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SHOCKING TRAGEDY.

WHOLE FAMILY WIPED OUT.

FATHER'S MANIACAL CRIME.

KILLS WIPE, CHILDREN, AND HIMSELF. MELBOURNE, March 24. A shocking domestic tragedy occurred at North Brighton this morning, when 'William Holmes, a gardener, murdered his wife and two children, and then committed suicide. The names of the victims are: William Holmes, 42; Elizabeth Holmes, 36; John Joseph 'Holmes, 4; Mary Elizabeth Holmes, 9 months. The unfortunate family resided at the corner of Lewis and Sehvyn streets. Mrs. Holmes and her two children -were found dead in bed with itheir heads dreadfully battered. In the room was found a blood-bespattered claw-hammer,, with which the woman and children* 'had evidently been done to death.

Holmes was found dead in bed in another room with his throat cut. He had been out of work lor some considerable .time, and had been unable to obtain employment. This had made him despondent, and it is supposed that he suddenly lost his reason and wiped the •whole family out of existence. They had evidently been living on a few shillings Mrs. Holmes had :been able to earn by washing and ironing.

The discovery of the dead bodies was extremely sad. Holmes was a son-in-law of Mrs. Mary Ann Haniuui, a-n elderly, grey-haired widow, who lives a few yards away. 'Mrs. 'Holmes, when going out to work, used to leave her baby with 'her mother, and she invariably called at a-quar.ter to eight in the morning. She did not put in an appearance to-day. Mrs. Hannan walked across 'to 'the house, and knocked at the door, but could get no •reply. The poor old lady, thinking that her daughter, who wae a hard-working woman, and her husband had overslept themselves, lifted the window of the front room. She looked in, and saw her son-in-low lying on his bed, close beneath ithe window, dead. His throat was cut, and blood "thickly "staVed the bed. Nobody answered the old woman's cry for her daughter, and seeing that something horrible had 'happened, Mrs Hannan hurried to the residence of a neighbour, who informed the police. The constables, on entering the house, were staggered by the awfulness of the sight. Holmes was lying on a email bed; his right arm -was on his ibreast; his eyes were wide open; ■his throat -was cut, and deep and long was the wound from which the blood had spattered far across the room, and covered the tablecloth and his clothes, which were lying on ,the table. The heads of Mrs. Holmes and her two little children had been battered in, and .they had clearly been killed whilst asleep. They lay on a double bed, the mother on the outside, with her baby lying on her right arm. There was no sign of a struggle. A claw-Jhammer was found in the room stained with blood, ■the head and handle being thickly-coated dark red, while strand's of ihuman hair were on the handle.

The maniacal force with which Mrs. Holmes was beaten was to be seen in the dreadful nature of the wounds. The top of her head was pulped and splintered by repeated blowa. Apparently one or two blows had sufficed to dispose of the baby lying on 'her arm, while a heavy smashing bleJw on the h?ad of the boy must Have killed him. with dreadful suddenness.

Holmes was Teligiously inclined, and there are many in Brighton who think .that while despondency at .the resultless search for employment may have had something to do with his action in 'slaying his family and himself, the matter of religious insanity might be considered. •Hie father died in an asylum—in fact, the whole proceeding is suggestive of the work of a madman. While the police were puzzled to find the weapon which had been used by the unfortunate man on himself, they lifted the body slightly, and on his left, between his body and arm, they found a razor where it had apparently fallen from his hand as he was dying. Holmes and his wife are eaid .to have lived very happily together with their children. They had been married seven years.

Two or three daye ago Mrs. Holmes was told ,thait there was no further employment for her at present at the local laundry, where she had formerly an engagement three days a week, and on •Monday evening, when she was at her mother's, the landlord called for the rent, which was in arrears. He was hot able to see either Mr. or Mrs. Holmes, but it ■is inferred that in despair of being able to pay his way owing to the laundry engagement failing led the deceased man to commit the whole eeriee of crimes. Holmes seems to have set about his own destruction with great deliberation. His clothes were found folded on a chair. A small Turkey-stone had been used to sharpen his razor. All preliminaries having been completed, he lay down on the right of the bed farthest from ,the window; and deeply gashed his throat, severing the jugular and other arteries and windpipe *i one clean gash.

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SHOCKING TRAGEDY. Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 76, 30 March 1909

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