Some Macabre Stories of the Silver Trade

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Some Macabre Stories of the Silver Trade

Postby dognose » Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:00 pm

SOME MACABRE STORIES OF THE SILVER TRADE

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Waite, Thresher Company - Providence - 1896

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Re: Some Macabre Stories of the Silver Trade

Postby dognose » Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:03 am

WILLIAM SEAGER

London

A revolting discovery was made in Clerkenwell yesterday, the bodies of a middle-aged man named Seagar and his sister being discovered in a emaciated condition and amid squalid conditions in an upper room at 11, Benjamin Street. Seagar was a retired silversmith and possessed means, but the couple lived a miserable and lonely existence. The police had to break in the door of their room. Suicide is suspected. Over £60 were discovered amid the rubbish, but no food.

Source: Freeman's Journal - 24th January 1895

William Seager was aged 56 years, and his sister, Caroline, were aged 50 years at the time of their deaths. William, a widower and retired silversmith, had inherited the huge sum of £5,000 from his father, but had chosen to live in a filthy rented unfurnished room at 5s. a week. Their living conditions were so bad that one newspaper report described the discovery as "the condition of the room was so horrible in its accumulation of filth and vermin, that even the police, accustomed as they are to such spectacles, were overpowered, and had for the moment to retreat", another report quoting Dr. Miller, the attending doctor, when asked about the vermin he replied "millions of them". The couple possessed one bedstead, apparently unused as they slept on the floor with their clothes on, and one chair. Also found were sixty sovereigns, five half sovereigns, 18s 9d in silver, 19s 6d in copper, four watches (3 gold and 1 silver), a large quantity of jewellery, four deeds to property, and an IOU for £940. The pair died after poisoning themselves with cyanide of potassium.

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Re: Some Macabre Stories of the Silver Trade

Postby dognose » Thu Apr 04, 2013 3:51 am

SARAH ELLIOTT

London

Dr. Danford Thomas yesterday held an inquest as to the death of Mrs. Sarah Elliott, 59, the widow of a goldsmith. She had resided in the Gloucester Road, Hornsey, and the evidence showed that she was pouring out some spirits of wine, a flame caught it, and she was dreadfully burnt about the head, face, and hands. In spite of immediate and careful medical attendance, she died on the 26th inst. The Jury, after receiving an explanation as to the delay in holding the inquest, returned a verdict of Accidental death.

Source: The Standard - 28th February 1885

Sarah Elliott was very likely the widow of George Elliott (Grimwade p.361) See: viewtopic.php?f=74&t=30460

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Re: Some Macabre Stories of the Silver Trade

Postby dognose » Fri Apr 05, 2013 6:47 am

RHINES

Nebraska

SKINNED ALIVE

The last incident at which I may be allowed to glance in connection with the Indian chronicles of Omaha may fairly be considered as a startling one. It was the actual skinning alive of a white man at the hands of the Pawnees, and occurred in 1852, at a place on the road about five miles beyond the Elk-horn. The victim of the Pawnees' wrath was one Rhines a silversmith, who had formerly lived at Geneva, in the State of Wisconsin, but who shortly before coming west, on his way to California, took up his abode at Delaran. It appears that this man Rhines, previous to starting for the Pacific coast, had made the boast equally foolish and wicked, that he would shoot the first Indian whom he met. In due time the party of whom he was one arrived in Nebraska, and camped out one evening on the bank of a stream which at that time was nameless. The next morning, as the caravan was getting ready to start, a small party of young Indians, who had crossed the river from the Pawnee village on the opposite shore, approached the encampment of the pale-faces. These youths were, the first red-skins whom the Americans had seen; and Rhines the silversmith was duly reminded of his bloodthirsty piece of braggadocio. The ruffian at once seized his rifle, took aim at a young squaw, and shot her dead. The news of this cruel and cowardly murder was at once carried to the Pawnee village; and the party of white men was soon surrounded by a band of exasperated 'savages' (?) who demanded and eventually obtained the surrender of Rhines. After stripping him they tied him to a waggon-wheel, and at once began to skin him alive. The wretch in his agony called both on the indians and, on his own countrymen to shoot him; but there was no mercy for him who had shown none. The pale-faces, who were considerably outnumbered by the indians were compelled by the 'savages' (?) to stand by and witness the scarifcation of their comrade without being able to render him any assistance, except at the risk of their own lives. And those risks they did not care to imperil. The process of skinning was carried on to the end, Rhines surviving the completion of the operation a few minutes, during which the squaws chopped him to pieces with their mattocks. Yes, my lord of Verulam was right, and revenge is a wild kind of justice - or a kind of wild justice, read the precept as you may.
As a postscript to the Tragedy of Scarification, it may be mentioned that, from the day of Rhines's punishment, the River on the shore of which the deed was done has been known as Rawhide. A horrible name - fit memento of a deed as horrible. - A. Sola. in Telegraph.


Source: Southern Argus - 24th June 1880

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Re: Some Macabre Stories of the Silver Trade

Postby dognose » Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:02 pm

WALTER HOUSTON HARDY - ALAN HARDY

Sydney

DOMESTIC TRAGEDY - DEMENTED FATHER KILLS SON - SUICIDE WITH REVOLVER - SYDNEY'S LEADING JEWELLER

SYDNEY, Sunday. - A distressing double tragedy was enacted on Saturday morning at Double Bay, at the residence of Mr. Walter Houston Hardy, head of the well-known firm of Hardy Bros., jewellers, of Hunter street, city. At a little after 6 o'clock Mrs. Hardy was awakened by the sound of a shot. She sprang out of bed, and hurried from her room to one adjoining, occupied by her son Alan. As she entered her son's room she nearly fell over the body of her husband, which lay stretched out on the floor, with the head in a pool of blood, which was flowing from a wound in the right temple. A revolver lay alongside.

With cries of horror; Mrs. Hardy called to her son Alan, whose bed stood in the corner of the room. Receiving no reply, she rushed across and saw that Alan, too, had apparently been killed there was a gaping wound in the forehead, and blood was spattered over the pillow and bedclothes. The shrieks of the horror-stricken wife and mother quickly brought the servants, and no time was lost in sending for Dr. Roger H. Cope, who was soon in attendance, but he was not able to do anything for Mr. Hardy, sen. The son was still breathing when the doctor arrived. He was conveyed to a hospital in an ambulance car, but died on the way. Mr. Hardy sen. was fully dressed at the time of the shooting. It was his habit to get up very early. Apparently the son was shot while asleep by his father, who then shot himself. This obvious assumption is supported by the result of inquiries made by the police.

