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Photograph (Frederick Deeming)

From the Collection of Victoria Police Museum Mezzanine Level World Trade Centre Siddeley Street Docklands Victoria

Description
Black and white photograph backed onto black backing board showing a man in a long coat and top hat with his hands in his pockets and a moustache
Size
22.4 x 12.5
Object Registration
VPM2750
Keywords
frederick deeming, emily mather, murders
Historical information
In March 1892, Melbourne Butcher John Stamford took a prospective tenant to a house he owned at 57 Andrew Street Windsor. He noticed a 'disagreeable smell' coming from the front rooms. Suspecting foul play, Stamford called the police who quickly discovered a decomposing body and partially clad body of a young woman in a shallow grave under the fireplace. 'Her skull had been shattered and her throat cut'.

Two detectives, Sergeants Considine and Cawsey, began investigations. The previous tenant, a 'Mr. Druin' who had rented the house had since disappeared was the main suspect. 'Druin' had arrived in Australia from England as 'Albert Williams' in December 1891 with his 24 year old wife Emily Mather. The body was Emily's. The crime scene investigation proved difficult as the suspect - whatever his real name- had cleaned up the scene very carefully.

Much later it was discovered that the suspect was in fact Frederick Bayley Deeming, a former sailor born in Birkenhead, Cheshire, in 1854. In 1881, Deeming deserted his ship and lived in Sydney where he married and had a family. Deeply in debt, he later burned his business down to claim its insurance value and fled to South Africa before he could be arrested. He is believed to have committed numerous frauds and murders in Africa. Eventually found in Uruguay, he spent time in prison in England for fraud. After being released he married Emily and returned to Australia. After leaving England, British police began investigating him over the murder of Mrs Marie Deeming and her four children.

Now using another alias, 'Baron Swanston', Deeming was arrested in Western Australia before he left the country in the company of a young woman, Kate Rounsefell, whom he planned to marry. It seems Kate would have been his next murder victim.

Brought back to Victoria, in May 1892, Deeming went on trail for the murder of Emily Mather. Despite a strong defense conducted by a brilliant young barrister and 3 times Australian Prime Minister Alfred Deakin, the evidence against Deeming was overwhelming and he was found guilty. Deeming was hanged at Melbourne Gaol on 23 May 1892. He was known to be responsible for at least 6 murders and may have committed others.
Last updated
22 Feb 2019 at 12:37PM