Tag Archives: crime

Arthur C. Gask – Crime Writer

 Arthur C. Gask – Crime Writer

Mr. Arthur C. Gask SLSA: [B 58382] 1925 

Arthur C. Gask was born in St Marylebone, England in 1869. He was educated in London and became a dentist.[1]
 Gask married Florence Mary Tippett and together had four children. Gask divorced Florence in 1909, and two months later married his children’s nursemaid, Marion Maltby.[2]

Gask, Marion, their two sons, and a daughter from his previous marriage emigrated to Australia in 1920. Gask set up his dentistry at 199 North Terrace and is credited as being the first in South Australia to use gas when carrying out teeth extractions.

 Gask became famous as crime writer while living in Adelaide. In between patients, he would write crime fiction. In 1921 he published his first book, The Secret of the Sandhills, which sold out in three weeks. He went on to write 30 novels featuring his detective Gilbert Larose, plus many other novels and short stories. Such was his reputation that H.G. Wells held him in high esteem, saying of his book The Vengeance of Larose; “best piece of story-telling…It kept me up till half-past one.”[3]

Gask retired in 1933 and moved to the country. He named a homestead he built near Kooringa, ‘Gilrose’.[4]He later, moved back to city life, settling at Walkerville.

Arthur Gask died on 25 June 1851 in a private hospital in North Adelaide. His remains were 
cremated.

Books from Arthur C. Gask (from Wikipedia)

Gilbert Larose novels

· Cloud the Smiter, 1926

· The Dark Highway, 1928

· The Lonely House, 1929

· The Shadow of Larose, 1930

· The House on the Island, 1931

· Gentlemen of Crime, 1932

· The Hidden Door, 1934

· The Judgment of Larose, 1934

· The Poisoned Goblet, 1935

· The Hangman\’s Knot, 1936

· The Master Spy, 1937

· The Night of the Storm, 1937

· The Grave-Digger of Monks Arden, 1938

· The Fall of a Dictator, 1939

· The Vengeance of Larose, 1939

· The House on the Fens, 1940

· The Tragedy of the Silver Moon, 1940

· The Beachy Head Murder, 1941

· His Prey Was Man, 1942

· The Mystery of Fell Castle, 1944

· The Man of Death, 1946

· The Dark Mill Stream, 1947

· The Unfolding Years, 1947

· The House with the High Wall, 1948

· The Storm Breaks, 1949

· The Silent Dead, 1950

· The Vaults of Blackarden Castle, 1950

· Marauders by Night, 1951

· Night and Fog, 1951

· Crime Upon Crime, 1952 (Posthumous)

Other Novels

· The Secret of the Sandhills, 1921

· The Red Paste Murders (US Title: Murder in the Night), 1923

· The Secret of the Garden, 1924

· The Jest of Life, 1936

Short Stories

· The Martyr on the Land, (1935)

· The Passion Years, (1936)

· The Destroyer, 1939

· The Will, (1944)

· Buggy\’s Babies, (1944)

· Ghosts, (1944)

· Seedtime and Harvest, (1944)

· The Amazing Adventure of Marmaduke, (1944)

· The Lottery Ticket, (1944)

· The Mark of Honor, (1944)

· The Hatton Garden Crime, (1945)

· The Way of Chance, (1945)

· Black Market, (1945)

· The Bishop\’s Dilemma, (1948)

For more information about Gask’s works please visit AusLit.
https://www.austlit.edu.au/austlit/page/A27498?mainTabTemplate=agentWorksBy

Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2020

[1] \’Mystery Writer\’s Death\’, The Advertiser, (26 June 1951), p. 2.

[2] Michael J. Tolley, \’Gask, Arthur Cecil (1869–1951)\’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, ANU, (1996), http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/gask-arthur-cecil-10283/text18191.

[3] \’Mystery Writer\’s Death\’, The Advertiser, (26 June 1951), p. 2.

[4] Arthur Cecil Gask (1869 – 1951), WikiTree, (25 July 2020), https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Gask-6

A Haunting at the Railway Hotel Peterborough

 

A Haunting at the Railway Hotel Peterborough

The Railway Hotel is located at 221 Main Street Peterborough, South Australia. It is the third hotel built in the town, opening on 24 December 1891.[1]The first publican was W. Britten.[2]

 

Railway Hotel 2017 – Source: Bahnfrend CC:

   Sister Beth Ashley was a much-respected nurse. She had worked at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and at St Margaret’s Rehabilitation Hospital at Semaphore. It was while at St. Margaret’s that Ashely met an orderly named William Hyson. Hyson had come to South Australia from Tamworth, New South Wales. Ashley and Hyson had started dating, but after a short while, Ashley called off their relationship.[3]

 Ashley had become a nursing sister at the Peterborough Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital in South Australia’s mid-north. On March 21, 1949, Ashely received a phone call from Hyson telling her he was coming to Peterborough to see her. Ashley became upset and told him not to come or she would tell the police he was harassing her.

