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EXECUTED THIS DAY – December 22, 1941

ALFRED BYE – MELBOURNE

Alfred Bye, 42, formerly a military transport driver at Darley Camp, was executed at Pentridge on this day in 1941. He made no final statement. Bye was sentenced to death for the murder of Thomas Edward Walker, 45, a soldier, of Broadmeadows Camp, in a reserve near the Government Printing Office on September 19. Walker died from a number of knife wounds. No appeal against the sentence was made by Bye, but requests for commutation of the sentence to life imprisonment were made by the Labour party and the Howard League for Penal Reform.

 

ON THIS DAY – December 21, 1890

MELBOURNE

The adjourned inquest into the circumstances attending the death of William Hughes on December 21, last year was held at the Morgue by Dr Youl. The two men implicated were present in custody. Their names are Patrick M’Ginley and John Harmer, and they are at present undergoing sentences of imprisonment at Pentridge for an assault committed by them upon Hughes on the 27th September. The circumstances of the case, according to the evidence at the previous trial, are briefly these Harmer and M’Giniey attacked Hughes, whom they suspected of giving information to the police, at Swanston street. A man named John O’Neil interfered, and the assailants made off as the police appeared. O’Neil escorted Hughes to his home, in Little Lonsdale street, and afterwards went out with him again, when the same two men rushed at them, and Harmer struck Hughes a violent blow on the head with a slingshot, while O’Neil was also severely maltreated the assailants were afterwards arrested by Constable Lowry and Constable M’Leod, and were found guilty at the Criminal Sessions of an assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm. M’Ginley was sentenced to one year’s imprisonment, and Harmer to two years Hughes never recovered from the injuries which he received, and died on the 21st ult. from an abscess on the brain brought about by fracture of the skull. The men who had inflicted the injuries upon him were therefore arraigned on the capital charge. Mr. Finlayson conducted the examination for the Crown, and the prisoners were not represented by counsel. John O’Neil, who was with Hughes on the evening of the 27th of September, described the circumstances of the assault, and identified the convicts Harmer and M’Ginley as the men who had committed it, evidence relating to the previous trial at the Criminal Court was tendered by Mr Daniel Berriman, of the Crown Law department Dr. Stirling, Dr Syme, and Dr Rudall supplied the medical evidence, which went to show that death was due to an abscess on the brain, produced by a fracture of the skull. Witnesses were also called to show that the deceased had not suffered any subsequent injuries to the head. The Coroner, in summing up to the jury, stated that if they believed the evidence which had been adduced it was their duty to find the prisoners guilty of the capital charge. After an absence of a few minutes a verdict was returned to the effect that both convicts were guilty of wilful murder. They were removed in custody, and will be brought up at the criminal sittings of the Supreme Court in February.

 

ON THIS DAY…… 16th December 1972

Edwin Eastwood famous for the Faraday School Kidnapping in 1972, and Michael Pantic escaped from the Geelong Gaol on the 16th of December 1976. The men tunnelled though two doubled skinned brick wells, cut through a padlock to an outside excise yard and scaled the external wall and were able to steal a car to make his get away, before the men parted ways. Eastwood walked into the Wooreen State School in Gippsland on the 15th of February 1977, where he kidnapped a teacher and nine pupils, forcing them into a van. While driving off, he collided with a truck and held the driver and his partner hostage. Soon another log truck came along and Eastwood waved it to a stop, and took the drive and his mate hostage. The next to arrive was two lady’s towing a caravan, which where also taken hostage. Once Eastwood had sixteen hostages, he demanded a ransom from the Victorian Government of US $7 million, weapons, 100kgm of heroin and cocaine, and the release of seventeen prisoners from Pentridge. One of the hostages managed to escaped and notified police. Once Eastwood realised that one of his hostages was gone he fled the seem with the remaining hostages, locked in the campervan. A police block and gunfire at Woodside was enough to stop Eastwood, where he was shot below the right knee and re-captured. Eastwood was charged and pleaded guilty to 25 charges, including 16 counts of kidnapping and was sentenced on 8 November 1977 to 21 years with a non parole period of 18 years. Eastwood was released in 1993 after choosing to decline parole offered in 1991.

 

ON THIS DAY – December 12, 1938

Geelong Gaol

William Daly (aka William Egan) was sentenced to 3 months in the Geelong gaol in 1938, for drinking metho. William was born in Victoria in 1877, and worked as a labourer. He was 5ft 4in with grey hair and eyes. William spent over 30 years in and out of Victorian gaols from Melbourne, Pentridge and Geelong mainly for drunkenness.

