was found Groves was discovered groaning. The deaths of both of them followed rapidly, and poison was obviously the cause. Molly Doherty’s story is that Mary Walkington was a friend and fellow employee. The dead girl confided in her that she did not love Groves, but would marry him for a home. On the night of her death the two young women were to have gone out together, but “that brute,” as the deceased called her lover, appeared, and shortly afterwards the tragedy occurred.  When Constable Fitzgerald found the dying man, the latter said that he had taken poison, and that Mary Walkington had taken it too, attributing a voluntary act to the girl, which the coroner’s verdict denied. Amongst the girl’s letters were some from her lover (who, as Detective Coonan testified, was of a “morose disposition”). In these letters were vows of love and hints of poison oddly mixed together. Contrary to natural expectation, a post-mortem examination disclosed no lesions or abnormalities in Groves’s brain. The Coroner, in delivering his verdict, said that no doubt Groves had bought the strychnine with express intent to use it in the way he had used it. It did not appear a case of mutual suicide – rather one of murder and suicide. So he found that on July 15 Charles Alfred Groves and Mary Walkington died from strychnine poisoning, the poison having been wilfully administered to both by Groves.

On This Day – 18th November 1896

At Albert Park on the 18th November 1896, a young man named Alexander Quinn, aged twenty-three, an ex-warder at the Ararat Lunatic Asylum, shot his wife dead, and then attempted to commit suicide, but, failing to take his own life, be gave himself up at the police station. It would appear from Quinn’s statement that, being without work or means, he and his wife proceeded to Albert Park with the intention of committing a double suicide. Mrs. Quinn who was twenty-five years of age, took a revolver, and attempted to put a bullet through her head, but failed; whereupon her husband took the weapon and shot her dead. He then tied to shot himself, but did not succeed, He then sought to drown himself in the Albert Park lake, and, again failing to put an end to his life, he proceeded to the police station and reported the matter. In his possession were found two marriage certificates.




On This Day – November 6, 1880

A resident of Ondit, near Colac, named Martin Tenas, a Belgian, aged 60, stabbed his wife, Bridget Theresa Tenas, aged 45, in four places on November 6, and afterwards cut his own throat. The persons had been married 20 years, and have six children. The man alleges jealousy as the cause of his action, but there appears no foundation for it. The wounded woman died two days afterwards, and the murderer subsequently made a voluntary statement, accusing his wife of infidelity, and stating that on the night when he stabbed her he heard a noise in the paddock, and went out, thinking it was the man he suspected. On his return his wife laughed at him, and he stabbed her. He afterwards cut his own throat, as he loved her and his children, and thought they had better die together. The prisoner has been committed for trial for wilful murder.

On This Day – November 6, 1924

The tragedy which occurred at Dandenong on November 6, when Albert Markley and his wife were found dead, was inquired into by the Coroner yesterday.

Dr. Taylor stated that in his opinion Markley had cut his wife’s throat, and then cut his own. The son, Wilfred Markley, said he considered that it was worry about his mother’s mental condition and his financial difficulties that caused his father to commit the deed.

The Coroner’s verdict was that Markley had cut his wife’s throat and then taken his own life while of unsound mind.

ON THIS DAY – November 4, 1948

Charged with the murder of his wife, Evelyn Fisher (63) at their flat on November 4, Harold Fisher (66), of Canterbury road. Middle Park, was remanded in the City Court to-day Without bail until November 19 Police evidence was that Mrs. Fisher died from strangulation. A note found, apparently written by Fisher, said that he killed his wife and intended taking his own life.  On arrival at the flat last Friday the police said they found Fisher lying on the floor In front of the gas oven, which was turned on. He was unconscious, and his wife was lying beside him, dead.




ON THIS DAY – October 27, 1915


At the Morgue on Saturday, Dr. Cole, P M , city coroner, investigated the shooting tragedy at a house in Nelson street, Abbotsford, on October 27. After a quarrel, William Green, aged 32 years shot Eileen Veronica McCormack, aged 25 years, his housekeeper, who died instantly. Green then committed suicide. Mary Green, of Docker street, Richmond, said that William Green was her son. On the day of the shooting Green asked his housekeeper to come inside, as he wanted to speak to her. McCormack refused. Green took her by the arm and pulled her inside. He then caught her by the throat, and it seemed as if he was strangling her. Mrs. Green tried to pull him away and struck him over the face. Green caught hold of McCormack’s legs and threw her on the ground. Mrs. Green at once left to obtain help. During her absence shots were fired. The bedroom was full of smoke, and Green and McCormack were found dead on the floor. McCormack’s infant was sitting beside its mother, playing with the revolver.  It was stated that Green was a married man, living apart from his wife, and McCormack a married woman, living apart from her husband. Dr. Cole found that the deceased died from gun shot wounds. He was of the opinion that the shots were fired by Green but there was not sufficient evidence to show his state of mind at the time.



