Posts

Sarah Mullins, alias White, convicted of the manslaughter of William Kelly, was next brought up for sentence.

Mullins had stabbed Kelly in the thigh with a butchers knife after Kelly threw a stool at her when she refused to stop drinking beer.

His Honor said she had had a very narrow escape from the sentence of death, as it was quite open to the jury upon the evidence to have returned a verdict of guilty on the capital charge of murder.  He knew she was drunk, but that was no excuse at all, for he had often laid it down, that a prisoner who committed an offence whilst drunk must bear the full responsibility.

The jury had convicted her of manslaughter, but a recent act prevented him from passing a sentence of transportation, otherwise he should have felt it his duty to have done so. Various punishments had been provided in lieu of transportation, and his Honor thought he should be dealing leniently with the prisoner in sentencing her to the least period of imprisonment substituted for seven years transportation, which was two years. That sentence he accordingly passed.⁣

 

Donald Maxfield was reported missing from Colac on the 13th of May, 1953. On the 1st of August 1953, the torso of a man was pulled from the Barwon River. Divers would eventually find the rest of Maxfield’s body, which had been dismembered and placed in kerosene tins and sunk in the Barwon River. ⁣

It was believed the Maxfield was attacked and bashed in a garage in Colac by two men. The men had placed the unconscious body of Maxfield in the boot of a car and had driven to Geelong. Maxfield regained consciousness and was again bashed to death on the banks of the Barwon. It was reported that this was a payback as it was believed that Maxfield had been a police informant against one of the men.⁣

The two men would later be arrested and information from them would lead to finding the rest of Maxfields body by divers recovering the torso after a 5 hour search of the river. The torso had been covered in an oat sack, wrapped in wire and weighed down with stone weights so that it was roughly 100lbs. The head and hands were later discovered in kerosene tins in the river. ⁣

Both men were charged with murder and sentenced to life imprisonment and 20 years respectively.⁣

On the 15th September 1904, an accident occurred in Elizabeth Street where Sarah Ann
Robins, her husband James and her 27 year old daughter, Rosina Hubbard, who was
described as a dwarf, were thrown from a cart. This accident set in a motion a series of
events that would leave only James still alive 12 months later.

Nursed by her Daughter

Sarah required attention for her injuries, and was nursed at home by her daughter,
Rosina. However doctors became concerned by her unusual symptoms and engaged a
nurse to assist the family in caring for her. Sarah continued to decline and was admitted
to the Melbourne Hospital.

Nurse Flower, who had been engaged to look after Sarah before she was admitted to
hospital, deposed at the inquest that she witnessed Rosina administer some medicine to
her mother. When the nurse rinsed the glass it turned her rings black. Sarah was heard
to remark “they won’t prosecute my Rosie will they?” after doctors accused her of
poisoning her mother. Rosina maintained that her mother wanted to commit suicide
which was why she had given her the arsenic and quicksilver.

Sarah died in the Melbourne Hospital on September 30, 1904. Doctors asked Sarah
before she died whether she had taken anything, which she denied but doctors felt she
was holding something back. After her death, analysis showed arsenic in every organ that
was examined.

Rosina Arrested

Rosina on her arrest for the wilful murder of her mother, Sarah, was heard to
exclaim “me murder my mother!” And then swooned. When she recovered, Rosina stated
that she did not murder her mother, that Sarah had asked for it. During the inquest,
Rosina was described as a “cunning shrewd little woman” but it was not certain she had
her “wits” about her. However, evidence was brought that it was James Robins who
had purchased the arsenic to poison a dog who had bitten someone.  The inquest concluded
with a verdict of wilful murder due to arsenic poisoning, wilfully and maliciously
administered by Rosina Hubbard.

During the murder trial, it was revealed that James Robins had also buried his two
previous wives! One wife died in Launceston about 15 years previously and the second
wife in Melbourne about 16 years previous. It was also alleged that James had fed his
wife oysters sprinkled with white powder. This was denied by James which caused an
outburst by Rosina, screaming that he did! It was also revealed that James did not have
much money to his name when he married Sarah, who herself owned properties. James
would gain the money from these properties on his wife’s death. It was also alleged that
James was the father of Rosina’s infant and that there had been improper relations
between the two.

Confession

In March, 1905, the Government was unhappy that Rosina had been acquitted for the
matricide of her mother Sarah. They deputised Detective McManamny to make further
inquiries in to the case. On re-interviewing, Rosina admitted that she had poisoned her
mother using quicksilver and arsenic. Her reasoning was that her mother knocked her
about and had accused her of relations with her stepfather. However, she also admitted
to the detective that James Robins was the father of her child. As Rosina had been
acquitted of the murder, she could not be retried!