 

ON THIS DAY – November 18, 1967

A Criminal Court jury found Henry Sylvester Morhun, 17, labourer, of the suburb of Doveton, guilty tonight of the murder of Veronica Ann Underwood, 16, on November 18 last.  As Morhun is under 18, Mr Justice Adam did not pronounce the death sentence but told Morhun that the only sentence he could pass was that he be kept in strict custody in Pentridge Gaol until the Governor’s pleasure was known. Veronica’s nude body, with head injuries and a stab wound in the chest, was found lying in the grounds of the Doveton North State School, a short distance from her home.

 

 

 

On This Day – November 10, 1909

THE NEGRO KING AGAIN TROUBLESOME. ATTEMPTED MURDER.

In the Criminal Court to-day William King, a negro, was charged with having on November 10, 1909 feloniously wounded Alfred George Curtis, a warder at Pentridge, with intent to murder him. Evidence was given by several warders that when Curtis entered King’s cell with the object or removing aim to another part of the prison King stabbed him in several places. Accused said the wardens’ accounts of the occurrence were not correct. On the morning in question Curtis, Quick, Cronin, and two other big warders, one named Bourke, and another he did not know, came to his cell. They got him down, and beat him about the head several times. Curtis struck him, and then he used his knife: Witness had absolutely no personal feeling against. Curtis, and had no intention to murder him or any of them. He was very weak that morning, and was suffering from severe pains in his chest. He had been suffering for months. He had a knife concealed on his person for a week. He need it to cut his food and tobacco. He drew the knife and used it on the warders to fight them rather than go to A Division where he knew he would hare been treated worse than the pigs of the place. He would rather be hanged than stay in prison for the rest of his life. The jury returned a verdict of guilty of unlawfully wounding, and accused was remanded for sentence.

ON THIS DAY……31st October 1889

Fredrick “Josh” Clark and Christopher “Christie” Farrell were both ex convicts transported from England to Van Demons Land. Once both men had received their tickets of leave they sailed to Victoria, arriving at the beginning of the Victorian gold rush. Both men found there way back to the lives thy once lived in England, preying upon those returning from the gold fields. By 1889 both Clark and Farrell were in there early to late 60’s and were serving 14 year sentences in Pentridge Gaol in Melbourne. Farrell was charged with the attempted murder of a police man during his arrest at Fitzroy in 1887 and Clark for being a systematic malingering. Due to the prisoners age and behaviour both prisoners were transferring Geelong Gaol. About midnight on Monday a warder named Cain commenced his shift at the Geelong gaol. At two minutes to 2am he hard a knocking, from cell 13 occupied by a prisoner named Frederick “Josh”Clarke. Cain unlocked the trap in the door and Clarke asked for a drink of water. The warder brought the water, and was handing it through the hole when he was seised from behind by Farrell. Clarke then came from his cell and seized Cain who saw that the other man was a prisoner named Christopher “Christie”Farrell who was holding a large stone in his hand. He threatened to beat out the warder’s brains if he uttered a single word. Clark had cleverly made a skeleton key, by melting coin into the shape of the key. Clark worked as a blacksmith in the confinements of the gaol. Once the warder opened the trapdoor and walked of to get a glass of water for the prisoner. Clark then simply reached his arm though the opening in the door and let him escape. Once free he quickly unlocked Farrell’s cell before returning to his own and waiting for Cain to return. The men gagged Cain and tied his hands and feet, and took off his boots and carried him to the cook’s house, and tied him to the table, and left him there. He was found just before 6am by the chief warder, who raised the alarm. The two prisoners had meanwhile scaled the gaol wall. Immediately the alarm was given the police who scoured the country in all directions without finding any trace of the escaped prisoners. Farrell was found first on the 16th of October and Clark four days later, both men were heading north to NSW. Warder Cain was confined to his bed, owing to the injuries he received. Four His throat was greatly Swollen, and he is only able to speak with difficulty. An inquiry into the escape was held on 31st October, 1889 which saw the governor of the gaol reprimanded and the warders on duty demoted – this despite Farrell’s saying that the warder Cain had fought like a lion and should not be punished for is failure to prevent their escape. In 1923 a large brass key which proved to be a master key from the era of Clark and Farrell’s escape was found when grounds west of the Geelong Supreme Court were being cleared. Its rough-cut appearance suggested that it was an illegal copy and it was widely believed that this was the key used by Clark and Farrell in their escape. A version of events described in the gaol display has an elderly Clark claiming that he threw the key into the grounds on his way to court however, it seems highly unlikely that having been found in possession of such a key, Clark would have been allowed to keep it. A report in the paper a few days after his arrest indicated that he was found with a skeleton key on his person which had been cut from a penny. At the time the authorities were quick to point out that the make of the key was not such as could have been made in the gaol. Clark died in Geelong Gaol on 4th August, 1904, at the age of 104. Clark had arrived in Tasmania in 1847 at the age of 18, he would go on to send a total of 85 years and 7 months in gaol, over half is life behind bars. Farrell also died in the gaol at the age of 70 on 1st September, 1895. Farrell was also transported to Tasmania, arriving in 1848 and by 1851 he was in Victoria” and joined up with the “Suffolk Gang” as the convict poet. The gang would held up several mail coaches and miners alike. Farrell spent 48 years in prisoned in Australia and 46 of those years were in iron changes.

