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ON THIS DAY – July 27, 1947

A slim, blue-eyed blonde, smartly dressed in a light brown coat, Dulcie Markham, of Fawkner Street, St. Kilda, appeared in the City Court this morning charged with conspiracy to murder. It was alleged that at St. Kilda on July 31, she conspired with Ernest Alfred James Markham to murder Valma Edith Hull, wife of Keith Kitchener Hull, who was wounded in St. Kilda on July 27. Mr. J. Galbally, who appeared for Dulcie Markham said she went voluntarily to Russell Street on Saturday and said, “If there is any charge, I am here to answer it.” Mrs. Markham was remanded to the St. Kilda Court on August 15. Bail was fixed at £300, with a £300 surety.

January 30th 1952

On the night of January 30th, Constable George Howell rode his police bicycle to the Crystal Palace Theatre, Dandenong Road, Caulfield.

He had been assigned to investigate and prevent numerous thefts from cars which had recently occurred in the vicinity. At about 10.35 pm, Constable Howell intercepted a man interfering with a Morris Minor. According to witnesses, after a struggle the Constable ran after the offender to the far side of a viaduct. The Constable was then shot in the stomach at point blank range with a sawn-off .22 calibre rifle. Although unarmed and mortally wounded, Constable Howell continued to chase the offender. He collapsed in the centre of Normanby Road, and the offender escaped. Although in shock and terrible pain as well as lapsing in and out of consciousness, he was able to give a description of his assailant to citizens who assisted him and to other police who arrived shortly after. Crucially to the later trial, he identified a hat and other items as belonging to the offender.

Rushed to the Alfred Hospital for emergency surgery, Constable George Howell died in the early hours of 1st February, 1952 at just 26 years of age. Even at the hospital he attempted to look at a line-up of men and identify his attacker. A skilful investigation primarily based on articles found at the crime scene and information from Constable Howell, led to the arrest and subsequent conviction of a well known and active criminal, William O’Meally aged 28 years.

Constable George Howell was appointed to the Victorian Police Force in May, 1948. He served at Russell Street, Malvern and since 1949, was stationed at East Malvern.

The funeral was attended by over 400 people and was held at the Ewing Memorial Church in Malvern before Constable Howell was buried in the Cheltenham cemetery.

The perpertrator of this crime William O’Meally was eventually sentenced to death of the murder of Constable Howell, however this would be commuted to life imprisonment without parole.

 

On this day …….. 22nd of December 1934

When word reached police at Melbourne’s Russell street station on the night of the 22nd of December 1934, that a man was in the Yarra River near the Princes Bridge, a patrol was dispatched to investigate. They found the man standing in the water up to his armpits. When asked what he was doing, the man replied that he was looking for his false teeth. The officers ordered him out of the river and the man reluctantly moved to comply, stating he could not afford to lose his teeth. When he tried to climb the stone embankment, he found it was too steep. A rope was found, but it was no help. Finally the police hauled the man out by hooking the waist of his trousers with a boathook. As the man stood shivering on the bank, he noticed that his missing false teeth were in his waistcoat pocket.

 

ON THIS DAY – DECEMBER 14, 1956

FITZROY

The finding of the battered bodies of two women in their home in North Fitzroy yesterday has provided Melbourne police with the greatest murder mystery since the killing of teenager Shirley Collins, three years ago. The dead women were Mrs, Mary Boanas, 82, and her daughter, Mrs. Rose Fisher, 52, of Brunswick st, North Fitzroy. Robbery is believed to be the motive for the killings. Det. Inspector G. Petty, in charge of homicide at Russell Street, said tonight that they had no definite lead in the case. “The crime could have been committed by anyone but it is more likely that someone who knew that the women had a lot of money in the house was responsible,” he said.Mrs. Boanas, an invalid, lived with her daughter in a neat, well-kept two bedroom house in North Fitzroy. Police said the killer missed £1,037 which had been hidden in drawers, but there may have been several thousand pounds taken by him.Detectives were told that women led a life of almost complete detachment from the neighbours and were rarely seen outside the house, The time of the killings been set between 8am, and 8 p.m. on Friday The bodies were not found until 4.30 yesterday noon. Mrs. Boanas’ sister, Mrs. R. Moss, became suspicious when she found a parcel of eggs which had been left on the doorstep by another sister on Friday. After letting herself in, Mrs. Moss found Mrs. Boanas dead in a bed in her ground floor bedroom. There was a severe wound behind Mrs, Boanas’ left ear. There were no signs of a struggle. The body of Mrs. Fisher was found face down on the floor of the kitchen, with severe head wounds. Police believe the killer had crept up on her, as there were no signs of a struggle. The murder weapon has not been found, but it is believed to be a blunt instrument, such as a wrench. The two women had lived for many years in Peking (China) but came to Australia after the Japanese attack in 1936. Mrs. Fisher’s husband, a proprietor of a newspaper, stayed there and was killed. Police do not think the killings had any association with their life in China. It is thought that the women distrusted banks, and that this was the reason for the large sum of money being hidden in the house.