Rosina’s Death

Rosina was not to enjoy her freedom for very long. She died in the Melbourne Hospital on
the 24th May 1905, after being hospitalised since the 5th. Her inquest was again
sensational, as it was originally suspected that Rosina had killed herself by taking the
same poisons as she had administered to her mother! Dr Mollison, the coroner described
Rosina as a congenital dwarf whose arms and legs were considerably smaller than the
rest of her body. She was 3 feet 10 inches in height and her head measured 22 inches.
there were no marks of violence and samples of her organs, muscles and bones were
taken for further analysis. After analysis, the official cause of death was exhaustion due
to ulceration of the intestines.

You would think that would be the end of the story! But there was one more twist!

Rosina’s will was contested on the grounds of her sanity when it went to probate.
Evidence was brought to court on how James Robins held a magnetic influence over
Rosina. It was stated that Robins banned anyone from seeing her in hospital especially
the “black fellow”, who was her half sister, Isabella Webster, Indian husband. Isabella
had described her father as a “brute”. The Chief Justice was to dismiss the content
stating there were no grounds on which to contest.

A shocking tragedy occurred to-day at the Sir Walter Scott Hotel, at the corner of Elizabeth and Franklin-street, city. A⁣ young man, John Tunks, cutting the throat of Amelia Dean, a barmaid, with a razor, and then inflicting frightful injuries upon himself with the same instrument. He died within an hour, and the woman is in. a critical condition. ⁣ ⁣

The crime was committed in a bedroom on the first floor⁣ of the hotel, and the first intimation the other inmates had of the occurrence was the sight of Mrs. Dean rushing downstairs with blood flowing from a gash in her throat, followed by the man, similarly wounded. He was in a shocking condition, and had barely reached the foot of the stairs when he collapsed. It was evident from the nature of his injuries that he had used the razor with⁣ frenzied determination. Mrs. Dean, who was also very weak, staggered towards several of the inmates of the hotel, who were conversing near the door, exclaiming⁣ “Jack done, it. Jack done it.”⁣ ⁣

The pair were promptly removed to the Melbourne Hospital, and it was then seen that the man’s end was near. Mrs. Dean’s recovery is regarded as doubtful. A blood-stained razor was found lying at the foot of one of the two beds in the room from which the man and woman came. Both beds were also blood-stained, and there was a trail of blood from one bed through the door and down the stairway.

There were signs that a struggle had taken⁣ place.⁣ ⁣

Amelia Dean died 6 weeks later ⁣ ⁣

Frederick Bayley Deeming was one of 14 children born to Thomas and Ann Deeming in Leicestershire, England.

Frederick would first get into trouble with the law aged just 15 years old  for throwing rocks at a train.  At 16 he ranaway to see and began his life of crime with stealing and obtaining money by deception – something which would be a common thread for the rest of his life.

The beginning of the end for Deeming began with the discovery of Emily Lydia Mather’s decomposing body buried beneath the hearth of the second bedroom at 57 Andrew Street, Windsor on March 3, 1892.

Emily had married Deeming, who was know as Albert Williams in Rainhill, Lancashire in 1891 before the young couple set out for Australia.  They arrived in Melbourne in November 1891 and stayed for a short time in the city of Melbourne before heading to the rented property in Windsor.  Emily was not to know that this house would become her coffin!

On Christmas Eve, Deeming murdered Emily and in a well prepared plan buried her remains within the house before heading back to Melbourne.  He had paid up the rent for a couple of months so it wasnt until a new prospective tennant inspected the property that Emily’s remains were discovered.

By this time, Deeming had headed to Sydney and enticed Kate Rounsfell to marry him and move to WA with him.  Luckily for her Deeming left first and Kate only made it as far as Melbourne before news broke of her fiancee’s evil deeds.

But Emily was not the first murder Deeming had committed.  During the investigation into the death of Emily, it came to light that Deeming had been married before and had 4 children.  Marie and the children were found murdered and cemented under the kitchen floor at the property Deeming had rented in Rainhill.

Deeming was finally caught out by clever detective work and his boasting of his accomplishments.

Deeming was sentenced to death and was executed on May 29, 1892 at the Old Melbourne Gaol.

Before his death, a telegram was sent from London, requesting that Deeming be interviewed over the Whitechapel murders of 1888.  It would join numerous requests from police forces around the world asking if he could have been responsible for as many as 18 murders.

 

In 1938, a double murder took place in the now defunct Windsor Castle Hotel in Dunolly.  One of the last sightings of the murdered men and their murderer was in the bar of the Railway Hotel in Dunolly.  Join Twisted History for dinner and a paranormal investigation here on February 23, 2019.

