ON THIS DAY – March 1, 1927

Arthur John Kotsiakos, aged 39, a Greek fishmonger, was found guilty of the murder of his wife, Josephine Elizabeth Mary Kotsiakos, on the 1st of March, in their home in North Melbourne at the conclusion of his trial at the Criminal Court. In passing sentence of death the Chief Justice, Sir William Irvine said that the jury had returned the only reasonable verdict on the evidence. Evidence was given that Kotsiakos, although divorced from his wife, had been living with her on account of the children. Two of the children, a boy, aged 10 1/2, and a younger girl, gave evidence that their parents had quarrelled on the night of the tragedy and they had heard the accused ask their mother “to make friends again.” When their mother replied in the negative the accused, they said, drew a revolver from his hip pocket and fired five shots at their mother. The children ran for the police, and when they returned their mother had the revolver clutched in her left hand as she lay on the stair way. Accused gave evidence that his wife attempted to shoot him and he closed with her. During the struggle which ensued, he said the revolver exploded and his wife fell dead. He said that his wife was keeping company with another man, and shortly before the tragedy he had accused her of that. She then intimated that she intended committing suicide. The jury returned to court shortly after retiring and announced the verdict of murder with a strong recommendation of mercy on the ground that Kotsiakos acted under an impulse.



ON THIS DAY – February 8, 1926

James Davidson, aged 29 years, labourer, of Franklin street, city, was admitted to the Melbourne Hospital on February the 8th, with a gash in his throat and wounds in his wrists. He was detained, however, by Senior detective Madin and Detective Banner and taken to police headquarters. At the city watchhouse he was charged with having attempted to murder Mrs. Caroline Ross, and with having attempted to commit suicide. On the 8th of February, an altercation, took place between a man and a woman, Mrs. Caroline Ross, aged 28 years, of Pilgrim Street Footscray, at a house in Glass Street, North Melbourne. Davidson is alleged to have stabbed the woman and then attempted to commit suicide. Mrs. Ross was taken to the Melbourne Hospital. Davidson received two year at Pentrige Prison.



ON THIS DAY – January 20, 1901

A middle-aged man named Edward Charles Holland was arrested on a charge of the wilful murder, at North Melbourne of a child, Frederick Gladstone Geach, aged two years and a half. Mrs. Geach, who is about 42 years of age, and has five children, ranging in age from 15 years to two and a half years’ has been living apart from her husband since 1895. She received from her husband an allowance of £1 per week, and she supplemented this with earnings as a charwoman. Geach being desirous of obtaining a divorce, commissioned Holland, who is a waiter by occupation, to collect the necessary evidence. Holland entered Mrs. Geach’s house as a lodger, and within a few weeks Mr. Geach dispensed with Holland’s services, but Holland continued to reside at the house. Recently, he became somewhat eccentric in his manner, and was inclined to be quarrelsome. On the evening in question he called the youngest child into the bedroom, and, after playing a little while with him, produced an iron wedge, which he had obtained from the yard. He struck the little fellow several violent blows on the head, fracturing the skull in two places and causing other serious wounds. Holland then left the house, and excitedly informed a police man what he had done. The child was removed to the hospital, and died there on this day in 1901.



On This Day – January 10, 1977

The Easey Street murders is one of the most famous unsolved murders in Victoria. refer to the killings of Suzanne Armstrong and Susan Bartlett, who were stabbed to death on the 10th of January 1977 in their home at 147 Easey Street in the inner Melbourne suburb of Collingwood. The crime remains unsolved as of 2016. The women were stabbed multiple times. Armstrong’s 16-month-old son, Gregory, was unharmed. The women’s bodies were discovered three days after they were killed. Neighbours had heard the baby whimpering. The murders were later linked to the disappearance and probable murder of Julie Garciacelay, a librarian originally from Stockton, California. Garciacelay had disappeared from her North Melbourne, Victoria apartment on the 1st of July 1975.



ON THIS DAY – December 29, 1937


A graphic story of events leading up to and following the killing of Mrs. Edith Rachel Praetz or Walker at her secondhand shop in North Melbourne on December 29, was told by Jean Richards, a young woman who said she was living with an Italian labourer, Antonio Barbara, 35, at the time. Barbara was committed for trial on a charge of murder. Richards told the coroner that after she and Barbara had run away from Mrs. Praetz’ shop, he attacked her with a knife, but it slipped. She grabbed it, threw it away and then escaped herself.

The City Coroner (Mr. Tingate. P.M.) found that at North Melbourne on December 29 Mrs. Edith Rachel Praetz (or Walker) died from the effects of knife wounds in the neck. feloniously and maliciously inflicted by Barbara.

