ON THIS DAY – July 16, 1983

Murder verdict

A man alleged to have shot his tenant dead after bad feeling had developed because the tenant had failed to shut a security gate and had parked his car in the courtyard instead of in the garage was found guilty of murder in the Supreme Court in Melbourne on Thursday. Mr Fadil Zecevic was found guilty of having murdered Mr Harold Peter Triebel at a block of flats in Pascoe Vale on July 16, 1983.

ON THIS DAY….. 10th July 1914

In the Brunswick court when Frank White (22) appeared on a charge of having inflicted grievous bodily harm upon Richard Wood on July 10, the charge was altered to one of the murder. Sergeant McLoughlin said Wood died in the Melbourne Hospital as the result of a depressed fracture of the skull, alleged to have been caused by a blow with a bottle from White. White was further remanded, and bail was refused. Subsequently Mr Justice Hodges, in the Supreme Court, granted bail in two sureties of £500 each, and White’s own bond of £1000.


On This Day ……. 27th June 1910

John McDonald were taken from the Geelong Gaol to Ballarat on this day in 1910 to stand trial at the Supreme Court for alleged larceny at Shelford.

ON THIS DAY – June 20, 1966


15 lights of a semi-trailer rammed by a passenger bus near Chiltern should have been visible to anyone following it, the prosecutor, Mr J. F. Howse, said in the Supreme Court. He said that shortly before the crash, in which five passengers in a Red line Bus were killed, the transport had been negotiating a long, sweeping bend. This meant the truck’s eight rear lights and six or seven sidelights would have been visible lo anyone following. Mr Howse was opening the trial of Clarence Joseph Cook, 43, of Walker Street, Yass. bus driver, who has pleaded not guilty to five charges of manslaughter. Cook was driving the bus from Yass lo Melbourne on June 20 when it ran into the rear of a transport driven by Ian Robert Sams, of Hinnema Street, Panania, Sydney. The jury was taken by bus lo inspect the crash scene and the section of the Hume Highway leading to the area, 172, miles from Melbourne, this afternoon. The trial will continue be fore Mr Justice Lush tomorrow.


ON THIS DAY – June 9, 1917

Francis Dunin charged with the murder of Thomas Roberts at Cassilis by shooting on June the 9th was found guilty by a jury in the Supreme Court, after twenty minutes retirement. The jury added a rider that when accused shot through the door he had only intended to injure, not kill, Roberts. Sentence of death was passed by Mr Justice Cussen. Mr Leon prosecuted. Mr Maxwell, who defended accused, called no witnesses, but argued that the case was one of manslaughter.


On This Day ……. 12th May 1911

Justice A’Beckett presided at sittings of the Geelong Supreme Court on this day in 1912. Norman Maloney pleaded guilty to having in January, 1910, broken into the residences of Mr F. Hodges and Harry Clarke, from which jewellery and plate were stolen. He pleaded guilty to each charge, and acknowledged two previous convictions, for which he is at present serving a sentence of two years in the Geelong Gaol. Maloney was sentenced to two years imprisonment, in addition to the term he was already under going.


On This Day ……. 7th May 1954

Sir Edmund Herring, Chief Justice, said in the Supreme Court on this day in 1954 that a jury had apparently been lenient with a man because a theft he had committed had been “hard work.” Edward Joseph Greagon, 22, laborer, Fyan st., Geelong, was charged with stealing 75 tons of steel link pilings from the Geelong Harbour Trust on August 16 last year. He was given a three-year good behaviour bond. Sir Edmund told Greagon: “The jury has found “you guilty, and has asked me to be lenient with you. “I don’t know why. Perhaps they took into account that stealing the pilings was a bit of hard work.” Sir Edmund added: “An examination of case histories shows that many people known as gaol birds today were treated too kindly by Courts when they started their criminal careers. “Give yourself a chance. Pull up your socks. Good luck to you.”




The execution of Joseph Brown, who at the last Criminal sitting of the Supreme Court was sentenced to death for the murder of Emanuel Jacobs on March 22, at the Whittington Tavern Bourke-street, took place at the Melbourne gaol, in presence of about twenty spectators. At an early hour the prisoner was removed from the cell which he had been occupying since sentence was passed to one adjoining the new drop, and he was attended by the gaol chaplain up to the moment of execution. At ten o’clock the deputy-sheriff (Mr. L. Ellis), accompanied by the governor of the gaol, entered the cell of the prisoner, and informed him that the hour had come. He stepped outside on to the gallery, where he was pinioned by the hangman. After he had taken his place upon the drop, and the rope had been adjusted, he asked if he might speak a few words, and being answered in the affirmative, he offered a prayer that he might be strengthened in what he had to pass through. Then addressing the persons present as “good people,” he declared that he was as guilty as ever a man was, but in so far as intention to kill the man was concerned, be was as innocent as a child unborn. He had no recollection whatever of the act, and could not think how he came to bare the knife in his hand. He was in the habit of smoking, and supposed that be had been cutting tobacco. After alluding to the statement of one of the witnesses, who at the inquest had said that he (prisoner) was not drunk at the time, a statement which he said was untrue, he hoped that he would be forgiven for what he had said. He complained that he had been represented to have had something to do with the robbery about which the quarrel arose. He had had nothing at all to do with it, although he was standing at the door, and saw what passed. The landlord saw it as well as he did, and would have told the troth about it, had he not been afraid of losing his licence. The prisoner’s manner was marked by great trepidation; he trembled very much, and at times his remarks became confused and almost inaudible. At the conclusion of his observations the chaplain repeated the burial service aloud. The bolt was immediately drawn by the executioner, and death took place instantaneously, scarcely even the slightest spasmodic action being visible after the drop fell. The body was allowed to hang for the usual time, after which the inquest was held, and the ordinary formal verdict retained. The prisoner was described in the gaol books as aged forty-three years. Ha arrived in this colony in 1842. He was a native of England and his calling was that of labourer.