There seems little doubt that the double tragedy was enacted while Mr. Hardy sen. was in a state of mental derangement following upon nerve trouble. For the past week he had been taking a rest from business on the insistent advice of his medical attendant, on account of nervous breakdown, for which he had urged him to take a prolonged holiday. The son Alan was the only child, and had just reached 21 years of age. He was also engaged in the business of Hardy Brothers. On Friday evening Mr. and Mrs. Hardy and Alan dined together, and the father and son chatted pleasantly together on current topics. The father was greatly attached to the son, who was liked by all.

The late Walter Hardy was one of Sydney's best known and highly-esteemed business men. He was a son of the late Mr. John Hardy, who was originally the senior partner in the old firm of Hardy Brothers, which started business in Hunter street, Sydney, nearly 60 years ago. He entered the business as a young man, and remained in it for some time. He then accepted an agency on behalf of an important firm in England, but afterwards rejoined the staff of Hardy Brothers, and took over mangement of the Brisbane branch. When Mr. John Hardy was about to retire from the firm, Mr. Walter Hardy came back to Sydney, and entered into active management of the business. Here, when the business was formed into a company, he was appointed one of the directors. His work was his hobby. As a student of old Newington College, on the Parramatta River, he was a keen sculler and an enthusiastic sailing man. He was 49 years old. "A more devoted father and son could not be found in Australia," is the comment of intimate friends. A double funeral took place this afternoon, and was attended by a very large number of sorrowing friends.


Source: The Argus - 12th January 1914

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Re: Some Macabre Stories of the Silver Trade

Postby dognose » Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:03 am

DAVID TURNBULL

Glasgow

JEWELLER FOUNlD DEAD - A GLASGOW MYSTERY

LONDON. 23rd September.

The mysterious death of a jeweller named David Turnbull has caused a sensation in Glasgow. Turnbull was found dead in his shop. He had a wound in his forehead. Burglars had evidently been at work, as the safe was found to have been blown up. Nearby were a number of housebreaking tools, and also a quantity of cyanide of potassium. In what manner Turnbull met his death is a mystery. Two theories have been advanced; one is that, hearing noises, he entered the shop to investigate, struck a light, and so caused an explosion, which hurled him to the floor, and resulted in the injury to his head; the other is that he was poisoned.


Source: Bendigo Advertiser - 25th September 1912


GLASGOW JEWELLER POISONED - DOCTORS SOLVE MYSTERY

LONDON 24th September.

After a thorough examination of the body of David Turnbull, a Glasgow jeweller, who was found dead in his shop, the medical men have come to the conclusion that Turnbull was poisoned.


Source: Bendigo Advertiser - 26th September 1912



DYNAMITED SAFE - JEWELLER'S DEATH BY POISON.

Glasgow detectives are at present baffled by the mystery surrounding the death of Mr. David F. Turnbull. a working jeweller, who was found dying in his office. About 6.30 a.m. a policeman noted that the door of his premises in Sydney court, Argyle street, Glasgow, was unlocked, although shut. Entering the office, he heard moaning and found Mr. Turnbull lying face upwards on the floor. He was unconscious and the policeman, ran downstairs to summon an ambulance, but before its arrival the man expired. An examination of the office showed that the safe had been dynamited, the explosion having blown it off its stand. Beside the body of the dead man lay an upturned office stool. Save for a slight abrasion on the forehead, the body showed no signs of violence, and it is presumed that the mark on the forehead was caused by his having fallen from the stool, on which he had evidently sat at work.

– Nothing Missing –

On the bench was a tin containing ferro cyanide of potassium, deadly chemical which is used by jewellers. A portion of the contents had been poured on the bench on which also stood an enamelled tin jug, partly filled with water. Other discoveries included a set of housebreaking implements including a jemmy, a saw, and a chisel. When Mr. Tumbull's two employees arrived at the office two hours later to start work as usual, it was learned that nothing of any consequence was missing. The only articles which were not in the place in which they were left were a few medals and badges. Mr. Turnbull, being a working jeweller, stored no valuable stock. About a year ago the premises were entered by three burglars, who were scared by the arrival of the occupier; and all escaped.

–The Work of Experts;–

That the safe-breaking was the work of expert cracksmen is perfectly evident. The mystery has been intensified by the discovery that, so far as can be ascertained, nothing of value has been removed. At first it was thought that a number of medals have been stolen, but these have been discovered among the debris caused by the explosion. The cause of Mr. Turnbull's death was certified, as a result of the post-mortem examination, as being due to poisoning. Numerous theories are being advanced to solve the mystery. The most plausible seems to be that the burglary occurred in the offices, and that Mr. Turnbull, on making the discovery next morning, was so seriously affected by the shock that in a moment of temporary insanity he took his life.


Source: The Register - 5th November 1912


SAFE BLOWN OPEN - JEWELLER'S STRANGE DEATH

A mysterious affair is reported from Glasgow (said the "Daily Telegraph" on September 24). Early yesterday morning the police discovered Mr David F. Turnbull, goldsmith and working jeweller, of Argyll street, lying in a dying condition in his shop, where a safe had been blown open with explosives. A constable found the door unlocked at 6.30, and on investigating came across Turnbull lying on the floor moaning, with a small wound in his forehead. Death speedily ensued. Several housebreaking implements were lying near, while a tin containing a quantity of ferro-cyanide of potassium was also found. At first it was thought that the safe had been blown open by burglars, and when Turnbull entered the place he struck a light, and thus caused an explosion, which led to his death. Turnbull was in his shirt-sleeves, and it was presumed he was preparing for work. Investigating the matter later, the police were inclined to the belief that Turnbull had fallen from a stool to the floor, and that his death was caused by poison. A tin of cyanide of potassium, which usually lay on the shelf in an adjoining room, was containing water. Turnbull's overcoat, jacket, and hat were hanging behind the office door. The safe, which stood on a wooden structure in the inner office, had caused an indentation in the floor as it fell. Several articles of jewellery were found on the floor, while near the safe was a jemmy, saw, and a chisel. A burglary occurred at the same premises twelve months ago.


Source: Western Herald - 7th December 1912


David F. Turnbull was registered with the Glasgow Assay Office. His entered marks were 'D.F.T' contained within an oblong punch with clipped corners. As for the two employees that turned up for work as usual, it is possible that one of them may have been William Cook, who entered a mark 'W.C' contained within an oblong punch with clipped corners at the Glasgow Assay Office, as 'late of David F. Turnbull'.

David Turnbull's mark has been noted on medals assayed in the 1890's.

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Re: Some Macabre Stories of the Silver Trade

Postby dognose » Sat Apr 20, 2013 5:24 am

CARL FREIDRICH MULLER

Rotterdam


WHOLESALE MURDERS IN HOLLAND

ASTOUNDING RELVELATIONS

London, Friday.


