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Decisions of the Superior Courts of New South Wales, 1788-1899

R. v. Finnie [1839] NSWSupC 59

murder - domestic violence - Wollombi

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Stephen J., 6 August 1839

Source: Sydney Herald, 9 August 1839[1] 

Before Mr. Justice Stephen and a Military Jury.

Thomas Finnie was indicted for the wilful murder of Elizabeth Finnie, his wife, at Wollombi, or Cockfighter's Creek, in the district of Hunter's River, on the 23rd of April last.

The prisoner was a small settler at the Wollombi, and having conceived that his wife was in comply with a bullock driver, or some person who was staying at a neighbour's hut occupied by one Samuel Ether, went there and enquired for his wife, who had just escaped out of the back door, having by some means heard that her husband was coming; he went out afterwards and found her about six or seven rods from Ether's hut, beat her with fists for about ten minutes, then returned home, fetched a musket, and beat her about the head and body until he broke the musket; then dragged her by the hair of her head to the threshold of Ether's house, and dashed her head against it; threw her down again, and lifted up a tub of water standing in the verandah and threw the tub and all over her face, then dragged her by the hair again to an iron-bark tree about seven rods, where his conduct was disgustingly indecent and brutal.  After this he beat her dreadfully, and on taking her home threw her down and jumped upon her; ultimately, with assistance, he took her home, where she died.

These facts were sworn to by Ether's wife and her servant Loughlin, and although there were some slight discrepancies, their evidence was corroborative on all the material points.  Guilty.

His Honor, in passing sentence, told the prisoner that it was totally impossible that any mercy could be extended towards him.

The prisoner was defended by Messrs. Foster and Windeyer.



[1] See also Sydney Gazette, 8 August 1839.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University