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The Police Court was packed to-day when the police version of the tragedy in Seddon Street, Otahuhu, on July 9, on which date the naked body of a woman was found in a wardrobe at her home, was told. Stanley Winwood McKissick Reid (-11), labourer and range fitter was charged with the murder of Lila Williamena a married woman. Jlr. J. H. Luxford, S.M., was on the Eench, Mr. G. S. R.' Meredith, instructed by the policc, led the evidence and Mr. Hall Skelton, instructed by Mr. George Skelton, appeared for the accused. The first witness, Constable V. C. Nay lor, officer in charge of the Criminal Registration Branch, Auckland.- produced photographs of the exterior and interior of the house at 2, Seddon Road, Otahuhu, where the Hammond family lived., Occuxjants of House A son of the deceased, Malcolm David Hammond, aged 11, said he and his sister, Delma, aged five, occupied a middle room in the house. His mother and father occupied a bedroom in the front of the house. Mr. Richard Gallagher, who worked at the Penrose glass works and had been a boarder at witness" home for about 12 months, occupied a bedroom at the rear of the house next to the kitchen. The accused, Reid, who had boarded in the same house for about six weeks prior to the tragedy, bad a bedroom between the bathroom and Gallagher's room. At the time of the tragedy Reid was not working but he had worked at the Challenge Phosphate Works as a carpenter and bricklayer until the Wednesday before July 9.

'•My father used to be home every night until about four weeks before the tragedy, when he went to work as a plumber on the railway at Helensville," added witness. "While working at Helensville he used to come home on Friday nights and leave again on the Monday morning. When Reid was working he usually left home about 7.30 a.m. and returned about 4.30 p.m. He always took his lunch, which mother cut for him. At night time, after going for a walk, Reid usually sat by the fire."

On Monday,' July 9, after leaving school at 11.55 a.m. witness went into a shop in Otahuhu and there met Reid, who asked him where he x was going. On being told that he was soing home for lunch Reid remarked that it was too wet : and suggested that witness should stay in the township for lunch. Reid* offered him monev to buy his lunch, but witness refused to take it. Reid offered him money several times. On arriving home witness found that Reid was already there. He, his mother and Reid all had lunch together, witness leaving for school again at 12.45. Witness said Reid was wearing a grey suit. "Where is Mother?" Leaving school about 2.30 p.m.,witness continued, he reached home half an hour later. He found the front door locked, which was unusual, and entered the house by the back door. Witness heard accused in his (Reid's) bedroom but did not see him. Going to his mother's room he saw her coat and bag on the bed. While in his mother's room he heard accused go out of his bedroom and at the same time the boy Bishop arrived. Reid called out to witness: "Malcolm, your mate is here."

With Edwin Roy Bishop, witness went shooting in a plantation and about 4 p.m., on returning to the house, saw accused leave the house by the back door. Accused was wearing a pair of grey trousers, similar to a pair produced, and a khaki shirt.

"I said to Reid: Where is mother? He said: 'I don't know- She has gone up the road'," continued witness. After he had been shooting for some time he saw Reid come out of the house wearing a blue overcoat, white scarf and brown hat, and smoking a pipe. After a few words accused went back into the house and shortly after witness heard the gate dose. Witness and his friend were in the washhouse firing an air gun. When his sister - returned home about 5.15 the two of thein and another boy went into the .house. Dick Gallagher later returned from work and about 6.30 he sent witness and the lad Bishop to the home of witness' grandmother in Portage Road, Otahuhu, to see whether his mother was there. She was not there and he returned to his home in. company with his grandmother and a Mr. Williamson in his car. x

Mother Was Happy While shooting with the boy Bishop they were no more than /u yards from the house and had a clear view of it, said witness. He did not see anyone enter or leave the His mother was in good spirits and quite happy at lunch, as usua y was. That day accused was ma bad temper. Witness noticed this particularly when, up the road, accused snapped at him. Portion of Malcolm Hammond s evidence was corro Roy SS2»* aged 12. *Fhis "SSEV 2S fhS Sn lolng to Ma W e SS just after 3. p.m. he saw them;i g£»nS? "S? e d.f y Mw the man's name. . 0 . Felix Richard9. a^i® h !.p ttunr n e d single, a labourer, said he! retwnea in April last year a , ,he Middle East &»££nd°and"lher husband He had boarded at the Ham:ni<ma s for about 12 months piior to t tragedy. His bedroom was next that occupied by R ei d- , Mr. Meredith: What #j?f_ S he each^other\ S^They^ver e on the best of terms. Matrimonia i Matter Witness said at the Challenge Phosphate worK since the Wednesday pr j- iac i a He told witness that he ha row with them and that the ma^ power people wi at Hammond's another job. While^a^ r g for the six weeks pi f the fl re at Reid usually sat in f r °n ec j to benight. "He always seemed .to have himself and he p « Re id house." continued Gallagner a was just on ordinary terms lodger with Mrs. Hammond Mr. Meredith: p rior o w ith v° u Reid discuss anything —y es , about a matrimonial a matri . He said he had writte:received two monial agency and had had geen replies. He als ° ,f *ho had replied, one of the two gn Is wh prinking Was he in the habit of drinking intoxicants? —No.