The latest edition of the Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant received in London says that the Rotterdam police are investigating a confession of murder which promises to disclose more sensational details than the notorious Deeming case. The Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant gives the following account of the affair:- A few days ago the constable on duty outside the Kaasmarket Police Station of this town was approached by a man of respectable appearance who said he wished to give himself up for the murder of his wife and child. He was at once conducted into the police station, where he made an astounding confession of murder. His name, he said, was Carl Freidrich Muller, and he was a watchmaker, 32 years of age. That afternoon he had cut the throats of his wife and child. He declared that whilst in the kitchen of his house cleaning mussels for the midday meal a voice called to him to use his knife and cut his wife's throat, and was compelled to obey. The police inspector, thinking he had a drunkard or maniac to deal with, treated the matter somewhat lightly, and the man seeing this produced from his pocket four human ears, which he placed on the inspector's desk with the remark "Perhaps you will believe me know." He added, "Go to my house and you will find what I have said is true." Mr Strang, the chief of the Rotterdam police, was communicated with, and proceeded to the house indicated by the prisoner. There a gruesome sight met his gaze. In the kitchen were the bodies of the unfortunate wife and child, the heads of both being nearly severed from the trunks, and the whole place bespattered with blood. So far there seems no doubt to the truth of the man's confession; but during his detention at the police station whilst the police were searching his house he made some sensational additions to it. He declared he had murdered his father and mother, and in various parts of the world had married fourteen wives, whom, with one or two of their infants, he had done to death. The case has aroused the greatest excitement in Rotterdam, and the details of this extraordinary man's career are awaited with eagerness.

Source: Freeman's Journal - 9th October 1897

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Re: Some Macabre Stories of the Silver Trade

Postby Hangman » Fri May 10, 2013 12:39 am

William Frederick Fenton was hanged at Winson Green prison in Birmingham however, one of the most distateful jobs regarding executions was for the executioner to measure from the heels of the condemned man back to the scaffold floor when thwe body had hung for 1 hour. In the case of Fenton he was given a drop of seven foot three inches by the executioner James Billington. When he took the measurement after the allotted time he found that the distance from the heels back to the floor was eight foot seven inches. The neck had stretched sixteen inches. Fenton's death had been instantaneous but never in an execution had such a stretch been recorded before.

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Re: Some Macabre Stories of the Silver Trade

Postby dognose » Tue May 21, 2013 5:48 pm

JEAN BAPTISTE ODIOT

Paris

Suicide at Ninety

FAMOUS GOLDSMITH CHOOSES DEATH

Mr. Jean Baptiste Odiot, a famous Paris goldsmith, has just committed suicide. Although he was ninety, M. Odiot had never known a day's serious illness all of his life ; but recently he was threatened with blindness. The prospect was more than the old man could endure, and he shot himself. He was the grandson of the celebrated art goldsmith, Claude Odiot, who,on Napoleon's orders, made the gold cradle for the child who afterwards became King of Rome. Claude Odiot retired in 1827, And was succeeded by his son, who died in 1863, when M. Jean Baptiste Odiot, who has just killed himself, succeeded to the famous business. M. Jean Odiot made the silver table service which was presented to the Tsar by the French Government.


Source: Cairns Post - 4th October 1912

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Re: Some Macabre Stories of the Silver Trade

Postby dognose » Thu May 30, 2013 7:49 am

JAMES SMILLIE

Quebec

A distressing fire occurred at Quebec, on the third of this month in the destruction of a house occupied by Mr. James Smillie, a silversmith. Mr. Smillie and his wife, a servant maid, and an apprentice were burned to death.

Source: The American Masonic Register and Literary Companion - 12th February 1841

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Re: Some Macabre Stories of the Silver Trade

Postby dognose » Thu Jun 13, 2013 8:19 am

MYERS

Newington Causeway, London


An Unprecedented Tragedy

Ghastly and horrible as are the annals of crime, it Is questionable whether the oldest man living can remember a tragedy so diabolical as that perpetrated on the 5th ult. in Newington Causeway. Here in the afternoon a jeweller's establishment was entered by a demon who had not yet reached manhood, with the express purpose of robbery and murder. This scoundrel first shot the senior assistant, then the junior and the proprietress, and further attempted the life of another human being–a young girl–who put in an appearance. After this he tried to escape, but having been run to bay he presented his deadly weapon at the police officer, but having realised his position he turned the barrel of the revolver towards his own fiendish head, and rid the world of one of the greatest mistakes which Nature ever made. This creature in man's form is said to have been about twenty years of age, and by profession a burglar and had already undergone several terms of imprisonment. Of course, when he passed the bullet into his own head he was of the opinion that the shots had proved fatal to his other victims; but in this we are glad to say he was mistaken. All three are progressing favorably, and we are sure the deepest sympathy of the trade is accorded to Mrs. Myers and her assistants in having been thus made the victims of this abnormal crime. There is also another aspect put upon this case by evidence adduced at the inquest on the suicide-burglar. It appears that he showed a man, who at present keeps a grocery store in Bermondsey, the pistols, telling him that he intended to use them upon the inmates of this house if he could not otherwise obtain a diamond necklace which excited his cupidity. It further appears that these two men made each other's acquaintance in prison, and that the grocer, having obtained information of the fact that a burglary and possible murder were about to be committed, went to the police-station and told the authorities that such was going to take place, but refused to give further information unless paid for it. Of course, they could not do that, and such is the law that the man was allowed to go away with his secret, which would have prevented possibly a triple crime. We hope something will be done to amend our laws so as not to allow a repetition of this. For had the murders been accomplished he would have been in as great a degree an accessory before the fact as ever was put into the dock ; as it is, we hope something will be done to punish him. In the meantime, it is extremely hard that jewellers should be so exposed to the outrageous and murderous hands of criminals; and ere long society will have to realise that it ought to pay them for playing the part of scapegoat to the condition of things which brings its members ease and luxury. It is only another phase of the window-smashing question, in which some remedial measures will shortly have to be adopted.

Source: The Watchmaker, Jeweller and Silversmith - 1st February 1894

The above report would relate to the former business of Solomon Myers, jeweller, of 89, Newington Causeway, London, who died on the 31st March 1888. The business was continued by his widow, Rachel, one of the victims of the attempted robbery.

