ON THIS DAY – March 3, 1934


An inquiry into the death of Catherine Sarah Henrietta Worthington a married woman, aged 37, died on the 3rd of March 1934 through haemorrhage, caused by an illegal operation. Dr. Arthur Macarthur Lanphier, of Rosedale, was committed for trial at the Supreme Court, Melbourne, on the 16th of April on a charge of the murder. Bail was granted for a sum of £200 and one surety of £200.



ON THIS DAY – February 24, 1902


The trial of Richard Henry Wills for the alleged murder of Edward Woods at Dingee on February 24, commenced in Bendigo before Judge A’Beckett and a jury of twelve. All the evidence had been taken and Mr. Murphy had finished his address to the jury when the court adjourned at six o’clock. The evidence of Dr. Gaffney (who made the post-mortem) was to the effect that the blow causing death was struck while Woods was lying on the ground but Drs. Hugh, Boyd and Murphy called for the defence, are of contrary opinion, declaring it to be possible that the blow was struck as deceased was rising up. Wills has been calm in demeanour throughout. Wednesday Evening. The Dingee murder case was concluded in the Supreme Court at Bendigo today. Judge A’Beckett summed up impartially, and the jury after seven hours retirement returned a verdict of manslaughter. The prisoner was remanded for sentence.


ON THIS DAY – February 23, 1935


Zillah Rowe, aged 29, domestic, of Cohuna, who was charged before the Supreme Court with the murder of an unnamed child, on February 23, was found guilty of manslaughter. The jury added a strong recommendation to mercy. Evidence was given by Plainclothes Constable Trewarne that he went to a room in the Courthouse Hotel, Bendigo where Rowe was employed on the night of February 23. Upon searching the room he found a suitcase containing the body of a newly born child. A piece of cord was tied about its neck. Rowe in evidence said she had no recollection of any of the events which followed the time when she went to bed on the afternoon on February 23 feeling ill. She did not know she had given birth to a child. Rowe was remanded for sentence.


ON THIS DAY – February 22, 1934

At an inquest into the death of Mrs Gertrude May Leyshan aged 32 years formerly of Docker street Richmond at her home on the 22nd of February, the coroner (Mr D. Grant P.M.) committed May Allen, of Cremorne street Richmond for trial at the Supreme Court on the 16th of April on a charge of murder. Medical evidence was given that the cause of death was an illegal operation (abortion) . Bail was fixed at £250, with a surety of £250 inquest,


ON THIS DAY – February 16, 1924

Enquiry was made by the Coroner at the morgue into the death of Mrs. Amelia Frances Joyce (70), who was a visitor from Adelaide, and Miss Mary Wright (80), a retired school teacher, who lived in Victoria street, Abbottsford. Mrs Joyce and Miss Wright were are killed as the result of a charabanc, (convertible bus) driven by Stephens Harold Stephens, of South Yarra, plunging down an incline at the side of the Mount Dandenong road, between Montrose and Ferny Glen, on 16th of February. In the charabanc were 27 passengers, who were going from Croydon to an auction at the Perny Glen and Lovely View Estates, Mount Dandenong. Twelve of the passengers sustained injuries. The accident occurred about five miles from Croydon, George William Warne, of East Camberwell, a passenger by the charabanc, said that when they were approaching the spot where the accident occurred, the driver released his grip of the steering wheel, stood up, and looked around. Witness noted that the right front wheel then turned 40 degrees towards the left side of the road. The Coroner said that, in view of Warne’s evidence, there was a case which Stephens would have to answer. He found him guilty of manslaughter, and committed him for trial at the Supreme Court.



ON THIS DAY – February 8, 1952


With a strong recommendation for mercy on the grounds of his youth and upbringing, a Supreme Court jury at Bendigo found Walter George Atkins, 14, farm laborer, of Edgevale Road, Kew, guilty of having murdered Robert William Trewin, 40, grazier, and Mrs. Lydia Gordon Trewin, 60, of Kalpieuntmg, near Wycheproof, on February the 8th. Mr. Justice Coppel told Atkins that, since he was not 18 when the two crimes were committed, the law provided that he could only pass one sentence, that he be detained during the Governor’s pleasure. Accordingly, he sentenced Atkins on each count. Atkins, who pleaded not guilty, heard the verdict and sentence almost impassively. It was alleged by the Crown that Atkins shot Trewin when he was sacked for having failed to dig postholes, a job which Trewin had given him before leaving for the funeral, and later that he shot Mrs.Trewin because she was possibly a witness. Dr. H. Bearly of Beaumaris, a psychiatrist, said at the hearing that from the X-ray of the boy’s skull (he was thrown from a horse in 1950) and from what he had heard in the case, he would consider Atkins must have suffered some damage to the brain tissue under the fracture, and also possible damage to the frontal region, which governs behavior and deals chiefly with reasoning, judgment, and the higher intellect of our faculties.