 The following day, March 22, at about 11:25am, Violet Revell, a housemaid at the Railway Hotel, heard two gunshots about 30 seconds apart. Revell reported to her boss, publican Sydney Coombe at about 11:50pm that a woman in an upstairs room was calling out for help. Coombe investigated room 5, and called out to the woman to open the door. She said, “I can’t open the door. I am shot.’ Coombe asked if anyone was with her, to which the woman replied, “Bill.”
Coombe called out for Bill to open the door, which the woman replied, “He can’t”.
Coombe phoned the police.

Mounted Constable E.H. Thom was first on the scene. He opened the door expecting to see evidence of a struggle, but there was none. Sister Ashley, lying on the bed, opened her eyes, and said to Thom, “I was here only two or three minutes when Bill shot me!”.

 Dr A.M. Myers was called. He found Hyson and Ashley both alive and had them rushed to the hospital. Hyson had taken a .22 pistol and shot Ashley, then turned the gun on himself. Hyson died of the self-inflicted wound at 2:15pm that day.[4]
 Ashley was still conscious when the doctor found her. She had a small wound in front of her right ear. Dr Myers decided to operate when condition improved, however, her bleeding was not under control, and she died at 5:40pm.[5]

The coroner, Mr J.S. Bennett ruled at an inquest into the deaths, that it was a murder-suicide by shooting.

 

   It is alleged, ever since this terrible tragedy, that the Railway Hotel is haunted. Witness’ claim that sometimes a ghostly silhouette of a person is seen in the upper windows of the hotel. Some people claim that they can feel a person sitting on them. Oddly, this happens in room 3, not room 5 where nurse Ashley was shot.[6]

Another ghost reported haunting this hotel is a child who plays in the kitchen.

It is said of the ghost in room 3, that some truckies have rented the room, and have left to sleep in the truck rather than wake up to the ghostly figure sharing the bed with them!

Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2020

[1] ‘About the Railway’, Railway Hotel Motel Peterborough, (2020), https://railwayhotelpeterborough.com.au/.

[2] Hoad, J. L., Hotels and publicans in South Australia 1836-1984, (Adelaide, 1984), p. 490.

[3] \’COUPLE DIE IN HOTEL\’, The West Australian, (23 March 1949), p. 6., http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article47652985.

[4] Nurse Died After Call For Aid, Brisbane Telegraph, (April 9, 1949), p. 8, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article216575186.

[5] \’Murder And Suicide Finding At Peterborough Inquest\’, Chronicle, (14 April 1949), p. 8. , http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article93334089.

[6] Marshall, Gordon de L & Shar, Richard, Ghosts and hauntings of South Australia, (Jannali, N.S.W., 2012), p. 251.


Photo: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Railway_Hotel,_Peterborough,_2017_(01).jpg

The Stepney Tragedy.

 

The Stepney Tragedy.

Dr Ewbank SLSA: [B 11286/6/1]

 Last week I wrote about Police Inspector Charles Le Lievre who was a member of the South Australian Mounted Police Force between 1877 and 1929. I published a transcript of his encounter with some ruffian sailors at Nairne. At the end of his story, LeLeivre recounts that one of those men would later murder his wife at Stepney, South Australia. This is that story.[1]

 Louisa Jane Fisher was a newly married 22-year-old living on Henry Street, Stepney, with her new husband, Frederick Fisher. Louisa was a daughter of John Lampey, a builder in Balaklava. The couple had met when Fisher had taken a job with her father. Unbeknownst to her, Fisher had recently been released from gaol for threatening to kill a police officer in Nairne. 

 The Fishers had moved to Glenelg, and camped on the sand dunes, before finding their humble cottage in Stepney.[2]

The Express and Telegraph newspaper described the house:

The interior of the bouse wore an extremely forlorn aspect, and was suggestive of the direst poverty. In the front room, there was absolutely nothing in the shape of furniture or effects. The kitchen was almost as barren, and with the exception of a little firewood, and an axe, was also empty. There is also a middle room, which had evidently been used as the bedroom… which was likewise unfurnished. On the floor were spread a number of blankets, which had apparently been used as a bed. Several articles of clothing were lying near, a silver watch was hanging on one of the walls, and on another wall was a neat American clock. [3]

 Frederick Fisher was 28 years old, an ex-sailor, and a recent gaol inmate.

