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.