Emma Maria ABSALOM , 1864–1940 (aged 75 years)
|The Ultimo Tragedy|
The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 August 1899, page 3.
THE ULTIMO TRAGEDY.
VERDICT OF MURDER.
The inquest into the death of Ernest Henry Williams, who was shot dead in Fig Street Ultimo, on the 16th instant, was resumed yesterday before the City Coroner (Mr J. C. Woore). Sydney Frederick Giblett was present in custody
Dr Taylor, Government Pathologist described a post-mortem examination which he made. Death resulted from hemorrhage caused by a bullet wound fired at close quarters. The bullet penetrated the left side of the chest and finally lodged in the vertibrae column. The shot had evidently been fired by some one on the left side of deceased.
There were some abrasions on the fingers caused evidently when the deceased fell.
Lily Absalom, a single girl, residing at Fig street, Ultimo, with her two sisters, deposed they were the only occupants of the house. The deceased, Williams, was a friend, and Giblett, though he did not visit the house had been paying attentions to her sister Eliza. On the evening of the 16th instant Williams visited them, and about 7.30, while a game of cards was in progress, a knock at the door was heard. Her sister Eliza went to the door, and subsequently the sound of a scuffle was heard. Eliza returned to the room and from something she said they all went into the passage, where they saw Giblett. Emma asked Williams to put Giblett out. Williams asked him what he wanted. Giblett replied "To see Eliza," who said that she did not want to speak to him. Williams then told Giblett to go out, as he was not wanted there. Giblett stood with his back to the wall. Williams took him by the shoulders, and put him on the footpath, using only sufficient violence to do so Giblett. did not resist. When in the street Giblett asked Williams who he was. Williams replied "Never mind," and Giblett walked down Harris-street. They thought that Giblett was drunk, and returned to the dining-room Half an hour later another knock was heard, and the witness went to the door, where she saw Giblett. She tried to shut the door, but Giblett put his foot against it. Seeing that she could not shut the door Williams come out of the room and told her to leave the man to him. Giblett was still trying to force an entrance. Williams again placed his hands on Giblett's shoulders, and put him out in the street. Giblett called out, "Hold on I want something. I want some valuable coins." Eliza, who was in the passage, said "I will go and get them." Seven coins were produced, which Eliza brought. Giblett and Williams walked away in the direction of Crown road. The witness followed and gave Giblett the coins. The two men were talking on the corner.
Giblett caught hold of her arm and said, "Who is this man?" pointing to Williams, who immediately interjected, "Do not tell him, it is no business of his." The witness replied, "It is a friend," and thereupon Williams asked if he were satisfied. Giblett replied, "Yes," and the witness turned back to go home, Giblett and Williams following. On reaching the house Giblett tried to get in again. He tried to rush through the gate, but Williams pushed him away, but in doing so used no violence. He left Giblett standing on the kerbing. On returning to the house he said that Giblett wanted some letters. Lily replied that she had burnt them as fast as she received them. Giblett heard her and again endeavoured to get in, but Williams pushed him away. Williams had both hands on Giblett's shoulders. the latter was facing her. Williams had pushed him a little distance from the gate along the footpath to near the next house, when Giblett seemed to swerve and the witness saw him fire a revolver at Williams, a distance of 3ft away. Williams threw up his hands, cried "Oh," and fell on his right side. Witness then rushed to the gate where Emma was. Giblett met her with the revolver. The street lamps were alight and she pushed his arm. The revolver went off, the bullet missing her. Giblett then went after her sister, she following. He aimed at her sister's head, but the wit- ness pulled his arm again, and then he turned round and fired at witness. Again witness pulled his arm down, but Giblett fired at her. She felt being struck in the right leg. She had hold of him at the time, and then let go Gib- lett then fired at Emma, who was standing at the front door trying to get in. Witness thought her sister was struck in the hip. Giblett then pointed the revolver at Emma's right breast beside the arm. The witness pulled his arm before the revolver exploded. She next realised that her sister Emma was knocking at Mrs Dean's (a neighbour) door, Giblett followed her up and fired at her back at close quarters, saying "Take that." Giblett then went into the street and put the revolver to his head. Then he walked up Crown road, where he did some- thing to the revolver. The witness was about 20 yards away. He looked at her, and took two steps towards her. Then he turned round and ran down Crown-road. She did not see him afterwards. The whole incident only lasted about five minutes. Witness went to Williams, who was lying in the gutter opposite the next house. She supported his head in her lap. He was then breathing his last. He asked her to say good-bye " to his two sisters, and died murmuring a prayer. Dr. Camac then attonded them. Deceased was steady, and was engaged to be married.