On 18 January 1900, at about 7pm, a gunshot was heard fired within the Henry street cottage. Within minutes, Fisher had run to his neighbour, Mrs Emma Richards house next door, and told her his wife had accidentally shot herself. He asked her if she would go to the police station, which she refused. Fisher then ran to the St. Peters police station and reported the event to Constable Richmond, who told Fisher to go directly to Dr Ewbank.

 Dr Ewbank, Fisher, and a police constable all arrived on the scene at the same time. Meanwhile, a phone call about the shooting had placed at the Norwood police station. Sergeant Burchell of Norwood informed the coroner, then made his way to the house.

On the arrival of the coroner, an examination of the body was made, and it was discovered that the bullet had penetrated the left breast, and was lodged in the lungs. The ambulance van was sent for, and the body removed to the morgue.[4]

 An inquest was held a week later at the Elephant and Castle Hotel. Dr Ramsey Smith, the city Coroner, presided over the inquest, with Dr A. Mackie, a member of the hospital board present.

Dr Ewbank delivered his evidence: He stated he had found the woman’s body lying on its back on the floor. Her left arm was across her chest and her right arm by her side. Her clothing had been drawn back across her chest. Ewbank watched a police constable find the revolver 10 feet away among the ragged bedding on the floor.

 Ewbank also conducted the post mortem examination, in which he deduced that the bullet entered her body near her sternum under her third rib, it had travelled through her heart, and into her spine. He found no black scorch marks on her skin or clothing.

 Ewbank stated further:

That from the direction of the wound it might have been self-inflicted, but not accidentally.  As a rule, in cases of suicide by shooting there were evidence of burning or scorching, but in this case, the traces might have been obscured by the blood on the clothing. The skin would not have been visibly blistered through the clothing. If the deceased had been standing up the shot would have been fired from above, but if lying down by someone behind her head, or someone stooping over her. Taking all the circumstances into consideration he would not feel justified in saying whether the death was accidental, suicidal, or murderous. Deceased might have emitted a spasmodic shriek as she fell.[5]

 Charles Richards was questioned as a witness, he stated that non the night in question, he had seen Frederick Fisher in the backyard. He claimed Fisher entered the house, and a few moments later the gunshot rang out. He then heard Fisher out the front shouting for someone to call the police. When he (Richards) got out the front, Fisher was running along Henry Street toward the police station.[6]

After a short retirement, the Jury delivered the following verdict: “We are of opinion that the deceased, Eliza Louisa Jane Fisher, came to her death from a bullet wound, but that there is not sufficient evidence to show by whom the shot was fired.”[7]

Many people had assumed that Frederick Fisher had shot his wife, even though he had stated in court it was an accident. Immediately after the jury delivered their verdict, Frederick Fisher was arrested. As it turned out, when police were investigating the death of Eliza, they had stumbled upon some loose floorboards in the home. On pulling them up they found a large cache of stolen goods, which they had taken and identified as stolen from the Glenelg area.

 Fisher was charged committing a burglary in Glenelg.

In court, Fisher’s only excuse for stealing from the Glenelg homes of Phillip Simmons, Robert Hood, George Blyth, and Agnes Storrie was, “I was destitute at the time.” [8]

 Fisher pleaded guilty to charges of burglary and larceny, of which he pleaded guilty to all accounts.[9]

Frederick Fisher, an old offender, was sentenced to two terms of three years, and one term of two years for breaking and entering and larceny, respectively.[10]

Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2020.


[1] \’MEMORIES OF AN OLD POLICE OFFICER.\’, The Register, (6 October 1925), p. 12. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64246910.

[2]\’SHOOTING FATALITY.\’, The Express and Telegraph, (19 January 1900), p. 3. (ONE O\’CLOCK EDITION), http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article208842536.

[3]Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5]\’FATALITY AT STEPNEY.\’, Chronicle, (27 January 1900), p. 22., http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87790969.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8]\’AT THE POLICE COURT.\’, The Express and Telegraph, (22 January 1900), p. 2. (ONE O\’CLOCK EDITION), http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article208842668.

[9]Ibid.

[10] \’THE CRIMINAL SITTINGS.\’, The Advertiser, (20 February 1900), p. 4., http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article29530797.

Ship Ahoy! A Murderous Scoundrel.

