ON THIS DAY …….5th August 1947

Twin brothers were in the City Court on this day in 1947, one charged with attempted murder and the other with having conspired to murder. The charge followed the shooting of Keith Kitchener Hull, at St. Kilda on the 27th of July. The men are Charles Martin (26), of St. Kilda, who faced the charge of attempting to murder Hull, and Ernest Alfred James Martin, of South Yarra. who was charged with having conspired to murder Mrs. Thelma Hull, on the 30th of July.  George Barrett (34), of St. Kilda, was also charged with having attempted to murder Hull. Bail was refused on the attempted murder charge, but Ernest Martin was allowed bail. Detective H. R. Donnelly, in evidence, said that Hull would not tell the police who shot him. The accused were remanded to August 12.

ON THIS DAY …….4th August 1945

Inquest into the death of 24-year-old WAAAF Corporal Vera Matilda Wiper, of Adelaide, was opened before Coroner Tingate today.

Corporal Wipers body, covered by an overcoat, was found by a milk carter at Auburn on July 15. Five women and two men who have been charged with her murder, were present in Court. They are: 56-year-old widow Ruby Carlos, and 26-year-old married woman Iris Carlos, both of South Yarra; 32-year-old married woman Lillian Halsinger, of Northcote; 25 year-old WAAAF Alice Pearson, and her mother, 49-year-old Josephine Pearson, of Auburn; 37-year-old assistant Health Inspector James Loughnan, of Richmond, and 25-year-old Flight-Lieut James Henry Greaves.

Flight-Sergeant Raymond Atkinson, R.A.A-F.. said that he went to the Pearson home about 8 p.m. on July 13. -Corporal Wiper was there, also Mr. and Mrs. Pearson and Loughnan. During the evening Corporal Wiper and Loughnan left, and he did not see her again. Soon after this evidence was given, Mrs. Ruby Carlos became ill and was absent from Court for a quarter of an hour. Dr. Wright Smith said that an autopsy revealed that death was due to shock following an attempted illegal operation. Corporal Wiper’s condition was advanced about four months. Death had taken place about 24 hours before he made his examination oh July 15.


ON THIS DAY…… 1st August 1925

At the City Court, Melbourne, yesterday two men were charged with murder appeared and were remanded. Cyrus Braby, charged with the murder of William Southwick, estate and commission agent, at South Yarra on August 1, was remanded till Wednesday, pending the inquest to be held to-morrow.

Cyrus Braby arrested on Sunday, and charged with the murder of William Southwick at South Yarra, was brought before the City Court yesterday, and remanded until August 10.

Braby, dirty and unkempt, stared vacantly round the court during the proceedings, and seemed to take no interest in what was going on. Constable West, in reply to a question by Mr. C. Burnet, said that the police had no doubt that the accused was quite mad.

A charge of vagrancy was withdrawn, and Braby will bo submitted to mental observation in gaol.

Constable West gave evidence of the arrest of accused. After the discovery of the body, the police had evidence that about noon on Saturday a violent argument took place between the dead man and accused, after which Southwick was not again seen alive.  Accused, when arrested, was sleeping.


Martin Braby, father of Cyrus Braby is 73 years of age, and was formerly a Justice of the peace at Ravenswood goldfields, Queensland, and at Eskdale, Victoria, where he was wellknown as a storekeeper.

Braby said his son, the youngest of four, left Victoria on active service in 1916, the most youthful member of the Heavy Siege Artillery. Being only 19 years of age, he had special permission from the Minister of Defence Mr. Pearce to join this, section of the A.I.F., as he desired to take the place of a brother who, being then in the Garrison Artillery, would have left with the heavies, but was killed by a tram just before the outbreak of the war.

ON THIS DAY – July 19, 1947

DESPITE an intensive investigation, no evidence had been found to establish responsibility for the shooting of James Coates, 46, on July 19, Detective W. W. Mooney said yesterday at an inquest into Coates’ death. Coates was found dead on a vacant allotment at the corner of Punt rd and Union st, Prahran. There were three bullet wounds in his abdomen and one in his neck. Mr H. B. Wade, PM, city coroner, found that Coates had died from the effects of revolver shots feloniously inflicted by a person or persons unknown.