 

ON THIS DAY – October 3, 1936

Man Committed for Trial

Four detectives and two police wireless patrol cars investigated a telephone message about a murder on October 3, and they found that the message was a hoax. Eric Dight collector, of Albert road, South Melbourne, was committed for trial yesterday when he appeared at Richmond Court on charge of having created a public nuisance. It was alleged that Dight sent the false message and caused the police to investigate groundless allegations. Constable W. King said that he received a telephone call at the Russell street switch- board at 7 30 p.m. on October 3. A man said, “Is that the patrol? Send down here to Richardson street, Middle Park. A woman has been murdered.” King relayed the message to the wireless transmitting room, and patrol cars were sent out. Dight did not plead, and reserved his defence.

 

 

 

ON THIS DAY – July 27, 1947

A slim, blue-eyed blonde, smartly dressed in a light brown coat, Dulcie Markham, of Fawkner Street, St. Kilda, appeared in the City Court this morning charged with conspiracy to murder. It was alleged that at St. Kilda on July 31, she conspired with Ernest Alfred James Markham to murder Valma Edith Hull, wife of Keith Kitchener Hull, who was wounded in St. Kilda on July 27. Mr. J. Galbally, who appeared for Dulcie Markham said she went voluntarily to Russell Street on Saturday and said, “If there is any charge, I am here to answer it.” Mrs. Markham was remanded to the St. Kilda Court on August 15. Bail was fixed at £300, with a £300 surety.

ON THIS DAY – April 23, 1930

MELBOURNE

Manslaughter Finding at Inquest.

Francis Kenny, news vendor, aged 52 years, of 6 Yarra street, South Melbourne, died in the Melbourne Hospital on April 26 from injuries received when he was struck on April 23 outside the Swanston street entrance to the Flinders street railway station. The city coroner (Mr D Grant) held an inquest yesterday into Kenny’s death Leo Patrick O’Hara, news vendor, of Marine Hotel York street, South Melbourne, said that on April 23 he was selling race books with his stepbrother Francis Edwards a news vendor, aged 26 years at the Swanston street entrance to the Flinders street railway station. Edwards and Kenny appeared to catch the attention of a purchaser at the same time and each held out a book. Kenny, pushed Edwards away, and struck him on the mouth Edwards struck him in return, and Kenny fell, striking his head on the pavement Edwards then went home. O Hara saw his step brother later in the afternoon and advised him to go away. Edwards said that he would go to the country and look for work. O’Hara had not seen his step brother since that afternoon. Vincent Victor Leonard, telephone operator, of Golding street, Canterbury, said that he saw Kenny fall. No one attempted to detain the man who struck the blow. Senior detective Carey, of Russell street, said that to the present he had not been able to trace Edwards News Vendor Carried £843 Constable Ayres, of Russell street, found £843/19/1½ in the possession of Kenny. It was stated in evidence that this was money saved by Kenny and his brother, Arthur Kenny. It was the custom that the brother who left home last should take the money with him. The coroner found that Kenny had died from injuries received on April 23 when he was feloniously and unlawfully struck by Francis Edwards. It was ordered by the Coroner that a warrant be issued for the apprehension of Edwards on a charge of manslaughter.

 

ON THIS DAY ……… 27th March 1986

On this day in 1986, the Russell Street Police Headquarters complex in Russell Street was a target of a bombing attack which would bring the Victorian Police Force and Melbourne to a stand still. The explosion was caused by a car bomb hidden in a stolen 1979 Holden Commodore. The blast seriously injured 21-year-old Constable Angela Taylor, who died on the 20th of April, becoming the first Australian policewoman to be killed in the line of duty. A further 22 people were injured. The explosion caused massive amounts of damage to the police HQ and surrounding buildings, estimated at more than A$1 million. The Age newspaper reported that the blast had such an impact because of the open-floor design of the offices acted like a claymore mine, sending more shrapnel as the blast ripped through the floors, seemingly adding more pressure to the blast as it followed its path. The station was closed in 1995 and was eventually converted into apartments. In the course of the investigation, a group of people including Stan Taylor, Peter Reed, Craig Minogue and Rodney Minogue were apprehended. The motive for the bombing seems to have been revenge against the police, as the bombers had previously been arrested and still resented their jail terms. In court, Taylor, Reed and Craig Minogue were convicted; Rodney Minogue was eventually acquitted on appeal.