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Re: Some Macabre Stories of the Silver Trade

Postby dognose » Fri Jul 05, 2013 6:01 am

HENRY ROSSITER ROBBINS

London

Suicide of Mr. Henry Rossiter Robbins.–On April, 13th, the Coroner for Central Middlesex, Dr. Danford Thomas, held an inquiry as to the death of Mr. Henry Rossiter Robbins, aged 40 years, an American gentleman residing at 54, Torrington Square, who had committed suicide by shooting himself the morning of the previous Tuesday last. Mr. Alfred Bedford, Manager of the American Waltham Watch Company, said deceased was connected with the firm, but was not in good health, and was of excessively nervous temperament. Some four years ago he met with an accident by being thrown out of a carriage in New York, and having injured his head had never been well since, and was much depressed. He was at business on Monday, and seemed more depressed than usual. On the following morning he was informed that deceased had shot himself with a revolver. He had never threatened his life, but had frequently wished himself dead. Mr. Frederick Haywood, of 54, Torrington Square, deposed that deceased had occupied apartments there about four months, and suffered from great depression of spirits. On Monday evening he returned home, and had his dinner, and then retired to his bedroom. About half-past four on Tuesday morning he heard a report like that of fire-arms, but thinking it came from the mews took no notice of it. At breakfast time, as deceased did not make his appearance as usual, he went up to his bedroom, and finding the door locked, his suspicions were aroused, and on the door being forced open, the deceased was then found lying on the floor in a pool of blood quite dead, and a revolver by his side. Dr. Badcock, of Gower Street, who was called in, said he had attended deceased for indigestion, and saw him the previous day, when he was much depressed and thought he was worse. When called in on Tuesday morning, he found him dead with a wound in his forehead. A revolver was under him, one barrel of which had been discharged. The wound was the cause of death. He understood deceased was in the habit of taking chloral to produce sleep. Further evidence was given as to deceased complaining of want of sleep, and to his taking chloral to produce it. The jury returned a verdict of suicide whilst in an unsound state of mind.

Source: The Watchmaker, Jeweller and Silversmith - 1st May 1888

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Re: Some Macabre Stories of the Silver Trade

Postby dognose » Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:02 pm

CHARLES ATKIN

Sheffield

June 5. At East View, near Sheffield, by his own hand, aged 44, Mr. Charles Atkin, junior partner of the firm of Broadhead and Atkin, manufacturers of Britannia metal and silver-plated goods, Sheffield. For some time past he had been in a melancholy state of mind concerning some partnership misunderstandings, and the great expense he was incurring in the erection of a country residence. Verdict, Insanity.

Source: The Gentlemans' Magazine - 1853

Following the demise of Charles Atkin, the partnership of Broadhead & Atkin was officially dissolved on the 29th May 1853 (the date given in the above report would have referred to the inquest). The business was continued by Rogers Broadhead alone, and restyled to R. Broadhead and Company.

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Re: Some Macabre Stories of the Silver Trade

Postby dognose » Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:07 pm

ARMSTRONG

London

Early on the morning of August 27, an important discovery was made in the rear of some unoccupied premises situated between the new Carriage Bazaar in Long Acre and Arkell's coachbuilding works. The place in question has long been empty, and with the view of making some structural alterations, workmen have been recently set to work. In demolishing a thick party wall, the men laid bare a chamber which was filled with an immense quantity of plate, watches and jewellery, the value of which is considerable. Many of the articles, which were black with age, were also partly fused, evidently from the action of great heat. It has now been ascertained that the place was occupied many years ago by a jeweller and refiner named Armstrong, and during his tenancy was destroyed by fire, the occupants being burnt to death.

Source: The Watchmaker, Jeweller and Silversmith - 1st October 1888

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Re: Some Macabre Stories of the Silver Trade

Postby dognose » Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:26 am

CHARLES WOOD DENHAM and CHRISTOPHER JOHN DENHAM

Sheffield

OBITUARY

We deeply regret to have to announce the death of Messrs. Charles Wood Denham and Christopher John Denham, father and son, who were passengers by the ill-fated " Princess Alice."* Mr. Denham, senior, was 53 years of age, and had been for 16 years town traveller and head clerk to Messrs. Atkin Bros., the well-known silversmiths and electro-platers of Charterhouse Street, and was very much respected by his employers and the trade. His son, aged 26, for several years traveller for Messrs. W. & J. Sissons, electro-plate manufacturers, of Sheffield, was to have entered the service of Messrs. Englefield & Mann, jewellers, of Hatton Garden, on the 5th ultimo, but before assuming his fresh duties he wished to have a day's outing, which unfortunately proved to be their last.


Source: The Watchmaker, Jeweller and Silversmith - 5th October 1878

* The SS Princess Alice was a passenger paddle steamer which was sunk in a collision on the River Thames with the collier Bywell Castle off Tripcock Point in 1878 with the loss of over 650 lives, the greatest loss of life in any Thames shipping disaster.

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Re: Some Macabre Stories of the Silver Trade

Postby dognose » Fri Aug 30, 2013 11:00 am

CARIS BROTHERS

Perth, Australia

Daring City Crime - Murder and Robbery at Caris Brothers - Caretaker Killed and Diamond Jewellery Stolen

The brutal murder and jewel robbery at Caris Bros. shop in Hay Street, Perth, on Tuesday night will go down on record as one of the worst criminal acts yet perpetrated in Western Australia. At a comparatively early hour, when people were at the picture shows and about the city, a caretaker was done to death and diamond studded jewellery valued at £4500 calmly lifted from the invisible windows.

The police were on the scene of the crime within a few minutes of the escape of the criminals, and the Criminal Investigation Department, under the control of Chief Inspector G. V. Purdue, is straining every resource of the force to bring them to book. The public can gain some comfort from the fact that they will do so if it is humanly possible.

The murder of the caretaker, Edgar Arthur Whitfield (60). of South Perth, and the theft of the jewellery was discovered when the police were called to Caris Bros. Hay-street shop about 11p.m. by telephone call from a man who said he was speaking from the General Post Office in Forrest-place. He stated, that he had just heard a dreadful crash of glass as he was walking along Murray Street, and he indicated the rear of Caris Bros. premises.

A constable was sent to investigate immediately, and a wireless call was flashed to the police patrol car, which was then in West Perth, under the control of Detective-Sergeant S. Dowsett. The patrol car reached Caris Bros. at 11 p.m., and the police clambered over a wall at the rear of the premises and gained admittance through a rear window.

Constable Lamb was the first to enter, and as he did so he was confronted by the body of the dead caretaker lying face down on the floor of the small lighted room which he had apparently occupied. The room was in disorder, and shattered fragments of a large mirror were strewn about. The body, which was fully clothed, except for coat and vest, had a towel tied with a single knot around the neck. The right arm was bent under the stomach, and the left, which was badly gashed, lay across the small of the back. The keys of the firm's safes were in a table in the room.

