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Colonial Cases


R v Burke and Donohu [1826] NSWSupC 14

R v Butler [1826] NSWSupC 49

R v Cummings [1826] NSWSupC 32

R v Curtan and Ryan [1826] NSWSupC 5

R v Griffiths [1826] NSWSupC 58

R v Lavery [1826] NSWSupC 10

R v Otham [1826] NSWSupC 6

R v Radley [1826] NSWSupC 72

R v Ridgway, Chip, Colthurst and Stanly [1826] NSWSupC 62

R v Smith and Moore [1826] NSWSupC 59

R v Wells [1826] NSWSupC 74

R v White [1826] NSWSupC 26


The Monitor, Friday 19 May 1826 (4)

The eldest son of Mr. McDougal fell from his horse, and died very shortly afterwards.  To Mr. Kelly of the half-way house, he said "I am a dead man" - these were the only words spoken by the unfortunate gentleman.


The Monitor, Friday 30 June 1826

A Coroner's Inquest was held on Wednesday sen'night at the house of Captain Gillman, on the body of his servant, a private of the 3rd Buffs, who shot himself at his residence.  The Jury brought in a verdict of mental derangement at the time he shot himself.


The Monitor, Friday 7 July 1826

A Coroner's Inquest was held on Wednesday upon the body of a man named McGlynn a blacksmith, who having been carried from the King's Wharf in a state of extreme intoxication, to the watch house, No. 2, was notwithstanding every caution used, found a corpse before morning.---Verdict, died from suffocation.


The Monitor, Friday, 21 July 1826

A Coroner's Inquest was held on Monday sen'night at Hill's tavern, upon the body of a woman named Mitchell, who died in the General Hospital.  It appeared that the deceased came to her death in consequence of the brutal treatment of her husband two days previous.  The body exhibited many marks of violence.  Verdict---Wilful Murder against her husband.  It ought to be made known to the Police, that the neighbours heard the woman cry murder for several hours previous to her being taken away out of the street.  A proof that Kent-street is not watched by the Constables as it ought to be.


FRIDAY, 21st.

   HUGH MITCHELL, free labourer, was indicted for the wilful murder of Norah Murphy, on the 6th instant at Sydney.  It appeared in evidence, that the deceased cohabited with the prisoner at the time in question.  On the evening of Friday, Mitchell was heard treating the unfortunate object of his fury with brutal violence---he had dragged her from her bed, and after the infliction of the alleged violence he flung her into the street, where she lay for some time insensible.  The deceased was carried to the general Hospital, where she lingered until the following Sunday, when she expired.  The Surgeon who examined the body, was of opinion, that severe internal injury occasioned by violent treatment occasioned her death.  The fact of her survival for 24 hours after the infliction of the wounds, taking away in some degree the capital part of the charge, the Jury returned a Verdict of Manslaughter.---Remanded.


The Monitor, Friday 8 September 1826



Hugh Mitchell, of Sydney, free labourer, indicted for the wilful murder of Nora Murphy, but found guilty of manslaughter.  To be transported for three years.

   On Tuesday last a coroner's inquest was held at the Punch Bowl farm, on the body of George Jackson, who was killed by the overturning of his cart, one of the wheels of which ran over his body.---Verdict, accidental death.


See R v Mitchell [1826] NSWSupC 44


The Monitor, Friday 18 August 1826

CORONERS INQUESTS.---On Wednesday sen'night, a coroner's inquisition was taken before the Coroner for the county, on view of the body of Mr. Wm. Seaward, who was found in bed a lifeless corpse.---The Jury found a verdict of Sudden Death.  The deceased, aged 30 years, was the son of an opulent dealer in the City of Cork.  He lately emigrated to this colony.  An affectionate wife and young family are left to deplore his irreparable loss.

   ANOTHER inquest was held on Tuesday, on the body of Mr. C. Landers, Saddler, residing in Pitt Street, who put a period to his existence by cutting his throat, during the preceding night.  The deceased was an honest, truth-telling man, was of long standing in the colony, and was known as possessing many eccentric traits in his disposition.  He had unfortunately become much embarrassed, which preyed on his declining spirits.  On the day previous to committing the fatal act, a friend asked the cause of his seeming depression, to whom he replied, "I am a deranged ruined man," and stated debts to be the primary cause.  He retired to rest on Monday night in health, and not unusually sorrowful, and was found in the morning a corpse, having the jugular vein separated.  "Verdict, put a period to his existence, during a fit of temporary insanity."

   A Coroner's Inquest was held on Monday last, on the body of Alicia Russell, a free woman, who died while in a state of intoxication.---Verdict, died from suffocation occasioned b y excessive drinking.


The Monitor, Friday 25 August 1826

A Coroner's inquest was held on Monday morning, at "The Spinning Wheel," on the Parramatta road, upon the body of William James.  The deceased was employed by Mr. Murray, to paint the outside of his house; on Saturday while so occupied, he complained of indisposition, and requested assistance to help him off the ladder, on which he was working; being put to bed, he remained quiet until Sunday morning, when he was seized with an eruption of blood, arising from the bursting of a blood vessel.  The jury having heard the depositions to the above circumstances as above, returned a verdict to that effect.