Noise Said To Have Led To Deaths

December 13, 1938

An alleged statement that he had killed a man because he was making a noise upstairs, and that he had killed another man because he did not want him to be a witness, was read in the Supreme Court today when Thomas William Johnson, 40, of no fixed address, was charged with the murder of the two men.

The victims of the tragedy were: —
Robert McCourt Gray, 73, returned soldier and pensioner
Charles Adam Bunney, 61, war pensioner

They were found in a padlocked upstairs room of the delicensed
Windsor Castle Hotel at Dunolly on October 6 with their heads battered.

Johnson pleaded not guilty to the charges of having murdered Bunney and Gray.

Mr Cussen said that on October 3 there were five people living in the hotel.  Gray and Bunney had lived there for years. On September 26 Johnson arrived there. He said that he was on sustenance and wanted to live there, but could not pay.

On Monday morning, October 3, Gray was seen alive and Bunney was seen alive about 5.15 p.m. by the postmaster.  After that neither of the men was seen until the Thursday. In the meantime Bunney’s room, although it was open, had not been used. Gray’s room was
padlocked.

Two men looked for Gray and Bunney on the Thursday. One of them
climbed to the verandah and saw the men lying dead side by side. When entrance was gained the two men were found with their heads battered. A bloodstained axe was found in the corner.

Johnson, on the Monday, had no money. On the Tuesday he was seen on the road to Maryborough, and got a ride, for which he paid 1/. He returned later, and this time paid 2/6.  When he walked into the Dandenong police station on the Friday he made a statement, although he was warned he need not make it.

Mr Cussen then read the statement alleged to have been made by Johnson. In it Johnson is alleged to have said that he was asleep on the ground floor of the delicensed hotel about 3 p.m. on October 3 when he heard Gray, who was on the top floor, hammering and making a loud noise. He took an axe upstairs and hit Gray on the head. Gray fell to the floor, Bunney came into the room, and he hit him on the head. He then locked the room with a padlock and
threw the key away.

His only excuse for killing Gray was because he was making a noise while he was trying to sleep. He had killed Bunney because he did not want him to be a witness.

He often became bad tempered, and he was in a bad temper when he killed Gray.  He stayed at the hotel for two nights afterward. He then walked to Maryborough, rode on a transport to Melbourne on October 6, stayed in the city that night, and walked to Dandenong
the next day.

One of the witnesses was Elizabeth Whelan, the licensee of the Railway Hotel in Dunolly who testified that Cazneau, Johnson and a man named Alexander and Bunney were in the bar on the Monday morning. Bunney bought Johnson two drinks and left.  Gray came into the hotel at 10.30 and bought a quart bottle of wine, but did
not drink it with the other men. He gave a £1 note and received his change in small silver. Gray took a quart bottle of wine a month.
Johnson had four pots of beer up to 11 a.m., when he left, and he had one again at 2 p.m.

Thomas William Johnson would be found guilty of the murders of Robert McCourt Gray and Charles Adam Bunney and was sentenced to death.

Johnson was executed at Pentridge Prison on January 23, 1939.  When asked by the Sheriff in the condemned cell whether he had anything to say, Johnson shook his head and indicated that he wanted the execution to proceed.

We came across a reference to an unusual murder case the other day. And although it isn’t Australian, there is very definitely some Twisted History to it!

Pype Hayes Park in Erdington, Birmingham, England has been the scene of two murders – one in 1817 and another in 1974. Now you might not think that is particularly interesting but the parallels between these two cases is uncanny!

On May 27, 1817, the belle of the parish, Mary Ashford attended a dance at Tyburn House Inn with her friend Hannah Cox. The two young ladies left around midnight and would return to Hannah’s house.  Mary would leave and would not be seen alive again.  Her body would be discovered a few hours, where a worker discovered a puddle of blood and two sets of footprints leading to the muddy ditch.  Mary had been sexually assaulted and left to drown.

On May 27, 1974, childcare worker Barbara Forrest spent the night out dancing with her boyfriend at various pubs before he escorted her to the Colmore Circus bus stop.  It would be the last time anyone saw Barbara alive.  Her semi-naked body was found under bracken in a shallow ditch just 500 yards from her house on the edge of the park.  Barabara had been raped and strangled.

Two men would be arrested, one for each crime – Abraham Thornton in 1817 and Michael Thornton in 1974.  At their respective trials both men would be acquitted for lack of evidence.  In 1817, Abraham admitted to having sex with Mary but 3 witnesses gave him an alibi which saw the case dismissed.  In 1975, Michael was arrested after blood stains were found on his pants and an alibi proved false.  The case was dismissed.