Whitfield, who was given the job of caretaker about two months ago at his own suggestion and request, was responsible for the removal of the jewellery from the invisible windows to the safes between 10 p.m. and 10.30 p.m. At about 10.5 p.m. he was seen by a street nightwatchman, with whom he exchanged signs of recognition.

At first it was thought that the caretaker had been struck heavily on the head, and shot through the mouth, but a post-mortem examination showed that his death was due to a broken neck. He had not been shot, and there was no evidence of a weapon having been used. Whitfield's loaded revolver was found under the pillow of his bed. The state of the room in which Whitfield's body was found indicated that he had struggled desperately and courageously to defend his employer's property, and it is believed that his neck was unintentionally broken in a fatal scuffle, probably by a wrestling hold. Whitfield, who was about 60 years of age, was of delicate build, weighing about nine stone.

Presumably the murderers entered the premises by climbing two walls, 10ft and 12ft high respectively, at the rear, climbing up to the unbarred window of the room in which Whitfield was murdered, by means of boxes, which were found by the police placed in position. Entering the room, they surprised the old man, and killed him in a struggle, or stunned him and killed him after robbing the windows, the struggle ensuing when he came to. Having murdered the caretaker and tided the windows, the murderers doubtless left by the same way as they entered.

The Criminal Investigation Branch, under the direction of Chief Inspector Purdue, is following every possible line of inquiry, and a strict watch is being kept on all means of exit from the metropolitan area and the State. Descriptions of a man who may be able to throw some light on the occurrence has been circularised.

On Thursday night the CIB was informed by a man that at 10.24 on Tuesday night he saw a man removing watches from one of the invisible windows of Caris Bros. He was lifting them from their trays with his left hand, and placing them in his right, depositing them inside the shop. He was not wearing gloves, his arm being clearly visible in the light of the window, but the eye-witness observed that the sleeve of a striped shirt hung loosely around the forearm. The color of the shirt was indiscernible, but the man who saw the watches removed is of the opinion that it was not blue, which was the color of that worn by the murdered caretaker.

It is considered possible that the eye-witness saw the caretaker fulfilling the duty, but the fact that no glove was seen suggests that he saw the criminal at work. It is a rule at Caris Bros. that the staff must wear gloves when handling such stock.

Naturally, a firm with the clientele of Caris Bros. could not afford such depletion of their diamond stock, and the* managing director (Mr. George
Ledger) took immediate steps to replace the jewellery stolen. A high pressure transaction with a big dealer who recently landed a large consignment of specially fine diamonds in Australia, resulted in the departure of a fast plane from Sydney for Perth with a precious cargo. The plane left Sydney during the week; and is expected to reach here during the weekend.

The detectives are most anxious to get into touch with the person who telephoned the first news of the crime, but all efforts to locate him had not been successful up to yesterday. The silence of this person has led to a good deal of speculation in connection with the crime.

REWARD OF £500 OFFERED
A reward of £500 has been offered to any person or persons who can give information leading to the conviction of the thieves and the recovery of the stolen jewels. The reward will be paid by Bennie S. Cohen and Son (WA) Ltd., of Pastoral House, Perth, acting on behalf of, Lloyd's underwriters in conjunction with Caris-Bros. Ltd., irrespective of and in addition to any reward which may be offered by the Government.

The information can be given to the nearest police station, or to Mr. R. A. Forsaith, assessor, St. George's House, St George's-terrace, Perth, on to any
interstate office of Bennie S. Cohen and Son Ltd., or to Caris Bros. Ltd., Hay-street Perth.


Source: Sunday Times (Perth) - 10th February 1935


MURDER CHARGE AGAINST FOUR MEN - DEATH OF PERTH CARETAKER

PERTH, Monday.

The hearing was begun In the Perth Police Court, before Mr. H. D. Moseley, P.M., today, of the case In which Charles Silverman, 44, tailor, Stanley Thomas Flynn, 26. electrician, Cyril Thomas Brennan, 27, labourer, and Matthew Walsh, 23, barman, are charged with having murdered Edgar Arthur Whitfield, caretaker, at Caris Brothers' jewellery shop In Hay-street, Perth on February 5. Whitfield was found dead after jewellery, valued at almost £5000, was stolen from Caris Bros. shop.

George Ledger, managing director of Caris Bros., said that Whitfield was quartered in a bedroom at the rear of the building. His Instructions were to open the door only to persons whom he had been told would be working back. On the night of February 5 two watchmakers were working back. He (witness) left the shop at 6 p.m., but about 11 p.m. he accompanied the police back to the shop. He found that diamond rings had been removed from the pads, which were lying in the shop. He produced a list of the stolen property, and identified a ring produced as one which had been stolen.

John Patrick McGovern said that he passed Caris Bros.' window at 10.22 p.m. on February 5, and saw a man removing a tray of rings from the window. He and the man looked straight at each other. To the Crown Prosecutor (Mr. C. B. Gibson), Witness said: "Walsh was that man." Constable Wilson said that, at 10.55 p.m. on February 5, the telephone at the Central Police Station rang, a man's voice said, "I just passed Caris Bros, and heard a crash inside. I think there is something doing there." Witness asked the informant for his name and address, and he said, "Mr. Weekie, of North Perth." Requests for further particulars were not answered.

William Thomas Wimbrldge said that after seeing Flynn Brennan, and Walsh In Murray street, at the entrance to the lane, about 9 p.m. on February 5, he went to a billiard saloon, and the three men later came in. Flynn and Brennan went away together, and shortly afterwards he saw them in Hay-street. He could not say at what time.

WOMAN'S EVIDENCE

Mrs. Pearl Walters said that she began to keep company with Flynn last October. This continued until she went to Kalgoorlie on February 17. Before then. Flynn introduced her to Brennan and Walsh. She had occasionally seen Silverman with Walsh. On February 5, Flynn seemed upset when he returned about 11 p.m. to a hostel where he was staying with her. Before that, he had told her that, he and Walsh planned to break into Carls Bros. shop. When he got back that night, he said that he thought Walsh had killed the caretaker at the shop. Mrs. Waiters said that Flynn told her that he and Walsh stood behind Whitfield's door after they had got into the shop through climbing up boxes stacked outside a window. Walsh grabbed hold of a man, but he struggled away and crashed into a mirror. Flynn went outside to see If anybody had heard the crash, leaving the man lying on the floor. At the shop, Walsh got jewellery, and, after being there about 20 minutes, they left. Walsh rang up the police so that assistance might be obtained for the caretaker. Flynn told her that when they left the man was breathing. Some time afterwards, witness proceeded, Flynn said to her that Silverman was trying to get the jewels sold. After she returned to Perth from Kalgoorlie, Flynn told her that the jewellery was hidden around the Children's Court building, and that Silverman was going to send it to Walsh, who was by that time in Melbourne. One evening Flynn told her that they had packed the jewellery at Silverman's place and that, using a label from a pharmacy, they were going to send it to Bill Williams, Melbourne. In the morning, a telegram was sent to Walsh under that name, saying that "Aunty was leaving with all children by train that night," and later a telegram was received saying that "Aunty had arrived safely." Flynn told her that Brennan was supposed to be outside the shop when the robbery was committed, but that he was not there, although Brennan himself told him that he had kept watch outside.