   A melancholy occurrence took place on Saturday afternoon, of which the following are the particulars.  A very interesting little girl, aged about 3 years, the infant of an officer in the Bengal Native Infantry, resided in Philip Street, under the care of a nurse named Williams.  A man of the name of Colton, who occasionally employed his leisure hours at the house of Williams, was at the time in question, assisting him to unload a cart; among other articles handed to him, was a loaded musquet.  The unfortunate child being partial to Colton hasted to meet him; in opening the gate of the house, it struck the piece, which went off at half cock, and the abdomen of the infant was perforated by its contents, (small shot) which caused it to bleed to death in about 15 minutes, having severed the main arteries seated in the groin.  The inquest returned a verdict of accidental death, exculpating the unhappy man from even a shadow of guilt; notwithstanding which he is so mentally afflicted, that he is now labouring under severe indisposition.


The Monitor, Friday 15 September 1826

A Coroner's Inquest was held on Friday morning, at Hyde Park Tavern, upon the body of Mr. John Ratcliffe, of George-street, Hatter, who was found drowned on the preceding afternoon.  The deceased had been for some time in a desponding state, which had increased by his having undergone a temporary incarceration of a few hours in the watch-house, for being found intoxicated at an unseasonable hour, and his person not being at the time recognized by the constables.  He had frequently expressed apprehension of impending ruin, and made enquiries of his wife if his coffin were prepared? On Thursday morning he left his home, not was ought heard of him, until his body was found lying at the water's edge, near Woolloomooloo Cove, where it was scarcely deep enough to cover his face.---Verdict---Drowned himself in a state of mental aberration.

   The danger of the practice of leaving wells uncovered (a practice very prevalent in Sydney) is demonstrated by the melancholy fact of three or four children in Sydney having become the victims of this want of caution during the last twelvemonth.  A child belonging to a young woman named Farthing, while playing in the garden of the house in which its parents resided, was suddenly missed, nor for a long time could any tidings of the lost infant begained, until the discovery of the body in the well cleared up the mystery, and left the unhappy mother to mourn the effects of her want of caution.


The Monitor, Friday 29 September 1826

A coroner's inquest was held a day or two since in the gaol, on the body of William North, a prisoner under sentence of transportation.  The deceased had for a long time been an inmate of the infirmary, and his disorder an internal one brought him to the grave.  Verdict, Died by the visitation of God.


The Monitor, Friday 3 November 1826

An extraordinary discovery of murder, has very recently taken place, in the neighbourhood of Campbell Town---A government notice appeared some few weeks ago offering a reward of twenty pounds for the discovery of a respectable house-keeper, named Fisher, who has been missing nearly four months.  Diligent search was made for a length of time, and no tidings could be gained untill Tuesday, when by the aid of some black natives the body was discovered in a field three feet below the surface of the ground---The face was completely flattened, the head fractured, and the body in a state of decay, indicating the fact of its having been a considerable time buried.  Suspicion it is said attaches to a man resident in the neighbourhood with whom the deceased some time since had a serious quarrel on which occasion violence was used, which ended in the committal of Fisher to take his trial---he was subsequently acquitted, but a rancorous feeling still as it should seem subsisted in the breast of the then accuser.  The deceased was missing, and his hostile neighbour reported the departure of the absentee for England---A horse the property of Fisher came into his possession, to account for which he produced a forged receipt---The deceased was a man of rather penurious habits and was possessed of considerable property.  The man above mentioned is stated to be in custody.

   A correspondent says, "The premature death of an unfortunate girl, the circumstances attending which we are about to relate, affords a striking and salutary example to the young and inexperienced of the fatal effects of dissipation, and an irregular course of living.  The deceased a native of the colony, named Esther Condon, aged twenty, was removed on the morning of Saturday from her wretched habitation in Pitt-street, where it would appear she had long lingered a prey to a destructive and virulent disease, to the general hospital; her deplorable state may be easier conceived than described, from the fact of her becoming a corpse on the same evening.---At a very tender age she had wandered from the path of virtue, from which, to the present period, her life had been an unceasing scene of the moist abandoned profligacy.  A sister of the deceased some years younger, is, it is said, treading in the steps of the deceased, and her past life, juvenile as she is, gives strong indication of a similar fate awaiting her.  It must be a source of regret to every friend of humanity, that no one was found to extend a saving hand to this unfortunate object; that one of Australia's daughters should have been allowed to sink into an untimely grave, lost to salvation without a warning voice to recall her to a state of her awful condition.  An inquest was held upon the body on Sunday morning at Hill's Tavern, Hyde Park.---Verdict, Died by the visitation of God."

   A coroner's inquest was held on Saturday on the body of an unfortunate seaman, who was drowned on Friday by the upsetting of the boat under the quarter of The Warspite.  He had engaged to join the ship as a mariner and was accordingly proceeding on board when the accident happened.---Verdict, accidentally drowned.


The Monitor, Friday 29 December 1826

   AN infirm old creature named Mary Harris, many years a sojourner in the Colony, was found houseless and homeless a few nights since in a dying state.  She was taken on the following morning to the General Hospital, where she shortly expired.  An Inquest was held upon her body, and a Verdict returned accordingly.---It is a remarkable fact that many very aged poor of this Colony particularly Irish people, owing chiefly no doubt to the mildness of the climate, will not accept a birth in the Asylum until the pains of death compel them at length to consent to being taken there, notwithstanding the treatment at that Institution is of the kindest and most liberal description.

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