 

ON THIS DAY…… 15th September 1910

Timothy Trueman a one time a prosperous citizen of Geelong but later incarcerated for vagrancy at the Geelong Gaol. Trueman escorted from the Geelong gaol to Pentridge on this day 1910. He was placed into a special departments for probationary treatment.

 

On this day …….. 1st September 1928

James McMahon, aged 33 years, a prisoner who was serving a sentence of seven years for an offence against a girl in Essendon, Victoria, McMahon was first placed in Pentridge, but after a unsuccessful attempt to escape he was transferred to Geelong Gaol. On the 1st of September 1928, during a religious service McMahon managed to scale a pipe on the eastern end of the Gaol and clime on to an in terrier wall between two excise yard with the purpose of running along and then jumping into Swanston st. When McMahon was noticed by the warden in the tower, he was asked to climb down but refused. The warder fired two shots of his riffle, the first hitting the wall behind McMahon and the second wounding him. This was enough for McMahon to clime down. On the 2nd of September, he was charged with attempting to escape, and an extra 6 months was added to his sentence. The judge also ordered McMahon to under go a psych test.

 

On This Day ……. 19th of August 1898

A magisterial inquiry was held at the Geelong Gaol, by Mr. P. Smyth, J.P., into the circumstances surrounding the suicide of a prisoner named John Hassett on the 6th of December 1901. Evidence was given by Mr. Charles Patterson, governor of the gaol, that the man John Hassett was 33 years of age, was sentenced to imprisonment for life, and was received into the Geelong Gaol from Pentridge on August 19, 1898. From the time of his admission his conduct was good, and for 12 months he had occupied the post of assistant to the medical officer (Mr. P. A. Croker, M.B.).

 

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……..17th July 1946

Scores of people on the main platform at Spencer Street Railway Station in Melbourne and hundreds of others going to work early saw a warder firing shots at an escaping prisoner. The man had jumped from a train as it was leaving the station. He was chased for 250 yards before he fell with a bullet in the head. His condition was not considered serious. The fugitive, Ian Mitchell, 34, whose address was given as Pentridge Prison, was taken to hospital, handcuffed to the warder. He was handcuffed to his escort while being examined by doctors in the casualty section and was still handcuffed to the warder when taken to the X-ray department. Although wounded in the head the escapee was recaptured. Two prisoners, each escorted by an armed warder, were brought from Pentridge in a police car to be taken to Ballarat Gaol by train, leaving Spencer Street at 8.50 am Prisoners and warders were all in civilian clothes, and, to save the prisoners from embarrassment on the train, the warders had not handcuffed them. Warder John Eddy Dihm had charge of Mitchell, and Warder Mervyn Aldous was escorting the other prisoner, who was a clergyman and was wearing clerical dress. He is serving a five-year sentence. Both were being transferred from Pentridge to serve the rest of their gaol sentences. The train was on No. 1 plat form and the prisoners and their escorts were sitting together in a compartment. As the train was pulling out of the station. Mitchell sprang to his feet, raced along the corridor and leapt on to the platform at the back of the cloak room. Business people coming from that part of the station along the concourse scattered in alarm when they heard shots bring fired and railwaymen and people who had seen passengers off fled for cover. Calling on the fugitive to stop, Dihm fired four shots as he chased him to the enclosed end of No. 1 platform and along a barricaded concourse past the end of several adjoining platforms.