Source: The Sydney Morning Herald - 30th July 1935


PERTH TRIAL - MURDER CHARGE AGAINST FOUR MEN - ACCUSED MAN'S EVIDENCE

PERTH, Friday

Evidence for the defence was begun today at the trial in the Criminal Court, before the Chief Justice (Sir John Northmore), of the four men charged with having murdered Edgar Arthur Whitfield on February 5. The four men are Charles Sllverman, 44, tailor; Cyril Thomas Brennan, 27, labourer; Stanley Thomas Flynn, 26, electrician; and Matthew Walsh, 23, barman. Whitfield was caretaker at Caris Brothers' jewellery shop in Hay-street, Perth. To-day, Flynn gave evidence in which he maintained that he and Walsh were the only persons concerned in the robbery at Caris Bros.

After the Crown case was closed, a submission by Mr. L D. Seaton, for Brennan and Silverman, that Silverman should be discharged on the ground that no case had been made out against him was disallowed by the Judge. Flynn was then called, and he said that he did not meet Silverman until March last. In January Walsh and Flynn discussed raiding Caris Brothers' shop. At no time did they consider taking weapons, but arranged to overpower, gag, and tie up the caretaker without injuring him in any way. Walsh told Flynn that he had suggested to Brennan that he should keep watch outside, but that Brennan had refused. After meeting at a billiard saloon on the night of February 5, Walsh and Flynn went to Caris Brothers' shop by themselves. After they got into the caretaker's room they hid behind the door. When an old man came into the room at 10.20 pm. Walsh stepped out and threw his arms around the man's face.
In the struggle they lurched against a table and a mirror fell, hitting the old man on the back of the head. The old man fell to the floor. Walsh then went into the shop. Flynn felt the old man's pulse and noticed that he was breathing. Walsh came back and the two of them left and went to Walsh's room, where Walsh tied up a quantity of jewellery in a handkerchief.

TELEPHONED FOR A DOCTOR

They decided, said Flynn, to telephone the police, so that medical assistance could be obtained for the man, and Walsh went out to do so. He returned about five minutes later with Brennan, who lived in the Vicinity. The happenings of the evening were not mentioned in front of Brennan, and a few minutes later Brennan and Flynn left the room. Arriving home, Flynn told Pearl Walters that he thought he had hurt an old man. He did not know the man was dead until he saw it in a morning newspaper. Just before Walsh went to Melbourne, continued Flynn, he showed Flynn where the jewels were hidden. Flynn told Silverman that a girl in Melbourne would be writing to him (Flynn), and that letters would be delivered at Silverman's address "so that the other girl would not know ". When they got a label from a chemist, Silverman thought it was to be used on a parcel of medicine. Flynn packed the jewellery at his own flat on a Saturday morning. He then saw a man named "Snipey" Evans, who lived on his wits, and told him to go to Silverman's and choose a pattern for a suit Flynn said that he wanted to send a parcel through Silverman to Melbourne, and he gave Evans £10 to get the suit and arrange for the posting of the parcel. Later Flynn, continued Evans, told him that he had gone to Silverman's shop, and said that he was in a hurry, and had asked Silverman to post a parcel. One day Silverman showed Flynn a telegram from Melbourne, and said that he could not understand it. Flynn said it was for himself Three or four telegrams came in this manner, until Silverman said that he did not like it, as they seemed suspicious, and so Flynn advised Walsh to address all letters and wires to the Post Office. In July he made a statement at the Detective Office. Making the statement, he said that Silverman was not to get a share of the proceeds. After Walsh was questioned by the police he thought that Brennan must have told the police of his suspicions, and so he told Flynn that if they were ever arrested they would say that Brennan was in on It was not true that Brennan was to get a share.

ACCUSED MAN CROSS-EXAMINED

Flynn was cross-examined by the Crown Prosecutor (Mr. C. B. Gibson) for two hours and a half. Mr. Gibson: Where is "Snipey" Evans? Flynn: That is what I would like to know. Mr. Gibson Why did you want the parcel sent through Silverman?- I wanted it sent through a business man, as it would arouse less
suspicion. Were all references to Brennan in the statement lies?- Yes, but I told the police as much truth as they told me. Did you hit the caretaker on the chin?-I did not hit him at all. The cross-examination had not concluded when the Court adjourned to Monday.


Source: The Sydney Morning Herald - 24th August 1935



JEWEL ROBBERY - SILVERMAN'S SENTENCE

Six Years Gaol.

"You know you were assisting thieves and murderers to get the monetary advantages of their crime. ... It does not appear that you were driven to this course of action by poverty, or by anything except greed for money." These unequivocal phrases were used by Mr. Justice Dwyer in the Criminal Court on September 6 when sentencing Lazarus Silverman, known as Charles Silverman, to six years' imprisonment with hard labour. Such was the punishment imposed upon the middle-aged tailor for the share he was convicted of having taken in occurrences following the robbery of nearly £5,000 worth of jewellery from Caris Bros. shop.

Recently a jury in the Criminal Court acquitted Silverman of the charge (on which he was arraigned with Matthew Walsh, Stanley Thomas Flynn and Cyril Thomas Brennan) of having wilfully murdered Edgar Arthur Whitfield, caretaker of Caris Brothers' shop, on the night of February 5 last, when the jewellery was stolen from the premises. When the verdict of acquittal was announced Silverman was at once re-arested, under an ex-officio indictment issued directly out of the Supreme Court in order to obviate the necessity for a preliminary hearing before a magistrate in a lower court. Silverman, who has been carrying on business as Silverman and Sons, tailors, at Moana Chambers, Hay street, pleaded not guilty (when his second trial commenced before Mr. Justice Dwyer and a jury in the Criminal Court on September 4, to charges (1), that he stole from Caris Bros. shop a quantity of diamond rings, valued at over £500, the property of Caris Bros., Ltd., at Perth on February 5; and (2), that he received the rings, which had then lately been stolen, well knowing them to have been stolen or otherwise unlawfully obtained, at Perth; on or about May 17.

