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ON THIS DAY….. 10th July 1910

The adjourned inquest in connection with the death of Bridget Morfesso, who died in the Kilmore Hospital on July 10 from injuries received, was concluded, before Mr P. Cohen, P. M. Margaret Morfesso, 14 years of age, and oldest daughter of deceased, said that she saw her father hit her mother on the head with an axe. Morfesso was committed for trial on a charge of wilful murder at the criminal sittings of the Melbourne Supreme Court on September 15.

 

ON THIS DAY – June 29, 1905

VERDICT OF WILFUL MURDER – AGAINST A PERSON UNKNOWN

Dr. R. H. Cole, the district coroner, yesterday concluded the inquest into the death of Emily Eden Lilias Chandler, a waitress, 28 years of age, who died in the Melbourne Hospital on July 3 from septicaemia, the result of a premature birth, which had taken place about fortnight previously. Mrs. Elizabeth Downey, who was arrested on a charge of the wilful murder of the deceased, was present as a witness for the Crown. Mr. E. J. Corr appeared to watch the proceedings on her behalf.

Evidence was given to show that Miss Chandler came to Melbourne in the beginning of June. She was staying with Mrs. Elizabeth Sefton, in Sydney-road, Carlton, and was so ill on June 29 that Mrs. Sefton called in Mr. J. H. Nattrass, M.D. Mr. Nattrass examined the girl, and she told him that she had been operated on by some nurse, but refused to divulge the name. He ordered her removal to the Melbourne Hospital. She was admitted to the Hospital on July 1, and said that she was suffering from a severe cold. She admitted afterwards that an instrument had been used. The police were informed, and Detectives Burvett and Sexton brought Elizabeth Downey to the Hospital. Miss Chandler said that she knew the woman, and the detectives arrested Mrs Downey on a charge of unlawfully using a certain instrument. Then in the presence of Mrs. Downey the dying depositions of Emily Chandler were taken by Mr. J. R. Andrews, J.P. In the depositions she said :— “I am quite certain that the accused is the person who performed the operation on me.” She rambled a good deal in her statements whilst the depositions were being taken, and spoke of having gone to the nurse’s house with her sister “Millie.” The evidence of Mrs. Chandler showed that there was no such person as “Millie.” She was very irritable, and in great pain all the time. Mrs. Downey was called as a witness. She stated:— I have nothing to say. I don’t know the party at all. I never saw her in my life. That is all I have to say.

The Coroner said that it was plain that an infamous crime had been committed. He did not think it likely that deceased performed the operation herself. The depositions were mainly the result of monosyllabic answers given by deceased, and they consisted of a mixture of falsehood and truth, in which the falsehood seemed to predominate. Deceased merely said “Yes” to Detective Burdett when he asked her, “Is this the woman?” This seemed a very slender piece of evidence. He found that Emily Eden Lilias Chandler had died from blood-poisoning, the result of an operation, wilfully caused by some person or persons unknown, and that the said person or persons were guilty of wilful murder.

ON THIS DAY – June 22, 1923

WEST FOOTSCRAY

At the morgue, the city coroner (Dr. R. H. Cole) conducted an inquiry into the death of a newly born female child, the body of which was found on June 22, wrapped in brown paper, between the rails, near the West Footscray railway station.
Dr. Crawford Mollison said that the child had been suffocated, but its skull had been fractured before death. The child had been murdered. Further evidence was given that inquiries to discover parentage of the child had been unsuccessful. Dr. Code found that the child died as the result of violence at the hands of a person of persons unknown. It was a case of wilful murder.

 

ON THIS DAY – June 16, 1910

MELBOURNE

In the case of Victoria Florence Williams, who died on June 16, in the Homoeopathic Hospital, the Coroner recorded a verdict of death from blood poisoning following an illegal operation, and committed the mother of deceased (Mrs Victoria Mary Williams) for trial on a charge of wilful murder. Detective Sainesbury stated that, on June 14, in company with Detective Coonan, he visited the Homoeopathic Hospital, and took Miss Williams’ dyinp depositions, in the presence of Dr. Hart and Nurse Grey. The girl stated that she had been in a certain condition, and that her mother had operated upon her. She described the operation with considerable detail, adding that her mother had pledged her to secrecy.

