Letter regarding Petone murders
A Melbourne family was “in a flutter” over a Petone murder according to a letter received by the Police on 28 January 1897.
The elderly victims, storekeepers James and Emma Jones, had their dinner interrupted and pepper thrown in James’ face before they were stabbed to death. They had formerly lived in Melbourne where they managed a general store. When news of their murders hit the headlines, Walter Davies wrote to the Police on behalf of family members and friends asking that press cuttings be sent on the case.
French immigrant and career criminal Stephen Bosher (aka Etienne Jean Brocher) was tried and convicted on largely circumstantial evidence though he later confessed to the crime. The one time Akaroa brickmaker, (also a fraudster and bigamist) was thought to have been intent on robbery when he killed the couple. Described as a stout whiskered man, Bosher, according to a newspaper report “takes a very keen interest in the case but seems to feel his own position very little. The various little humourous incidents which occur in every murder trial are fully appreciated by him and his laugh is the readiest and lightest in court … certainly Stephen Bosher appears to enjoy the unique experience of being tried for his life.” His composure continued to the gallows. Bosher was executed at the Terrace Gaol in Wellington at 8am on 21 April 1897. After he was ushered to the scaffold (which was described by a witness as looking like a square cattle truck) Bosher thanked his attendants, prayed, and when his priest broke down murmured “Courage Father, be not afraid.”
Shown here is the letter from Walter Davies of Melbourne
P1 247 1897/124
More information can be found here:
For updates on our On This Day series and news from Archives New Zealand, follow us on Twitter www.twitter.com/ArchivesNZ
Material supplied by Archives New Zealand.