Chief witness at the inquest was Coates’ widow, Mrs Edith Coates, of Walsh st, South Yarra. She covered her face with a long black veil before entering and leaving the courtroom.Mrs Coates said her husband helped to wipe the dinner dishes on the night of July 19, and then left the flat saying he was going to buy a newspaper. When he did not return she thought he had gone to play cards. She believed he intended to walk and had not known he had been using a motorcar. About two weeks before her husband’s death several anonymous telephone calls had been made to their flat. On each occasion a male voice asked for “Constable Coates.” She did not remember the caller using the words “the police pimp.” On several occasions the caller said she should poison her husband, and that he was going to be shot. Her husband did not tell the police of these threats, nor did he tell her he knew the identity of the caller. Bonnie Joy Bricknell, of Glenhuntly rd, Elsternwick, said she had known Coates for several years. She owned a small sedan car which was found near the allotment where Coates’ body was found. She had frequently lent the car to Coates and lent it to him on July 18, when he said he wanted it for a few days. Louise Lambert, of Murphy st, South Yarra, said she was a shop assistant in a newsagency in Toorak rd. Coates, who was a customer, bought two newspapers in the shop about 7.40pm on July 19. Another man who was in the shop when Coates entered patted Coates on the back and said, “How are you?” They seemed friendly, and left the shop together.


Joan Holding, of Union st, Windsor, said she left home about 9pm on July 19 to exercise her dog. She turned into Punt rd when she heard a shot, which was followed by three more shots. She saw a man jump over the fence at the western end of the corner allotment. The man was wearing a long overcoat. He went into Union st. She then saw two constables run towards the allotment. First-constable Charles White said he was on duty in the police station near the allotment when he heard the shots. He approached two girls waiting at a bus stop and asked if they had heard revolver shots. They said: No, it is only some boys letting off crackers in the paddock.Witness did not see any person leave the allotment, but saw a man leave a lane off Union st and walk toward St Kilda rd.

ON THIS DAY – July 15, 1945

The jury returned a verdict of not guilty when Mrs. Ruby Nina Carlos, 56, of Myrtle-street, South Yarra, a widow, was charged with the murder of Corporal Vera Matilda Wiper. W.A.A.A.F., 23, of Adelaide. A previous jury had failed to agree on the verdict. Corporal Wiper’s body, was found in Burgess-street, Hawthorn, on July 15. A post-mortem examination revealed that death was due to shock, following an attempted illegal operation. The jury, in reply to questions, said they agreed the accused woman had used an instrument on the girl to procure miscarriage, but they did not believe death had resulted from this action. Mr. Justice Gavin Duffy then directed them to return a verdict of not guilty.

ON THIS DAY – December 20, 1940


Found guilty of the murder of Alfred Thomas Atherton, 35, hotel useful, on the 20th of December, at Ferntree Gully, Morris Ansell, 19, metal polisher, of Victoria Street, Carlton, was sentenced to death by Mr. Justice Martin in the Criminal Court. The Jury added a strong recommendation for mercy because of Ansell’s youth. In the course of evidence at the trial, Mrs. Atherton, wife of the murdered man, said that she had been living apart from her husband. About eight months ago she met Ansell in a house in South Yarra, and two months later went to live at Ferntree Gully, and later at Victoria Street, Carlton. She had hoped to obtain a divorce so that she could marry Ansell. According to police evidence, Ansell confessed that he shot Atherton. An sell had said that he had arranged to go with Atherton to Ferntree Gully, where he Informed Atherton that Mrs. Atherton was working. Before leaving home he had placed his pea rifle under his coat. When walking along the road to Boronia, Atherton had said to him (An sell): ‘I suppose my wife is running about with other men. If I thought that she was in trouble I would kill her.’ Ansell told the police: ‘I said to myself I will kill you first.’ Ansell then said that ‘Atherton turned his head and I shot him.’


On This Day – December 17, 1942

Florence Maddalon aged 27, of South Yarra was found not guilty on a charge of having murdering her husband. Mrs Maddalon, collapsed on hearing the verdict of not guilty on the 17th December 1942. Her husband, Gulseppe Maddalon aged 40 was found fatally shot. She was also acquitted on a charge of manslaughter. Her defence was self defence.


ON THIS DAY – December 16, 1936



While standing on the Hume Highway, near Kalkallo on December 16, Frances Lovell, aged 47 years, retired farmer, of South Yarra, had his arm impaled on the door handle of a passing motor truck and was dragged a mile and a quarter before the truck stopped, according to evidence given at the Coroner’s Court to-day, when the inquest was held into Lovell’s death. Lovell, it was stated, had been watching a friend attend to the radiator of his car. When the truck stopped he was dead. The coroner committed the driver of the truck, Hewitt Edwin Smith, of Yea, for trial on a charge of manslaughter. Smith, giving evidence, said he did not know that his truck was dragging Lovell, and he had no knowledge of the accident until a man waved to him to stop. Lovell, it will be recalled, was accompanying some friends to Wagga when the fatal accident occurred,

On This Day – November 30, 1942

The wife of a naturalised Australian was committed for trial by City Coroner on a charge of having murdered her husband, Sebastina Maddalon aged 40, on the 30th November 1942. Maddalon an Italian born draper of Newport, at South Yarra. May Florence Maddalon aged 27, wife of the dead man, had been separated from her husband for nearly two years before she murdered him.

