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ON THIS DAY – July 15, 1908

MURDER AND SUICIDE.

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 – June 20, 1907

WILLIAMSTOWN

Charlotte Kenny was on trial charged with murdering her infant by poison at Williamstown on June 20. The defence was that her mind was un-hinged at the time owing to being prosecuted for an attempt to pass certain valueless cheques. The case is proceeding. Kenny received two month gaol.

 

ON THIS DAY – June 14, 1913

MELBOURNE MURDER CONSPIRACY CHARGE – TWO YOUNG WOMEN ARRESTED – WIFE’S EXTRAORDINARY STORY

Few more remarkable cases have come before the Criminal Court than that which was heard in Melbourne on June 14, when Elizabeth Louisa Barry, aged 28 years, an employee in a tearoom in “The Block,” and Clarice Cowell, aged 20, a saleswoman at Cole’s Book Arcade, were charged before Mr. Dwyer, P.M., at the City Court, with having conspired to murder Florence May Ring. Mrs. King, Who lives at Ascotvale, and who is the wife of a clerk in the parcels office, at Flinders street station, when interviewed on the previous day, told an extraordinary story. “On Saturday night, June 7,” she said, “a strange woman knocked at my front door, and explained that she had brought a parcel for me from my husband’s sister. I took her inside, and the parcel contained blouses for myself and a jumper for my little baby, Bruce. She complained of not having had any tea, though it was after 8 o’clock at night. My little, boy jumped out of bed and ran into the dining room to us. The woman at once declared that she did not like children. I then took her into the breakfast-room, and set the table to give her some tea. My little boy meanwhile played about the house. She gave him a date cream, but he did not eat it. She begged me to join her in the tea, and I poured myself out a cup. When I did this she looked at Bruce and said, ‘It’s time you were in bed.’ I took the hint, and carried him into his room, being only away from the woman for a few minutes. “When I returned she was still eating, and, on sitting down at the table again, “I noticed that my tea, which did not contain milk, had a peculiar scum floating on the top of it.” I sipped it, “and remarked, “What a horrible bitter taste this tea has.’ I noticed a peculiar pink powder around the cup on the tray cloth, and I at once be came suspicious. This, with the bitter taste of the tea, prompted me not to touch it, and when the woman went away, soon afterwards, I left it on the table just as it was until my husband came home from work. I then told him of my suspicions. On the Monday following my husband took the powder to the Government analyst, who stated that it contained enough strychnine to poison ten men. “On Tuesday I went to Cole’s Book Arcade, and asked for a young-woman assistant there, and when she came I said to her, ‘I am not dead yet.’ She said, ‘I don’t understand you.’ I replied, ‘No; but you will before long.’ Then I went to the Detective Office, and told them exactly what I am saying now. “I have only one woman enemy in the world, and she will be so until I die. About six weeks ago Cowell came to the house, and almost banged the front door in. When I went to the front she was standing with her back to the fence, and, of course, we had a fight. Blows were struck, and the woman fainted. Then my husband said for his sake to bring her inside. I did, and when she recovered we continued the fight in the dining-room. She pulled my hair out, and the silk blouse she was wearing was torn to pieces, and before she was able to leave the place I had to patch it together for her. My husband first met her 12 months ago. He is in a position at the window in the parcels office, where he is meeting strange people all day.” As a result of allegations similar to the above the arrests were made. A distressing scene occurred when the accused women were brought into court. They were weeping hysterically, and their cries could be heard beyond the precincts of the courtroom. Eventually they were both in a state of collapse. Detective Napthine stated that he had obtained a confession from Barry that she had conspired with Cowell to poison Mrs. King. Cowell admitted afterwards to him that this was true. She told the detective that King had ruined her, and had absolutely broken her heart.  A remand was granted till June 20, and the women were then sent to the gaol hospital for treatment.