 

Ship Ahoy! A Murderous Scoundrel.

 

Charles La Lievre

Inspector Charles Le Lievre was a member of the South Australian Mounted Police Force between 1877 and 1929. He was stationed at various outposts, including Henley Beach, Salisbury, Nairne, and Renmark. Before coming to Australia from the Channel Islands, Le Lievre was a sailor.

 Le Lievre recounted many stories about his time in the police force to local newspapers after his retirement. This is one of them.

 

While at Nairne in 1897, and making my usual round in the township, I heard someone shouting,- \’Ship ahoy!\’, I went up to see what was the matter and saw a man in a drunken state near the hotel. I asked him what was the matter? He told me he was calling, for his mate. I said to him, \’You had better come, with me and have a camp,\’ and took him to the station.
  When there he asked me if I would give him a feed, as he had not had anything to eat that day. \’ I gave him a good feed and\’ two pannikins of hot tea.

He sat eating what I had given him on the sill of the cell door. After he had finished, I said to him, \’You bad better go in and have a camp.\’
He got up and said, and said, “What do you take me for, a ____ mug?” and made a violent blow at me.
A scuffle took place, and I bundled, him into the cell. Shortly afterwards several local men came to me and informed me that a man was going about the street vowing that he would “knife the ____ trooper that had caged his mate,\’ and that he would knife him if he attempted, to arrest him; and, that whatever I did to be sure and take my revolver with me, as he appeared to be mad drunk.

I thanked them for telling me, as forewarned was forearmed. I took my staff, which I placed inside my jacket; and went in search of this man.

I asked one of the men to follow me in case I needed assistance. I had not proceeded far when I heard a man using vile and blasphemous language under the verandah of one of the hotels further down the street. As I approached him he said, “You\’re the ____ that caged my mate,\’ and so on.
  He kept his hand on his side and the handle of a sheath knife; which was in his belt. \’

There are various stages of drunkenness, such as helplessness and maudlin, but this man was mad drunk and was like a perfect demon. I could see that he would not hesitate to knife me.
I had to use stratagem with him: but I was determined at all costs to arrest him.
 I said, “I don\’t know what you mean by caging your mate. He has just had a feed, and is now having a camp at the station.”
 “Well,“ he said, \’there\’s his ______ swag, you can take that too.”
  I was taking no risk in doing that, for I saw that he was waiting for an opportunity to take me off my guard, and knife me. I turned around to the landlord, who was standing by, and said to him, \’Take the swag inside, and give the owner of it a pint of beer at my expense when he calls for it.”
 He said to the landlord, with an oath, \’Leave the swag alone; I\’ll take it to him.\’ – I said, “Very well, you can do that if you like.”

He seemed to be nonplussed at the cool way I was acting towards him, for I remained calm and collected. He slung the swag over his shoulder and walked with me towards the station. I kept close to him and was determined that at the slightest attempt he made to draw his knife I would use my baton on him.
 After proceeding a little way, I said to him, “I hear that you are a sailor and that you have a knife you are going to put into me. Do you\’ call yourself an English sailor?\’\’
 He replied with an oath that he was. I said to him, “I too have been a sailor, and I never yet knew an English sailor who would use his knife against another. I want you to hand me that knife, let me have a look at it.”

 With that, he drew it out of its sheath. Simultaneously as he raised his arm, I caught hold of his wrist, giving it \’a sharp twist, and took possession of the knife. I was then master of the situation. He was taken by surprise, and said, “\’Oh, matey, you\’re not going to keep my knife, that is the only one I have to cut my tobacco with.”
 I told him I would cut what he wanted.

At the station, I arrested him and placed him in the cell with the other \’prisoner.

He stamped and swore and acted like a madman. He opened the swag and drew out from it a new tomahawk, put it on the cell floor, and walked to where his mate was lying asleep. I nodded to the man who was with me to get it. He swiftly crossed the cell floor and brought it out.
 I immediately bolted the cell door. Seeing what we had done he used blasphemous language. In the morning I opened the cell door, but was prepared for any emergency, and asked them for their names. The prisoner I had taken the knife from asked “What\’s the charge, sergeant; no knifing I hope, for I\’m a ____ when in drink?\’ I replied, \’Fortunately for you, it is not.”
 They were both sentenced to a term of imprisonment at the Nairne Police Court.