 

ON THIS DAY – January 30, 1952

William O’Meally, 28, labourer, was charged at the City Court with having murdered Constable George Howell, 26, at Caulfield on the 30th of January. On the night in question, Constable George Howell rode his police bicycle to the Crystal Palace Theatre, Dandenong Road, Caulfield. He had been assigned to investigate and prevent numerous thefts from cars which had recently occurred in the vicinity. At about 10.35 pm, Constable Howell intercepted a man interfering with a Morris Minor. According to witnesses, after a struggle the Constable ran after the offender to the far side of a viaduct. The Constable was then shot in the stomach at point blank range with a sawn-off .22 calibre rifle. Although unarmed and mortally wounded, Constable Howell continued to chase the offender. He collapsed in the centre of Normanby Road, and the offender escaped. Although in shock and terrible pain as well as lapsing in and out of consciousness, he was able to give a description of his assailant to citizens who assisted him and to other police who arrived shortly after. Crucially to the later trial, he identified a hat and other items as belonging to the offender. Rushed to the Alfred Hospital for emergency surgery, Constable George Howell died in the early hours of 1st February, 1952. Even at the hospital he attempted to look at a line-up of men and identify his attacker. A skilful investigation primarily based on articles found at the crime scene and information from Constable Howell, led to the arrest and subsequent conviction of a well known and active criminal. Constable George Howell was appointed in May, 1948. He served at Russell Street, Malvern and (since 1949) East Malvern.

 

 

On This Day – January 26, 1956

A 59-year-old man was shot dead with a pea rifle during an argument at his home in Clifton Hill, on this day in 1956. The dead man is Fred Caracella, of Hodgkinson Street, Cliffton Hill. Police were told there was an argument between Caracella and his oldest son. His second son got a rifle and tried to break it up the argument. The elder son is then alleged to have seized the gun and shortly after; a shot rang out. The bullet struck Caracella in the chest and he collapsed in the passageway. Russell Street detective charged the son, Francis Caracella, 27, with the murder of his father.

 

 

On this day …….. 22nd of December 1934

When word reached police at Melbourne’s Russell street station on the night of the 22nd of December 1934, that a man was in the Yarra River near the Princes Bridge, a patrol was dispatched to investigate. They found the man standing in the water up to his armpits. When asked what he was doing, the man replied that he was looking for his false teeth. The officers ordered him out of the river and the man reluctantly moved to comply, stating he could not afford to lose his teeth. When he tried to climb the stone embankment, he found it was too steep. A rope was found, but it was no help. Finally the police hauled the man out by hooking the waist of his trousers with a boathook. As the man stood shivering on the bank, he noticed that his missing false teeth were in his waistcoat pocket.

 

ON THIS DAY – DECEMBER 14, 1956

FITZROY

The finding of the battered bodies of two women in their home in North Fitzroy yesterday has provided Melbourne police with the greatest murder mystery since the killing of teenager Shirley Collins, three years ago. The dead women were Mrs, Mary Boanas, 82, and her daughter, Mrs. Rose Fisher, 52, of Brunswick st, North Fitzroy. Robbery is believed to be the motive for the killings. Det. Inspector G. Petty, in charge of homicide at Russell Street, said tonight that they had no definite lead in the case. “The crime could have been committed by anyone but it is more likely that someone who knew that the women had a lot of money in the house was responsible,” he said.Mrs. Boanas, an invalid, lived with her daughter in a neat, well-kept two bedroom house in North Fitzroy. Police said the killer missed £1,037 which had been hidden in drawers, but there may have been several thousand pounds taken by him.Detectives were told that women led a life of almost complete detachment from the neighbours and were rarely seen outside the house, The time of the killings been set between 8am, and 8 p.m. on Friday The bodies were not found until 4.30 yesterday noon. Mrs. Boanas’ sister, Mrs. R. Moss, became suspicious when she found a parcel of eggs which had been left on the doorstep by another sister on Friday. After letting herself in, Mrs. Moss found Mrs. Boanas dead in a bed in her ground floor bedroom. There was a severe wound behind Mrs, Boanas’ left ear. There were no signs of a struggle. The body of Mrs. Fisher was found face down on the floor of the kitchen, with severe head wounds. Police believe the killer had crept up on her, as there were no signs of a struggle. The murder weapon has not been found, but it is believed to be a blunt instrument, such as a wrench. The two women had lived for many years in Peking (China) but came to Australia after the Japanese attack in 1936. Mrs. Fisher’s husband, a proprietor of a newspaper, stayed there and was killed. Police do not think the killings had any association with their life in China. It is thought that the women distrusted banks, and that this was the reason for the large sum of money being hidden in the house.