On September 5 - a week after his acquittal on the wilful murder charge- Silverman was found guilty of receiving the rings, and was remanded for sentence, after the Crown Prosecutor (Mr. C. B. Gibson) had stated that there was no record of previous convictions against the accused. To learn his fate, Silverman, with an anguished expression on a countenance from which the colour had fled, walked unsteadily into the Criminal Court dock on September 6, and faced Mr. Justice Dwyer. He gave one swift glance at the scarlet figure of his judge, then bent his head. His lips were twitching, and occasionally he pressed his closed hand against his brow, while he listened to evidence called by his senior counsel (Mr. A. C. Muir), in support of a plea for mitigation of sentence. "When I learnt that Silverman had been arrested I felt as though someone had given me a blow on the face, and I think that is what was felt by everyone who knew him," said the Rabbi (the Rev. D.I. Freedman), from the witness box. "I have known the accused for 24 or 25 years," the Rabbi affirmed. "I have known him, indeed, ever since he first arrived in this State with his family. I can say, without hesitation, that up to the time of the charge on which he has been found guilty. Silverman bore a very good character. He was a clean-living, hard-working, decent citizen, a good father and a very good husband."

His Honour turned to the prisoner. "Silverman," he said, "the offence of which the Jury has found you guilty is punishable with 14 years' imprisonment. In your case, seeing that it is a first offence, a term of that duration would not be proper. The total (or maximum) period is intended for second or repeated offenders. It might seen to be justice that you should be sentenced to some term similar to those imposed on your confederates, but I must remember, again, that you have been discharged of the principal crime. "It would not be proper, therefore, for me to Impose the sentence imposed on those otherwise implicated. In considering'this particular crime of receiving I cannot overlook the fact that it ls just about as bad a case of receiving as could be conceived. At the time you committed the acts which have resulted in your appearance here today, you knew that a robbery and a murder had been committed. "It is not relevant to this point that other men charged with the offence were later convicted of manslaughter. At the time of your offence the matter bore an altogether different complexion. You knew you were assisting thieves and murderers to get the monetary advantages of their crime -a very bad crime. I cannot overlook (despite the evidence as in your good character by the Rabbi and Mr. Clarke), that you appear to have been I carrying on a business for many years; it does not appear that you were driven to this course of action by poverty or by anything except greed for money. At the same time, however, I must give you some allowance for the evidence of character, and I purpose to slightly reduce the sentence which I had previously been disposed to pass. Giving full consideration to this evidence of character, and remembering other circumstances attendant on your crime, I have decided that the necessities of your case will be met by a sentence of six years' imprisonment with hard labour. That, according: will be the sentence imposed."

With a faltering step the prisoner quitted the dock, to await his transfer to other scenes of captivity. As he descended the stairs to the cells below the court, prior to his transfer to the Fremantle gaol, his gaze fell upon one of the principal Crown witnesses, Detective Sergeant J. D. Cowie, who was seated near the iron-barred stairway. Silverman thrust his face close to the bars and in a low, tense voice heaped angry maledictions on the detective, who smiled and waived him aside. Silverman was promptly hustled downward.


Source: Western Mail - 12th September 1935

Filling in the missing reports: The jury found Flynn, Brennan and Walsh guilty of manslaughter. On the 30th August 1935, Flynn and Walsh were sentenced to imprisonment for life and Brennan was sentenced to imprisonment for ten years with hard labour. Brennan was later granted a re-trial, and was acquitted on the 14th July 1936. Flynn was released in 1950. The fate of Walsh is unknown at the time of writing.

Trev.

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Re: Some Macabre Stories of the Silver Trade

Postby dognose » Wed Sep 04, 2013 1:37 pm

DANNENHOFFER

Paris

PARIS JEWEL MURDER
POLICE RECONSTRUCT CRIME
(Received 10th February, 2 p.m.) PARIS, 9th February. The police staged a dramatic reconstruction of the jewel murder on 17th November, in which a jeweller named Dannenhoffer was found shot. When the prisoner, Georges Gauchet, appeared, an angry crowd greeted him with cries of "Death to the assassin," and tried to attack the youth. Fearing that he would be lynched, Gauchet huddled trembling among the police. Gauchet's sweetheart was a tearful spectator of the reconstruction. Georges Gauchet inherited 200,000 francs from his father, a successful pastrycook. He gave up his job as bank clerk, and took a dancer for mistress. He came down to his last meal on 17th November. On that date a jeweller named Dannenhoffer was found murdered in his shop in the Rue Mozart, with sixteen shots in his skull, and other injuries. The only clue was a newspaper folded over the racing page. This enabled the detectives to discover that Gauchet had lost heavily on a race mentioned in the 'paper. They tracked the youth to a Montmartre cafe at 3 o'clock in the morning. On his wrist was a stolen watch. He confessed to robbing the shop, and to a desperate fight with the jeweller.


Source: Evening Post - 10th February 1931


PARIS EXECUTION
Ghastly Scene Witnessed by Large Crowds
FRENCH MURDERER'S END
(Received 11 a.m.) PARIS, December 27. Three thousand people, many of them Christmas revellers in evening dress, witnessed the public execution for the murder of a Paris jeweller of Georges Gauchet, the drug-saturated 20-year-old son of an aristocratic family.
The guillotine was erected outside La Sante prison.


Source: Auckland Star - 28th December 1931

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Re: Some Macabre Stories of the Silver Trade

Postby dognose » Fri Sep 06, 2013 9:00 am

JOHN ROBERT HINDMARSH (A.E. BUDGEN)

Adelaide

JEWEL ROBBERY
MANAGER ENTRAPPED
FOUND DEAD IN HOTEL
(United Press Association.–Copyright) ADELAIDE - 7th February.
A man walked into a jeweller's shop in the city and said that he was acting on behalf of a man who was lying ill at an Hotel. He made inquiries regarding jewellery, and the manager of the shop (Mr. John Robert Hindmarsh) took three single diamond rings valued at £60 each, motored to the hotel and went to a certain bedroom. In the morning a maid opened the door at 9.30 to announce that breakfast was ready and observed a man in bed, apparently asleep. She did not wake him; two hours later, on again going to the room, she saw the man in the same position.
The police were called in and it was found that the man in bed was dead. He proved to be Mr. Hindmarsh. The police are of the opinion that Mr. Hindmarsh was enticed to the room, where he was bound and gagged but the assailants took too long over the work and Mr. Hindmarsh was suffocated.
A young man has been detained in connection with the matter.