Gallagher added that after he had ceased work Reid stayed mostly in the house. Apart from his remark that he had bad feet, Reid seemed to enjoy good health. Over the week-end of July 7-9 witness was working. Reid was at home during the week-end, as .also was Mr. Hammond. After breakfast on July 9 Mr. Hammond left for Helensville. Mrs. Hammond went to the back porch to wave good-bye to him. This was a habit of hers. Mrs. Hammond was in good spirits when witness left that morning for work.

Arriving home about 5.25 p.m. witness said he found the only persons in the house were the two Hammond children and Roy Bishop. He entered by the front door, which was open. Before reading the Star in his own room he was in the scullery, where he noticed a blade razor lying partly closed on the bench close to the sink. Witness did not notice anything unusual about the house. There was no sign of Mrs. Hammond or the accused, which was unusual. Search of House Witness said he remained in the house until after 6 p.m., when he asked the boy Hammond where his mother was, and received the reply that Reid had informed him that she had gone up the road. Witness instructed the boy to go to his grandmother's to see if she was there. When Mrs. Ellis (the grandmother) and Mr. Williamson arrived they had a conversation, as a result of which they decided to look round the house. Witness was in the scullery when Williamson picked up the razor and they noticed what appeared to be fresh blood on it. He then went into Mrs. Hammond's bedroom which did not appear disturbed. There was no sign of any struggle having taken place and the bathroom was in its normal state. \ Referring to Reid's room, the door of which was closed, but not locked, witness said he noticed the blankets on the bed were ruffled. Mrs. Ellis remarked that there were no sheets. "I heard Mrs. Ellis scream and I went back into Reid's room and I noticed that the door of the wardrobe was open," witness continued. "I looked into the wardrobe and I saw the dead body of Mrs. Hammond. The body was not clothed." In answer to the magistrate, witness said the body was in a sitting posture, with the knees raised. Witness said that there was a sheet or towel in the wardrobe alongside the body. After getting Mrs. Ellis, Williamson and the two children out-of the way witness went for the police. The last time he saw Mrs. Hammond alive was when he left for work that morning. Mother's Evidence The discovery of her daughter's body in the wardrobe of accused s room was described by Mrs. Margaret Mary Ellis, of 16, Portage Road, Otahuhu. She said Mrs Hammond was the eldest of her five children. She last saw her alive on Julv 7 when she took her to the pictures and went home with her. "My daughter was on the very best terms with her husband," said Mrs Ellis, who detailed what occurred after her grandson called at her home at 6.45 p.m. on July 9. As Mrs. Hammond was never away from home witness went to her house -in a car with her foster son, Frederick Williamson.

On -entering by the front doorwitness noticed nothing unusual, except that on going into the kitchen she saw that the fire was out in the stove. Her foster son . drew her attention to a blood-stained blade razor which was lying on the side of the sink in the scullery. Witness went into her daughter s room and found it clean and tidy. With Gallagher" and Williamson, witness went into Reid's room. She noticed that the bed was not made and that there were no sheets on it. max. was most unusual. "I then noticed that the door of the wardrobe was .slightly open, Mrs. Ellis said. "Opening the door I saw my daughter's dead body lymg on the floor. The body was naked. It was in a cramped position, partly sitting up. I then rushed out of the room to see my husband. In reply to questions by Mr. Meredith the witness said she had spoken to Reid on several occasions. "He once told me that his wife and child had been killed about nine months previously in a motor accident on the Rimutaka Ranges, she added. "He said she was driving a high-powered motor car and that the steering column broke. After Frederick Williamson had given corroborative evidence the luncheon adjournment was taken.

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Bibliographic details

MURDER CHARGE, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 187, 9 August 1945

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MURDER CHARGE Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 187, 9 August 1945

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