 

On This Day …….. 21st April 1858

One of the most shocking murders which has ever been seen in Beechworth occurred at Chinaman’s Flat. Luke Lyons and Patrick Saxton arrived in the Colony together and were believed to be sharing a claim. The murderer and his victim were mates and up until the time of the fatal occurrence lived next to each other on terms of great friendship. On the evening of the murder the men were drinking together, in the company of Patrick’s family. After two bottles of brandy were drunk, the conversation turned to arranging a marriage alliance between Luke and Patrick’s sister. After all the brandy was finished, Luke left the tent for the purpose of procuring more brandy. Instead of going for the liquor as he intended he loitered outside the tent, and heard himself spoken of by the Saxton’s in terms of disparagement. Rushing into the tent, Luke started a violent rant before leaving the tent. Patrick followed and the fight began. The argument was taken into Luke’s tent and whilst in the tent Patrick was stabbed by Luke. When they both struggled out together, it was discovered that a wound from a knife, or another sharp instrument, had been inflicted, and that Patrick’s entrails were protruding some inches from his stomach. A blow was also made at Patrick’s brother with a knife by Luke, but he was only slightly hurt. Patrick died in front of his tent. Luke, having run off in the bush, was apprehended about an hour afterwards by Detective Alexander. An inquest was held on the body of Patrick Saxton, and after hearing the evidence, the Jury was divided in opinion but a majority concurred in the verdict of wilful murder, and the prisoner was committed for trial. On July the 21st, Luke Lyons was found guilty of manslaughter and was sentenced to three years hard labour on the roads.

 

ON THIS DAY …. 8th April 1912

COLLINGWOOD

Police investigated the death of William Hughes Parker. The tragedy was complicated by the temporary disappearance of Frederick John Parker, an elder brother of the dead man. On this day in 1912, a tall young man, dressed in a blue sac suit and a blue sweater, walked into the Detective Office and informed Detective Johnson that he was Frederick Parker. He had read an account of the death of his brother, and until that time was unaware that his brother had died. He had stayed the night at a restaurant in the city. Detective Johnson detained him until the arrival of Detective Bear, who has charge of the investigation. Parker declined to make any statement. Frederick Parker has a recent cut on his upper lip, the wound was stitched at St. Vincents Hospital, Parker was locked up by Detective Bear and Constable Brown in the city watch house on the charge of the wilful murder of his brother. Before Frederick Parker was locked up the coat he was wearing when he called at the Detective Office was taken possession of by Detective Bear, and another one was supplied to him.

 

ON THIS DAY….. 10th July 1910

The adjourned inquest in connection with the death of Bridget Morfesso, who died in the Kilmore Hospital on July 10 from injuries received, was concluded, before Mr P. Cohen, P. M. Margaret Morfesso, 14 years of age, and oldest daughter of deceased, said that she saw her father hit her mother on the head with an axe. Morfesso was committed for trial on a charge of wilful murder at the criminal sittings of the Melbourne Supreme Court on September 15.

 

ON THIS DAY – June 29, 1905

VERDICT OF WILFUL MURDER – AGAINST A PERSON UNKNOWN

Dr. R. H. Cole, the district coroner, yesterday concluded the inquest into the death of Emily Eden Lilias Chandler, a waitress, 28 years of age, who died in the Melbourne Hospital on July 3 from septicaemia, the result of a premature birth, which had taken place about fortnight previously. Mrs. Elizabeth Downey, who was arrested on a charge of the wilful murder of the deceased, was present as a witness for the Crown. Mr. E. J. Corr appeared to watch the proceedings on her behalf.

Evidence was given to show that Miss Chandler came to Melbourne in the beginning of June. She was staying with Mrs. Elizabeth Sefton, in Sydney-road, Carlton, and was so ill on June 29 that Mrs. Sefton called in Mr. J. H. Nattrass, M.D. Mr. Nattrass examined the girl, and she told him that she had been operated on by some nurse, but refused to divulge the name. He ordered her removal to the Melbourne Hospital. She was admitted to the Hospital on July 1, and said that she was suffering from a severe cold. She admitted afterwards that an instrument had been used. The police were informed, and Detectives Burvett and Sexton brought Elizabeth Downey to the Hospital. Miss Chandler said that she knew the woman, and the detectives arrested Mrs Downey on a charge of unlawfully using a certain instrument. Then in the presence of Mrs. Downey the dying depositions of Emily Chandler were taken by Mr. J. R. Andrews, J.P. In the depositions she said :— “I am quite certain that the accused is the person who performed the operation on me.” She rambled a good deal in her statements whilst the depositions were being taken, and spoke of having gone to the nurse’s house with her sister “Millie.” The evidence of Mrs. Chandler showed that there was no such person as “Millie.” She was very irritable, and in great pain all the time. Mrs. Downey was called as a witness. She stated:— I have nothing to say. I don’t know the party at all. I never saw her in my life. That is all I have to say.