ON THIS DAY – June 7, 1913

Clarence Maud Cowell and Eliza Louisa Barry, the two young women who pleaded guilty to conspiring to murder, Florence May King at Ascot Vale, were to-day before the Criminal Court in Melbourne for sentence.  A number of witnesses gave evidence of the good character of both accused, who sobbed loudly, and were supported in the dock in a half-fainting condition. Counsel pleaded that Cowell’s action was due to her affections for King, and Barry to loyalty for Colwell. Sir John Madden, the Chief Justice, said he could not be influenced by pity or eloquence in the face of the shocking action of the accused, who had probably escaped the scaffold owing to Mrs. King suspecting that there was poison in her tea. He ordered them to eight years’ Imprisonment. They had to be assisted from the dock.

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

 

 

ON THIS DAY…… 25th September 1905

 

Elizabeth Isabella Christina Hubbard, a dwarf girl who was recently tried and acquitted on the charge of having poisoned her mother, Sarah Ann Robins, at Richmond, in September 1905, confessed to the crime. After the trial she had gone to live in a house in Kensington, where her stepfather and, her baby were. In a conversation with the detective she admitted to the crime, and said that the stepfather was the father of her child. Her mother was aware of what had taken place.  She was very fond of her stepfather, and while her mother was at the hospital they shared the same room. Detective McMannatniy gave the girl an hours to consider whether she should make a statutory declaration. At 3pm Rosina, in company with Mrs. Smith, with whom she is staying, and her stepfather Robins, attended at the court, and the detective took her be fore Mr. Byrne, secretary to the Law Department. There she made the following declaration : “I, Rosie Hubbard, of Percy street, Kensington, single woman, solemnly and sincerely declare that I remember making a statement to Detective Burvitt in the Melbourne Gaol, accusing Robins of murdering my mother. That is absolutely untrue. My reason for making that statement was to save myself from being convicted for the murder of my mother. I now admit giving my mother quicksilver and arsenic at intervals, as she often knocked me about, and was jealous of me, as she said my stepfather and I carried on with one another.   I am sorry for what I did to my mother, but she annoyed me, and called me such terrible names that I was determined to do it to her I am making this statement to clear innocent people.” In his report Detective McMannamny points out that it may be said that, knowing no harm could come to her, she having been acquitted, the woman has made this declaration to clear Robins. Although a few points remain to be cleaned up, they can’t affect the result as far as any further prosecution is concerned. Her declaration goes to prove that the guilty person escaped justice, and no matter at whose suggestion she made the statement, no charge can be preferred.

 

On This Day – September 5, 1948

A Ukranian migrant killed with a tomahawk at Broadmeadows camp on September 5 made violent love to the 18-year-old wife of another migrant, and invited her to poison her husband and run off to Tasmania, the Criminal Court was told today. This evidence was given by Mrs. Vera Kolacz, wife of Stefan Kolack, 29, former tramway employee, who is accused of having murdered Michael Motyl, 27, a PMG-employee.

On This Day- September 2,1942

ATTEMPTED MURDER CHARGE

An extraordinary story was told to Essendon court yesterday, when a soldier, Robert Joseph Saxon was committed for trial on a charge of attempted murder.

Police evidence was given that at 2 p.m. on September 2, a man walked into a police station and said to First-Constable Mante, “I have come to give myself up, as I have just murdered my wife. I punched her in the stomach, and when she dropped I poured poison into her mouth.” Detective Sharkey said he took Saxon to a house in Maribyrnong, and through a window they saw Mrs. Saxon on a chair. Saxon said: “She is still alive. I left her for dead.” The witness said Saxon said to him, ‘She was on with another chap, and would have nothing to do with me.”

On This Day – 13th of August 1907

Charlotte Kenny, a young married woman, was charged with having murdered her infant child, Jeremiah Kenny, by the administration of poison. The case for the prosecution was that the accused lived in Swanston street, North Williamstown, with her husband. On June 20 she administered a dose of lysol to her child, and also attempted to take some contents of the bottle herself. Medical aid was at once called in, but the child died the following day.

