Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Coogee Murder-John Meagher's trial.

A mysterious murder is engaging the attention of the Sydney police.
Last evening it was reported that Marjorie Meagher, wife of John Meagher (34), a wealthy Victorian squatter and racehorse owner, had been found dead in a flat at Coogee with her head severely battered.
Her husband informed the police that he had returned to find his wife dead, and could supply no motive for the crime.
The couple are said to have been on the most affectionate of terms.
Later the police detained Meagher, who appeared before the court today charged with murder.
As the result of investigations today a blood-stained dressing gown and shirt were found in a waterhole near the site of the tragedy. In the pocket of the dresing-gown the police found a door key, with which they were subsequently able to open the door of the flat.
The police completely dismiss from their minds any idea of robbery as the motive, as a large quantity of jewellery and expensive clothing belonging to the dead woman was found intact."
-The Mercury, Hobart, Saturday, November 22, 1919.


The tragedy at Coogee on Thursday involving the death of Mrs Meagher, formerly of Melbourne,is a mystery. As far as can be ascertained, there was no motive for the crime. The police today arrested the dead woman's husband, John Meagher. At the Central Police Court he was charged with having feloniously murdered his wife. He was remanded until November 28, bail being refused.
Meagher has informed the police that when he returned home from the city he found his wife lying on the bed, clad in a nightdress. There were pools of blood everywhere and there were four long wounds in her head. He hurried for the ambulance authorities, whose station was near by, and Dr. Densam, who was summoned, pronounced life extinct.
The police are baffled to know how the wounds were inflicted, but medical opinion is that they were inflicted with a piece of wood.
There were many valuables in the flat, but nothing as was touched robbery was evidently not the motive for the murder.
It is understood that Mrs. Meagher's mother returned to Victoria only a few weeks ago after spending a holiday with her daughter.
Mr. james Carpenter, the proprietor of the Castlemaine Hotel, Sydney,and formerly of Melbourne, states that he is well acquainted with Mr Meagher. Before Mrs. Meagher was married she was Miss Marjorie Kathleen Smith, of Wellington Street, Windsor, Melbourne.A stepson of Dr. Bride, of Melbourne (Mr. Meagher), lived at St. Kilda. He had an income of3,400 pounds from station properties near Hamilton, Warrnambool and Koroit, Victoria.Mr. Carpenter said Mr. Meagher was an ardent sportsman and owned racehorses in Melbourne years ago, the best of his string having been Golden Point, who won many races."
- The Advertiser, Adelaide, Saturday, 22 November, 1919.

The veil of mystery shrouding the murder of Mrs Meagher, of Melbourne, at her flat in Coogee, according to police, is slowly lifting, and important developments are early expected. The police have in hand enquiries that may lead to the identity of a man wearing a dressing gown who was seen going to the beach on Thursday afternoon some time before Mrs meagher was found dead in her room. Two women have stated that they are able to identify the wearer of the garment, which attracted their attention, and they are to be given the opportunity if it presents itself of doing this.
The police have been unable to find any weapon with which the terrible injuries to Mrs meagher may have been inflicted. They attach considerable importance to the find of a blood-stained dressing gown and shirt in the park near the beach.
Mrs. Smith, mother of Mrs Meagher, together with Miss Dolly Smith, her daughter, who hurried from Melbourne when notified of the tragedy, were interviewed in Sydney today. Mrs Smith is certain that the murder could not have been committed by her son-in-law, Mr. John Meagher."John", she said, "would not kill a fly." She said the couple were married only a year and eleven months ago, and were happy and devoted. Mrs meagher says her theory of the crime is that a burglar entered her daughter's flat with the intention of robbing her, but being disturbed by the barking of her dog and her waking, killed her and made good his escape. In order to divert suspicion, Mrs Smith surmised that he picked up a blood-stained dressing gown and shirt and took them with him, and dropped them in the reserve near the flat. Mrs Smith said her son-in-law, who is under arrest charged with murder, had begged to be allowed to attend his wife's funeral, thinking she was to be buried in Sydney, but Mrs Smith said the dead woman would be taken to Melbourne to be buried at Brighton.
John Meagher was examined by the Government medical officer at the police headquarters on Saturday. No report was issued."

- The Advertiser,Adelaide, Monday, 24 November, 1919.

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