ON THIS DAY – January 5, 2013

Murder victim Timothy O’Brien was struck up to 20 times. A man accused of attacking a 14-year-old autistic boy with an axe and telling him to “die c–t die” has been found guilty of murder. A Supreme Court jury on Friday found Joel Henderson had been part of a joint criminal enterprise with Darren Wilson to murder Timothy “Timmy” O’Brien at Scarsdale, near Ballarat, in January 2013. Timmy was struck up to 20 times with an axe when he went to help his stepfather, Peter Williams, who had been lured to a farmhouse by Wilson and Henderson, who planned to bash him. Mr Williams and Wilson were cousins who had had a falling out. Wilson was found guilty of murder by a Supreme Court jury and was jailed for 30 years and six months with a non-parole period of 26 years. In his closing address to the jury, Crown prosecutor Christopher Dane, QC, said Henderson tackled Timmy to the ground, “bashed him, throttled him, and whilst doing so said, “Die, c–t, die.” Henderson then hit Timmy with an axe before Wilson joined in. “Wilson takes up the axe and … finishes off what the accused [Henderson] has started … swinging an axe into Timmy’s skull,” Mr Dane said. “Together they killed the boy. Collectively the axe blows killed the child. “Not the first, not the last, because the first and the last can’t be identified. “Their handiwork together collectively carried out what this man [Henderson] wanted, “Die, c–t, die”, and he got what he wanted.” Defence barrister George Georgiou, SC, said Wilson had attacked Timmy separately from Henderson and there was no agreement between them to kill the boy. Mr Georgiou said Henderson’s partner, Lisa Trezise, told the jury Wilson began punching Timmy when she and Henderson were arguing. “She gave no evidence of there being any communication between Darren and Joel, no words, no looks, no gestures,” Mr Georgiou said. “He [Wilson] punched Timmy a number of times. One of the blows to the temple, according to her observations, knocked Timmy out. “She said that Darren then picked up the axe off the ground and used it to strike Timmy to the head several times. “She told you he struck with the sharp end of the axe, and whilst she didn’t keep count, she said at least five or six times. She said it was all happening very quickly and they were forceful blows. “She tried to intervene to stop Darren, but Darren struck her to the face, he threatened her, he threatened her with the axe in his hand.” Mr Georgiou said Wilson became involved after Timmy had earlier struck him to the head with a baseball bat when trying to help his stepfather. “He [Wilson] became involved in an angry and violent manner. “He even struck Lisa, threatened her, and he killed Timmy. Killed him with his five or six or more blows using the sharp end of the axe. He did not need any agreement with Joel Henderson to do that. He did it of his own volition.” Mr Georgiou said the evidence showed Henderson, having been hit over the head with the baseball bat by Timmy, lost his temper, chased the boy, caught him and assaulted him. “The fact that Darren Wilson subsequently came along and himself started to attack Timothy O’Brien does not mean that there was an agreement between them.” Trezise, who pleaded guilty to assisting an offender, recklessly causing injury and criminal damage after a murder charge was dropped, was sentenced to 21 months’ jail, wholly suspended. Justice Bernard Bongiorno will sentence Henderson at a later date.