Source: Evening Post - 8th February 1927


NO SOLUTION.
ADELAIDE MURDER CASE. JEWELLER LURED TO DEATH. (From Our Own Correspondent.) SYDNEY, February 10. In Room 304, at the Grosvenor Hotel, Adelaide, on Suuday, police discovered the body of John Robert Hindmarsh, a jeweller, who had been strangled by murderous thieves. The discovery constitutes a mystery which has baffled solution since. Hindmarsh, who is manager for A. E. Budgen, one of the best known Adelaide jewellers, was approached by a stranger on Saturday morning, in the shop. The stranger said he was acting on behalf of a Mr. Sutton, who was lying ill in bed at the Grosvenor. Sutton, said the stranger confidentially, had been on a "burst," and had lost a valuable diamond ring which he must replace. Would Hindmarsh, as a special favour, bring a few rings, such as he described, to the hotel so that Sutton could make a selection. Before he left the shop with three rings, each worth £60, Hindmarsh told one of the other men where he was going. Police have discovered that Hindmarsh and the stranger drove to the Grosvenor in a taxicab, and went straight to Room 304, which is on the third floor. At 9.30 a.m. on Sunday a maid brought the announcement that breakfast was ready, but seeing a man apparently sleeping on the bed, did not wake him. Two hours later, when she returned and found him in the same position, her suspicions were roused, and she told the manager. He called the police, and they found that the man. who was Hindmarsh. was dead. The police view is that Hindmarsh was bound and gagged while the men who had enticed him there robbed him of the rings. But their gag was so effective that he suffocated. Further investigations have revealed that on the previous Thursday a man. who gave the name of Sutton, booked Room 304 for two days. It is not known, however, if he is the same man who, on Saturday morning took possession of it. No cry was heard from the room on Saturday morning, and it is concluded that Hindmarsh was attacked and overcome as soon as he entered the door. Two men believed to be those who assaulted and were responsible for the murder of Hindmarsh, left Adelaide by the Melbourne Express on Saturday afternoon. Hindmarsh, a Sydney man, was 37 years old, and transferred to Adelaide only two years ago. A strange feature of the tragedy is that, a few minutes before he was killed, Mrs. Hindmarsh, who was lying ill in bed in a private hospital, leapt from her bed in sudden fear that something terrible was happening. She had a premonition that her husband was concerned. She had been living apart from her husband for some weeks prior to his death, and last saw him alive a few days before the tragedy. Closer examination of the body by medical men has proved that he had been bound hand and foot, gagged, and severely punched about the head. This fits in with the theory that he was attacked soon after he entered Room 304. He had on him at the time the keys of the jewellery establishment which ho managed. These were not taken, though the three rings had disappeared when the police were called into the case.


Source: Auckland Star - 15th February 1927


DEATH DUE TO GAG
TWO MEN CHARGED WITH MURDER
(United Press Association.–Copyright.)
(Received 24th February, 8 a.m.)
ADELAIDE, 23rd February At the inquest into the death of John Robert Hindmarsh, a jeweller, who was found dead in an hotel with a gag in his mouth, Ronald Reynolds and John Baxter were committed for trial on a charge of murder. The verdict was that death was due to rapid asphyxiation, caused by injuries to the neck and windpipe, as the result of a gag being fastened tightly over his mouth and round the neck.
Mr. Hindmarsh, in response to an inquiry for jewellery, took three diamond rings, valued at £60 each, to an. hotel, and went to a certain bedroom. He was found next morning dead.


Source: Evening Post - 24th February 1927

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Re: Some Macabre Stories of the Silver Trade

Postby dognose » Sat Sep 07, 2013 9:57 am

ALBERT BRILLMAN

Paris

DOUBLE TRAGEDY
Australian and N.Z. Cable Association. PARIS, June 3.
Dancers at a fashionable restaurant in the Champs Elysees heard a shot and rushed out into the garden, where they found Suzanne Geiger, a well-known mannequin, and her former lover, Albert Brillman, a jeweller, dead.
After watching the girl dance, Brillman asked her to come into the garden, where he pleaded with her to return to him. She replied that it was impossible, whereupon Brillman shot her through the head and then shot himself.


Source: Evening Post - 5th June 1923

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Re: Some Macabre Stories of the Silver Trade

Postby dognose » Tue Sep 10, 2013 12:33 pm

ERNEST PERCIVAL KEY

Surbiton, London

BANDAGED HANDS - CLUE TO MURDER - JEWELLER'S HEAD WOUNDS - MOTOR DRIVER TO DIE
(By Air Mail.) LONDON, March 4.
A police constable saw a neighbour with bandaged hands. That fact trapped a murderer. Such in short is the "inside" story behind sentence of death passed at the Old Bailey yesterday on William Thomas Butler, 29-year-old Teddington motor driver, for the lock-up shop murder of Ernest Percival Key, Surbiton jeweller, on Christmas Eve.
Living a few doors away from Butler in Laurel Road, Hampton Hill, was Police Constable George Mawdsley, attached to Teddington Police Station. Often they passed the time of day.
Just after Christmas P.C. Mawdsley noticed that his neighbour's hands were heavily bandaged. At first he paid no attention. Then came a description of a man "wanted" for the murder, plus the suggestion that the assailant might have received injuries.
P.C. Mawdsley realised that his neighbour fitted the description. Scotland Yard swooped on Butler's house, found in it some of the incriminating evidence. In court a statement was read which Butler said he quarrelled with Mr. Key, who struck at him with a knife. There was a "terrible struggle" and Key fell.
Juror In Tears
Butler, in the box, was asked: "Did you kill Mr Key?" He replied "I did not. Only in self defence. I acted in self-defence and Mr. Key was killed".
Butler added that he committed seven housebreakings in October and November at Brentford, Greenford. New Maiden and Hounslow, and sold practically all the loot to Key.
He said that a quarrel arose when he asked Key for money owing. Key produced knife and cut him, whereupon he (Butler) lost his temper and they fought for the knife, in the course of which Key collapsed, wounded.
Summing-up, Mr. Justice Singleton told the jury: "If you think there was something on the part of Mr. Key in the nature. of an attack upon Butler, and if you think that caused this man. to lose control of himself, it is open to you to return a verdict of manslaughter. When you find the number of injuries that there were upon the dead man's head, do you think it is possible?"
When the jury returned their verdict after fifty minutes, one of the three women members was in tears. She buried her head in her hands.
Butler stood erect with his hands behind his back. He remained calm, and his pale face did not change as he heard sentence of death.
His wife, who had been in court during the trial, was not present at the final scene. She broke down.


Source: Auckland Star - 22nd March 1939

Ernest Key was 64 years of age at the time of his murder. He had been in business at 74, Victoria Road, Surbiton since c.1920. Prior to going into business on his own account, he had been a buyer and manager at various jewellery establishments in the West End of London.

William Thomas Butler was hanged at Wandsworth Prison on 29th March 1939.

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