ON THIS DAY – July 9, 1927

CHARGE OF MURDER – Other Serious Offences Alleged

Following the death of a young woman at the Women’s Hospital early yesterday morning, Mary Adeline Le Neve, aged 45 years home duties, of Wattletree road, Armadale, appeared later in the morning at the City Court charged with having murdered Annie Florence Tregear, with having on July 9 illegally used an instrument on a woman and having on July 12 illegally used an instrument on another woman. The bench was occupied by Mr A A Kelley PM and Messrs T O’Callaghan, E Campbell W Brookes, and G Remfrey, J P’s Detective Grieves said: -In company with Detectives O’Keeffe and Sloan I went to Le Neve’s home in Wattletree road Armadale, on Saturday. In the front bedroom we found a young woman named Annie Florence Tregear in bed. We had her removed to the Women’s Hospital, where she died this morning. It is also alleged that two other young women on July 9 and July 12 respectively visited Le Neve’s house and that she illegally used an instrument upon them. One of the women is now an inmate of the Women’s Hospital and the other is at her home I ask that Le Neve be remanded to appear at the City Court on July 26 The application was granted  Le Neve, who was, brought to the court from the Melbourne Hospital to which she was admitted on Saturday, made no application for bail and was helped from the dock to the cells.

ON THIS DAY….. 8th July 1919

The second trial of Albert John Western, who was presented on charges of larceny and of having shot at Constable Robert John Wilson with intent to murder him took place before Judge Woinarski. The Crown case was that Western, dressed in a woman’s clothing, entered a shop in Balaclava on July 8, snatched a bag which contained 9d. in coppers, and ran away. He was pursued, and when overtaken by Constable Wilson he produced a revolver and wounded Wilson in the body. He was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment.



The execution of Peter Dotselaere, for the murder of Catherine Sarah Jacobs, took place at the gaol yesterday morning. It will be remembered that the prisoner was convicted and sentenced to death at the last Criminal Sittings, for having on the night of the 28th of May, murdered a woman with whom he had for some time been living at a house in Latrobe-street east. It appeared that the deed was instigated by feelings of jealousy, arising from the fact that this woman was about to be married to some young man with whom she had become acquainted in the country. A petition was presented to the Executive on behalf of the prisoner, but after he was made acquainted with the decision, that the sentence passed upon him would be carried out, he awaited his fate with great apparent resignation. He was attended early yesterday morning by the Rev. D. Lordon, and the last duties of a spiritual attendant were performed by the Rev. Dr. Bleasdale, who was present at the time of execution. At the appointed hour (ten o’clock), the door of the prisoner’s cell was opened, and he was pinioned outside the cell by the executioner. During this operation, and while standing on the drop, he made no remark of any kind, seemed utterly passive, and his attention appeared to be totally absorbed in listening to the prayers which were recited by the clergy-man. He appeared very pale, but showed no other sign of emotion or fear. Life appeared to be extinct almost instantly after the fall of the drop. The formal inquest was held upon the remains in the afternoon; and the usual verdict returned. Dotselaere is entered in the gaol books as having arrived in the ship Suttleyoung in 1861. He is described as aged thirty-four years, a native of Belgium, a Roman Catholic, by calling a sailor. It appears that immediately after his arrival here, in February, 1861, he met with an accident on board the vessel in the bay, and received an injury to the leg, which necessitated his removal to the hospital. He remained there for eighteen months as a patient, and was afterwards employed as servant and bedmaker up to the time of the murder. He was regarded as a steady inoffensive man while he lived in the hospital, and nothing was known by the hospital authorities with reference to his conduct since he has been residing outside. This change took place in consequence of his having represented that he was about to be married.


The murderer of the Hunts, George Waines, was executed yesterday morning, in the Melbourne gaol. No further confession than that already published was made by the unfortunate man. Up to the last moment he was attended by the Rev. Mr. Stoddart, who states that he appeared deeply penitent for his crime. A few minutes after ten o’clock the cell door was opened, by order of the sheriff, and after a few moments delay Waines came out into the corridor, looking firm, collected, and resigned. After casting a glance round at the small crowd grouped behind him, and wiping away a few tears, he submitted himself to be pinioned without a word or a murmur escaping his lips. During the operation he remained apparently unmoved, and upon its completion marched with a firm step to the foot of the drop, the stairs of which he ascended in like manner. Hardly a minute elapsed before the fatal bolt was drawn, and Waines launched into eternity. The last words of the chaplain, “Man hath but a short time to live” must have been ringing in the wretched culprit’s ears as he fell. A few muscular spasms of the limbs ensued, but there was no sign of suffering; in fact,a more merciful execution, if any can be merciful, could not have taken place. After hanging the usual time, the body was cut down. The one redeeming feature in Waines’ character appears to have been his affection for his wife, of whom he frequently spoke to Mr. Stoddart, In the letter he wrote her it was his wish that a lock of his hair should be enclosed. This last injunction has, of course, been observed. He also gave to an old acquaintance a religious book, put into his hands by the chaplain, accompanied by a request that its contents might be earnestly studied. The story that Waines had been previously convicted for manslaughter, and transported, he was anxious should be contradicted. By the prison books we find that he arrived in the colony a free man, in the year 1853, by the ship Duke of Richmond, from Liverpool, and that he was born at Sherborne, in Dorsetshire, in 1823. His English as well as his colonial occupation was that of a farmer.