The Coroner said that it was plain that an infamous crime had been committed. He did not think it likely that deceased performed the operation herself. The depositions were mainly the result of monosyllabic answers given by deceased, and they consisted of a mixture of falsehood and truth, in which the falsehood seemed to predominate. Deceased merely said “Yes” to Detective Burdett when he asked her, “Is this the woman?” This seemed a very slender piece of evidence. He found that Emily Eden Lilias Chandler had died from blood-poisoning, the result of an operation, wilfully caused by some person or persons unknown, and that the said person or persons were guilty of wilful murder.

22ON THIS DAY – June 22, 1923

WEST FOOTSCRAY

At the morgue, the city coroner (Dr. R. H. Cole) conducted an inquiry into the death of a newly born female child, the body of which was found on June 22, wrapped in brown paper, between the rails, near the West Footscray railway station.
Dr. Crawford Mollison said that the child had been suffocated, but its skull had been fractured before death. The child had been murdered. Further evidence was given that inquiries to discover parentage of the child had been unsuccessful. Dr. Code found that the child died as the result of violence at the hands of a person of persons unknown. It was a case of wilful murder.

 

ON THIS DAY – June 16, 1910

MELBOURNE

In the case of Victoria Florence Williams, who died on June 16, in the Homoeopathic Hospital, the Coroner recorded a verdict of death from blood poisoning following an illegal operation, and committed the mother of deceased (Mrs Victoria Mary Williams) for trial on a charge of wilful murder. Detective Sainesbury stated that, on June 14, in company with Detective Coonan, he visited the Homoeopathic Hospital, and took Miss Williams’ dyinp depositions, in the presence of Dr. Hart and Nurse Grey. The girl stated that she had been in a certain condition, and that her mother had operated upon her. She described the operation with considerable detail, adding that her mother had pledged her to secrecy.

 

ON THIS DAY – April 27, 1909

ROMSEY

TWO MEN CHARGED WITH MURDER.

An inquiry was held at Romsey into the circumstances of a fire at the Commercial Hotel on April 27, where by James Dick met his death, and the premises were totally destroyed. Dick’s charred remains were found in the debris. A large number of witnesses were examined, and at the close of the evidence the Coroner declared that the fire was caused by Robert James Hedley and Robert Johnston, and that they were guilty of the wilful murder of Dick. The accused were committed for trial. Hedley is the husband of the owner. The premises were insured for £980, and the furniture and Stock for £450. Evidence was given that the destruction of the hotel was caused by two distinct fires, separated by 26ft. and two stonewalls. each 18 inches wide.

 

ON THIS DAY – April 21, 1917

RICHMOND

The death of Robert Walker, licensee of the Prince of Wales Hotel, Richmond, which occurred on April 21 as the result of a wound received a few hours earlier, was inquired into at the Morgue yesterday by the City Coroner (Dr. R. H. Cole). William Gruner, a soldier, formerly of Broadmeadows Camp, who was subsequently charged with the wilful murder of Walker, was present at the inquest. After several witnesses had been examined, Dr. Cole said that, taking the evidence of the boy Walker and of the soldier Harrison, it would appear that no jury would convict Gruner of murder or of manslaughter. The provacation which Gruner had received had been very great. Walker had been suffering under some grievance, and had knocked Gruner down several times and the latter, having a knife in his possession had opened it and stabbed his adversary. It was the possession of the knife, though, which was a serious matter, but even then Gruner’s provocation was great, and it was very doubtful whether any jury, on the evidence, would convict him. He would, however, commit him for manslaughter, as the Act was such on the facts presented. Bail would be allowed in Gruner’s own surety of £50