Skip to Content

Colonial Cases

R v. Diaz and Turohaen, 1890

[attempted murder]

R. v. Diaz and Turohaen

Consular Court, Kobe

Source: San Francisco Call, 18 October 1890


He Put Arsenic in the Bread of the Crew of the Lizzie Troop.

A heavy dose of arsenic administered to their food by a Malay steward and cook came near to causing the death of all hands aboard the British ship Lizzie Troop on her passage from this city to Japan.  The two would-be murderers, who were obtained at a sailors' boarding-house in this city, were Mohammedans, and, though Allah bade them make off with the lives of the party, too much poison was given, and this alone prevented disastrous results.

A letter written to an employee of the Atlantic Refining company by the mate of the bark Tanner E. Marshal, also from Philadelphia, states that both of the men were arrested at the instance of Captain G. B. Frownes, the master of the Troop, and were held to await trial by the English Consular Court, which was ordered to be convened at Kobe.  The steward gave his name as D. Diaz, and his companion, who did the cooking, went under the name of Charley Turohaen. 

Early in the passage the thought struck the steward that Captain Frownes and his wife and the mate, John R. Troop, had better be put out of the way.  He at once told Turonaen what Allah had commanded him and proposed poisoning as the easiest way to accomplish the desired end.

When the vessel passed New Anjier the steward filled a batch of bread with the powder, and the same day Captain and Mrs. Frownes and Troop, the mate, were taken sick.  They lay about the deck vomiting, not able to assist one another.  Finally Captain Frownes imagined from the Malays' actions that he had been poisoned, and stomach-pumps were ordered at once.  The rough but determined efforts of a sturdy boatswain saved the lives of all.

Before the Consular Court some of the crew testified that they had heard the Malays agree to poison all hands and anchor the vessel near one of the Malay group of Islands, so as to deliver her up to their kinsmen. - Philadelphia Record.


Source: Press (NZ), 6 December 1890


Letters received at Philadelphia on the 7th October from Japan state that that two Malays, the steward and the cook of the British ship Lizzie Troop, during her voyage our from Philadelphia, put a heavy dose of arsenic into the food, nearly causing the death of all on board.  Both are Mahommedans, and are under arrest.  The English Consular Court has been convened at Kobe, near Kiogo, at the instance of Captain Frowns, to try the accused. ...

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School