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A Sydney Sensation.

THE DOINGS OF THE REV. DR. M'LEOD.

AN EXTRAORDINARY STORY. Telegrams from Napier, which have appeared in our columns during the past few days, have referred to the arrest there of a Dr M'Leod, on a charge of bigamy and attempted rape. On the charge of bigamy, the accused is stated to have been released I from gaol on a technical objection to the ! warrant. His liberty, however, was of short duration, for he was immediately rearrested on the serious charge of attempted rape. The prisoner is, or was, a duly i licensed Presbyterian clergyman in addition to holding a medical diploma, and is not, we understand, altogether unknown in Auckland.

A Melbourne contemporary, the "Evening Standard," gives what it alleges to be some particulars bearing on the above charges, and the career of the accused. It says:—"Some three years ago the inhabitants of Ocean-street, Woolharra, Sydney, were duly apprised of the fact that Mr John M'Leod, M.D., D.D., had settled in their bosom. They became aware of his arrival partly because of a brass plate, and partly by reason of the ap- 1 pearance of a well-dressed gentleman, faultlessly attired in well fitting clothes and smiles, who drove about in a buggy. This was John M'Leod, M.D., and he penetrated into the homes and hearths of ■ Woolharra, gaining favor by his affable kindly ways, his ready jokes, and his pleasant manner. Then another section of the teeming millions of Woolharra became acquainted with a grave (apparently), youngish man, with a sad expression as of some deep trouble, who came and spoke gratuitous words of condolence and comfort, and intimated generally that he was 'in religion.' That was Dr M'Leod, D.D. Well, M'Leod . prospered hugely. If he could not always ' save bodies, he could at least save souls, and when the soul was all right he did a lively trade in tonics and pills. He was generally respected throughout the neighi .borhood ; the young ladies adored him — he was so kind, and yet so bright. The old ladies thought him 'so superior,' and such a 'good man,' whilst the oldest ladies cherished thoughts of marriage. M'Leod opened a church in the neighborhood, and greatly edified by his eloquent morning discourses. M'Leod, as the sequel will prove, was not a marrying man. Whilst his popularity was at its height, the doctor disappeared. He had gone without leaving as much as a word behind him. A week passed,..and the tongue of gossip was busy with the good man's disappearance. Some said that, in his pious work amongst the lowest classes, he had been set upon and foully murdered ; others that he had been drowned. Another week passed, and evil-tongued rumour, never quiet with the most spotless of reputations, began to whisper and bruit strange motives as to the sudden lapsing of the virtuous doctor. A light was to be speedily thrown on the mystery, and an unpleasant ugly light it was. A young girl named Wilkins, who had been employed by M'Leod as a servant, attended at the local Police Court, and through her solicitor, asked for a warrant for his arrest. It is not necessary to particularise the offence alleged against M'Leod. It was one which is not usually I committed by either doctors or divines, ! and is of a contemptible and loathsome character. A warrant was duly granted for M'Leod's arrest,- but it was never executed nntil two weeks ago, when the news came that he had been captured at Napier.

" Had the luckless servant girl been the only person who demanded justice against M'Leod, it is more than probable that he would still be at large. But that leads us to another part of this gentleman's, in a way, interesting life. In the year 1872, M'Leod, by some means or other, became acquainted with the family of Mr John Bwing, of Darling Point, which consisted of Mr and Mrs Ewing, and their daughter Mrs Manson, a widow. The same grave humor, the same fascination of manners, address, and conversation, that had given him such a hold on the esteem of Ocean street, enabled him to worm his Avay into the affections of Mrs Manson. Her male friends saw his designs, mistrusted the man, and advised her to be on her guard. The lady listened to their advice, and allowed M'Leod to make love to. her, Spie had £1500 a year in l]er own light, left to her by a former husband, £10QQ of which she was to lose if. she married again. She gave up the £1000 and married M'Leod. The pair set out for a bridal tour through America; and .M'Leod it is alleged, quickly threw off his specious mask of affection. The unhappy lady returned to her relations, and they protected her from the importunities of her husband. Then the escapade a.t Ocean-street was made public, and Mrs Manson's friends' suspicions were aroused in another direction. They began to suspect him o.f bigamy. Determined, if possible, to free his unfortunafeg daughter from the clutches, of M'Leod, ataUQosfcs, Mr Ewing employed detectives, regardless of expense, to find out something about M'Leod's early life. Two years had passed, and Mr Ewing began to despair of bringing home the charge of bigamy to MfLqod, but the detectives were certain they were on the right scent.

" And now comes the strangest part of this sirange and s^rdjcj gtory. In the month of May, 11889,' a young lady named Miss E. Cameron became, acquainted with a man in the city of St Louis, Missouri, U.S.A. The lady fell in love, and they were married. Six months of married life wei'B pa.sseq, ijnd fchg husband began to treat the 'wife brutally, TJjen He deserted her. Carelessly turning over a newspaper one clay she came across an advertisement which struck her. It was an appeal to any wife "ikljq liacl been deserted by a man to give information £o— r—^, an 4 then followed a description of the man. Advertisements giving the descriptions of people can necessarily convey but a very faint idea of the person described; but somehow Miss Cameron's instinct told her that the man sought for in the advertisement was her husband. S^ho communiqat'ed with the address, and as a vekiilt made a journey of several hundred nu'les. At the ei)d' of it she was shown a photograph, and' she at once recognised it as the man who had married her six months ago.' The detecftves ' &ct iq work, and, rightly or wrongly,' arresteq"^'maii "named' John M'Leod at Napier. They think he is the man who married Mrs Manson and Miss Cameron, and is wanted'for the Ocean sfcre'qt charge. It remains to be seen whether- thsiv Are, i^ii, Meanwhile Miss Cameron is in' Sydney, waiting tQ''pr.osis:--cute. ' - ' • '

Another extraordinary thing in connection \yit)i this extraordinary case is the fact that though a warrant was ifisued for M'Leod's arrest over three years'ago,' aW although since its issue he was seen in the qolqjvv, ] ie was • never arrested."— ("Post.")"

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18900414.2.12

Bibliographic details

A Sydney Sensation., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2400, 14 April 1890

Word Count
1,168

A Sydney Sensation. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2400, 14 April 1890

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