ON THIS DAY – October 22, 1915


The coroner yesterday hold an inquiry into the deaths of Albert Edward Greenwood and Charlotte Williams, whose bodies were found in a room at the Whitehall apartments, Bank place, Melbourne, on October 22. The deceased were Albert Edward Greenwood, 29 years of age, formerly an accountant in the Audit Department of the Public Service, Perth, and Charlotte Williams, 23 years of age, typist, also of Perth. The Coroner said there was no doubt that Greenwood committed murder, killing the woman by poison, and then taking his own life.

A verdict to that effect was recorded



Murdered on this day ……….. 11th October 1924

A love affair at Maryborough between a man (38) and a girl (16) ended on the 11th October 1924 in a double tragedy, when Charles W. Bayldon shot Myrtle Moore dead and then committed suicide. The couple had been engaged to be married, but the girl had decided to break the engagement. The tragedy occurred on a road a few miles from the town. Bayldon was a fisherman and also ran a motor-bus.

ON THIS DAY – October 10, 1914


After holding an inquiry at the Morgue on October 20, Dr. R. H. Cole, the Coroner, returned a finding that Herbert Leslie Matthewman and Priscilla Warwick were found dead at Mordialloc; death having resulted from gun shot wound’s, these wounds having been wilfully inflicted by Matthewman. There was no evidence he added as to the state of the man’s mind at the time. During the inquiry one of the witnesses collapsed in the box.

Frederick Henry John Matthewman said that he was a brother of Herbert Matthewman, who was about 35 years old, and a Londoner by birth. Witness understood that his brother was married.  Edwardine Warwick, dressmaker, said that Priscilla Warwick was her sister, and was 12 years old in June. Herbert Matthewman had boarded with her mother for nearly two years. She heard her mother give Matthewman permission to take her sister Priscilla to Mordialloc on October 10. He had often taken Priscilla and witness’s other sister, aged 15, to picture shows, and had taken Priscilia to Mordialloc on she believed, two previous occasions.

Evidence was given by Dr. John Brett to the effect that there was a small gunshot wound in Matthewman’s right temple, and this had caused his death. An examination of the body of Priscilia Warwick revealed five gunshot wounds. Any one of four of them might have been fatal. One of the wounds was in the right temple, the bullet having passed through the brain.

Sydney White Brunsden said that Matthewman with the girl Priscilia Warwick, had visited his house at MordialIoc on October 10. Matthewman explained that he was suffering from pains in the stomach. In conversation Matthewman said that he had spent £103 on the girl Priscilla. He said “I spent 18/6 on her last night, and I think she looks real well”. Witness told Matthewman that it would be better if he looked after his own little girl, and Matthewman replied, “I’ve waited for Prissy for two years and if I can’t have her nobody else will”. He said that people seemed jealous of him, and also stated that the girl was going to tell him something on the way back that she would not tell him on the coming down. Matthewman did not leave the witness’s house in time to catch the 9.20 evening train, and said, “I am doing this with a purpose.” He left finally at 10.15 in the night to catch the 10.45 train. At the gate he kissed Priscilla, who went with him.

While giving his evidence Brunsden was seen to turn white. Suddenly he swayed forward and would have fallen but for the high side of the witness box. He had to be assisted from the box, and his examination was resumed later. Dora Harris, married, living at Mordialloc, said that at about 11.30pm on October 10, she had just gone to bed when she heard a scream and three shots followed after a slight interval by two more shots. Sydney Brunsden, continuing his evidence, said that Matthewman had also told him that in the week he had received a shock at his boarding house by waking up and finding that he had jumped through the window.

Constable John Murray gave evidence as to the finding of the bodies and an automatic pistol close at hand. Dr Cole said that the extraordinary thing about the tragedy was there was no evidence leading up to it. It appeared that Matthewman was on friendly terms with the girl, and there was some little evidence that he was rather peculiar. There was only slight evidence as to the relationship between the man and the girl. The fact that the girl intended telling Matthewman something on the way back to the city might have some bearing on the affair. After firing the first shot Matthewman seemed to have been seized by a perfect fury of shooting and had wounded the girl five times. No man in his senses would have acted in such a manner.



ON THIS DAY…… 21st September 1886

A terrible tragedy was enacted on this day in 1886 at Holders’ oyster shop, Elizabeth street, Melbourne. William Williams, brother in law to the owner of the shop, murdered his wife by cutting her throat, and then destroying himself in a similar manner. It appears that Williams, after sending the shop assistant away with a letter, walked into a sitting room where his wife and her mother. Mrs Ludwig, were, and, without saying one word, he pulled out a large carving knife, and stuck it into his wife’s throat, when the poor woman fell to the floor. He then attacked her again, and nearly severed her head from her body, and afterwards he sat down in a chair and cut his own throat. Mrs Ludwig, who was the only other person in the building on seeing her daughter murdered. Both Williams and his wife were found to be dead on their removal to the hospital. Williams was about 30 years of age and his wife 20, and they had been married 11 months. Lately Williams had taken to drink, and jealousy is said to have been the cause of the crime.