Both cases remain officially unsolved to this day.

But there are a few interesting facts related to the 1817 murder. Firstly, Abraham Thornton’s boot print was matched to those leading to Mary’s body.  It was one of the earlist recorded cases of footwear identification.  Secondly, after the dismissal of the first trial, Mary’s brother William launched an appeal stating the evidence was overwhelming against Thornton.  Thornton was rearrested and claimed the right to trial by battle – a medieval law that had never been repealed by Parliament.  Ashford declined and Thornton was freed from custody.  The law was repealed in 1819.

But we will leave the final words to Mary Ashford’s family.  On her grave in Sutton Coldfield Churchyard is the following inscription:

 

“As a warning to female virtue and a humble monument to female chastity, this stone marks the grave of Mary Ashford who on the twentieth year of her age having incautiously repaired to a scene of amusement without proper protection, was brutally murdered on 27th May 1817”

Hurstbridge murder

A memorial erected over his grave commemorates Henry Facey Hurst who was shot and killed by the bushranger Robert Burke in 1866. Henry was a pioneer settler of Hurstbridge where he built the first log bridge over the Diamond Creek so giving the township its name. On 4 October, 1866, Robert Burke, alias McClusky arrived at Allwood and asked Ellen Hurst (Henryand#39;s sister) for breakfast, and later a horse. She sent for Henry, who questioned Burke. When Henry reached for his gun, Burke shot him. Despite the wound, Henry held Burke until help arrived. He subsequently bled to death. The jury found Burke guilty of wilful murder`, with a recommendation to mercy, on account of Hurst having fired the first shot. Robert Burke was sentenced to death . A public meeting was held at the Melbourne Mechanics Institute on the evening of Monday 26th November to adopt a petition with over 2,000 signatures, for submission to the Executive Council, asking for the death sentence to be commuted to imprisonment for life. Some ten days after the trial the sentence was carried out. Robert Burke the bushranger, aged 24 years, was hanged at the Melbourne Gaol on Thursday 29th November 1866.

Actual Monument Dedication Date:

Front Inscription:
‘Sacred to the memory of Henry Facey Hurst (formerly of Hanford Dorset) who while defending his home fell near this spot by a ball fired by the bushranger Burke on October 4th 1866 aged 34 years’.

This memorial was erected by a grateful public as a memorial of his heroic self sacrfifice.

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……. 2nd August 1949

In the Ballarat Supreme Court, John Lilley, former licensee of the Commercial Hotel, Hopetoun, denied having kicked his wife in the head when he assaulted her at the hotel on this day in 1949, but admitted having struck her in the face and kicked her in the buttocks.  Lilley was giving evidence in his own defence.  After a retirement of 21 hours the jury found him not guilty of having murdered his wife Amelia Hilda Lilley and he was discharged by Mr Justice Martin. Mrs Lilley died in the Hopetoun hospital on August 12, 10 days after she had been assaulted.

 

 

 

ON THIS DAY – July 22, 1988

PENTRIDGE PRISON

CONVICTED murderer Alex Tsakmakis’s brutal killing earned very little sympathy among his fellow inmates.  Before we was clobbered to death behind bars, he too had carried out a prison killing. Before coming to police attention, Alex Tsakmakis appeared to be a company director and Ivanhoe family man. But his actions made him nothing but pure evil. Tskamakis, 40, was defenceless when he was attacked from behind on July 22, 1988. Taking lunch to a group of prisoners in the maximum security industry yard at about 11.30am, he was beaten on the back of the head by Russell St bomber Craig Minogue, 26. Tsakmakis remained standing at the first blow, but fell on the second. He was hit up to seven times with a pillow case full of 5kg gym weights and suffered a fractured skull and brain damage. Despite being given immediate medical attention and being rushed to hospital, he died six days later. Minogue received a second murder conviction but because he is serving it concurrently with his Russell St bombing sentence he has been given just three more months for Tskamakis’s death. The sentencing judge, Justice George Hampel believed Tskamakis’s life was not worth any more than that. At the time Minogue said he had killed Tskamakis in self defence because feared he would have been Tsakmakis’s next victim. Minogue will be eligible for parole in 2016.

ON THIS DAY – July 19, 1904

The Coroner, Mr. Cole, concluded the inquest to-day concerning the death of Mrs. Mary Amelia Veitch, at Clifton Hill, on July 19. James Williams, the young man who was arrested on a charge of murder, was present in custody. He displayed hardly any interest in the proceedings. The evidence tendered added nothing to the facts already stated. The Coroner found that the deceased met her death at the hands of James Williams, who was committed for trial on a charge of wilful murder.