Giblett in reply to the Coroner, said he had no questions to ask at this stage.
Eliza Absalom gave corroborative evidence. She said Giblett had threatened her life a few days previously because she would not consent to marry him. She informed tho police. Witness had known Giblett since January, 1893. He had been paying his addresses since August last. He formerly visitcd them at Port Macquarie, and once or twice at Fig street. They corresponded. She promised once to marry him when he got into a suitable position. She promised to meet him on the night of the 16th at the back gate, but her sisters advised her not to. When the knock came at the door she thought it was the constable. When Williams fell she shut the door and a bullet struck it. Twelve months ago he threatened her at Port Macquarie, and again last Good Friday. Witness generally corroborated the evidence or her sister Lily regarding Giblett's visit on the night of the 16th. He had been in the country previously, and on the 13th she refused his offer of marriage. His threats frightened her.
Cross-examined by Giblett: Witness was out with him the previous evening by appointment, and the evening before. Giblett made witness kiss him. She did not say she loved him, or agreed to let him know the next day whether she would marry him that week. She met Giblett with her sister, and then she and Giblett went for a walk. They went to the back gate, but witness moved on as she did not want Emma to see her. Emma objected to Giblett coming to the house. Witness had no objection so long as he behaved himself, and she had never known him to misbehave himself. Whilst Emma was in Sydney Giblett visited their house at Port Macquarie every night in the week except Thursday. Before coming to Sydney the witness went to stay with her mother, and the first day she was there she and her sister invited Giblett to dinner. She had said that she would not let a third person interfere. Witness had told Giblett to leave Port Macquarie for his wife and children's sake. He came to Sydney in the same boat as witness and her sister against their wishes. Witness had been writing to Giblett continually, unknown to her sister Emma. She had no intention of marrying him, because he was never in a position to marry Williams was engaged to be married to a Miss Condon, who knew Giblett, and had told witness not to throw herself away on Giblett. Several other did so also. Before he left for the country Giblett visited the house with Lily's consent/ Good Friday last was the only occasion that Emma gave consent for witness to see him. Emma, who acted as a mother, was determined that witness should not marry Giblett.
On his return from the country she told him that Emma would give him in charge. Witness said she would meet him on the followmg Sunday night if she could, and sent a note by Lily to the back gate.
By the Coroner: Witness never knew Giblett to misbehave himself with the exception of the threats. A year ago she came in for a little over £1000 and some property. It was generally known in Port Macquarie that she would come in for some property when she came of age, and Giblett know it before he paid his addresses. He was divorced, and her cousin was his wife.
By Giblett: After Giblett came to Port Macquarie he said he had been bound over to keep the peace for speaking to his children. At the time witness was friendly with Giblett's wife and family. When Giblett was locked up waiting for bondsmen her sister went out to her father's place, six miles away, to get him to bail Giblett out. It was her own wish to go.
Further evidence of the shooting was given by Mary Johnson, Mary Jones, and Angus Coulson.
Jone Thomas Jones, with whom Giblett lodged, said that towards 9 p.m. on the 16th Giblett came into the house and said he had shot a man and some women, and had intended to commit suicide. Jones persuaded Giblett to let him have the revolver, and he did so. He was going to give himself up when the police arrived. Giblett appeared to have had more drink than usual. Giblett had complained of pains in his head. He had only lodged with him a few days.
J H Davis, assistant to Joseph Davis, pawnbroker and jeweller, Park-street, deposed to Giblett com- ing to the shop at about 7.30 p.m. on the 16th. He purchased a revolver and 50 cartridges, which the witness sent out for. He was perfectly calm and sober, and showed no trace of excitement.
Evidence was given by the police as to arrest. When taken in custody Giblett remarked that he was not a coward like Briggs.
The jury after retiring for about five minutes returned a verdict murder against Giblett, and he was committed for trial.