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The Hawthorn Murder

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The Hawthorn Murder

Post by Karen on Tue 22 Jan 2013 - 23:26

The Hawthorn Mystery.


With regard to the Hawthorn mystery now engaging serious attention at Melbourne and elsewhere, the following additional particulars may prove interesting: "At an early hour on November 26, the Russell street police received information from the Hawthorn police of a strange discovery in that suburb. A bag was found laying on the footpath at the corner of Manning Tree Road and Coward street, to which was pinned a piece of paper with the words, "Lot No. 1. J. Ripper," daubed on it. The discoverer opened the bag, and was horrified to find that the contents consisted of two human legs, from which blood was still running. The affair was immediately reported to the local police; and Dr. Embling was called in. The doctor examined the limbs, and gave it as his opinion that they were those of a man, and that they had been cut off during life. The limbs were conveyed to the City Morgue, and Dr. Embling was enabled to make a more minute examination, and this time he found that the limbs had been severed just after death, and not before, as he had previously stated. He was also of opinion that the work had been done by a person experienced in surgery. The limbs had been severed immediately below the knee. They were wrapped in a newspaper.
The matter was reported to the detective office, and Superintendent Kennedy detailed Detective-Sergeant Considine and Cawsey to investigate the case. These two officers, who, it will be remembered, brought Deeming to justice, have been all day endeavouring to clear up the mystery. They incline to the belief that the whole affair is a ghastly joke, and point out that it is very unlikely that the murderer would secrete the body and then place the legs on a public footpath; but it is possible that some lunatic might have committed the murder, secreted the body, and placed the legs where they were found. No clue whatever has been secured in the locality.
The general opinion is that a brutal and deliberate murder has been committed, and that the murderer was endeavouring to get his victim out of the way by throwing pieces of the body into the Yarra. The street in which the limbs were found leads to a very secluded part of the river, and it is supposed that the murderer, while on his way to the river, dropped the bag on hearing footsteps approaching.
The police express the opinion that the bag had not been on the pavement many minutes when it was found. The bag was first seen by two ladies, who were being escorted home by a gentleman named Pousford. One of the ladies directed Mr. Pouford's attention to the bag, and on making a cursory examination, he thought that it was the body of a baby. He said he would first see the ladies home, and would then return and report the matter to the police. When he got back the bag was gone, and he did not trouble himself further about it.
Drs. Embling, Anderson, and Wilkinson saw the legs again next day, and are of opinion that the amputation was not the work of a skilled surgeon, as the legs had been hacked off at the knee joint. The doctors think that the legs are those of a rather small man, and that they were cut off within 24 hours after death.
The Chief Commission of Police is of opinion that the legs were intended for dissection by some student in anatomy. The bag in which the limbs were found is a bran bag, and there were a few cabbage stalks in the bottom. The first to give information concerning the limbs was Mrs. Underwood. She was returning home with her sister, Mrs. Spinks, and her attention was attracted by the bag, over which she tripped. She stooped down and examined the bag. Finding that it was tied at the mouth with a string she unfastened it, and to her horror placed her hand on a human foot. The ladies ran towards the police station, but met a constable and gave him the information.

Source: The Thames Advertiser, December 6, 1892

Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"

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