ON THIS DAY – July 15, 1908

MURDER AND SUICIDE.

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 – June 20, 1907

WILLIAMSTOWN

Charlotte Kenny was on trial charged with murdering her infant by poison at Williamstown on June 20. The defence was that her mind was un-hinged at the time owing to being prosecuted for an attempt to pass certain valueless cheques. The case is proceeding. Kenny received two month gaol.

 

ON THIS DAY – June 14, 1913

MELBOURNE MURDER CONSPIRACY CHARGE – TWO YOUNG WOMEN ARRESTED – WIFE’S EXTRAORDINARY STORY

Few more remarkable cases have come before the Criminal Court than that which was heard in Melbourne on June 14, when Elizabeth Louisa Barry, aged 28 years, an employee in a tearoom in “The Block,” and Clarice Cowell, aged 20, a saleswoman at Cole’s Book Arcade, were charged before Mr. Dwyer, P.M., at the City Court, with having conspired to murder Florence May Ring. Mrs. King, Who lives at Ascotvale, and who is the wife of a clerk in the parcels office, at Flinders street station, when interviewed on the previous day, told an extraordinary story. “On Saturday night, June 7,” she said, “a strange woman knocked at my front door, and explained that she had brought a parcel for me from my husband’s sister. I took her inside, and the parcel contained blouses for myself and a jumper for my little baby, Bruce. She complained of not having had any tea, though it was after 8 o’clock at night. My little, boy jumped out of bed and ran into the dining room to us. The woman at once declared that she did not like children. I then took her into the breakfast-room, and set the table to give her some tea. My little boy meanwhile played about the house. She gave him a date cream, but he did not eat it. She begged me to join her in the tea, and I poured myself out a cup. When I did this she looked at Bruce and said, ‘It’s time you were in bed.’ I took the hint, and carried him into his room, being only away from the woman for a few minutes. “When I returned she was still eating, and, on sitting down at the table again, “I noticed that my tea, which did not contain milk, had a peculiar scum floating on the top of it.” I sipped it, “and remarked, “What a horrible bitter taste this tea has.’ I noticed a peculiar pink powder around the cup on the tray cloth, and I at once be came suspicious. This, with the bitter taste of the tea, prompted me not to touch it, and when the woman went away, soon afterwards, I left it on the table just as it was until my husband came home from work. I then told him of my suspicions. On the Monday following my husband took the powder to the Government analyst, who stated that it contained enough strychnine to poison ten men. “On Tuesday I went to Cole’s Book Arcade, and asked for a young-woman assistant there, and when she came I said to her, ‘I am not dead yet.’ She said, ‘I don’t understand you.’ I replied, ‘No; but you will before long.’ Then I went to the Detective Office, and told them exactly what I am saying now. “I have only one woman enemy in the world, and she will be so until I die. About six weeks ago Cowell came to the house, and almost banged the front door in. When I went to the front she was standing with her back to the fence, and, of course, we had a fight. Blows were struck, and the woman fainted. Then my husband said for his sake to bring her inside. I did, and when she recovered we continued the fight in the dining-room. She pulled my hair out, and the silk blouse she was wearing was torn to pieces, and before she was able to leave the place I had to patch it together for her. My husband first met her 12 months ago. He is in a position at the window in the parcels office, where he is meeting strange people all day.” As a result of allegations similar to the above the arrests were made. A distressing scene occurred when the accused women were brought into court. They were weeping hysterically, and their cries could be heard beyond the precincts of the courtroom. Eventually they were both in a state of collapse. Detective Napthine stated that he had obtained a confession from Barry that she had conspired with Cowell to poison Mrs. King. Cowell admitted afterwards to him that this was true. She told the detective that King had ruined her, and had absolutely broken her heart.  A remand was granted till June 20, and the women were then sent to the gaol hospital for treatment.