ON THIS DAY – December 25, 1888

At the Melbourne Supreme Court, John Anglin was charged with the murder of his wife, Jemima Caroline, by shooting her at the residence of her brother in law, Mr Herbert John Rhodes, Inglesby road, Camberwell, on the 25th December. Anglin had been married to his wife for nine years before the murder. The accused was always exceedingly jealous of his wife, and strange and eccentric in his behaviour towards her, labouring under some delusion concerning her faithfulness. In consequence of that delusion, he used to strike her, and treated her abominably. She had ultimately to leave him, owing to his violence and jealously, mid supported herself by teaching music. At the time of the murder she was stopping with her sister, Mrs. Rhodes, at Camberwell. The prisoner called at the place on Christmas Day, and said he wanted to see his children Mr Rhodes ordered him away, and, as he did not leave, went to the yard and took an axe, with the view of frightening the prisoner away. On Mr Rhodes reappearing at the door with the axe in his hand, the accused shot at him, and on Mrs. Anglin coming out of the dining room into the passage to ascertain the cause of the discharge of firearms the prisoner shot her also, and followed her into the house, where he shot her again one of the bullets entering the lungs and causing her death. The accused then went away, and on being arrested said “I suppose I will be hung for this.” The frequent strange demeanour and behaviour of Anglin towards his wife would render it necessary for the jury to consider whether the prisoner was labouring under a delusion and was to some extent out of his mind, or whether he was sane and conscious of the awful deed he was committing when he murdered his wife. The remark which the accused made on being arrested went a long way to a reasonable man to show that he knew what he was doing when he killed his wife. Anglin received 16 years at Pentridge Prison. On passing sentence his Honour remarking that the question which they would have to consider was not whether the prisoner murdered his wife, but merely whether he was sane or insane at the time.


On This Day – November 11, 1941

After a short retirement a jury at the Warrnambool Supreme Court today acquitted Mrs. Vida Bridget Couch aged 25 years, of the murder or manslaughter of her husband, Arthur Lawrence Couch, on November 11. The Crown said that Couch was standing on one side of a closed door and his wife on the other when a gunshot crashed through the door and entered Couch’s heart. Matthew John Parsons, a neighbor, said that deceased was frequently beating or illtreating his wife.

‪ON THIS DAY – October 19, 1945


A mother of six children was charged in the Bendigo Supreme Court today with the murder of her husband who, according to the Crown, was stabbed in the abdomen on October 19 after he arrived home ‘drunk and in raging temper.’ The accused is Mrs. Dorothy Franklin (42) and the husband was Eric Franklin (41), a railway fitter who died in hospital on October 20. The Crown Prosecutor said that the statement made by Mrs. Franklin declared that her husband struck her several times and attempted to kill her. When he struck her again she seized a bread knife and threatened to run it into him if he came near her. The next thing she knew was that he had been stabbed. In hospital her husband told her to say that he had tripped and fallen against the knife. After 20 minutes consideration the jury returned a verdict of not guilty.

On This Day – September 20, 1916

At the Sale Supreme Court, Victoria, on Tuesday, last, Leslie Thompson, aged 14 years, pleaded guilty to a charge of having administered poison in a manner likely to endanger life at Combimbar on September 20. The facts were that Thompson was living with a family at Combimbar, with whom John Patrick Ward, the schoolmaster, a single man, was boarding, Ward was also postmaster.  A sum of money, about £1, belonging to the State School Patriotic Fund, was missed, and Thompson was suspected of the theft. Knowing that Ward suspected him, Thompson set about trying to remove Ward. He obtained a tin of strychnine, and put some in the milk and some in the teapot which was used by the family with whom Ward was boarding. Thompson, instead of drinking his tea, went outside and threw it away. The milk was thought to be bitter, and was thrown out. Ward was in the habit of taking breakfast later than the family, and porridge was set aside for him on the stove. Into this Thompson stirred some strychnine. Ward gave a spoonful to one of the children, who said that it tasted nasty,” and spat it out. Ward then tasted it an also noticed that it was unpleasant. The porridge was thrown out to some animals, and a dog and a pig , which ate some of it, died. Ward had a habit of sucking the end of his pen, and on this Thompson smeared strychnine, Ward put the pen into his mouth; and only saved his life by causing himself to vomit. His Honor Mr. Justice Hodges said it was a most diabolical attempt to take life. The schoolmaster was the one Thompson wished to hit, but he did not care how many suffered, or now many lives were endangered. If Thompson were a bit older there was not the slightest doubt that he would have been hanged. Thompson was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment with hard labor

ON THIS DAY – July 28, 1934

After having heard evidence at an inquest today into the death of a newly-born male child, whose body was found by a railway employee while cleaning out a carriage at the Joilmont yards on July 28. The coroner (Mr. Grant) committed Edith Clyne, aged 20, formerly a nurse employed at the Queen’s Memorial Hospital, Fairfield, for trial at the Supreme Court on a charge of murder.