ON THIS DAY…… 18th September 1913

At the Lilydale Court on this day in 1913, the Coroner returned a verdict of murder against, somebody unknown in connection with the death of Richard Knight, who was found shot through the head.

Although Detectives Arthur and Keily have questioned hundreds of people and traversed many miles of country, nothing has been discovered to indicate who murdered Richard Knight, the old woodcutter, who lived in a hut at Coldstream, and whose body was found among bracken fern near the hut on August 9.

The detectives have interviewed two boys, who stated that when riding past the old man’s but on August 7 they noticed that it was locked. It was thought that on that day Knight was lying dead where his body was found two days later. It is the opinion of the police that probably he was murdered on the previous Wednesday. On that day there was a large number of rabbit trappers in the bush, while many young men were shooting, Wednesday being a favorite day for sportsmen to visit Lilydale for an afternoon’s rabbit shooting. It is thought that possibly the old man quarrelled with some of the shooters, who fired and shot him.


ON THIS DAY…… 15th September 1877

A terrible murder was committed on the Murchison road, about half a mile from Rushworth, the victim being Henry Parkinson a miner and of Sergeant Parkinson, the sergeant in charge of the Prahran police station.The deceased had formerly had a mate, named Joseph Kelly, but they parted some time since, and Kelly seems to have considered that Parkinson had done him some Injustice. He appears to have brooded over his imaginary grievance, which had relation to money matters, and at last would seem to have decided on a bloody vengeance. On Saturday last he went deliberately up to Parkinson, who was working near the roadside, and coolly shot him dead. The murderer then walked into Rushworth, and gave himself up to the police.  The body of the murdered man was removed to the Rushworth police camp and Kelly was charged with the murder.




ON THIS DAY…… 26th August 1956

A 15-YEAR-OLD, dark-eyed Italian girl told the Criminal Court that a man who was shot, dead at her home on this day in 1956, had forced his attentions on her. She said the man Vincenzo Impiombato 32, of Lygon st., Carlton forced her to accompany him to Brisbane. The girl Grace Riotto, of Severn st., Moonee Ponds, said she was terrified of Impiombato, who, she alleged, had threatened to kill her and carried a rifle with him in his car and when he went to bed. Her brother, Marco Riotto, 16, has pleaded not guilty to having murdered Impiombato. The girl told the Court Impiombato was a boarder at her home last April.  After he left there, he began meeting her. One night he took her to his place in Lygon st., Carlton, and next day they drove off to Brisbane, sleeping in the car on the way. After a week in Brisbane as man and wife, they re turned to Melbourne. “Threat” She said she returned to live with her parents on August 23. Three days later Impiombato called for her and said he would shoot some bf her family unless she told her parents she wanted to go to Western Australia with him. She said she warned her father, because Impiombato had a rifle. She was in a bedroom when she heard two shots. Before the second shot, she heard her mother tell Marco that Impiombato had come “to kill all the family.” To Mr. F. Galbally (for the defence), the girl said she went away with Impiombato because she was afraid of him. He said he would kill her if she did not do what he told’ her. She had begged him to let her go home. “Might kill” Guiseppe Riotto, father of the accused man, said his daughter told him: “Father, there is Vincenzo with a rifle in his hand. You be careful because he might kill you.” He said he went to the door and Impiomoato called cut to him, “If you move I’ll blow your head off.” He said Impiombato was coming toward him with a rifle when he heard a gun go off, and Impiombato, who was coming up the steps, said: “And now I,am going to kill you and all your family.” His son Marco pushed him aside and he heard another gunshot and Impiombato fell to the ground.  Riotto told Mr. Galbally he reported his daughter missing to the police when he went away from home. Later, he laid charges against Impiombato, alleging abduction and rape.

ON THIS DAY – July 24, 1884

The adjourned inquest on the body of Peter M’Ansh who was found shot dead near the Boundary-road Hotel, Lancefield on July 24 was resumed yesterday. William O’Brien, who is charged with the murder, was present in custody today. Jeremiah O’Brien, his son, in custody as an accessory, was discharged and put in the witness box. The evidence showed that O’Brlen had ill-feeling against M’Ansh, who occupied land formerly owned by O’Brien. Circumstantial proof strongly pointed that O’Brien fired the fatal shot. The inquest was adjourned until today.

On this day …….. 25th May 1870

Bushranger Captain Thunderbolt was born Frederick Ward at Wilberforce near Windsor, NSW, in 1836. As an excellent horseman, his specialty was horse stealing. For this, he was sentenced in 1856 to ten years on Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour. On 1 July 1860, Ward was released on a ticket-of-leave to work on a farm at Mudgee. While he was on ticket-of-leave, he returned to horse-stealing, and was again sentenced to Cockatoo Island. Conditions in the gaol were harsh, and he endured solitary confinement a number of times. On the night of 11 September 1863, he and another inmate escaped from the supposedly escape-proof prison by swimming to the mainland. After his escape, Ward embarked on a life of bushranging, under the name of Captain Thunderbolt. Much of his bushranging was done around the small NSW country town of Uralla. A rock originally known as “Split Rock” became known as “Thunderbolt’s Rock”. After a six-year reign as a “gentleman bushranger”, Thunderbolt was allegedly shot dead by Constable Alexander Walker on 25 May 1870. However, there remains some contention as to whether it was actually Thunderbolt who was killed, or his brother William, also known as ‘Harry’.

ON THIS DAY – May 11, 1936


Dominico Melito (42), an Italian, was sentenced by Justice Sir James MacFarland in the Criminal Court to-day to six years’ imprisonment for the manslaughter of Rosario Esposito (24) on May 11. Melito was originally charged with murder, but the jury found him guilty of manslaughter, and recommended him to mercy. Esposito was shot dead following a dispute over a girl.


Former South Australian horse trainer Les Samba was shot dead in what appears to be a targeted attack, on this day in 2011. The 60-year-old was shot about 9.40pm on Beaconsfield Parade, in the suburb of Middle Park, after an argument with another man. Detective Inspector John Potter from the Homicide Squad says police believed Mr Samba had parked and locked his car, a 2010 silver Hyundai sedan, and set off to attend a meeting. He was seen running down Beaconsfield Parade near his car as he was shot several times in the body and head. Mr Samba was in Melbourne for the thoroughbred yearling sales. While he trained many winners, Samba, who lived in Sydney, also enjoyed much success as an owner. He raced Gorky Park, which won the Geelong Classic and ran second behind Efficient in the 2006 Victoria Derby.