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Singular Occurrence.

As reported by cable a singular murder took place in Flinders street, Melbourne, on Snnday, 18th May, about 2 a.m. It was committed by a young fellow who was most unquestionably "religious mad," about-which.there is nothing very singular, but what was singular was his ill-luck at meeting at. that, extraordinary hour on a raw, wet morning an individual who was as mad as himself. ' The murderer was Joseph McGrath, who is a native of Queenscliffe, where hfe had been a coachdriver, and a very good one. But recently he had become- "queer" and "off his head," as the saying is. He came up to Melbourne about 10 days ago, and on Saturday he took a bed at a boarding-house in Little Collins street. He retired soon after ill o'clock at and . then i appeared quiet rational. Two other men occupied the bedroom with him, and/ 'they 'were awakened .about-,1 o'clock on /Sunday* morning by the' .vagaries which McGrath ■ was | He rushed!at them with ,a boot'in,; his hand, and was so violent in hia* .manner,'thati they took refuge in the' bath r00m,./'which theyb ] barricaded ' against him. He 'tried-i to force in the door, but failing left the house;'- taking with him-a .'heavy ironscraper which he, found; in 'the.;,passage. He theVmade his-way routid to Flinders street,^ and near the .Prince's Bridge station he.encountered his .victim.' This Was ! a German, named Conrad . Ratzlaff>, He was a plumber in a distant suburb, and was so eccentric that efforts had been get him'into- a lunatic asylum. Ratdaff. appears to have missed a train and to have been hanging about the station waiting for morning. McGrath and he, got into an altercation about religion,™ and a porter overhead the former saying " You're no' Catholic ; ; you're an Australian gossoon." With that he brained' him with the door door scraper. When the, police arrived McGrrath "was shouting "Catholics-arise;'!, over the :.prostrate man. The constable narrowly escaped a similar fate to Ratzlaffs,. and it was time before McGrath could be arrested. When he was .handcuffed, the, attention, of .the little crowd which Hhad.N gathered was directed to the injured man; As they lifted him from the ground they saw that the back' portion' of his head had been smashed in a horrible manner. He was still alive, however, the ambulance litter which is kept at the station was brought into requisition, and he was taken to the Melbourne Hospital, but before the institution was reached he was dead. McGrath had to be put into a straight jacket at the watchhouse, and he was so violent that it it took two r or* three; policemen to manage him; »He graved.; and prayed alternately till the morning, declaring that he hack been .** to hell and; found his sister there.f-^''CVD. Times;', correspondent.

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Bibliographic details

Singular Occurrence., Ashburton Guardian, Volume XIV, Issue 2432, 4 June 1890

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Singular Occurrence. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XIV, Issue 2432, 4 June 1890