 The knife, an ugly looking one was handed over to the Commissioner of Police, and he ordered it to be placed in the police museum, which contains almost all the weapons with which the murders and attempted murders and suicides recorded in the State have been committed. Each article is numbered, and a concise record kept of the circumstances surrounding the tragedy with which that exhibit, is associated.
  One of these knives had been included in the collection not on the account, as it says, of association with a crime, but it testifies to the bravery of a mounted constable\’ (M.C; Le Lievre) when at one of our southern townships Upon being told that a sailor, had threatened to use his sheath knife if he attempted to arrest him, the officer determinedly faced the man took possession of the knife and arrested him. I heard no more of this man until the Stepney Tragedy, which occurred a year or more after this incident.[1]

 

Next week: The Stepney Tragedy.

Researched and written by Allen Tiller ©2020


[1] \’MEMORIES OF AN OLD POLICE OFFICER.\’, The Register, (6 October 1925), p. 12. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64246910.

John Martin the Celebrity Delinquent: Part 3: Glanville to Manoora.

 

John Martin the Celebrity Delinquent: 

Part 3: Glanville to Manoora.

    Saturday 16 September 1894, John Martin escaped yet again from Mr Burton\’s Glanville Reformatory, this time with two other lads, Patrick Quigley, and Patrick MacCabe. The boys had made it on foot from Glanville to Manoora. They had been spotted near Saddleworth. The Kapunda Mounted Police were notified and set off after them, arresting the boys on Monday afternoon.
 The three lads were sent by train back to Port Adelaide. Mr F. R. Burton, warden of the Glanville Reformatory offered his opinion that Martin’s escape had been influenced by others. He expressed his opinion in The Observer newspaper.

\”He ran away three or four days after I got him last April,\” Mr. Burton said, \”and when he was brought back he was kept under strict surveillance for a time, but for the last three months be has had full liberty, and if he had had an idea of going, he could have disappeared at any time.
  I offered to get him a situation, but he preferred to stay with me. About a week or so before he disappeared be expressed a wish to go to sea, and when I told him that I would get a ship for him to go to England and got the Judge\’s approval of my action he was quite pleased. No doubt the boy has been enticed away.
  It is rather annoying after struggling with him for months and seeing the end in view for someone to step in and spoil the work. A sea life is the only life for him. He is too impulsive and is too easily led away. There is not much gratitude in boys nowadays—there are very few cases of it. I do not look for it. I was surprised the way the boy has behaved, and I am sure he deserves credit for it. I\’ll give you an instance where he could have got away if he had wanted to do so. On the last public holiday, September 3, I took my boys down the river, and allowed each, in turn, to have a paddle in the canoe that I have there. If he had wanted to get away, he could easily have landed on the other side of the river and got a good two-hours\’ start of any search party.

 I don\’t know yet what the police will do. I would take him back. I have never given a boy up yet, and if he comes back to me, I shall carry out my intention of sending him to sea, as the Judge approved of my idea.\”[1]

   The boys when captured at Manoora had in their possession two greyhounds that belonged to W.J. Oliver of Norwood. Mr Oliver declined to press charges against the boys, perhaps out of fear of retaliation. Martin was returned to the care of Mr Burton at the Glanville Reformatory.[2]
   Originally Martin had been sentenced to State Children’s Department on Flinder’s Street then sent to the Industrial School, then Mr Burton’s Glanville Reformatory. All up, he had escaped 16 times, earning him the reputation of, “a cunning, daring and skilful escape artist’.

 A journalist for the Express and Telegraph went as far as writing; 

“Some of his escapes from the Reformatory were accomplished in such a daring and skilful way that many people would have preferred to see the youth pardoned and assisted into some honest situation as the regard for his extraordinary pluck than hunted by the officials and returned to the State home which he so greatly abhors.”[3]

 

 

Next Week: John Martin the Celebrity Delinquent: Part 4: Flown the Coop.

 

Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2020


[1] \’A DARING YOUTH.\’, The Express and Telegraph, (10 September 1894), p. 4. (SECOND EDITION), http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article20903880.

[2]\’THE CASE OF JOHN MARTIN, THE RUNAWAY.\’, Adelaide Observer, (22 September 1894), p. 31. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article161809938.

[3]\’A DARING YOUTH.\’, The Express and Telegraph.

John Martin the Celebrity Delinquent: Part 2: Escape Artist

 

John Martin the Celebrity Delinquent: 

Part 2: Escape Artist

 

 John Martin became well known in Adelaide for his constant escapes from the Industrial School and Glanville Reformatory. His escapades became legendary and earned him celebrity status in Adelaide.
 When writing of his escapes, the 15-year-old (14 at the start of his crime spree) was often described with words exemplifying his actions, rather than vilifying him, as would have been done if he was an adult. ‘Pluck and determination’ were often used to describe him, and, ‘courageous, fearless, and brave’.