Application for bail was refused. Evidence was given that detectives investigating” the case had been handed the following letter, signed by Barbara: “Sir – Regards Italian you are seeking for in connection with the Victoria street murdered. I am personally writing to you. So you can rely I will call at headquarters. Russell street. not later than noon. Monday, January 4, 1937. “Being a sport follower. I would like to know how the third Test. England v. Australia, starts, as I hope Australia wins the toss, also the match. Wishing you a happy new years. with best respects. Barbara, Antonio.”

Jean Richards. single. said she had known Mrs. Walker for four years, and had stopped at her place several times.. On December 29 she was living with Barbara in North Melbourne. He returned home about 3.30 p.m.. and after an argument about money had become enraged and struck her as she lay on a bed. He had been drinking. She left the house, taking her baby with her and as she was walking along the street Mrs. Walker asked her to go inside. While she was in the kitchen Mrs. Walker came in from the front and told her that someone had gone to tell Tony she was there. “I said I had better go.” continued witness. “but as I was leaving Tony came in. Mrs. Walker asked him ‘What are you doing in my shop? Haven’t the police told you not to come in?’ “Tony replied. ‘You are going to be a copper again.’ Then he knocked her down. “‘I then ran out of the shop.” witness went on. “When I returned Tony had one hand on Mrs. Walker’s shoulder. He picked up a knife from the dresser. and I called out. ‘Tony, don’t. Stop.’ He turned towards me and I ran out on to the footpath. Then Tony came out. took my arm, and told me to come home. He said. ‘Look what she made me do.’ “I turned, and could see Mrs. Walker’s legs protruding from the door. They were bloodstained.

Struggle in Kitchen

On the way home Richards said that Barbara told her he was going to do for her. too. When they reached his house there were about 10 men in the dining room. Barbara ran into the kitchen and returned with a knife. He pushed witness and her baby to the floor. He held her by the throat with one hand and the knife in the other, but the knife slipped, and, grabbing it, she threw it among the men standing in the room. Two of them tried to drag Barbara away, and while they held him she left the house. Next day she went to the police.

In a statement read by Detective Adam and alleged to have been made by Barbara, the Italian stated that Mrs. Walker had sent for him, and when he went round, she had run at him with the knife. He stepped aside. and she again rushed at him. He grabbed her. and they struggled near the stove. Then he saw blood on her neck, and he and Jean Richards ran away. He met another Italian. who drove him to Werribee. and when he returned to Melbourne he heard that Mrs. Walker had died. He then went to Oakleigh by taxi and wandered round in the bush.

Albert Rainsford, 43, butcher, of North Melbourne, said that the dead woman, who was 51, was his sister. Before her marriage her name was Walker, while she had also been known as Sutcliffe. She conducted a secondhand shop in North Melbourne. Walter Boyce, who said he had been living at Mrs. Walker’s place, stated that after taking a mesage to Barbara that Mrs. Walker wanted to see him, he went for a walk. When he returned he saw Barbara and a woman named Jean Richards running out of the front door. Mrs. Walker was following them and she called out to witness to get the police, as Tony had stabbed her She then fell on the footpath

Newman Spielvogel. pawnbroker, told of his discovery of Mrs. Walker lying on the footpath. He had heard rows and fights at Mrs. Walker’s premises. Death was due to a wound in the neck, which could have been caused by a knife, was the evidence of Dr. Mollison. Government Pathologist. According to First Constable Myers a trail of blood led from the spot where the woman’s body was found to the kitchen of her house, where there was a large pool. In the kitchen he found a large bloodstained knife. on the blade of which there was human hair.

ON THIS DAY – December 24, 1926


Dominica Condello, 33, quarry man, who was charged with having murdered Constable Thomas Clare at North Melbourne on December 24, was acquitted, on the grounds that he acted in self-defence.


With 10 days until Christmas 2015, the Twisted History team thought we would try and find some weird and wonderful stories of Christmas to share with you!

She toddled after Santa – December 1955 Read more


On a charge of having murdered Dizedes Messerschmidt, 27, a Czecho Slovakian, of North Melbourne, on December 11. Jozef Thur, 33, a fellow countryman, was committed for trial today by the coroner. The police alleged that Thur made a statement to them, admitting having stabbed Messerschmidt.




As a sequel to an altercation in Peel Street, North Melbourne, Edward Thomas James (72), old age pensioner, was charged in the City Court to-day with having murdered Harold Frederick Swanston. on November 22. He was remanded for a week.