Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Wednesday Weird: The Gatton Murders

To continue on our Wednesday Weird trend as we ramp up towards ASSASSIN'S HEART'S release date (wooo!) today we have another strange murder. This one took pace in 1898 in Australia.

Which, I mean, it's Australia. Pretty much everything's trying to kill everyone there, but still. Spiders and snakes and even platypuses (yes, they're venomous too) got nothing on people.

On December 25th, Michael, Ellen and Nora Murphy went out to a country dance. They never came home.

The next day, their relative, William McNeil, went out to search for them. He followed the tracks from their cart to a rural area called Moran's Paddock. And that's where he found them.

They had been badly mutilated and he found them carefully arranged on rug with their hands bound behind their backs. The women had been sexually assaulted and Michael had been shot behind his right ear.

Let's not forget that this was in 1898 in a small, peaceful (not counting, y'know, the spiders) area of Australia. William McNeil didn't really know what to do, but he did run back and find people to return with him and act as witnesses. Unfortunately, they didn't do much to help with preserving the crime scene. In fact, the crime scene was so bad, with the public coming and going and wandering around, that someone actually looted Michael's corpse. Stay classy.

Michael, Ellen and Nora were well-liked people and had no criminal histories or trouble in the past.

The inspector put in charge did what most small town law enforcement did back in the day and accused an out of towner. But he had an alibi. So he accused another out of towner. Who also had an alibi.

And that was pretty much as far as the law enforcement ever got on the case. It didn't help that the inspector was so incompetent and so patronizing to Michael, Nora and Ellen's mother that the entire family refused to deal with the police any further.

Theories abound still today. One of the strongest ones, developed by a sleuthing grandmother (I'm not even joking here) is that Michael had earned an enemy when he had acted as a special constable at one time, to keep the peace in Gatton.

Thoughts or theories?

(see you next year!)


Matthew MacNish said...

Looted the entire corpse? Or like something from his pockets?

Rena said...

Matt, that's awesome! Also, I'm glad forensic science has progressed over the years.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Surprised the killer didn't loot the corpse. Sounds more like a murder that would take place today, but it just proves vile people have always existed.

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