The Express and Telegraph newspaper published one of his escapes. In the middle of the night, Martin awoke in his third-floor dormitory. While everyone else was asleep, he quietly drifted through the room, opened a window, and stepped out onto an 8-inch (20cm) ledge protruding from the wall. He was 40 feet (12 meters) above the ground. Martin, quietly, without fear, moved along the ledge until he reached a water pipe, which he slid down to reach the ground.

 

Artist impression on John Martin 1896.

He was captured after three days. On his return to the reformatory, he was shackled with ‘school-irons’, a leather and iron shackle designed to hobble the wearer. The irons were chained to the bed, and a warder was assigned to stay in the room the entire night.
 On one occasion, Martin waited for the warder to fall asleep. He found a way to quieten his shackles, and snuck over the warder, removing the keys from his pocket, and unlocked himself. Again, he snuck out the window onto the ledge and used the waterpipe to escape to the ground.

 On another occasion, Martin was segregated into an isolation chamber that the superintendent thought inescapable. The only things in the room with Martin were his blanket and bed. Martin was put in the chamber, and the warders left to their rooms. The following morning, Martin was nowhere to be seen,
 As soon as the warders had left him, Martin bit the metal buttons off his trousers. He used the buttons as screwdrivers and removed the lock from the door, from the inside! He escaped into a courtyard, where he escaped over the wall.
 Unfortunately for Martin, his notoriety meant he was easily recognised and was arrested soon after his escape. [1]

 

Next Week: John Martin the Celebrity Delinquent: Part 3: Glanville to Manoora.

 

Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2020


[1] \’THE LAD JOHN MARTIN.\’, The Express and Telegraph, (11 September 1894), p. 2. (SECOND EDITION), http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article209038878.

It’s Only a Bastard.

 It’s Only a Bastard.


In 1878, Mary Scudmore was charged with unlawfully beating Charles Grills, a nine-month-old child.
 Scudmore appeared at the Police-court before Judges Beddome, Wilshire and Reed. The prosecutor read the charge that Scudmore was accused of cruel conduct towards the child.


 It was claimed that on several occasions she had thrust the child’s head into dirty water to get it to stop crying, almost drowning the boy. It was stated that if anyone confronted her about her cruel behaviour she would state; “It’s only a bastard. There’s no such luck as killing it. The child has got as many lives as a cat!”.[1]

Scudmore’s neighbour reported her to the police. The child had been in Scudmore’s custody for an unknown amount of time. The Judges deliberated among themselves and came back with the verdict ‘case dismissed’ on the grounds that the evidence fell short of what required to prove the charge.[2]

[1] ‘MONDAY, OCTOBER 14.’, South Australian Chronicle and Weekly Mail, (19 October 1878), p. 13., http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article92265724
[2] ‘Law and Criminal Courts.’, Evening Journal, 914 October 1878), p. 2., http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article197717855

Thomas Cunningham: Rogue and Vagabond (Part II)

 

Thomas Cunningham: Rogue and Vagabond (Part II)

  After serving two years in gaol for the abduction of 15-year-old girl Ellen Ween, Cunningham found himself living on Currie Street at Boddington Row in the company of a prostitute, Alice Tree. The pair were accused of unlawfully and maliciously wounding Ah Kong, a charge later dismissed. 

  Thomas Cunningham found himself in further trouble in 1882 when he faced court on the charge of being a ‘Rogue and Vagabond’. The charges were brought forth by Detective Dunlevi, who stated for the prior twelve months, Cunningham was unemployed and had been associating with thieves and prostitutes. He had served two years for abduction and had prior to that been charged and convicted for larceny, felonious assault, and assaulting police.

  Cunningham told the court he would find work on Wednesday. Sitting Judges, Beddome and Lucy allowed him to be released to do so.[1] Cunningham did not look for work, instead, he went about his usual business, drinking and gambling at the Shamrock Hotel, the Ship Inn, The Provincial Hotel, and the Galatea Hotel. Detective Hampton arrested Cunningham and again charged him as a Rogue and Vagabond.

  On 22 May 1882, Cunningham was brought before Judge Beddome. This time the Judge was not so lenient, sentencing Cunningham with two months imprisonment and two sureties to keep the peace at 50 pounds each.