ON THIS DAY – July 5, 1894 

A short account was given last week of the supposed murder of a young woman named Minnie Hicks, aged 23, by Frederick Jordan, negro wharf labourer. She kept house for Jordan and Albert Johnson, at Sydney-place, and was last seen alive at the house occupied by a glassblower named Charles Turnbull and his mistress. This was at midnight on July 5. Next morning Jordan reported to the police that he had found her dead at 7 a.m. in the room he himself slept in, and he had no knowledge how she arrived there. Turnbull, however, put a different complexion on the case, stating that Jordan came to his place after the woman, found her tipsy, began beating her, and when remonstrated with dragged her off home. An examination of the body showed that she had died from the effects of severe beating about the head and body. It has since transpired that Minnie Hicks was married in 1888, at the age of 17, to a man now living at St. Kilda. They parted about 1890, through the wife taking to drink, and she left their one child with the father. About two years ago she took up with Jordan, who was often cruel to her. On the night preceding the fatality Jordan was hunting round the hotels for her, in the company of Charles Champ, wharf labourer, until nearly midnight. They then separated at Champ’s house, and Jordon went off to Turnbulls where he found the woman. The police in examining the premises discovered in the same room as the body a pair of trousers which were blood stained and torn. At the inquest on Tuesday Johnson gave evidence. All he knew was that on Thursday, July 5, Jordan told him not to give the woman money, as she would be sure to spend it on drink. In the afternoon she got 6s. from him to buy provisions for tea and came back with them, after which she left. Other witnesses showed that Jordan went to several public houses looking for the girl, who had got her friends to promise not to tell-of her whereabouts. Jordan ultimately found her at midnight and dragged her home. The man she married six years ago, Henry Crabtree, labourer, St. Kilda, said that she left him in November, 1891, having become a confirmed drunkard. He was a teetotaller. It appears that after being some time with Jordan, Minnie Hicks had shown a liking for another negro named Adam, and stayed with him. The society of the locality was proved to be anything but nice, and one or two of the women called owned to having been drinking with Minnie. The jury found that Jordan had committed wilful murder.

ON THIS DAY…… 3rd July 1988

A veterinary surgeon convicted of murdering his pregnant wife was gaoled for 18 years by a Supreme Court judge. Justice Nathan said Mark Campbell Neilan was an evil man who committed a cold-blooded execution, inventing an elaborate story to deflect police attention from himself. Neilan had claimed that three armed intruders shot his wife, abducted him and locked him in the boot of his car for 12 hours. A year after the killing, Neilan had used the murder gun to kill the family dog to convince police someone was trying to frighten him, the judge said. “You are a murderer who displayed an evil mind and a wicked capacity to obscure that evil behaviour from the judicial system,” he said. Neilan, 33, had pleaded not guilty to murdering Kathryn Neilan on July 3, 1988. He was convicted by a jury. The judge fixed a minimum non parole term of 15 years – a term which must be served in full under Victorian laws on murder sentences.


ON THIS DAY – July 2, 1938

After two weeks of investigation following a tragedy outside the St. Kilda railway station on July 2, when a woman was killed, and two other persons were injured, a man was arrested early this morning and charged with murder. The man was Francis Daniel Egan, aged 36 years, car salesman, of Hennessy avenue, Elwood. Egan was charged at the South Melbourne watch-house with having murdered Mrs. Kathleen Mary Shaw, aged 55 years, of St. Kilda road, who was the woman killed when a utility truck struck three people at a tram stop In Fitzroy street, St. Kilda, at 11 p.m. on July 2.  Egan will be presented at the South Melbourne Court this morning for remand.

EXECUTED THIS DAY – July 1, 1895


Arthur Buck, who murdered Catherine Norton at South Melbourne on the 28th April last, was executed in the Melbourne Gaol last Monday morning at 10 o’clock. The arrangements made by the governor of the gaol, Captain Burrows, and the medical officer, Dr. Shields, were perfect, and the execution passed off without a hitch. The murderer met his death calmly, and at his own request the usual prayers and devotional exercises were dispensed with. Though the chaplain, the Rev. H. F. Scott, had been respectfully received by the prisoner, his ministrations fell on an unresponsive ear, and the man died as he had lived, an atheist. The recently appointed sheriff, Mr. A. McFarland, was present in his official capacity, and the attendance of the public totalled seven, the smallest number recorded at an execution in Melbourne for years past.