ON THIS DAY…… 23rd November 1930


Two business girls who share a flat in South Yarra were distressed when they found their pet cat dead. As their ‘yard’ consisted of a square or concrete, they could not give the body proper burial, and they did not like consigning it to the dust bin. After much debate, they decided to consign it to the sea, so they wrapped it up and put it in an old suit-case no longer required, together with a couple of bricks. On The 23rd of November 1930, they journeyed to Brighton, but the band was playing on the pier and the place was crowed with people no chance of getting rid of pussy there. So they went back to St. Kilda, determined to drop it off the end of the pier. Halfway along the pier a man spoke to one of them: ‘Excuse me, but are you Miss Jones?’ ‘No, certainly not,’ she replied, and was turning away when he snatched the suitcase and ran. The girls were too surprised to move for a moment, and then they laughed them selves to tears as they watched the man still running hard, disappear into the crowd on the Esplanade with the body.

ON THIS DAY – November 17, 1988

‘Suspect warned’ before being shot Police Special Operations Group members had repeatedly told a police shooting suspect to drop his gun before hitting him with three shotgun blasts at close range, the Melbourne Coroner’s Court heard yesterday. Jedd Houghton, 23, died almost instantly during a raid on a caravan park in Bendigo on November 17,1988.  He had been an alleged member of a gang planning an armed robbery and there was a link be tween him and the killing of two constables in Walsh Street, South Yarra, Graeme Morrish, QC, assisting Coroner Hal Hallenstein, said. Mr Morrish said Houghton’s death was linked to that of Graeme Jensen on October 11, 1988, and a shooting the following day when Constables Steven Tynan and Damian Eyre were gunned down while checking an abandoned car.  Jensen, a close associate of Houghton, had been killed while armed robbery squad detectives were trying to arrest him at Narre Warren, the hearing was told. From the outset, due to his as sociation with Jensen, police had considered Houghton a suspect in the killings of the two constables in Walsh Street, Mr Morrish said. Houghton, Jensen, and two other men were believed to be planning an armed robbery, he said. Visual and electronic surveillance had been carried out by the Bureau of Criminal Intelligence of Houghton’s movements in the period leading up to the SOG raid, he said. It had been decided to arrest Houghton as a suspect in the Walsh Street killings. Four SOG members had entered the cabin where Houghton and his girlfriend, Kim Cameron, had been staying, at 12.08pm. Mr Morrish said two had gone for Houghton and the others had placed a hood over Ms Cameron’s head before whisking her away.  Houghton had pointed a gun at SOG member Sergeant Paul Carr and had been repeatedly told 10 drop the weapon, he said. Fearing one of them would be shot, Sergeant Carr and his partner had both fired their pump action shotguns, acting in self defence. The hearing, attended by Houghton’s mother, sister and Ms Cameron, viewed a nine-minute videotape which included graphic footage of the blood-soaked body and horrific wounds.  The cause of death was a shot gun blast fired at a distance of 10cm, hitting him in the chest.  Two other blasts fired from 10cm had hit Houghton in his upper body and arm. Three revolvers and a pistol had been found in the cabin. The hearing continues.




ON THIS DAY – October 28, 1933


Ellen Maud Holmes married, Grey street South Yarra was charged at the Prahran Court on Friday, with having on October 28 wounded Christopher Green with intent to commit murder. Christopher Green, painter, Simmonds street, South Yarra, said that about 9 p m on October 28, he was about to enter a house in Williams road, Toorak, when he heard a shot and a bullet entered his left arm. He ran into Woodside crescent and saw Mrs.Holmes following him, carrying a rifle. He grappled with her and she struck him on the forehead with the stock of the gun, but eventually he wrested it from her. He was admitted to the Alfred Hospital. Mrs. Holmes had been a tenant for 13 years in a house which he owned in Grey street. Detective B. H. Cavanagh of the police wireless patrol, said that with other police he interviewed Mrs. Holmes at her residence at 2 a.m on October 28. In a written statement which she signed, she said that although she had paid her rent regularly during the 13 years in which she had been a tenant of Green’s house she had fallen in arrears for one week owing to the illness of her daughter. As Green owed her a small amount, she refused to pay the week’s rent until he deducted this amount. He sent her a notice to quit, however, and she became desperate.  Mrs. Holmes who pleaded not guilty, was committed for trial at the sittings of the Supreme Court, to begin on December 4. Bail was allowed in a surety of £300 and a personal bond of £300.