ON THIS DAY ……. 30th April 1919


In the Supreme Court at Ballarat, Honora Sheehy was charged with the murder of a male child at Warracknabeal on this day in 1919. She Pleaded not guilty. Evidence was given that on the afternoon of the 1st of May, the body of a child was found in a settling tank, having been concealed in a bag. A piece of towel, about an inch wide, was tied tightly around the child’s neck. There were a couple of bricks in the bag. The jury brought in a verdict of guilty of manslaughter. Accused was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment for the murder on the 30th.


On This Day ……. 22nd April 1856

This criminal suffered the penalty of his crimes on this day in 1856, at 8am. Pursuant to the provisions of the Act which abolishes the old mode of public execution, the affair was witnessed by certain officials only, to see that the sentence was duly carried out. An inquest on the body was, in conformity with the act, held in the goal, at twelve noon. A jury was impanelled in the usual way. By direction of the coroner, they proceeded to view the body, and then returned to hear evidence. The coroner read the warrant of his Excellency the Acting Governor. The sheriff gave evidence as to the identity of the person named in the warrant, and the dead body the jury had just seen. The sentence had been carried out in the usual way. The district surgeon was examined as to the same facts. The head goaler testified that the body which the jury had viewed was that of James Ross, who was sentenced to die at the last criminal sessions, and for whose execution a warrant had been produced by the sheriff. The sentence had been duly carried out. This closed the evidence, and the jury unanimously returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased James Ross had been duly executed in pursuance of sentence passed upon him by Sir William A’Beckett, judge of the Supreme Court. It was remembered by most of our readers that James Ross was convicted of the most brutal murder of his own child, and also for the murder of a Mrs Sayers. Ross intended to murder his own wife also, and left her for dead; but she recovered, and is still alive at Horsham. Seldom in the annals of crime has there occurred so atrocious a case—a crime of so black a dye, committed without any apparent adequate motive. From the time of his commitment to the last hour of his existence, Ross admitted the crimes of which he stood charged. He did not wish to live, and repeatedly, since sentence was passed, expressed impatience for the time of execution to be fixed. He spent much time in reading the Bible and other devotional books, and was assiduously attended by the Rev Mr Goodman and the gaol chaplain. Ross’s conversation and demeanour, however, so far as we could judge or learn, was by no means indicative of sincere regret. The culprit, a few days ago, wrote a letter to his wife, who is still an invalid from the cruel injuries she received from her husband. Ross, or Griffiths, was a native of Limerick, his father was Welsh. His crimes were of so deep a dye that even the most enthusiastic abolitionist of capital punishment will admit that the world is well rid of such a monster.


EXECUTED ON THIS DAY ………. 19th of March 1894

Ernest Knox, aged 21 was executed in Old Melbourne gaol

In the early morning hours of 12 January 1894, two burglars entered the house of Mr. Michael Crawcour, a pawnbroker and financial agent, in Nelson Place, Williamstown. Mr. Crawcour was alarmed by electric burglar alarms in his bedroom and came downstairs with a bulldog revolver to catch the burglars. One of the men, Charles Jent, managed to escape, the other one, Ernest Knox (alias Walter Jamieson) had a fight with young Isaac Crawcour in which the latter was wounded by one bullet. Knox was arrested immediately and Jent shortly afterwards. Young Crawcour died of his wounds on the next day. Knox and Jent were arrested on the 13th of January, and found a revolver and 11 charges of cartridges in his box in Jent’s bedroom. Knox immediately admitted that he fired two shots at somebody who came downstairs in Crawcour’s place, which Jent corroborated. They were charged with murder, stood trial at the Supreme Court in Melbourne, and were convicted on the 17th of February 1894, Knox being sentenced to death and Jent to three years imprisonment with hard labour. Knox was hanged at Melbourne at 10am on je 19th of March 1894.



EXECUTED ON THIS DAY ………. 18th March 1889

William Harrison murdered John Duggan, on the 30th of May 1888, by dealing him two tremendous blows with an axe which smashed his skull in. A sum of money and bank receipts of £670 were stolen from Duggan’s hut. Harrison stood trial at the Criminal Sittings of the Supreme Court at Sandhurst (now Bendigo) on the 6th of December 1888, but the jury could not agree and were discharged. Harrison was found guilty in the second trial on the 23rd of February 1889. There was strong suspicion that this tragedy was not Harrison’s first murder. He was believed to have killed a man at Grossy Flat a few years before. It was also believed that the celebrated Deniliquin case, in which a man named Cordini was hanged for murdering a hawker, was really the work of Harrison. The case caused a good deal of excitement in Sydney, where the matter was brought before the New South Wales Parliament by Mr. James Fletcher, M.P., who maintained that the murder was not the work of Cordini. Harrison was hanged at Sandhurst Gaol (now Bendigo) on the 18th of March 1889 at 10am.