BRUTAL MURDER IN AUCKLAND BY A FIJIAN.
Auckland, Sept. 27. At ten o’clock to-night a Fijian attempted to murder with an axe the two sons of Mr. Thos. Willcott, aged eleven and fourteen years. Willcott lately arrived from Fiji, and the Fijian had been in his service for seven years.. The youngest lad, Gibson Willcot.t; received a dangerous gash four inches in length; extending from his temple to the crown of his head. The other lad received a blow on the neck and face with the axe, but.is hot dangerously wounded. Another lad named Sandrys and the servant girl attempted to stop the ruffian while decamping when the alarm was given, but he threatened Sandrys with the weapon and threw a brick at the head of the girl, which fortunately missed her. He then fled, retaining possession of the axe, and has not been captured by the police. There are no hopes of the youngest lad surviving. Sept. 28. After the' murderous assault by the Fijian last night, the police started in pursuit, Inspector Pardy taking charge of the mounted men and scouring v the district, while the Superintendent i took charge of the men on foot, and surrounded the cemetery, in which the Fijian was supposed to be secreted. The ,surmise proved to be incorrect. The Fijian was seen at 11 o’clock, passing the Eden Vine Hotel. Going away from town this morning, a milkman named Matthew Crawford, residing near Mount Albert, found the body of a man lying on the road some distance from the ; Eden Vine- 'Hotel, with a clean cut on the i back of his skull, abouta n inch inwidth, which must have been instantly’fatal. Hie milkman reported the matter to the police. An : investigation. disclosed-■ that the murdered man’s name is Edward Race, who resides with his family in Hew’Horth Road, near Morningside. It is surmised that last night he and the Fijian must have encountered, and the Fijian must have crept noislessly behind him,! and dealt a fatal blow. This'morning the Fijian again made his appearance 'in the Mount Albert district. Hews has just been received that after felling a washerwoman near Mervilles, manager for Brown and Campbell, and breaking her arm, the, Fijian made off. He was hotly 'pursued, and was eventually captured, and .hr nowon his way to the Police Station. ' Henry Louis Rees, who was murdered this morning early on the new Horth road, near the Wesleyan Chapel, by the Hew Hebrides Islander “ Joe,” left home to meet his wife. He missed her on the road, and on his return home early this morning was met by Joe, who was hiding - in the scrub evading the search of the police, which had been maintained all night. The temptation to - kill was too strong for the Islander, and he crept up noiselessly behind the poor fellow; and felled him to the earth. The surrounding ground and little pools of water are marked and discolored with blood, but there are no other marks to denote a struggle. The wife of Rees, oh hearing of the outrage this morning, had a presentiment that the victim was her husband, as he' Fad not returned home. On - going to the spot
•with lisr daughter her fears were verified, and their grief was harrowing. Rees was forty-two years of age, and lived at Momingside. He arrived in Auckland thirteen months’ ago in the Famenoth,. with his wife and three daughters, and has been working with his nephew, John Redshaw, in the boiling-down establishment, but was recently out of work. Joe, after completing the murder, proceeded to Mount Albert. He called at Mr. Melville’s at Ba. m., and demanded food from the washerwoman, Mrs. Arnold, to whom he spoke. She refused, and Joe at once pounced upon her, and after a desperate resistance on her part throw her down. He struck at her repeatedly with the axe, but she fenced off his blows with her arms. They are fearfully hacked about, while one severe wound extends across her temple. Her screams brought assistance, and at the noise of footsteps Joe decamped. In the yard he was met by Mr., Melville, who assailed him with a log of wood. Seizing a convenient opportunity, he struck out with the log and broke the handle of the axe in two. His wife came out with his revolver, at the sight of which Joe held up his hands as if pleading for his life, and made signs and said something in his own tongue. Mr. Melville secured the murderer with ropes, and tied his hands and feet till the police arrived. The police brought Joe to the station, and on the way great crowds lined the streets to get a glimpse of the savage. It appears that the act must have been premeditated, because some little time before the assault on the boys was committed last night Constable Gordon, who was attired in plain clothes, was standing in Queen street when he saw the native passing up with the axe in his hand, which he was apparently trying to conceal from observation. Constable Gordon’s suspicicions were roused and he directed the attention of Constable Gorman to the circumstance. A short consultation resulted in Constable Gordon’s interrupting and interrogating the man, who did not appear intoxicated or under any excitement, and was able to give a satisfactory account of his residence and business. He was, accordingly, allowed to pass on. Joe came to Auckland with Willcott from Fiji, in the Meg Merrilies, a month ago. He is twenty-five years of age, of small build, and a miserable specimen of humanity. Mr. John Thurstan, of Fiji, states that he belongs to the most treacherous and murderous tribe in the New Hebrides group. After reaching the police cell, a loaf of bread was given to him. He tore it with his teeth like a ravenous wild beast. Mr. Wilson, who speaks Fijian, went in and . spoke to him, and succeeded in making him understand generally the purport of his questions. While speaking he rolled his head from side to side, eating bread all the time. The substance of his replies was that the white people knocked him about, and that his head yesterday was swimming round, and he did not , know what was the matter with him. < There is little' doubt that he had been drinking with some Fiji boys.
Sept. 29. Mrs. E. Wington, wife of a settler living near the scene of the murder of Rees by the Fijian, was passing near on the night of the tragedy with her daughter, when she heard sounds of blows and groans. This was about a quarter past nine. Ming ton was asked to engage the same Fijian, but having seen him on board the vessel disliked his appearance and declined to hire him. An inquest takes place at one o’clock to-day. At the Police Court this morning the Fijian was brought up on the charge of murder and two other charges of assault with intent to kill. He pleaded guilty to all three charges, and was remanded, pending the inquest. At the inquest on the body of Henry Louis Reece, who was murdered by the Islander “ Joe,” the evidence of the ■witnesses who had met him in the locality d£ the murder at 9.30 p.m. on Monday night was clear and conclusive. A lock of hair of the deceased, when compared with the blood on the axe, corresponded, being streaked with grey ; also the wound on the head was similar in size and shape with the weapon. Prisoner, in defence, admitted his guilt, but said he had been harshly treated by Woolcott, who had corrected him. The children also chaffed and teased him. He brooded over it, and when they said the Maoris would cut his hands off and put his extremeties in the fire, he lifted up the axe and struck young Woolcott. He had nothing more to say. A verdict of wilful murder was returned. The remains of the murdered man were buried in the Wesleyan cemetery this afternoon.
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