The crime for which Buck suffered the extreme penalty of the law was a diabolical one, unrelieved by a single redeeming feature. The victim, Catherine Norton, had a short and an usually wretched existence. She married a labourer when only 17 years old, and within 12 months was not only situated in the most squalid surroundings, but was continually quarrelling with her husband. At length her home became unbearable, and she left it to live with Buck, who was about her own age. After a few months Buck went to New South Wales, Norton meantime going as housekeeper to a labourer named Thorpe in South Melbourne. Buck returned to Melbourne in April, sought out Norton, and having vainly endeavoured to persuade her to go away with him, he cut her throat. The dying woman staggered towards her residence, and Buck stood by in a dark corner while the people gathered and doctors and police were summoned. Then he walked to his home in Richmond, went to bed, and slept till Detectives Cawsey, Dungey, and Carter sought him later in the day. He callously admitted the deed, gave the whole of the horrible details, but expressed no word of sorrow for the victim or remorse for the act.

An hour and an half subsequent to the execution a formal inquest was held by the City Coroner, Dr. Youl, when a verdict of “death from judicial hanging” was recorded. At sunset the body was buried in quicklime in the gaol yard.

ON THIS DAY – June 29, 1908

The fourteenth execution in the Ballarat Gaol took place at 10 o’clock this morning, when Charles Henry Deutschmann paid the supreme penalty for having murdered his wife.

The crime took place at Dobie, a few miles from Ararat, on Saturday evening, April 11. Mrs. Deutschmann, who had been married in 1890, was stopping with her stepfather. Her husband travelled from Melbourne to Ballarat, and there purchased a revolver and 25 cartridges. He continued his journey to Ararat, and arrived there at 9 o’clock, to the surprise of his wife, who expected him on the Monday. He was under the influence of drink, and a quarrel ensued. The stepfather endeavoured to pacify him, when he drew the revolver, and shot his father-in- law. Deutschmann then returned to his wife’s room, and fired two shots at her, the second striking her in the breast, and killing her immediately. He was arrested next morning by Sergeant Hancock. The old man recovered from his wounds.  A defence of insanity was unsuccessfully raised at the trial at Stawell.

Since he came to the Ballarat Gaol Deutschmann behaved quietly, and appeared to realise the enormity of his deed. He was attended by the Rev. Charles Cameron, whose ministration he listened to with interest. Just on the stroke of 10 o’clock the sheriff demanded the body of Charles Henry Deutschmann, and, in response to the demand of the governor, produced his warrant. Deutschmann walked steadily on to the drop, and was asked by the sheriff if he had anything to say. He replied slowly, and with emotion, “No, sir; I have nothing to say. God have mercy on me. Good-bye, good-bye.” Death was instantaneous. Deutschmann made no private statement further than expressing his deep regret for the crime, and commending himself to God’s mercy. Deutschmann was a native of Ararat, and was 41 years old.

On This Day – June 27, 1930

Murder and suicide was the finding of the City Coroner (Mr. Grant, P.M.) today after the inquiry into the death of George Young, horse trainer, and Lily Maude Veal, 49, whose bodies were found after a violent quarrel at a house in Kent street, Richmond, on June 27.

The deceased man and woman were known as Mr. and Mrs. Shipp. They had frequent violent quarrels The evidence showed that Young killed the woman by firing three revolver bullets into her body, and he then committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.

ON THIS DAY – June 27, 1979

City Court was told that a man alleged to have murdered Miss Lisa Maude Brearley at Olinda on August 8 had been on remand on another murder charge at the time. The prosecutor, Inspector D. Scott, said this in an application for the remand of Mr Robert Lindsay Wright, 24, who was charged with having murdered Miss Brearley. He also has been charged with having murdered Wayne Keith Smith at St Kilda on June 27. No pleas were entered and Mr Duffy, SM, allowed the police application and remanded Mr Wright in custody until September 26.


ON THIS DAY – June 26, 1922

The inquest on the death of Mrs M’Laughlin was continued at Yea. Reuben Fox, who is charged with her murder, was present in custody. Detective Bruce said he went to Fox’s house and found a suit of clothes blood stained, also a blood stained hat and towel. Fox told him the blood stains were caused by falling against a wall and cutting his face on June 26. The cuts on his fingers were caused while he was slicing tobacco. He knew Mrs. M’Laughlin, but did not see her at the dance. Senior Constable gave evidence that Fox’s left boot corresponded with the imprint on the river bank, near where the body was recovered. In an imprint of the heel were 10 distinct nail marks, which corresponded with ten nails in Fox’s boots.