  Cunningham was the charged with assaulting Police Officer Copeland. Officer Copeland stated that while trying to arrest Cunningham for the charge he sat previously, Cunningham turned and struck him in the eye. Judge Beddome sentenced Cunningham to a further six months in prison and hard labour.
Another man Edward Bates was charged alongside Cunningham, for inciting Cunningham to resist arrest. He was fined 1 pound and two 50-pound sureties to keep the peace for a year.
Yet another man, William Jury, was sentenced for assaulting police. Jury had seen the Constable arresting Cunningham and starting remonstrating with him to release Cunningham, in doing so, he kicked the officer several times. Jury was sentenced to six months in prison.[2]

Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2020


[1] ‘Adelaide: Monday. May 1.’, Adelaide Observer, (6 May 1882), p. 12., http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article160157123. 
[2] ‘MONDAY, MAY 22.’, South Australian Weekly Chronicle, (27 May 1882), p. 13. , http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91467672

Thomas Cunningham: Rogue and Vagabond (Part I)

 

Thomas Cunningham: Rogue and Vagabond (Part I)

 

  You may remember Thomas Cunningham from my previous blog, ‘The Colourful and Tragic Life of Alice Tree: Part 1 – “Kill the Chinaman!”’. Thomas was then the partner of Adelaide prostitute Alice Tree, and was accused of unlawfully and maliciously wounding Ah Kong, a charge later dismissed. Before that incident, Cunningham had served a two-year sentence in gaol for abduction.

  In 1877, Thomas Cunningham was charged with attempting to abduct 15-year-old Ellen Ween. On 14 October the same year, Cunningham who been lodging with the Ween family at Nailsworth had become acquainted with young Ellen, and fallen in love with her.
Thomas and Elizabeth Ween, Ellen’s parents were mortified that Cunningham, a married man, would dare to try and corrupt their daughter. Cunningham replied to Mrs Ween that if he couldn’t have her daughter one way, he would have her another.

  On 14 October, Ellen asked to go out. She never returned. Mrs Ween saw Cunningham on the 15th and asked him about her daughter. He said he would be leaving and wanted nothing to do with the Ween family any longer.

  Cunningham and Ellen were discovered at Rochester, near Clare, by Police Trooper Atkinson on 8 December. Cunningham gave Atkinson a fake name Thomas Bane, Ellen was gathering wood on a hill, but soon returned to Cunningham’s tent. Atkinson queried them, with Cunningham saying he did not run away with the girl, she came freely with him and paid her own way.
Ellen said to the Trooper that she would go wherever Cunningham went, that he did not take her away, and that she would “never go borne again because she would be sent to the Industrial School.”
Ellen said she was afraid to go home as her father had threatened her and Cunningham with a knife, then threw it at them. She told her mother she was going out with a servant girl and ran away. Her mother found her, however, and told her to return home, where she would “keep her in”. To this Ellen replied that her mother “would not keep her in, or the Governor either,” Ellen’s father came looking for her, so she fled north.

  During the trial, Ellen Ween was questioned by the prosecution about her abduction. She replied she had not been abducted but had asked a carter to tell Thomas Cunningham she wanted to see him. She claimed she that Cunningham declined to go away with her, but when she said she would pay her own way to Burra, he consented. Ellen stated that she knew Cunningham was a married man, but she did not care. Ellen also accused her mother, with impudence, of giving her a black eye.[1]

  Elizabeth Ween was called to the stand. She stated to Cunningham; “Yon left our house because we would keep you no longer. My husband did not run after my daughter with a knife and threaten to stab you.” John Ween added, “I have never beat my daughter in my life. John Ween, “she was taken away without my consent.”
Ween also stated he had never thrown a knife at the girl.

  Mr Smith, who conducted the prosecution for Superintendent Peterswald, produced the register of the birth of the first Ellen Ween, who died on December 9, 1862, six months after the present Ellen Ween was born. Search for the certificate of birth of the surviving Ellen Ween was being made.[2] Detective Doyle discovered Ellen Ween’s birth registry entry proving she was just 15 years old. Cunningham was remanded in custody until his trial in March the following year.
At the Supreme Court, the Judge declared he was glad he had made the decision to take the case into consideration, so as to relieve his own feelings of disgust about the matter. The Judge stated that the evidence showed that Cunningham, a married man, did not have it in his power to undo the damage he had done to the girl. He declared that Cunningham’s conduct in the court was disgusting. Thomas Cunningham was found guilty of abduction and sentenced to two years hard labour in gaol.[3]

Next Week: Thomas Cunningham: Rogue and Vagabond (Part II)

Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2020  


[1] ‘TUESDAY, DECEMBER 11.’, South Australian Chronicle and Weekly Mail, (15 December 1877), p. 13., http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article90944206.
[2] ‘POLICE COURTS’, Adelaide Observer, (15 December 1877) p. 7. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article159446938
[3] ‘LAW COURTS. SUPREME COURT—CRIMINAL SITTINGS’, The Express and Telegraph, (27 March 1878), p. 2., http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article207645154

Thomas Cunningham: Rogue and Vagabond (Part I)

 

Thomas Cunningham: Rogue and Vagabond (Part I)

 

  You may remember Thomas Cunningham from my previous blog, ‘The Colourful and Tragic Life of Alice Tree: Part 1 – “Kill the Chinaman!”’. Thomas was then the partner of Adelaide prostitute Alice Tree, and was accused of unlawfully and maliciously wounding Ah Kong, a charge later dismissed. Before that incident, Cunningham had served a two-year sentence in gaol for abduction.

  In 1877, Thomas Cunningham was charged with attempting to abduct 15-year-old Ellen Ween. On 14 October the same year, Cunningham who been lodging with the Ween family at Nailsworth had become acquainted with young Ellen, and fallen in love with her.
Thomas and Elizabeth Ween, Ellen’s parents were mortified that Cunningham, a married man, would dare to try and corrupt their daughter. Cunningham replied to Mrs Ween that if he couldn’t have her daughter one way, he would have her another.

  On 14 October, Ellen asked to go out. She never returned. Mrs Ween saw Cunningham on the 15th and asked him about her daughter. He said he would be leaving and wanted nothing to do with the Ween family any longer.

  Cunningham and Ellen were discovered at Rochester, near Clare, by Police Trooper Atkinson on 8 December. Cunningham gave Atkinson a fake name Thomas Bane, Ellen was gathering wood on a hill, but soon returned to Cunningham’s tent. Atkinson queried them, with Cunningham saying he did not run away with the girl, she came freely with him and paid her own way.
Ellen said to the Trooper that she would go wherever Cunningham went, that he did not take her away, and that she would “never go borne again because she would be sent to the Industrial School.”
Ellen said she was afraid to go home as her father had threatened her and Cunningham with a knife, then threw it at them. She told her mother she was going out with a servant girl and ran away. Her mother found her, however, and told her to return home, where she would “keep her in”. To this Ellen replied that her mother “would not keep her in, or the Governor either,” Ellen’s father came looking for her, so she fled north.

  During the trial, Ellen Ween was questioned by the prosecution about her abduction. She replied she had not been abducted but had asked a carter to tell Thomas Cunningham she wanted to see him. She claimed she that Cunningham declined to go away with her, but when she said she would pay her own way to Burra, he consented. Ellen stated that she knew Cunningham was a married man, but she did not care. Ellen also accused her mother, with impudence, of giving her a black eye.[1]

  Elizabeth Ween was called to the stand. She stated to Cunningham; “Yon left our house because we would keep you no longer. My husband did not run after my daughter with a knife and threaten to stab you.” John Ween added, “I have never beat my daughter in my life. John Ween, “she was taken away without my consent.”
Ween also stated he had never thrown a knife at the girl.

  Mr Smith, who conducted the prosecution for Superintendent Peterswald, produced the register of the birth of the first Ellen Ween, who died on December 9, 1862, six months after the present Ellen Ween was born. Search for the certificate of birth of the surviving Ellen Ween was being made.[2] Detective Doyle discovered Ellen Ween’s birth registry entry proving she was just 15 years old. Cunningham was remanded in custody until his trial in March the following year.
At the Supreme Court, the Judge declared he was glad he had made the decision to take the case into consideration, so as to relieve his own feelings of disgust about the matter. The Judge stated that the evidence showed that Cunningham, a married man, did not have it in his power to undo the damage he had done to the girl. He declared that Cunningham’s conduct in the court was disgusting. Thomas Cunningham was found guilty of abduction and sentenced to two years hard labour in gaol.[3]

Next Week: Thomas Cunningham: Rogue and Vagabond (Part II)

Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2020  


[1] \’TUESDAY, DECEMBER 11.\’, South Australian Chronicle and Weekly Mail, (15 December 1877), p. 13., http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article90944206.
[2] \’POLICE COURTS\’, Adelaide Observer, (15 December 1877) p. 7. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article159446938
[3] \’LAW COURTS. SUPREME COURT—CRIMINAL SITTINGS\’, The Express and Telegraph, (27 March 1878), p. 2., http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article207645154